Wishbringer (Infocom) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Wishbringer
By Infocom
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #9

Wishbringer

Let's be brutally frank. This program is going to cost you nearly twenty times as much as Treasure Tunnels, but I have no hesitation in recommending it for your collection. Like many of the other Infocom range, it's one of the best reasons I can think of for going out and getting a 6128.

The main thing about Wishbringer is that it's what Infocom call an 'introductory level' game. That means that the program has been carefully structured to appeal to those without too much adventuring experience. However, it's one of the few 'introductory' games that I know of that is also eminently suitable for advanced players on account of its humour, wit, and pungent atmosphere.

Wishbringer is firmly in the Infocom fantasy tradition, and it's a remarkable achievement considering that author Brian Moriarty had never attempted an adventure before. The plot is steeped in sentimental simplicity but emerges all the stronger for it. You're a village postman in Festeron and on delivering a small package to the keeper of the Magicke Shoppe you discover that her cat has been stolen.

Worse is to come, though, as you are told that the cat has been kidnapped by the 'Evil One'. There have been so many 'Evil Ones' in adventures that I reckon there must be at least an Evil Dozen, but this particular example makes its presence felt immediately by casting a hideous spell over a fantasy world into which you tumble on leaving the Shoppe. After that it's all up to you, and Wishbringer...

Wishbringer is a small stone that bestows very special powers. You can wish for advice, darkness, flight, foresight, freedom, luck, or rain and believe me, by the time the game's over, you'll have wished fervently for all seven more than once. You'll probably have wished for a number of other things too - like a hint book, or an anti-poodle device.

You'll certainly need the latter to deal with a particularly vile little cur that crops up early in the game and had me and my family in fits of laughter...

"The poodle glares up at you through eyes red with hatred," warns the program as you attempt to enter a cottage in the village.

KILL POODLE you enter in desperation.

"Are you kidding?", replies the program, "This poodle is mean!" And mean it certainly is. On top of all that, you get the usual masterful Infocom way of dealing with even the most obscure inputs, so that it becomes an amusing challenge to try and baffle it. In the post office I immediately attempted to EAT ENVELOPE, but "It seems unlikely that the mysterious envelope would agree with you," replies the program calmly.

Wishbringer is in the best Infocom tradition, which means that, £28.70 allowing, it just has to be yours!

The Pilgrim