The Never-Ending Story

Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Computer & Video Games #51

The Never-Ending Story

Based on the film of the same name, this adventure is set in the land of Fantasia.

Fantasia is faced with oblivion by the all-consuming Nothing, unless you, Atreyu, can save it.

Starting off in a forest of twisty turning paths, the location text is well merged into the rest of the text. but many of the locations have similar text, and wandering through the forest can get a little boring and a bit confusing.

The Never-Ending Story

There are three parts in all, and each must be completed before loading in the next. To proceed from part to part, the program must be loaded with one of three sets of data.

Any object carried at the end of a part is automatically transferred with you into the next one.

The screen format is rather unusual. It has a very effective wide-screen picture at the top, and scrolling gothic text beneath. During play, a mini-picture is superimposed upon the main graphic; this shows either an action or the current location.

The Never-Ending Story

To the right of this, up to five objects - the inventory limit - are depicted in miniature, together with any companions that are accompanying you.

The vocabulary leaves a lot to be desired. There is no EXAMINE verb, and HELP is an unknown word. What really niggled me was, for example, on entering the command THROW STONE AT... [object], the reply I got was "There is no verb in that sentence".

We all know, and forgive, the occasional "obvious" words that are missing from a game's vocab, but the reply shows a slackness in attention to detail in the programming, which loses the adventure all credibility.

The Never-Ending Story

Play is in real time, and although there is a PAUSE command, I always find it irritating to be hurried through an adventure, for if one hangs around long enough to draw a respectable map, YOU WAIT appears on the screen from time to time, and lots of nasty things can be happening without your participation.

The limits of Part 1 took me to a swamp and the foothills of a mountain, under which I found a crystal in a glass box. To be quite honest, from there on I found it difficult to know what I was supposed to be doing.

By the time I had wandered around and got over a few minor obstacles, I had a potential weapon and no-one to kill with it. I couldn't end Part 1 and so proceed to Part 2.

The Never-Ending Story is a passable adventure - but that is all.