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

Published in Computer & Video Games #67

The Serf's Tale

It was the review copy of yet another version of Colossal Cave landing on my desk, that prompted me to investigate what Nigel Brooks and Said Hassan, who are Smart Egg Software, were up to. Of particular interest is the fact that a new source of adventure games is not using a commercially available utility like The Quill, as is so often the case, but their own, effective and superior, system.

I loaded The Serf's Tale into the Spectrum, and found an almost completely different game from the 'standard' Colossal. The text is enhanced and completely rewritten.

In fact, this is Colossal Cave in a very different guise, and it stands playing even if you have played the original, since many of the problems have been reworked.

The Serf's Tale

The text system achieves better than 50% compression, and as extras there are GET ALL, and DROP ALL commands, plus FULL and BRIEF to control the amount of location text displayed. However, you will not find a multi-word parser. Nigel Brooks and Said Hassan believe the problems in the original adventure were constructed with two word input in mind, and have stuck to the same format.

A new concept in marking progress in the game is the STATUS command, which tells you how many locations you have visited, as well as number of treasures stored. And as it does so, the existing screen is cleared with a rather neat dissolving routine.

Just one black mark to Interceptor, for naming this game The Serf's Tale on their Players label. There is no indication for unsuspecting customers, that this is really Colossal Cave. But for such a smart program, £1.99 must be the best value Colossal Cave ever!