By Mastertronic
Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #33


You might, like myself, be pleased to learn that Mastertronic do not put out "Quilled" games in the belief that people, even at this price, expect better. Giving games players a little bit more is commendable as this offering not only has quite good graphics and a very readable redefined character set but also provides icon control over the common adventure commands. There are, unfortunately, a couple of things which let the side down.

The storyline isn't as appealing as it might be with the excuse that you're having a dream (see title) papering over a whole host of unconnected locations and problems. But by far the most damning fault of the game is the input system which almost defies a correct input. The auto repeat effect on entries and the curious DELETE system, which enters your input when you're trying to correct words, conspire against you to the extent where you feel like giving up before you've really started. On some occasions lines seem to enter themselves as if the computer was fed up with you struggling with the program's inadequate input routine.

The look of this adventure is really quite sophisticated for a £1.99 game. The icons are well designed and fit nicely around the picture, which, if not always detailed, is generally colourful. All of the compass directions can be chosen via arrow icons, cassette functions can be called upon via the quit icon and everyday adventure commands suck as LOOK, ENTER, LEAVE, GET, DROP, EXAMINE, HELP, USE and PAUSE can be called upon via shapes ranging from a clenched fist and magnifying glass to a bed (this last is for PAUSE).


You kick off in the place where every human being is at their best - safely out of harm's way, happily snoring in bed. Here though, 'happily' may not be the right word as it looks like another adventure nightmare. 'A sudden thirst awakens you and rising for a drink you fall out of bed into an ocean. The bed drifts away into the mist. You see shoreline ahead'. After struggling with the input system for ages you might pick up a spade, dig the sand and get a face smiling at you from a bucket. Avoiding the jaywalker's fate you might then get around to working out how the bike can be started, or perhaps you just push it away (well, I thought you deserve a clue if you've struggled with this input system for anything longer than five minutes). At the checkpoint you will no doubt meet the following: 'You step onto the gravel path but the crunch of your steps wakes the bandit and you are arrested for non-possession of passport. You are sentenced to hang from a tree until you wake'. Needless to say, any attempt to do something as useful as CUT ROPE comes up with the witty 'Your sword is being repaired'.

Zzzz is not such a good game because it fails in the one area which is vital to smooth, unruffled adventuring - a competent input system. This game's entry system is fraught with difficulties (like the question of the comment which says you can't go north when you had no recollection of attempting that direction). As such, the game's viability must be questioned even at such a low asking price.


Difficulty: the most difficult thing is coming to terms with the atrocious input system
Graphics: alright for a cheap game
Presentation: good
Input facility: verb/noun and icon
Response: fast

Derek Brewster

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