This text adventure is from 1987 and was published by Falsoft Publishing, a publisher of magazines and books, primarily the Rainbow series, and it was in the third Rainbow Book of Adventures that this adventure first appeared. It was released for the TRS-80 Colour Computer and converted across to the C64 in the same year.
Philip Newton is attributed as the original author of the TRS-80 listing, and it looks like Nathan Butcher was involved (or wholly responsible) for the Commodore conversion. I could only find one listing for Philip Newton, this adventure, but Butcher appears to have many listings and releases under his name, mostly conversions, some of which we will no doubt cover in this series.
So, let’s start the adventuring….
We start at our camp, outside the tent and with all four major compass point exits available.
OK, so obvious first move, Enter Tent right? Nope.
I have to say, my heart sinks when this is the first thing you come across. I understand the limitations, believe me I do, but this stuff is important for a good experience. So, after typing VERB and having a look through the limited list, the only one that makes any sense is GO. So, Go Tent, of course.
All items appear to be randomly placed in one of two maze locations. The first maze location is the Hot, Sandy Desert, and is a bit of a nightmare. The map doesn’t really make any sense with random directions either taking you back to your camp or another hot, sandy stretch of dessert.
You’ll need to pick up all the objects you find along the way in the Desert, providing you don’t come across the Scorpion of course (it will eventually sting and slowly kill you) and make your way to the Pyramid for the next frustrating maze. You’ll need the Flashlight, Sceptre and Backpack before entering, which you should find in the Desert somewhere, and you should also have dropped all of the treasures found thus far back at the tent.
Once you make your way to the Pyramid, the game is made even more maddening by a randomised roaming mummy who can strip you of your inventory and scatter the items around in the catacomb maze. If you are lucky the mummy ignores you or simply shouts ‘Go Away!’. You can also wave your Sceptre at the mummy sometimes to make it disappear, but you need all the stars to align for this to happen, and you need to have found the items you need in the Desert without being killed by a random Scorpion. The fact you need to go back and forth makes it almost impossible to complete.
I made quite a lot of use of the SAVE feature to stop getting killed or stripped of my possessions too frequently, but it soon became far too tedious to continue. I never did finish getting all 25 treasures back to my tent and quite honestly the sweet, lingering death of a scorpion sting was blessed relief.
It isn’t actually a bad game, certainly not the worst text adventure I have played, but the BASIC listing and typed in nature of the code kind of showed, and an attempt at being cutting edge with randomising mummies and scorpions just made for a frustrating experience. There was too much random luck involved and too little problem and logic solving for my liking.
Having said that, I am already sitting here thinking, well, I got 14 items….maybe I’ll try again for the full 25! I’ll give it some time and maybe revisit one day. That in itself might persuade you to give The Adventure of Cleopatra’s Pyramid a go…
The Adventure of Cleopatra's Pyramid: Too random and relies on luck far too much. Not enough genuine problem solving. But for a typed in game it maybe has enough of a challenge to make you want to come back……one day. – jon