Computer Gamer

The Never-Ending Story

Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Computer Gamer #10

The Never-Ending Story

A lot of major retail stores refuse to stock many adventure games on the grounds that they lack visual appeal. If that is the case, then they need have no fears about putting Never-Ending Story on their shelves. It is, quite simply, the most visually attractive adventure game that I have come across.

The bottom half of the screen contains detailed location descriptions, written with a very well designed character set. The graphics window at the top features a background picture which is overlaid with small inset pictures of items you are carrying, new places that you visit and characters that you meet. All these pictures are well drawn and extremely detailed.

The story is based on the film which in turn is based on the book by Michael Ende. The land of Fantasia is under attack from the evil Nothing. The Empress of Fantasia is ill but here physician tell her peoples that a small boy can save the land. That small boy, Atreyu, is played by you.

The Never-Ending Story

There are three parts to the adventure but you can only enter part two when you have solved part one etc. Input is of the standard verb-noun variety but the program only has a limited vocabulary (because of the memory used for the graphics). Unfortunately, the "examine" command has been left out. If the writers of an adventure are going to do this, then they should include detailed object descriptions but this is not the case here.

Another puzzling feature is that if you sit back and do nothing, the computer responds with "You wait..." but nothing ever seems to happen while you do wait.

This is a most enjoyable game, aimed mainly at younger adventurers. The graphics add considerably to the atmosphere (and I say that as one who is certainly no fan of graphic adventures) but I feel there is not enough meat in it for seasoned adventurers.