Last month's mailbag included a letter from Mr. Whittington of Redbeard Computers in Birmingham, asking me to review his latest game. The Pilgrim is delighted that people are taking me up on my offer to look at home-brewed adventures - Adventure International, Level 9 et al are all very well, but it's still nice to get to grips with a game on a more personal level.
This game is a text-only adventure in which you must escape from the Island of Riddles and, in doing so, discover a number of riddles hidden in various locations. Solving these riddles is not essential to solving the game, but could win you a prize - £1 will be deposited into a kitty for every game sold, and the whole kaboodle will be handed over to the first correct solution to all the riddle drawn out of a hat in July 1986.
As for the game itself, the descriptions are very short and the atmosphere it consequently a bit thin. What it lacks on these fronts, however, it makes up for by being - in places - *extremely* tricky. For example, there's a maze which you have to conquer before being able to explore any more than a dozen or so locations, and although The Pilgrim is accustomed to solving a few maze problems between mouthfuls at breakfast, I have to confess that Mr. Whittington's little horror really put me to the test.
The problem is that there are ten locations with identical descriptins in this accursed cavernous complex, and you only have about five objects to drop around the place to mark your position. It took the Cowled Crusader at *least* five minutes to solve this puzzler (The *truth*, Pilgrim, tell the *truth*)... okay, ten minutes, er... well, actually more like sixty minutes. And if you think *that's* tough, then take courage because there are more to come. Island Of Riddles claims to have over 200 locations and I discovered at least one other maze before finally giving up to sit down and write this review.
However, the game does have some serious drawbacks - the parser is for two-word input only and can only reply "You can't" or "Please rephrase that" to your inputs. This can be very annoying at times. Also, the game costs £9.50, which I really think is a bit steep. However, if you fancy your chances at solving the riddles, want to spend hours wandering round caves, don't mind skimpy descriptions, and have got £9.50 to spare, drop Mr. Whittington a line at 45 Regent Place, Birmingham B1 3NB. And the best of luck - you'll need it.