Amstrad Action1st June 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #21
Ooh la la! I'm not sure comment this petit gamette got into the Pilg's postbag, but it is most interessant.
Coming from the French company Ere Informatique, the prog is to be available in both English and French, though I only received the French version. Naturellement, however, the Pilg is fluent in this tongue and was soon 'PRENDS'ing and 'FRAPPE'ing all over the place.
Some geezer named Harry, it seems, has found out a way of opening Rajmahal's Box, a neat little package that, once opened, offers limitless possibilities. You, a complete and utter dirtwad (with apologies to DR and Quinch), are promenading along the "rue" when suddenly two heavies bounce out and duff you one. They have, it appears, mistaken you for the box geezer and obviously think you're a good investment.
You awake some hours later in a damp cellar and must escape to save the real prof and put the world to rights etc.
This disk-based game makes a lot of use of the detailed graphics already familiar to most readers from other French imports - especially those from Infogrames. The pics are occasionally windowed and overlaid, and are very nicely drawn. Occasional sound effects (pistol shots, footsteps etc) also add to the atmosphere.
Where the game falls down is in the limited vocabulary (and I can't see how the English version could be any better), but this is to a great extent made up for by the pics and the occasional sense of humour. At one time, after I'd entered a particularly bad bit of French, the program announced "That's enough -- I'm going to short-circuit" and promptly reset the computer. At least that's how it appeared I pressed a key and all was restored.
In fact, the French seem to like playing little technical tricks in their games. For example, if you CAT the disk, you get a copyright message rather than a catalogue listing. While you play, graphics are constantly being loaded and displayed in different areas of the screen, the sound chip fizzes away, titles flash on and off the screen, witty responses come and go all rather different to the staid British type-it-in-watch-the-screen-scroll-up-read-the-message format. More's the pity, says moi.
However, you do pay for the technical wizardry in terms of limited gameplay. I can't imagine this game will keep you busy for as long as, for example, Silicon Dreams. But if you're keen to show off your latest piece of sexy software to the next-door neighbours it will probably create more of an impression. I think a definitive opinion on this product will have to wait until I can play the English version and find out where, and for how much, this game is available. In the meantime, if it confronts you, take a close look.
[The London office of Infogrames tells us release date is "future indefini" - problems being overcome on English translation. Price as above. - Ed]