ZX Computing

Jewels Of Babylon
By Interceptor Micros
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #21

Jewels Of Babylon

The cover artwork for the cassette inlay of Jewels Of Babylon is strikingly familiar to that for Mordon's Quest, as both feature skulls and swords. This is the only thing between the games which is similar because where Mordon's Quest is full of atmosphere with lengthy text descriptions, Jewels Of Babylon is not, despite the brilliant graphics which accompany certain locations.

The story goes thus: in Babylon, 3,000 years ago, master craftsmen created a set of jewels so beautiful that men would kill for them. By the end of the 19th Century, the jewels' bloody history had brought them into the possession of Queen Victoria, who intended to give them as a wedding gift to an Indian Princess. The ship carrying the jewels though, is attacked by pirates who leave the crew for dead and take the jewels. You have survived the attack and plan to regain the jewels. You travel to the pirate's island, which you must search to find the jewels, and return with them to your ship.

Several of the locations boast excellent graphic pictures which give highly detailed views of your surroundings. The text descriptions though, are very sparse and don't adequately support the pictures. There are few taxing problems and it is possible to visit about half the game's locations with very little trouble at all. The adversaries for these first few locations are the island's wildlife - snakes, crocodiles, spiders and lions. Most of them are easily dealt with or easily avoided. There is very little challenge until you reach the later stages, despite the fact that the game claims to be for 'advanced players'.

Jewels Of Babylon

The game goes beyond the standard Verb/Noun input, but uses non-standard vocabulary which makes it more difficult to tell the game exactly what you wish to do. To leave your rowing boat, rather than CLIMB ASHORE or LEAVE BOAT, you have to enter CLIMB OUT BOAT. Small points like this increase the difficulty of the game, but in the wrong way. Rather than having difficult problems which need ingenious solutions, Jewels Of Babylon makes it difficult to find the correct phrases to use to get the response you want, which just results in annoying the player. Rather than playing a game, you're simply trying various phrases until you hit upon the right one. A more user-friendly attitude would have improved the game.

Jewels Of Babylon is packaged in the video style cassette case which seems to be all the rage now with software houses. Fancy packaging does not make up for a poor game and only increases the price. If Jewels Of Babylon had been a £2.50 Firebird game, then it would have been well worth the money.

Of the two graphic adventures reviewed this issue, Subsunk and Jewels Of Babylon, Subsunk has simpler graphics but a far better game, whereas Jewels Of Babylon consists of excellent graphics but a very poor game.

Overall then, Jewels Of Babylon is a simple 'pirate and treasure' type game with spectacular graphics, but little game. If you want a graphic adventure then get Subsunk. If you want a *real* adventure, then get Mordon's Quest. Give Jewels Of Babylon a miss.