Amstrad Computer User1st July 1991
Published in Amstrad Computer User #80
Can you solve the mystery of Treasure Island?
The Famous Five
Pack up your picnic hamper, make sure you've got more than enough Ginger Beer to go around, and set off for a rip-roaring adventure with some excellent graphics to boot.
Although Five On A Treasure Island is based on the original Enid Blyton novel of the same name, you don't need to have read the book to play the game. However, if you have, you may find a few clues to help you on your way to solving the mystery.
Don't think that reading the book is going to offer you the solution on a plate, though, as plenty of new twists and turns have been added to the plot of the game to keep you guessing right til the end.
In true Blyton style, there's plenty of skullduggery afoot and, only by using the qualities of each member of the intrepid team, can you unearth all of the clues you will need to succeed.
With this in mind, one of the smartest aspects of the game is the ability to swap characters at will, allowing the Five to split up as you control individual members alternately.
For example, Julian's strength could well come in handy for lifting weights Anne couldn't even come close to moving, while George is undoubtedly the best swimmer.
This almost multi-player aspect of the game means you can easily take on the challenge with a group of friends, with each players assuming the role of a different character and taking over every few turns.
As with all good adventures, you're going to have to examine anything and everything. There are numerous characters throughout to interact with, many of whom will have valuable clues, or know vital information, needed in your quest.
Be careful though, some of them may not be too willing to help unless you do something for them first. Don't just dismiss them out of turn, see what they want first or you'll miss out.Again, as all seasoned adventurers will know, if you want to succeed, make sure you have a pen and paper handy, for map-making purposes. There are also many messages that appear only once so, if you don't want to forget them, note them down at once.
As for solving the mystery? Well, that's all down to you. You'll find no clues here, just be sure to investigate everything you can and pick up any objects you find which might come in handy later.
The most impressive thing about Five On A Treasure Island is the independence of the characters. Using the Worldscape technique, most of the characters are flexible enough to do just about anything you ask them to. Mind you, don't bother too much about asking Timmy the Dog to perform complicated tasks, he's more interested in the local flora to be of much assistance.
Entering commands at the bottom of the split screen system is incredibly easy, as the program is set to understand most phrases of everyday English. Just as long as you remember to include a verb and a noun, or just a verb where necessary, you can phrase your commands as you like.
You can even enter multiple commands to a maximum of 62 characters, or sixteen words which, when you consider that you can condense most words down to the first four letters, allows for plenty of action to take place on each turn. Just remember not to go too fast, or you may miss something.
From the very moment you step off the train at Kirrin, you're in for an excellent time, taking you all over Kirrin Island, down a well, into the dungeons and on the chase of some particularly nasty villains.
Each scene is superbly illustrated and described, allowing you to glean as much information from it as you can. You're going to make mistakes on the way, of course, but what's a good adventure without trial and error.
Speaking of which, it's about time the old adventure genre got a good airing on the CPC scene again, in the form of full-blown, full-price games.
Not only will it make the Dungeon Master and his fans very happy indeed, but it might also show other gamesters that there is fun to be had without a joystick.
Well done Enigma. Five On A Treasure Island should be a corking success when it hits the streets, as well as an indication of the CPC's potential as an adventure machine as well as a blast zone.
If you're a seasoned adventurer, or feel like giving it a try for the first time, Five On A Treasure Island has the ideal balance to appeal to all. Try it, I think you'll like it.