Amstrad Action1st January 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #16
Ooh-arh, pod off, you gurt qwaddle.
If approximately 90% of that first sentence means anything to you at all, then there's a chance you may feel at home with this latest multi-choice game from Level 9 and Mosaic.
I call it a multi-choice game because it isn't really an adventure. It's in the same mould as Adrian Mole from the same stable and has the same limitations. Text scrolls up the screen, pausing every now and then for you to select one of three plot options, whereupon the story rolls on. In between times, typically crude Level 9 graphics draw on the top half of the display.
In fact, The Archers is rather better than Adrian Mole. First, there appears to be rather more substance to the game. You control the plot decisions for four characters, and each character in it loads separately - giving you in effect four mini-games in one package.
Secondly, the aim of the game strikes me as rather more interesting. You have to keep the Radio 4 bosses happy with your choice of plot developments, and increase the number of listeners. You can pass from one section of the game to the next only if you succeed in raising the number of listeners by one million in each section.
This is pretty easy when you start, but once I'd reached about 3.5 million listeners and was dictating the plot for brainless femme-fatale Elizabeth Archer, I found it difficult to progress. When it came to audience figures, I just couldn't make out which was more attractive - cleaning out the pigsties or helping with the sheep. Going out to supper with Nigel Pargetter or pouring champagne over Tim's head? Joining Bruce Bruno's fitness club or attending ballet classes?
Yes, 'tis on such trivial questions that the fate of national radio programs depends. As far as the computer program goes, I reckon there seemed to be marginally more logic in the relationship between your choices and the plot developments in the The Archers than there was in Adrian Mole.
On the other hand, I thought the text in Adrian Mole was rather better written. I don't listen to The Archers much, but the computer program didn't strike me as being quite as true to the original as its predecessor, where Pete Austin of Level 9 proved beyond doubt that he is either 13.75 years old and spotty, or else a very gifted mimic of other writers.
Is a game like this - where you just enter 1, 2 or 3 to select a course of events, and which after a few hours of playing will have revealed a large percentage of what it has to offer - worth £10? That is the question, fellow pilgs. Gurt snogg ooh-arrrh, says I - which means yes, if either you're an avid Archers fan or else someone gives you the game for Christmas.