In April this year Beyond released a 'revolutionary' new concept in adventure games. Developed by Denton Designs, it involved no text input whatsoever, being purely icon driven, and was called Shadowfire. Due to its unusual nature, it soon became a big hit with games-players and adventures alike. So what is the Shadowfire Tuner?
The tuner is, quite simply, a piece of software that allows you to create or amend your own saved games. If that doesn't sound particularly inspiring, then consider this: With the aid of the tuner you can virtually rewrite the original Shadowfire game to your own specifications!
The program makes full use of icon driven commands and follows a very similar format to the original game. The method of input is determined as before by selecting from keys, joystick (digital or analog) and light pen on the title screen. You are then free to use the tuner to its potential.
There are three main 'menu' screens, the first of which allows you to determine the length of the mission and load and save games. The second, and probably most important screen, presents you with a plan of Zoff V, very handy for making a map. Each of the rooms in the ship can be 'edited' and both objects and characters can be placed within them. The various attributes of a character, such as speed and strength, may be altered to suit your tastes. One could have faster, stronger enemies or, better still, a more powerful Enigma team! This is done via the third menu screen, where you find a large list of characters and objects are readily to hand. There are even a few new weapons not previously encountered in Shadowfire.
This proves a very useful utility for the Shadowfire fan and injects new life into what is probably now a dead or dying game. My only real gripes are that the program isn't that easy to use initially, since some of the new icons are not easily recognisable. It also takes some considerable time to construct a new game. The tuner could be cheaper, but it still represents good value for money all the same.