Personal Computer News

Jewels Of Babylon
By Interceptor Micros
Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer News #089


Jewels Of Babylon were turned into a beautiful collection of treasures by master craftsmen more than 3,000 years ago in Babylon, and after many men had died in their pursuit they wound up in English hands by the end of the 19th century. Queen Victoria offered them as a wedding present to an Indian Princess, but the boat carrying them was attacked by pirates after leaving the shores of West Africa. The crew were left for dead, and all perished except for... guess who? Yes you.

At the start, you have tracked the pirates down to their island, and the game opens with a beautifully drawn scene of the deck of your ship, the rigging, and the island off which you're anchored. Only a limited number of the locations have an accompanying picture, but they are all well drawn and appear instantly. The picture only appears the first time you visit a location, but can be recalled at any time by typing 'Look', which otherwise reprints the text.

The program allows for full English sentences to be entered, though of course you can use the terse 'Go North, get coconut' if you wish. In some ways this expands the potential of the responses, but in other ways it limits them. In the first location on board ship, for instance, you can see 'A ladder leading down to a small rowing boat alongside'. Type 'Down' and 'You can't go in that direction'. Climb down? 'Please rephrase that.' Go down? 'I don't know the word Go.' Climb down ladder? Eureka, you're in the boat.

Exploring the long sandy beach provides you with a plank, and in the palm trees above there's a coconut, and a bottle. Closer examination reveals this contains rum. There are very few objects around at first, and the game does rely rather too heavily on mazes. There were three in the first 30 or so locations (over 100 in all) - a swamp, a jungle and a thicket. The maze of paths in the very thick thicket led eventually to a cannibal village, where the beauty of the graphics was not matched by the looks on the faces of the natives, who had seemingly not given up their cannibal habits.

You usually get a slight warning of impending death, so the SAVE option should get a healthy use, and while an initial island walkabout gave the impression that this wasn't going to be the toughest of adventures (I may regret that later), it nevertheless had a very nice feel.

Mike Gerrard

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