The old Squire is dead, and Jasper Quickbuck, the new resident at Ridley's End, has served eviction notices on the gnomes of Little Moaning and Gnottlefield. He plans to raze the old villages to the ground to make way for a vast marina and up-market housing estate. Ingrid is furious, and instigates a petition.
The trouble is, Ingrid can be such a pain that the local inhabitants sometimes go out of their way to avoid her. So, despite their opposition to the development plans, and the fact that they are about to be made homeless, signature collecting is no easy task for Ingrid.
Take her uncle, Dusty Halfyard, the miller. He studiously fails to recognise Ingrid - even after all the trouble she's had getting past his killer chickens. Were they put there to keep out Quickbuck, or Ingrid?
There's plenty of signatures to collect, adding to Ingrid's list, and to your score. Jumbo Butterpat, landlord of The Green Gnome, will happily oblige, although some of his customers may not add their weight to the case.
Little Moaning is the title of Part 1 of this three-parter, and it has a range of problems from dead simple to quite tricky; enough to give the less experienced player sufficient encouragement and confidence to press on until the petition is complete, and ready to be presented.
Part 2, Steamroller At Dawn, carries on the story, yet can be played without the need to transfer saved data, nor is any password required. Despite the success of the petition, Silas Crawley, Quickbuck's agent, has assembled a steamroller and a team of trolls, and has already flattened half the village. Now they are approaching Gnettlefield Farm, and will, unless Ingrid can find a way to delay or prevent them, demolish the buildings, Seamus Sosmall, the local leprechaun, may give her a few ideas, but how can she put them into practice?
Ridley's End, Part 3 of the game, assumes a successful conclusion to Part 2, and has Ingrid appointed as a maid at Ridley's End, to seek out evidence that will be damaging to Jasper Quickbuck. Teaming up with her cousin Daisy, she sets about searching the mansion from top to bottom, from outside to in, to do the evil Quickbuck down. Unfortunately, Quickbuck realises exactly who she is, and allows her freedom of the house in order to frame her later for the theft of his valuable antiques, which have mysteriously 'disappeared'.
All Commodore versions (Amiga, C64 disk and tape) have a memory save facility, so that the current position can be saved (until the computer is turned off) by the RAM SAVE command, as well as the usual disk or tape save option. OOPS is also available, and although this will only take you back one move on the C64, repeated OOPS will backstep you a considerable way through the game on the Amiga.
The screenshots shown here are for the Amiga (C64 graphics weren't available at the time of going to press and graphics will only feature on the disk version) and are a completely new style for Level 9. Gone are the misty digitised pictures of Knight Orc and Gnome Ranger, that replaced Level 9's earlier, rather abstract graphics. Instead we have really crisp artist-drawn pictures.
These change in situ, but once displayed, can be pushed up and down the screen to uncover the text behind them. And once you've seen them all, the command WORDS will remove them altogether (PICTURES will bring them back and speed up the response.
The latter parts get harder and offer a greater challenge to the more experienced adventurer. But whatever progress, or lack of it, the player is making, he will be rewarded throughout the game with short commentaries on the reactions of the characters in his presence - often inconsequential, but nearly always amusing. In fact, I found Ingrid's Back to be the most genuinely funny of Level 9's adventures to date.