ZX Computing

Mordon's Quest
By Melbourne House
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in ZX Computing #21

Mordon's Quest

The cassette inlay for Melbourne House's new adventure Mordon's Quest claims 'the Classic Adventure continues...' for this new game is written by the author of their original Classic Adventure. The game is aspiring to high standards, whether it reaches those standards or becomes as popular as Classic Adventure remains to be seen.

The task set in this adventure is quite daunting - simply to save the entire universe from destruction! You find yourself in a mysterious and atmospheric house, and after wandering around it a bit Mordon puts in an appearance. He then gives a speech filling two screens, which tell you the aim of the adventure. Your quest is to retrieve all the lost components of Mordon's precious immortality machine and bring them to him. To fail in this quest means the destruction of the universe, how exactly this will come about, Mordon isn't telling. After this, he disappears as rapidly as he appeared.

The adventure contains over 150 locations, all described by several lines of text, with no graphics. The location descriptions are very informative and detailed, and laden with atmosphere. It is very easy to visualise the rooms in the house, even the rather gaudy purple bathroom!

Mordon's Quest

Soon, though, you have to leave the house and venture into the mist filled countryside. If you find your way through the fog and mist (and it is very easy to get lost!) you should eventually come to a jungle. This is where things start getting tricky, with encounters with Quicksand smelling like old socks, and a man-eating plant protected by a conservation order! Once past these obstacles you may come across a hut which has a sign over the door displaying the letters A.A. and a plate of cutlery. Be warned - this may not be what you think!

In fact, in Mordon's Quest, nothing is ever exactly what you think. The adventure has the habit of throwing surprises at you from all directions, particularly once you reach the ruined city. As you move further into the adventure you seem to shift in time by thousands of years, ending up in a sparkling fantastic future world with perspect domes, flashing lights, and, of all things, ambient music! This clever twist of moving the player not only in space but also in time gives an interest twist to what could have been another standard adventure.

Mordon's Quest is a very welcome throwback to the basics of a standard adventure game along the lines of Classic Adventure. It has none of the extra and often unnecessary frills which have become common in adventure games of late, such as memory wasting graphics, or highly interactive characters. Without these there is room for lengthier location descriptions which give this game an atmosphere missing from many more advanced adventures. Melbourne House, after the sophistication of The Hobbit and Sherlock have returned to basics for Mordon's Quest, and I believe it works well. That is not to say that this is a 'basic' game. It is a highly complicated adventure which will suit experienced adventurers who don't need pretty pictures to back up their imagination. The use of sophisticated text compression routines has made the puzzles in Mordon's Quest very challenging and complex, with very descriptive location text which gives the game a heavy atmosphere.

If you enjoy challenging, text only adventures, which may take several weeks to complete, then Mordon's Quest is for you. It really is an adventure in the classic style.