Another hobby (yes, I know! I have many hobbies) of mine is genealogy, and I get the same detective fix finding context about game authors and a little bit about where they are from and what they have done in their lives. It hasn’t taken many text adventure game reviews for me to start seeing a genealogical pattern forming for authors, software houses, distributors, labels etc.
Adventure Land was distributed by The Guild, aka The Guild Adventure Software. We’ve already come across The Guild as it was they that distributed Dorothy Millard’s 1989 game Adventure In Time And Space. Distributed is the right word here, as they only published their own games from about 1991 and anything on their books before that date was either public domain or first published elsewhere.
When The Guild packed it in, a lot of their titles were snapped up by several houses, including Adventure Probe Software. The same Adventure Probe that published the magazines, including the one from my last post featuring J.B.Cattley. So in the course of three consecutive reviews we have a veritable family tree of software.
The Guild and Adventure Probe have links to The Adventure Workshop and Pegasus Software, as well as 50/50 Software and Recreation Re-Creation Software – all of whom have published or distributed text adventure games, so we will learn more about those as we come to them!
Adventure Land was written by Nick Corr, and I have failed miserably to find any firm information out about him. As far as I can tell he only wrote this single game, and I don’t think I am being too harsh when I say I can see why.
So first off we are told our objective is to locate a golden key (yes, another one) which will enable us to enter a castle and claim our prize. We are warned of goblins and trolls and other magical creatures who are all hell bent on stopping us in our quest. We are also told to look out and memorise (I’ll write them down if that’s ok?) the magical words we may or may not find.
A clue to the complexity of the engine is that we are told we are only allowed one word commands. Fine.
We start in a forest. A large forest, with trees on all sides. Entering a command, any command, just repeats the short description of the forest. So I guess we just have to assume that we can’t do anything other than move in the directions it is telling us to go in. But even that is a challenge. The game will not accept E, W, S, or N – no you have to write the whole word. It took me way to long to realise that and I thought the game was simply broken, or deliberately nasty.
Anyway, you soon find that the forest is pretty unmappable and any old random directions eventually lead you to a field with a tree and lake in it. What do people do when they see a tree in an adventure game? Yep. And once you climb it you find the golden key already!
After that it is obvious what you need to do even if the parser makes it as difficult as possible to achieve.
Choose the right door and you are a millionaire. Game over.
This is a terrible game. I only reviewed it and wrote it up as it was officially distributed through The Guild and is listed in GB64 and that is my remit. The parser is terrible, the game has what, 5 rooms in total and it’s incredibly easy to solve. Also, the colours!
One to skip, but at least its also one I can cross off the list. Onward and upward !
Adventure Land: A very short, very annoying game with little to recommend it. Give this one a miss and be thankful I reviewed it, so you don't have to. – jon