Amstrad Action1st July 1986
Published in Amstrad Action #10
The Lost Phirious Part 2: The Planets
A couple of months, we reviewed the first part of this trilogy from Vidipix. It didn't get first-class ratings because I felt that it was rather too easy, and that the puzzles themselves were slightly illogical.
Well, Vidipix have got the guts to persevere, which they've demonstrated by sending me the second game in the series. I'm glad to say that it's quite an improvement on Part One.
In this new game you find yourself on earth, and must secure the necessary materials to build yourself a spaceship in which you can proceed with the rest of your mission. In case you missed the last review, this entails the salvage of a lost space-ship called the Phirious, believed to have been carrying a valuable cargo.
Phirious is a Quilled game without graphics. I was interested to see that the authors intend to produce the third part of the series using GAC, which is perhaps just as well because I don't feel that they have really squeezed the best out of The Quill in this case. Games like Bored of The Rings really demonstrate the potential of Gilsoft's utility, but Phirious belongs to the rather larger category of pick-up'n'puzzle solving adventures.
This part of the trilogy is called The Planets because - surprise - it features Saturn, Neptune, and other members of the Solar System. You can transport from one planet to another by saying the correct co-ordinates in the right place - both of which you have to determine yourself.
There's certainly a lot more to do in this game than in its predecessor, which Vidipix tell me was meant to be a 'beginners adventure'. There are just over 70 locations and although there are no graphics the atmosphere is maintained to a credible degree.
There are still, I feel, certain weak points in the programming. For example, there's a robot who will carry heavy items for you, but you can't communicate with it. In order to use it, you just pick the you robot up (difficult, I would have thought, unless you're possessed of superhuman strength) and from then on you can move enormous loads. Similarly, there's a door in one room, clearly stated as being to the east of you, that you can't enter without a certain object. However, even carrying the object you have to GO DOOR to pass through, rather than go E or OPEN it, both of which you might reasonably expect, but neither of which you can do. Solving little problems like this takes rather a lot of time, and sometimes guessing the correct solution isn't enough - you have to grapple with the parser as well.
My other criticism is that not enough of the objects yield further descriptions when "examined". In one case, this is critical there's a reception pad in the first location, but examining it reveals nothing about it. In fact, it's the sort of pad you have to write on - a very difficult conclusion to reach without a hint sheet.
The Planets costs £2.50 from Vidipix at 125 Occupation Road, Corby, Northants, NN17 1EG. It's not the best value budget release around, but it's an improvement on its predecessor and I hope that Part Three shows a similar advance in style and techniques.