The Serf's Tale (Players) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

The Serf's Tale
By Players
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in ZX Computing #37

The Serf's Tale

Irrelevant title really - the player's social status has no bearing whatsoever on the game or even the scenario. This tale is a very old story indeed; it's a retelling of the very first adventure! The original mainframe game was never copyrighted, so there have been numerous micro versions, including ones from Melbourne house and Level 9. The puzzles are classics - the bird and snake, Y2, the giant's gate...

Is there room for this version then? Resoundingly, yes! Why? Because it's superbly written. The game has actually been improved, with some new twists and locations (the start is much harder than the Level 9 version). The descriptions are atmospheric, well-written, quite lengthy and again, not carbon copies. You can perform irrelevant actions like stepping off a cliff or drinking the spring water. Presentation is attractive.

There are some sophisticated features. You can switch between FULL and BRIEF text, a rare but useful function. There is a RAMSAVE/LOAD option - but it's only useable when you find the grimoire which allows you to cast those spells! There's GET and DROP ALL. You can also PUT things into your pocket and RETRIEVE them, so can carry more.

There's little else that could be done without radically changing the storyline, other than adding graphics perhaps. I prefer this to the Level 9 version - it's friendlier to play and just as well written. The best thing about The Serf's Tale however, is its price. For two quid, it's unbeatable value. If you want to see good text-only adventuring, this is highly recommended. Unless, that is, you've already solved Adventure, in which case you've been wasting your time reading this review.

A Monster Hit