Terrors Of Trantoss (RamJam/Ariolasoft) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

Terrors Of Trantoss
By Ariolasoft
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in ZX Computing #29

Terrors Of Trantoss

Aeons ago, the evil Wizard Trantoss used to rule supreme, gaining his powers through his mace. This continued until the villagers stole the mace and broke it. Over the years, the servants of Trantoss have tried to reassemble the mace and there are ominous rumours that Trantoss himself is not dead. Villagers have started to disappear, including the parents of two brothers, Lobo and Scarn. They decide that they must do something to stop this dreadful evil. The villagers are only too willing to give them every assistance, pleased that someone is going to do their dirty work for them. A lot of treasure has also gone missing and it would be a pleasant bonus if the two lads could retrieve that as well.

Of the two boys, one is as strong as an ox whilst the other is small and agile. This is important to remember as each will be more suitable for performing different tasks. You can move both characters together (this will be most of the time) swapping between them at will or you can part them and send them off on different tasks. In theory, you can succeed if one of them gets killed but it practic this will be almost impossible.

The story starts in the village and you must collect various provisions before going into the tavern and getting a dark stranger to guide you on the secret paths through the woods. The stranger also leaves you a magic staff when he disappears. Examining this gives you a real headache. There is writing on the staff but it is in the form of some runes and there are more of these strange letters over the ravine at the gates. At this point I sat down for a bit of code breaking - at first it looked easy as the first two words on the staff looked fairly obvious but several hours later I was both cross and frustrated. The letter combinations just did not make sense. Back in the game, I eventually found out why when I discovered a patent rune translator. Not all the words are spelt in ways that would appear in the Oxford Dictionary!

The on-screen presentation is very attractive. On the left is a vertical format picture of your current location, bright and colourful. A central strip indicates which character you are currently controlling and whether or not the other brother is with you or elsewhere. On the right is the text entry box. The only problems here are that the program checks the first five letters of a word. This can be confusing if, like me, you are used to using only the first four. Type DROP BLAN and the prgraom relies that you don't have it whilst DROP BLANK or DROP BLANKET works perfectly. Oh well, that's the price for idleness I suppose.

The vocabulary is more or less straightforward with a few unusual words being hinted at in the instructions. All in all, a most enjoyable adventure.