Electron User


Stranded
By Heyley
Acorn Electron

 
Published in Electron User 5.12

Stranded - not to be confused with the Superior Software adventure of the same name - is Heyley's latest release and was originally programmed for the Acorn Archimedes. It follows the tradition of The Taroda Scheme and is a science fiction jaunt set in the far future.

The improved loading and response time impressed me, as did the excellent opening scenario. It is obvious that Howard Roberts has been back to the drawing board and come up with a real gem this time.

Once again you begin the adventure trying to escape from a spacecraft in orbit around a strange planet. You are imprisoned in a hold of the Starfreighter Etoile, with a fat guard keeping a very close eye on you.

Stranded

It took a lot of experimentation and over an hour of key tapping before I gave up in exhaustion at my failure to escape from the hold. I eventually resorted to Heyley's generous Help sheet and discovered that I had a fair amount of waiting to do.

I feel that without such help, many novice adventurers would have given up this taxing adventure as a bad job. Stranded is not definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Having made my escape I then explored the rest of the spacecraft, killing the crew along the way, before crash landing on the surface of the alien planet. But first ensure that you are carrying the photonemitter and the blueprints.

Stranded

It is only then that the fun really does begin. I discovered some quite off-the-wall ideas in this game which are somewhat reminiscent of Level 9's The Worm In Paradise. Indeed the whole adventure is sprinkled with humour, which has become something of a Heyley trademark.

For instance, in order to carry the hole you must first possess the anti-common sense. You will have to build an escape craft called appropriately enough, a tin can. A box of anger also has a quite obvious use.

The adventure kept me awake for many hours and was the cause of some rib-tickling chuckles. However response to incorrect input was sobering. I was often told off by the computer for being too brief: "What sort of English is that? I don't think you are taking full advantage of the full sentence parser, are you?"

However, despite my praise of this game I still have a few criticisms concerning the development of Keyley's parser. It seems crazy that upon typing REST, the game went into Restore mode.

Equally when I typed PUSH BUTTON at the wrong location, the response was "Nothing happens" rather than "I cannot see a button here". Perhaps this is nit-picking, but maybe I am right in suggesting that Heyley employ a few more proof readers to correct such embarrassments.

Stranded is a large adventure with constant disc access to allow more than 220 locations and 450 messages. It is undoubtedly the best that Heyley have produced to date.

Pendragon

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