Personal Computer News

Crystal Theft

Author: Simon Williams
Publisher: Wiccasoft
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Personal Computer News #097


Crystal Theft is one of the first adventures to appear for the Amstrad, and is text only.

The screen layout is well organised, with four separate windows showing the location description, inventory, messages from your character and your latest instruction to the program.

The scene is set on a minor Vegan colony world, presumably populated by eccentric vegetarians. You play the part of a Field Captain in the Intruder Battalion, whose assignment is to penetrate a Vegan temple and recover a vital FTL crystal. All this is carried out against the clock, and the elapsed time may be displayed at any stage.

Crystal Theft

According to the program notes, the Semantic Analyser module can understand complex instructions of the form GO SOUTH THEN TAKE THE KEY AND CLIMB THE ROPE.

I have my suspicions, however, that it has either been tampered with by a Vegan infiltrator or is programmed to understand Vegan rather than English. I was hard pressed to evoke a response other than "Pardon?" to any instruction that wasn't a point of the compass. If you have produced a "Pardon?" response to a recent instruction, it can then take several repeats to get the Analyser to understand a simple GO NORTH.

To my mind, a good adventure should start with simple problems and progress to the harder stuff as you work your way into it. This one offers too many dead ends and I've just deserted the Battalion. The Vegans can keep their crystal.

Simon Williams

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