Personal Computer News

Great Scott!!

Author: Mike Gerrard
Publisher: Adventure International
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer News #090

The thirteenth Scott Adams adventure confirms his status as super-star among adventure writers. Bob Chappell hails the master.

Great Scott!

The thirteeth Scott adams adventure confirms his status as a superstar among adventure writers. Bob Chappell hails the master

Scott Adams has just had a huge success with The Incredible Hulk, the first of the Questprobe series featuring famous characters from Marvel Comics. Meanwhile, Adams has returned to his more traditional stamping groound. If you exclude the Questprobe series, The Sorcerer Of Claymorgue Castle (published by Adventure International), is his thirteenth. I don't believe in superstitions, touch wood, and they clearly don't bother Adams for adventure 13 is a smasher.

Like Hulk, Claymorgue offers pithy textual descriptions couple with impressive and instantaneous high-resolution graphics. The simple verb-noun command structure is still there (Spiderman promises a sophisticated full-sentence analyser) but the main ingredient for an Adams success is the humour and, above all, the puzzles. You don't get lavish or atmospheric text and you don't get an enormous vocabulary to juggle with. What you most definitely do get are some of the most stimulating and testing puzzles in the business - the solid gold hallmark of a Scott Adams adventure.

The Time Machine

Judging by my lack of progress so far, this one's got some humdingers.

Lost Property

And so to the plot - it's the favoured "he lost 'em, you find 'em" theme. Long ago, Solon the Master Wizard (and careless buffoon in my book) lost the thirteen Stars of Power to one Vileroth. Unfortunately for Vileroth, he didn't manage to get his paws on the Secret Cloak without which the Stars were useless. Just before Vileroth handed in his wand and dinner pail, he hid the Stars around Claymorgue Castle. Solon now wants you, Beanwick (a wally wizardling), to recover them. As a mere apprentice to the magical arts, you have only a sprinkling of spells to hand.

Possessing or finding spells is one thing; predicting their outcome is quite a different kettle of frogs.

Claymorgue Castle, its drawbridge raised, loomed before me. Not being a Dungeon Master just on account of my wizended features, I took a quick inventory before exploring further. I had the following spells: Fire, Seed, Light Squared, Yoho, Wicked Queen's and Lycanthrope. Hmmm.


I decided to let loose with some of the spells to see what they could do. The Fire spell was obvious and, being familiar with Scott Adams' earlier Pirate Adventure, I had a pretty good idea what the Yoho spell would do - so I left these two alone. With one exception, the experiment was a resounding failure, since each spell produced no obvious result. This clearly meant that I'd just have to wait until the right moment came along before casting a particular spell - always assuming that I recognised the moment when it arrived and that I hadn't already wasted the spell in foolish experiments (whoops).

The one exception had lowered the drawbridge for me (I'm not saying which spell did it but beware - a dreadful Adams pun lurks nearby). Before entering the castle, I took a quick dip in the moat and met a sleeping moat monster. I drowned in my first attempt to escape. Next time round I emerged groaning but unscathed.

The groans were the result of a direct hit from yet another Adams pun.

Tempting Providence

The lever inside the castle just shouted to be pulled but I resisted. However, the magic fountain in the courtyard was just too tempting so in I went. Aha! The first Star! My glee was short lived and I came over all peculiar and expired a few moves later.

Back again, I popped into the castle kitchen and took a quick look at the drains - not too appetising. The plain room was strange as it appeared to be made of Gruyere. In the ballroom, the rope stretched between the chandelier and the wall begged to be untied - exit one Dungeon Master with crushed bonce.

My few minor triumphs have me well and truly hooked. This is without question another excellent adventure from the master and it's available for a wide range of micros. Hang on, world, Beanwick is on the way home.

Have Map, Will Travel

Do your adventure maps look tatty and tangled? Print 'n' Plotter Products (01-403 3622) have the perfect remedy. It's called Adventure Planner and consists of a 50-page pad of A3 maps, each map having 150 preprinted, interconnecting boxes. The paper is high-quality and there's space set aside for the title, date started and finished, and any other information.

Costing 3.95 a pad from your local stockist (or 4.50 mail order from 19 Borough High St, London SE1), Adventure Planner is a map-making must for dedicated adventures, players or planners.


p> Rachel Young of Maidenhead has a problem with the sphinx in The Time Machine and entering Hades in Zork 1. For those in similar difficulty, read on (backwards): Sphinx: REVE LEHT MAJ, Hades: first KOOB KCAL BDAE R:SE LDNA CTHG IL:LLEBG NIR; second, ECNE SSEE HTFO SIEM IT:R EDRO TAHT NI.

Mike Gerrard

Other Spectrum 48K Game Reviews By Mike Gerrard

  • The Axe Of Kolt Front Cover
    The Axe Of Kolt
  • Grange Hill Front Cover
    Grange Hill
  • Operation Berlin Front Cover
    Operation Berlin
  • The Miser Front Cover
    The Miser
  • A Fistful Of Blood Capsules Front Cover
    A Fistful Of Blood Capsules
  • Quest Adventure Front Cover
    Quest Adventure
  • Life-Term Front Cover
  • Manic Miner Front Cover
    Manic Miner
  • Galactic Warriors Front Cover
    Galactic Warriors
  • Diablo! Front Cover