Zak McKraken And The Alien Mindbenders (Lucasfilm) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

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Zak McKraken And The Alien Mindbenders
By Lucasfilm
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #64

Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders

Something called Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders could only come from the US. You need look no further than the packaging to confirm your suspicions. This latest Lucasfilm adventure concerns the exploits of a tabloid hack - that's McKracken - who is trying to save the world from a Martian plot.

If that seems fairly straightforward, then a read of the freebie news-sheet 'The National Inquisitor' will soon have you scratching your head. The Inquisitor's a spoof of America's National Inquirer, a paper that makes the Sunday Sport look like Hansard. It contains stories like "Two Headed Squirrel Attacks Two Campers At Once", "Alien Amusement Park Found On Mars" and "Worldwide Stupidity Epidemic Linked To Space Alien In Phone Company".

Each of the stories holds some vital clue to solving the mystery and thwarting the 'space aliens from Mars' whose aim is to turn the world stupid.

Zak McKracken & The Alien Mindbenders

The game begins with a short 'cut scene' in the office of Zak's boss, the editor of the Inquisitor. You don't actually take part in cut scenes, they're like little cinematic vignettes which connect up parts of the story or let you know what's going on in some other part of the adventure. This first scene shows Zak getting yet another crummy assignment from the Ed. He has to go to Seattle to check out the two-headed squirrel story.

Next we cut to Zak waking up in bed. Like true seasoned adventurers we can now begin to search his gaff for anything - absolutely anything that might come in handy along the way. The nice thing about this game is that it doesn't make things impossibly difficult from the word go. To begin with, in Zak's bedroom you will find his cashcard, a kazoo and a yellow crayon!

You can select from a menu of verbs and nouns at the bottom of the screen. For example you can select 'pull' from the screen menu then point the cursor at the desk drawer and - what do you know? - it opens. Zak moves around in the same way - by selecting 'walk to' from the menu and pointing on screen with the cursor.

Adventurous types, once they've ransacked Zak's place, will want to take a look at the outside world. Once you've taken a look around the local shops you can catch the bus to San Francisco airport and travel a bit further afield, say to London, the Bermuda Triangle, Egypt, or even Mars. Every now and then your quest will be interrupted by cut scenes, usually showing the Martians preparing to rob the world of its mental faculties via the telephone network.

If you can put up with American humour and the lo-res graphics then who knows, you might find yourself having a lot of fun with this game.

Ken McMahon

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