C&VG


Hulk

Author: Keith Campbell
Publisher: Adventure International
Machine: Acorn Electron

 
Published in Computer & Video Games #31

Hulk

I loaded Hulk from Scott Adams' TRS-80 development disk, and paused before I pressed ENTER. Would this relatively small (16K) text game seem pale and dated in comparison with some of the larger, all-singing, all-dancing recent Adventures?

The screen cleared. "I am Bruce Banner, tied hand and foot to a chair. Tell me what to do."

The old magic was back. What a rotten trick! I made various feeble attempts at escape, but it was soon obvious that I would never succeed - I needed to be a super-hero. So I thought a bit, tried a few things, and, then, dramatically...

The Hulk

"Ouch! I scream!

"I am the Incredible Hulk (tm) now". A pity that we had to have the trade mark in the text but that was the least of my worries. I was free from my bonds and had a treasure to hand, plus a few unlikely objects, but I couldn't get very far.

I was trapped inside two locations and, as I am currently the only player of Hulk in the UK, there was only one person who could possibly help - The Chief Examiner! So I rang him and he was sympathetic. "The clues are all there. All you need to do is to read them," he assured me helpfully, and added for good measure "You're heading in the right direction."

The Hulk

Great! So I returned to re-read the text with open eyes. I applied some logic and - hey presto! I broke out!

I found myself in a field, near a large dome. I soon came across a sign saying "Leave gems here." I dropped mine, and, obtaining my percentage score, reckoned I had a lot of hard work ahead of me.

Now I seemed to be going around in circles and couldn't escape to anywhere useful. Sometimes I met a nasty end at the mandibles of alien ants, and sometimes I wondered why I didn't.

The Hulk

Apart from a certain-death location, I could discover nothing new, despite digging around desperately for clues.

Then sudden realisation hit me! I had a theory and excitedly put it to the test. Wow! I was right - twice over! I had fallen for a beautifully implemented ploy designed to deceive an Adventurer too jaded to use his eyes and brain!

Gradually the shape of the game became clearer - and I had to admite the tactics Scott had used to lull the unwary into a state of complacency followed by total confusion!

The Hulk

Right now I've got a couple more gems to find before I complete the game, and they don't seem to be giving themselves up easily. But I know the game can be solved, for Scott had left a saved game on the disc, with the player just about to drop the last treasure and win. I looked! Well, wouldn't you? Anyway, as the saying goes - "I saw nothing special." Scott had left everything tidy.

How did it compare? Short text messages and descriptions and not a large Adventure map, but I soon realised that this was easier on the eye than watching a mass of scrolling text. Anything new was immediately obvious. And the immediacy of the split-screen display and machine code speed added a dimension of drama and suspense.

The locations all have a use and, together with the short text replies, serve to concentrate the mind on the puzzle. Because of that, a solution is demanded in almost a challenging way.

The Hulk Adventure comes with a special issue of a Marvel comic which leads up to the start point of the game, but is not necessary for its solution.

Hulk is from Adventure International and will be released in the US and Europe in May in the following versions: Graphics: Spectrum tape, Commodore 64 tape, Atari disc. Text: Atart tape, BBC tape, TRS-80 tape.

There is a possibility of 16K ZX81 text and Oric graphics versions later, and almost certainly a Dragon version by the autumn.

Keith Campbell

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