Commodore User1st September 1987
Published in Commodore User #48
Guild Of Thieves
Rainbird's release of Magnetic Scrolls' Guild Of Thieves for the Commodore 64 followed, as predicted, closely behind the Amiga version, making an essentially 16-bit adventure available for the world's most popular 8-bit machine. Reviewed in the Valley back in May, with comments on the C64 graphics, it is worth having a look at how the game actually performs in C64 format.
With the usual high quality Rainbird packaging, a copy of 'What Burglar' magazine, a Contract of Service certificate for the Kerovnia Guild of Removal Operatives, and a couple of other goodies are included along with the adventure itself, which comes on two disks.
The response time is, naturally, a lot longer than on the bigger machines. Typically, you'll have to wait about twenty seconds after pressing RETURN, before you can start typing again. When I was carrying three items, DROP ALL took twenty seconds whilst GET ALL for the same three times, took twelve seconds with the graphics switched off and eighteen seconds with them on. Strange I thought, for a non-graphical command - but no doubt the program was carrying out all sorts of subtle checks during that extra six seconds! This time delay makes playing an otherwise superb game a bit of a drudge for the impatient.
Moving into a 'graphic' location for the first time (there are 29 of them) with graphics on, often call for the second disk to be inserted to read in the picture, before play continues back on the first disk. There is a GO TO [location] command, which assuming no obstacles are barring your way, will take you to wherever you want. I did not report on this in May, since although I knew it was to be implemented, it was not built into my pre-production version. When using this on the C64 with graphics ON, every new graphic location passed through calls for its picture, and a number of disk swaps are likely to be involved - even for the occasional cameo. Thankfully, by pressing 'N' at the prompt, instead of any other key, causes the picture to be bypassed, and the disk-swap avoided.
Cameos are implemented as in the C64 Pawn. Small mini-representations of the full picture slide in at the top right hand corner of the screen, on second and subsequent entries to a graphics location, when graphics are set to VERBOSE. These tend to be marginally less effective than those on The Pawn, lacking in colour, and looking rather 'blobbish'.
But the full graphics are superb, and better than any other adventure graphics I have ever seen on the C64! Two were printed in the original review without mention - did you notice them? Bet you didn't!
But the parser does show some signs of weakness, and this is much more noticeable on the C64 than the Amiga, because of the time penalty if things go wrong. On opening the cupboard, and looking in it, a jam jar and some rat poison is revealed. GET ALL produces 'There doesn't seem to be anything there. OK' - so they are inside something, but that doesn't man they can't be seen. Two GETs are therefore required, instead of one.
At £19.95, the C64 version of this large disk adventure, is a whole £5.04 cheaper than a certain other brand of epic adventures - and it has pictures too! Still - I can't award it a Screen Star - and that certain other brand [Could he mean Infocom? - Ed] did get a CU Super Star award for their Planetfall game - even if it was a bit dearer. If you own an Amiga, buy Guild Of Thieves, no question. If not, check it yourself first. The disk swapping business is a bit of a pain.