Ulysses (US Gold) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

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Ulysses
By U. S. Gold
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #8

Ulysses

Talking of advanced years, the White Wizard made a careful study of Latin and Greek in his youth - he had to, since that was all people spoke in those days. For this reason, he knew what his task was in Ulysses before he's even loaded up the game. Grab a few sailor friends, jump onto a ship, and sail off to retrieve the Golden Fleece before returning with it to the King, who will reward you handsomely.

Sounds great, but alas - this is one of those games that the Wiz reckons we could do without.

First, it's disk-only, and all the extra space is used to provide full-screen graphics - at the expense of the text, which is pretty skimpy and just squeezes in at the bottom of the display. Also, I'm afraid, at the expense of the vocabulary, which is virtually non-existent.

Trying to type "Examine fence", on finding a location with a fence specifically mentioned, is a waste of time - don't expect the program to understand "Fence", it doesn't even understand "Examine"! In fact, it doesn't really understand much at all, so most of the challenge of the game is finding and using your possessions in the right place and in the right way.

So, I hear you cry, with all that space given over to graphics, it must be a very pretty game - pretty grim, more like. The graphics are about Hobbit-standard, and since that particular standard was established two years ago I think we're entitled to see a small improvement by now.

The only small point worth noting is that objects are shown in the display and disappear when you take them. Big deal - I'd rather be able to examine them and use them properly rather than see them flip in and out of the picture.

As it is, the original story of Ulysses is so superb that some of its atmosphere rubs off on this game. However, this modicum of enjoyment is spoilt by having to endure endless disk accesses as the patchy graphics and skimpy text are located and flashed (with much glitching) onto the screen. Nor is there any sound worth mentioning - except a little 'Ping' when the text threatens to spin off the bottom of the screen and you have to press Shift to see what comes next. Frankly, I felt more inclined to press the reset button.

Perhaps I shouldn't be too rude about this game, but really I think we can justifiably expect more for our money these days, especially where disc games are concerned. Too much time here has been spent on crummy graphics and too little on game design, I fear.

The White Wizard