Amstrad Action1st January 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #16
What with The Archers, Adrian Mole, and now Twice Shy based on a Dick Francis novel, Mosaic is showing itself to be quite astute in the adventure game/licensing market. Ramjam, on the other hand, has produced a couple of excellent games itself in particular Valkyrie 17, which was one of my favourite adventures when it first came out back in the dark ages.
I therefore had high hopes of this combination of talents. On loading the game, the hopes seem to be justified to some extent. First, the screen display is mighty impressive. A neat little text window for location descriptions is bordered by very attractive small-scale graphics and, to its left, a pretty little picture of your current location.
Your inputs are entered below in the usual way, and the story concerns one Jonathan Derry who suddenly attracts the attention of a group of very nasty characters. It seems they're interested in a set of cassette tapes that you (as Derry) acquire during the game.
The worst thing about this program is the parser. Frankly, it's pretty manky. First, there's a lack of vocabulary, so that although the location descriptions mention various tempting items there's nothing you can do with them.
For example, any adventurer worth his or her salt who encounters a bed, which on examination proves to be unmade, will immediately attempt to make it. You can't. In the bathroom of Derry's house you find a bath which - again on examination has not been emptied. But thou canst not empty it, o Pilg.
There are also problems of interpretation. The most obvious one concerns the use of containers. As any adventure programmer will know, containers are a special class of objects in a program that can be used to hold other objects. They are not easy to implement and for that reason most adventures simply don't use them.
Twice Shy, on the other hand, has several containers - but it can't use them. So for example, we have a pill bottle full of pills. If you open the bottle, the pills spill all over the floor. You can then get the pills, and if you then type PUT PILLS IN BOTTLE the program will reply OK. Typing INVENTORY, however, will now reveal that you have the empty pill bottle but no pills. The clever program has decided that PUT PILLS IN BOTTLE means drop the pills - which it doesn't, in my book.