MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, UNLOCK, FREE, DRINK, OPEN, RELEASE, DIG Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Simple text animation in intro Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 4.5/6
Description: "You had arranged to meet in the town of Dunderhaven with your girlfriend, Larcenous Lil. When you arrived, you learned that she had come into town flat broke, and had tried to pick up some easy cash by burglarizing a nearby castle. She hasn't been seen since.
Making your own subtle entrance into the castle, all seemed to be going well until suddenly the lights go on and you see yourself surrounded by bowmen and a fat, ugly man on a throne. He sneers at you, and says, 'Well, boys, another thief. I guess we'll send the scoundrel to meet the first.' With that, he pulls a lever, and the bottom drops out of the floor."
Comment: And from there, your "quest" is to find Lil and get out alive. This Eamon can perhaps be described as an "advanced Beginners Cave". With about 90 rooms, it is fairly large. There are several neat little events and specials that aren't exactly world-class but do make it more interesting to play.
All in all, a pretty good second adventure for beginners. I put the difficulty at (5), for a couple of death traps and a pretty decent maze. The monsters are pushovers for an advanced character, but plenty tough for beginners.
One hint: you can't complete it unless you know your Eamon magic spells.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, UNLOCK, OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: UP, DOWN Special Features: None Playing Time: 15-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 3.2/7
Description: "As you prepare for your next adventure, you meet a little man outside the Hall. He beckons you to see what he is holding. As you get closer, you notice a grail with a strange, bubbling green liquid within. In a strange low voice he says: 'Most adventures are for normal adventurers. But you are special, and should try the most challenging adventure you could imagine.' With a sly wink, he hands you the grail. You look at the potion, then back to the man --- but he has disappeared.
Not being one weak on courage, you raise the grail to your lips and quaff the potion."
Comment: This is definitely a beginner-level Eamon. It has much of the flavor of the original Beginners Cave, with a little humor and simple map and such. It is pretty small, with 26 rooms.
Strictly for beginners and Hack'n'Slash fans. The difficulty will ring in at about (4) for beginners, and much lower for experienced characters with good weapons.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.7/7
Description: "A famous scientist (Prof. Axom) was kidnapped 3 months ago. The Society for the Preservation of Scientists (SFPOS) has offered a reward for the safe return of professor Axom (who is also a friend of yours).
"It has been rumored that the infamous Black Warrior (who lives somewhere along the Zyphur River) was responsible for the kidnapping. You must follow the river, find the professor, and bring him back...alive!"
Comment: This adventure is a very good example of an early Eamon. The large and somewhat complex map is well laid out, with competent room descriptions. It has a boat that is interesting and unusual (but be sure to remember to re-enter the boat each time you enter the river!)
Apart from the above, it's rather low in content by modern standards, with few monsters and artifacts. But it's a clean quest and a relaxing play. If you keep a careful map, you'll find the difficulty is certainly no more than (5).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, RELEASE, FREE, STUDY, EAT, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Unusual Save method Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.6/6
Description: "The Castle of Doom is run by two kindly old ladies who want to give valiant Adventurers a little bit of excitement.
You will be traveling in a round castle just chock-full of evil monsters and wonderful treasure. A special treat for you in this dungeon -- the owners will keep things as they are if you choose to return to the Main Hall to heal up for a while!"
Comment: This is yet another Eamon in the mold of the early ones: simply laid out, with minimal quest and no plot development. This is primarily a standard "kill'n'loot" scenario.
I enjoyed a couple of clever specials. A "save" is performed when you leave the adventure to return to the Main Hall by making a "snapshot" file of the dungeon's status. Then if the same character returns to the adventure, he will find it exactly as he left it. It works surprisingly well when considered in light of the intro text.
There is a vampire, and lots of vampire-related paraphernalia strewn about. Given all the stuff, I expected something special, but didn't really see anything.
This is a relaxing foray, suitable for young Eamonauts. I give it a (4) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: TAKE-OFF, EAT, DESTROY Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, SPEED, POWER Special Features: Ray-gun sound effects Playing Time: 1-2 hr. Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 4.0/8
Description: "As you left the Main Hall, you suddenly felt a queer wrench in your stomach, as if you had been turned inside-out, then right again. When things became clear again, you found yourself at the helm of a spaceship! You realize that you have gone through a reality shift!
"You are in a parallel universe. You must stay in this universe until you fulfill some quest. Although you have no access to your old gear, your body is the same. However, none of your old spells will work.
"By searching new 'memories', you find out your situation, which isn't good! You are aboard the Millennium Falcon, which has just been dragged into the Empire's evil machine of destruction, the Death Star! To escape, you will have to find and destroy the equipment in either the tractor beam machinery section, or the power machinery room."
Comment: Eight people have rated this Eamon, and the ratings are all over the map, ranging from (1) to (7)! It is possible that many of the low ratings came from people who played Brown's original version of the MAIN PGM, which was incredibly slow. The program speed was improved years ago, and it isn't so bad now.
There are two other important downsides to the play: the lack of a HEAL command makes survival very difficult, and there are at least four no-warning death traps. Another downside for me personally was that nearly every room contains one to ten "soldiers" who must be killed. The soldiers are cardboard cutouts who are lousy fighters and die with a single blow, and I found it rather tedious to have to clean them out with every move to a new room.
So why did I rate it this highly? Except for the endless procession of soldiers, it is a pretty decent simulation of the Death Star portion of Star Wars, and I made vigorous use of the cheating methods described in the December issue! I must state for the record that if I couldn't have cheated, I probably would have given it a rating of about (3).
Though the intro mentions a quest, there isn't one other than simple escape. However, you can make your own quest by making it a point to rescue Leia, Chewie, and the 'droids. Han Solo, Luke, and Obie-Wan are missing from the cast, so don't bother looking for them.
The difficulty can vary dramatically, but I think that a rating of (8) may be close to what most people will see during play.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: BET, OPEN, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Casino Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.9/8
Description: "As you started your next adventure, you accidentally stumbled upon an old book that described a very perplexing and challenging dungeon - - in Hades!!!
"As you read the book, you suddenly hear a booming voice from nowhere say, 'So, you think you are a noble adventurer? If you want a challenge, try my dungeon!'
"As the voice chuckles fiendishly, you realize that you are falling down a dark, narrow shaft. After you hit bottom, you see that you are in a dungeon cell."
Comment: This Eamon combines a small and simple map, lightweight combat, several "gotcha!" death traps, and some pretty tough puzzles. The puzzles are obscure enough that the existing difficulty rating of (9) is not unreasonable.
The only truly unique feature here is the casino, where you can bet a portion of your Hardiness, Agility, or Charisma on the spin of the wheel. If you want to build a cheater super-character "fairly," then here is a place to do it.
This early Eamon has no advanced features, and requires you to type in full commands and object names. However, the solving of the door puzzles requires that you use the object name "DOOR" rather than the door's full name. Another aspect which considerably ups the difficulty.
It wouldn't be like me to let the tough puzzles go by without a couple of clues. Both puzzles apply to closed doors, and you must remember to use DOOR as the object name when working with them. The hints: First, one of the standard commands (not POWER) can get you past that first cell door. Next, that bolted door in the room with the demons requires ALL of your strength, even that being used to carry your stuff (all of the open exits from that room are death traps.)
Finally, I found the TREZORE spells to be interesting, but harmful more often than not. Play with them at your own risk.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DRINK, LIGHT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Wandering guards Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 5.0/4
Description: "A friend of your is in trouble. After trying to retrieve some treasures in a nearby dungeon, your friend mysteriously disappeared.
"After careful research, you discover that the dungeon your friend went to is controlled by a mad adventurer known only as 'The Abductor'. You must find your friend before the Abductor gets nasty and heads start to roll."
Comment: Jim Jacobson was the best Eamon author on the scene before John Nelson hit his stride, and this Eamon is a good example of his work. This is largely a pretty simple dungeon, but the descriptions are good and there are several enhancements to the play. The new commands are well done, and several special events liven things up.
This is an explorer's dungeon. There isn't a lot of loot to scarf up, nor is there all that much combat. Most of the monsters have random chances of being friend or foe, so don't be too quick to start swinging. One special that doesn't work well is an every-turn 1-in-25 chance that your gold will be stolen by a bandit. If you are carrying more than 32,000-odd pieces of gold when he hits, the program will crash, but it can easily be started up again with good old POKE51,0:GOTO100.
I think that you will enjoy trying out the special stuff if you keep these hints in mind: first, the vial lies. Second, the magic swords do stuff when you say their names. Third, the bottle contains an explosive. Also, there are five unused rooms in the database, so don't wear yourself out trying to find any more once you have found 72.
I enjoyed the outing, and almost gave it a higher rating. The difficulty of (7) may be alleviated somewhat if you keep the above hints in mind.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DESTROY Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Wandering guards Playing Time: 20 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.8/4
Description: "You were walking away from the Main Hall when you felt that unpleasant wrench in your stomach again. You are in another universe. This time, you have your normal body and weapons. You just need to find your way back.
"You came upon a group of people who know of your plight. They are rebels, and can return you to your world. They will show you the way, if you will only first go with some of their men on a raid in the fortress of the dreaded Clone Master.
When they inform you that they will kill you if you don't go along, you agree. You must do two things--kill the Clone Master and destroy the device that keeps him in power--the Clonatorium!"
Comment: This is typical Don Brown fare: simple map, no puzzles, combat geared for Marcos' weapons, and a light, humorous air. The map itself couldn't be simpler; it is one long straight corridor with three sets of short side passages to either side. There is one secret passage.
The gimmick that shines in this Eamon is the "wandering monsters." Typically, Eamon authors jump monsters to random rooms, and if one happens to hit your location, you see him "enter" the room. But Don figured out how to actually move the monsters about from one room to the next. From the player's point of view, this looks no different from the "random jump" method, but it is elegantly done and deserves a look from any Eamon author who wants to do something similar.
Don did something with the monsters that may look cheap and lazy, but is actually a pretty good joke. There are only four basic characters here: guard, miner, harem girl, and servant. If memory serves, there are 5 miners, 3 harem girls, 7 servants, and 20 guards, and they all have names like GUARD18. If you remember that they are all clones of one another, then GUARD18 is a perfectly reasonable name!
I enjoyed the play. Two things knocked the rating down: low content, and a full screen of companions shooting the room descriptions off the top of the screen before I could read them.
This is basically a Hack'n'slash combat scenario with no mental effort required. Difficulty will run from perhaps (2) for a modern pumped-up character, to (6) for a character using Main Hall weapons. This Eamon is suitable for the young Eamonaut.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: EAT, DRINK, FREE, RELEASE, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-res Olde English text intro Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 4.0/4
Description: "Recently a local evil sorcerer was spying on you through his crystal ball. He overheared you talking about him and, having a short temper like most evil sorcerers, he instantly sent you to the Magic Kingdom thinking you would never return."
Comment: I think that the above intro is a pretty good representation of the quality of the adventure. If spelling errors and bad grammar drives you nuts, you won't be happy with this one. But if they don't bother you all that much, this is a relaxing little dungeon.
The adventure is pretty simple. It does contain a quest, which is rescuing the daughter of a king who offers to send you home as a reward. But the way the map is laid out, you may have completed the quest before you ever find out about it!
The map is 40 rooms and very simple, with no hidden passages. The room descriptions aren't too clear when you're in a place where you can move up or down.
You can leave your bazookas behind on this one, as the monsters are few and not too powerful. You only get one worthwhile companion. I played it several times with an average character, using 2D8 weapons, and had no difficulty. There are two death traps, one easily avoided, the other just as easy if you are careful to EXAMINE things before doing anything with them.
While this is much too simple for my tastes, I found it to be a rather enjoyable play. the monsters are a very creative lot, including a "Semi-giant", an insane baseball player, and a beer-guzzling orc. I would have rated it higher if there had been as bit more to it. Still, it's worth checking out.
I give it a (2) for difficulty. I would say that this is a good pick for the Young Eamonaut.
One hint: a "princess" is a woman.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: HIT, OPEN, FREE Deleted Commands: None Special features: One sound effect Playing Time: 15 minutes Reviewer Rating: 1.0 Average Rating: 3.0/5
Description: "'Molinar was', the King told you, 'the last of the great Wizard-Kings. He ruled wisely for centuries, until he grew weary of this life. He prepared for himself a special chamber to sleep the endless rest in. However, he still loved the land he had ruled for so long, and built his tomb so that a worthy soul and valiant hero could call him forth again.
'The enemy has summoned forth a being of great power. If the being runs unchecked our kingdom is certainly doomed, possibly all on this globe as well. None of our people alive can stop this creature. Our only hope is to call upon our great past leader. You must find the tomb, enter it, and bring back our savior.'
So the King ordered you, and so you set out. After weeks of searching, you have found the tomb. The magical paper tells you that things are desperate. You can't go for help. You must enter the tomb alone. Good luck!"
Comment: The above is the complete introduction; I have no idea what "the magical paper" is. All the traits are here that are usually found in Donald Brown's adventures, including several death traps, a "Mimic", and cardboard cutout monsters with names like "SNAKE5", "BEAR3", etc.
Although you start out carrying a lamp, there are no dark rooms and it serves no function. The intro story makes it sound like the fate of everything rests upon your finding Molinar, yet you can simply leave at any time and still "Successfully ride off into the sunset." Finding Molinar is incredibly simple, just go straight south from the beginning. There is one secret passage and a super-enemy to get through. The super-enemy is impossibly difficult (to cut him down to size, break into the program by entering CTRL-C at the command prompt and type "RC=9 : POKE 51,0 GOTO 100").
About 85% of the map consists of boring N/S and E/W passages with nothing to see. There are two rooms with screwy connections and a dozen or so in which the descriptions are padded with spaces to look exactly like the names.
The thing that brought my rating down so low was one really annoying "feature". If you leave the tomb with a certain seemingly friendly monster, your entire CHARACTERS file is completely destroyed, under the pretense that the universe was destroyed by this monster's experiments.
Not enough combat for the hack'n'slasher and nothing of interest for the puzzler. I put the difficulty at (8) because of the death traps.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: LAMP, USE, READ, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Room light Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.2/5
Description: "You are about to face your most trying task. A powerful and evil wizard has captured a friend of yours. You cannot fight this wizard.
"But another wizard can. You must therefore set off to find Trezore, the powerful and great wizard whose spells have helped you before.
"However, Trezore does not like just anyone to barge in on him. He has set up a test to find out if adventurers like yourself are worthy of him.
"You will undertake many tasks, but this is probably the most difficult. Good luck to you."
Comment: And how many times have we heard that before? But it could have even been true if you had played this in the early days when there were only a dozen Eamons. Jim Jacobson specialized in difficult plays. During his brief stay in the Eamon world, he wrote two of the three most difficult Eamons of the period.
The difficulty here is on several fronts. The first is the combat. The foes aren't any tougher than you, but several are well armed and as well armored as you, so be sure to bring your best weapons. While using my standard "good" weapon, I was getting "bounced off armor" results from four out of five tries. Even after changing over to "Druinval", a 4D8 sword, I was still having to cheat heavily to survive. Zobar was so tough, killing me every third round while remaining nearly unscathed himself, that I finally resorted to upping his damage to lethal levels (MD%1,13)=MD%(1,1:POKE51,0:GOTO100) so he would die the next rare time that I marked him.
The second difficulty level is in the puzzling. There are a couple of tricks in the mapping and the special commands, and there is a secret word to decode. None of these are killers, but they are all well beyond beginner level.
Finally, much of the map is in darkness, and you will find a very limited amount of lamp oil to see you through. I wound up having to refill my lamp several times (the technical term is "cheat") to get through to the end. (If you start seeing "almost empty" warnings, you can refill the lamp by hitting control-C and typing this: LP=500:POKE51,0:GOTO100)
All this adds up to a difficulty rating of (8).
Given the time it was written, this is a pretty sophisticated play, foreshadowing many of the standard features found in later versions. Apart from the brutal combat, it is not the sort of dungeon that offers death at every turn. I saw no death traps, except for one that you deserve to die from if you pull such a dumb stunt.
The text is well written, and the map is coherent and reasonable. The bad guys are all in context. Had it been written a few years later when Eamon had become more sophisticated, it would likely have earned a notably higher rating.
Here are the inevitable hints: don't try to solve the bronze door until you have the secret word. You can't fulfill the Quest if you don't have the miner's pick. Sometimes the danger is less than it appears to the eye. The writing on the wall is a key feature of the Quest.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: YELL, OPEN, PLAY, RELEASE, DIG Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-res map in intro, musical instrument sounds Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 4.5/6
Description: "The Adventurer's Guild has elected you to rescue a captured Adventurer. Recently the Guild received a note in a bottle asking for assistance. The author explained that he had been taken captive on Treasure Island by pirates. Unfortunately, the exact location and name of the unlucky adventurer were destroyed by sea water. However, in the bottle was a map.
A word of caution! Legends tell of hidden caverns with one-way passages and tunnels under the surface of the island. Also the water around is infested with man-eating sharks. A ship will drop you off on the island but it has other duties. Another is scheduled to land on the south beach soon after you are dropped off.
Comment: The intro has a fairly nice hi-res map, too, that is hardly essential to the play, but is a nice touch just the same.
This Eamon has a lot of nice touches. There is some stuff with some magical musical instruments, and when you play them, you hear "music" through the speaker. There are some interesting specials with some of the other commands, too.
However, the intro isn't kidding about the one-way stuff. Unless you are simply lucky, it will take you several attempts to complete the quest, because some one-way passages prevent you from returning to explore other passages. If you don't do them in the right order, then you won't have the stuff you need to complete the quest. There are no clues as to which is the correct sequence. You must simply guess. There are quite a number of death traps, too. Even so, the difficulty isn't much worse than a (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Rising water Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.2/4
Description: While drinking in a tavern, you are drugged and shanghaied. You awaken in a dark room awash in ankle-deep water.
Comment: This is a competently done Eamon. I did not feel like it was hopelessly out of date by modern Eamon standards. It does some original things with light and with a running timed death-trap involving rising water. It turns out that you awaken on a ship that has foundered on a rocky shore and is sinking!
I am downgrading the difficulty from the original (9) rating to a (7). However, be warned that you may have to play it several times before you win through to the end. This is partly because of the relentless rising water in the early going, and also because there are several death traps without obvious clues. But the going is not onerous and there are no stoppers along the way.
This may be a frustrating play for those who like to explore methodically, because there are a couple of one-way passages which force you onto the next segment of the map whether you are ready to move on or not. But if you like your Eamons to play a little differently every time, then you may get several good plays from this one before it starts to get old for you.
One hint: remember your spells.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: USE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.3/3
Description: "You come upon a beautiful maiden crying. Her lover has disappeared, supposedly abducted. After reassuring her that you would investigate his disappearance, you find the castle where he is being held."
Comment: This is a very standard "kill'n'loot" scenario with very little to make it stand out. Most of the bad guys are named GUARD#. There are quite a few specials, but you don't need any of them to complete the quest and will probably miss most of them.
The map contains 80 rooms, though the content is rather haphazard. John was obviously writing for fun. This Eamon has very much the same flavor of the original "Beginners Cave". I give it a rating of (4) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, DRINK, READ, THROW Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 8.0 Average Rating: 7.4/5
Description: 'You are summoned to the king, who says: The evil Mondamen, an evil deposed king from the South, has been amassing an army with which to attack our kingdom. This would be bad enough, but now he has acquired the services of an evil wizard.
'The wizard is going to attempt to call forth the evil Vaprak. If he succeeds his forces will be almost unstoppable. Vaprak is an evil demigod worshipped by ogres and trolls. By getting his help, Mondamen will have all the trolls and ogres in the land on his side.
'But Mondamen is leaving nothing to chance. To be doubly sure of his success, the evil lord has captured the only daughter of king Kahn of Nexdor, a neighboring kingdom. Mondamen is blackmailing Kahn into financing and aiding him.
'We need a brave warrior to enter his stronghold, kill the evil wizard before he can call up the demon Vaprak, and to bring back the daughter of Kahn. Also, if the evil wizard succeeds in calling forth his demon, you will have to find a magic spell that will return the demon to his own plane.'
Comment: This is typical Nelson fare, which is to say, pretty good. It has the feel and flavor of a hack'n'slash foray, yet there are definite puzzling elements that add an extra dimension to the play. The puzzles aren't deep and are mainly solved by finding the clues that are strewn about on scraps of paper, etc.
John has added a few of his trademark humorous touches that makes his work more fun to play. When I stumbled onto Mondamen's army, I quickly hunted for a magical way to escape; when I found it, I about fell off my chair with laughter.
It says a lot that this adventure is so highly rated even though it is very old and has none of the refinements of later versions. You must type in complete commands and objects. Screen pauses are almost nonexistent.
The difficulty rings in at about (8); many of the bad guys are pretty tough, and though the clues are easily put together, some are hidden by obscure secret doors. And if you find a need for a puzzle solution before you have stumbled across the clues, you are dead meat. Yet it's a relaxing play and I had fun. Just be sure to save early and often, and you'll enjoy it more.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing time: 60-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.5 Average Rating: 4.8
Description: While on your way to visit Elfland, the humanoid amusement park, you are waylaid by Elves who demand that you retrieve the Singing Sword. Then they pinch your neck and throw you into Merlin's Castle.
Comment: This adventure uses the classic formula: kill everything but your friends, grab everything but your enemies, and don't even bother using EXAMINE. Monsters are illogically (though humorously) scattered throughout Merlin's Castle. When you finally escape after having killed Merlin (with the aid of your map--this place you will definitely need to map), be sure to kill those pesky Elves, just as you would any other enemy.
I would not recommend this adventure to those who are fond of puzzles, who have short attention spans, or who think combat is just a boring display of chance. However, if you like reading cadaver descriptions and piling up lists of friends so long that you have to hit control-S just to read the room description, this one's for you. I give it a difficulty rating of 7.5.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, SAY, CLOSE, OPEN, KISS Deleted Commands: READ Special Features: advice and artifacts offered by monsters Playing Time: 15 minutes to 2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5 Average Rating: 4.5/2
Description: You are hired to rescue Rowena by her father, a king. He gives you some advice on how to get help and on what you can take. She is being held prisoner by Prince Hogarth in his castle. Once you head for the castle you, find yourself in Hogarth Town. In town you can enter various shops and encounter townfolk, who may be friendly or not and helpful or not. Exploring the town you will find the castle and the way back to the Guild Hall. You can leave anytime you want without penalty. Once you enter the Castle, you will want to find Rowena and get out to collect the reward.
Comment: Pay close attention to the advice that the king gives you. If you follow this advice, both as to what is said and what is not said but logically follows, you will get lots of help and aid from the villagers. If you ignore the unsaid implications, all hands will be turned against you. HOWDY is the code word the king gives you. SAY HOWDY to everyone, no matter how unlikely they look to provide help, or you will not succeed in freeing Rowena. Even if they are unfriendly, they will give you the advice and artifacts they have for you before attacking.
If you explore the town thoroughly before entering the castle, read between the lines in the advice given by the king and the villagers and use your head to think through your mission, you can get into the castle, find Rowena, get some backup warriors, free Rowena and get out pretty quick and easily. It took me about fifteen minutes to do so. Then I went back to the adventure with another character and explored the rest of the castle. If you don't figure out the easy way, make a wrong turn once you are in the castle or just decide to check the whole place out, you can take about two hours to finish this one.
There are a few fairly nasty monsters about, as well as lots of loot. So, you can aim for accomplishing the mission quickly or have a hack and slash adventure where you can get filthy rich. Overall the monsters are of average hardiness. Some are tough. Some are pushovers. Most are in between. None are super tough. However, if you don't do the right thing around a couple of them, you're dead, no matter how tough the adventurer. If you think about the things helpful villagers give you and follow the king's advice, you won't have this problem. Otherwise..... Except for these spots, there was no situation that my adventurers could not handle. However, I might add both were well experienced and carried heavy duty weapons but I think an average character with average weapons would do fine.
Don't waste any effort using EXAMINE or LOOK. They just reprint the room description.
Although there are some secret passages and other hidden objects, you can find them by hints in the descriptions and using the action commands.
There are numerous locked doors that you can't open without first finding the keys. Once you have opened the doors, any friendly monsters that are with you will not enter. They will wait by the door until you come back. Any friendlies you find beyond the door will come out with you.
Weapons seem to get broken and dropped with great frequency but there are loads of others around, either dropped by dead monsters or just sitting there to begin with. Neither of my characters left with the weapon they readied at the start. If you have friendlies with you that aren't helping out, GIVE them weapons. Some are unarmed but pack quite a punch once you arm them.
HINT: The most valuable treasure is located in a place that looks like a 'gotcha' death trap. It's not a 'gotcha' but the toughest monster in the place lives there. If you go after it, you're on your own. No other monster will enter there. If you figure out the clues and decide to go for the easy rescue, this is a pretty straight forward adventure. However, if you decide to search for glory and wealth, be sure to map the place. It is large and the room connections are often convoluted. There are a few nice effects scattered about the castle. Greedy adventurers, who don't follow the between the lines advice that the king gives, will be in for some nasty shocks, both during the adventure and when they head back to the Hall. Overall, I'd give it a 5 for difficulty. If you make the easy rescue, you will find it only a 3 or 4 for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: THROW, READ, OPEN, DIG, (WEAR), (REMOVE) Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-direction map Playing Time: 1-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.5/4
Description: "You have chosen to take up a bet proposed by one of your enemies. He bet you 20,000 gold pieces that you would not be able to survive a cave known to the mountain people as 'Death Trap'.
"Your bravery exceeds your wisdom. Death Trap is the deadliest cave ever found. There are dragons, giants, wizards and demons in the cave. You have no chance of beating them by brute force. You must use your wits if you are to survive. Of course, you must also be a supreme warrior."
Comment: This is one of the hardest Eamons in the list. It is also very well done. There are quite a few items that you must master that are not at all well documented in the play. Not least among these is a couple of commands not listed in the "Huh?" command list. There are bad guys that can only be killed by specific weapons. I never did figure out a way to defeat Baalzebul, the worst foe of the lot, but had to resort to fleeing from him repeatedly until I got past him.
This is a straight "Kill&Loot" scenario, and the only Quest is to escape alive from the sealed cave. The difficulty is a well-deserved (9). There are three different ways to escape that vary from quite easy (say POWER) to quite difficult (find the right spot and DIG your way out.)
This is definitely a superior Eamon and well worth a play. But unless you enjoy cracking the really hard ones on your own, I recommend that you tackle this one while using the Walk-Through printed in the March '98 EAG.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, UNLOCK, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.5/2
Description: "You have watched your friends get sick and shake with the fever, some dying while you were helpless to help. It seems like there is nothing you can do, but you feel that you must try. So you journey to the royal palace to seek the aid of the king.
"The king summons you to his chamber. He has received a ransom note of sorts. The note is from an infamous mad doctor. The doctor has found a cure for the plague that now enshrouds the land. The cure of course will be expensive. The doctor wants one billion gold pieces for the cure. If he does not get it, he will allow the entire kingdom to die.
"The king says there is no way he can raise that much gold. The kingdom has less than half a million. The king is willing to pay a fair price for the serum, but could never pay that much! You decide you must seek the serum, in spite of the fact that you have heard that the mad doctor's castle is very well defended."
Comment: Like all of John's Eamons, this one makes full use of the standard Eamon commands and features, and the extra stuff works in very much the same manner. The puzzles are mostly of the "locked door" variety, easily solved once you find the needed key or note.
Just about everyone you encounter is a bad guy, though you will pick up a couple of companions. The combat is pretty routine Eamon stuff as you run into a gaggle of guards and other ordinary foes. There are a few bad things such as various poisonings that can happen that will eventually kill you if you don't find the remedy in time.
The difficulty factor is abut (6), I guess. It can be quite a lot easier if you happen to avoid the poisons, or find the remedies in time. I had no trouble finding the puzzle solutions. This may be a good choice for younger Eamonauts.
I enjoyed the adventure quite a bit. Though I downrated it slightly for simplicity, this is a pleasant foray into a relatively easy dungeon.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, FREE, BIND, GAG, DRINK, USE, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.0/3
Description: "A very good friend of yours recently became violently ill. She ranted and raved like a person possessed. As a matter of fact, that was the exact diagnosis that the head of the church and the local doctor arrived at. They said that there was nothing they could do. But you finally managed to find a wise old Sage that told you of a powerful holy man that specialized in demonic possession.
"The man's name is Marron and he lives somewhere on Mount Sunis in the caves. They say he has lost his marbles and now lives in recluse with his strange friends. You do not know whether you can get Marron to come into the village to help Katharyn, your friend, so you decide to take Katharyn up to the holy man, instead.
"Katharyn is much too violent to take along so you must bind her and carry her. So, you chain her and wrap her in a canvas bag and head off for the caves of Mount Sunis"
Comment: This Eamon has the usual number of nifty features that are typical of Nelson's work. Katharyn is not pleasant company, even bound and wrapped in the bag. She offers more commentary on your progress and ancestry than you are likely to have asked for. <grin>
The gimmick here is to find all the little hidden bits that are needed for the exorcism. John has hidden them in various ways that were quite clever for their day. If you put all the pieces together, this isn't a particularly difficult Quest. But miss a piece, and you may find yourself possessed by the demon, which is definitely a no-good way to end the adventure!
Though the puzzling element is strong, it's not complex by modern standards. The combat is hot and heavy, making this Eamon a good one for the hack'n'slash crowd as well.
Here are some things to watch for while playing: even though it plays much like a more advanced version, you must keep in mind that it uses a very early version of the Eamon MAIN PGM, with some twists. EXAMINE is not exactly the same command as LOOK. The adventure usually accepts truncated commands, but some clue triggers are looking for full commands and won't reveal the clue for truncated commands; EXAMINE DRESSER may reveal a clue that EXA DRESS will not. The USE and OPEN commands are uneven in spots also.
This adventure gets an (8) difficulty rating because of these uneven spots. But if you bear the above pointers in mind, you should find the going to be rather easier.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, UNLOCK, DRINK, EAT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 4.9/6
Description: "The Senator has been in politics for along time, and has thereby amassed a small fortune. His chambers are quite well guarded, though he does not really believe anyone would ever invade his stronghold.
"Rumor has it that the senator has kidnapped a number of his political rivals (of which there were once many; now there are few). It is now thought that the person most likely to still be in the senator's foul clutches is the good Sir Charles of Aknor, former counselor to the king.
"You stand before the senator's house, a lonely edifice far from other buildings or people. It is almost midnight, and the house is still, though a few lights burn. It is time to begin."
Comment: This is a short and simple foray. The map is that of a large house. There is very little in the way of special stuff to see or do. There are about 15 guards named GUARD #.
Still, I found it to be a solidly-crafted member of the "hack'n'slash" genre and a pleasant play. I give it a (3) for difficulty.
Note the FLASH bug-fix in this issue. Any time you see garbage MouseText while playing Eamon, this is usually the cause.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, UNLOCK Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: Wandering monsters Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.2/4
Description: "There is an old ruin of a small citadel on a cliff overlooking a rarely used pass. The road through the pass has become increasingly hazardous in recent years. Now, only rash and desperate travellers -- or those travelling in very large parties -dare to use it. Those who have survived the crossing tell dark tales of fearsome beasts and strange happenings; in all these tales the citadel is the eye of the storm.
It is rumored that the evil priests of Ngurct have occupied the citadel. Their foul creed worships the black demon of the same name. Ngurct is the patron demon of exotic monsters -- and he requires the regular sacrifice of human unbelievers.
You have been hired by your king to eradicate this scourge, and make the pass safe for travel and commerce once again. The power of Ngurct is locked into a gold medallion. If you return the medallion to the king, the power of Ngurct will be broken. For your efforts, you will be paid 5,000 GP upon the return of the medallion.
Comment: The Plamondons did a really good job with this adventure, given the early state of the Eamon gaming system at the time they wrote it. The game has all the unrefined characteristics that you would expect from a number this low, such as requiring full words in commands and having no screen pausing at all. But screen pausing, at least, is handled nicely by pacing text speed at different rates for different events.
Some interesting things have been done with the POWER command. There are several interesting side-tracks in the dungeon that are not required for a successful quest. In fact, there is evidence that they originally had a much more complex quest in mind but scaled it back for unknown reasons. You will attain a fully successful quest if you do nothing more than recover the medallion. Anything else you do is for your own interest in fully exploring the dungeon. Warning: best to bring your tactical nukes if you plan to awaken Ngurct himself!
This one is a bit tough to grade for difficulty. It depends a lot on what companions you gather along the way and whether you manage to avoid causing inadvertent trouble for yourself. The average difficulty might be (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: USE, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions Playing Time: 1-4 hr. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 7.0/4
Description: The dastardly Black Bark has escaped and has rejoined his henchmen at his hideout. They have been up to no good, and you have been selected to enter their lair and fulfill the mission that you have selected.
Comment: This adventure is rather unique in that it offers the player a half-dozen different missions to fulfill. The dungeon appears to set up a bit differently each time it is played. In theory you could play this several times and play a "different game" each time.
The plot and play is pretty good, and I enjoyed those aspects for the most part. It falls down on a couple of points. Rather than using the standard secret passages that are found with the LOOK command, it simply doesn't list those exits in the room name or description. This means that the player must try all twelve directions in all 88 rooms in order to be sure that he didn't miss anything. Second, I found several of the puzzles to be so obscure that I couldn't solve them. I wasn't able to complete my quest (return Black Bark) because I couldn't find him. I discovered the hard way that the Taser only works one time and then is useless. There are a number of blocked passages that I could not discover how to unblock (this was moot, because I also discovered that you could walk right through the barriers as if they weren't there). I could find no way to escape from the trap doors. There's at least one death trap that will nail you if you don't happen to be carrying something found in the dungeon.
If all this wasn't enough, the icing on the cake was that there were several really tough opponents who quickly killed all of my companions, and I could only defeat them by cheating. When you play this one, bring your tactical nukes-- you'll need them! Perhaps John intends for the player to FLEE here and there until he gets around them; it would be possible to do that but could take hours of mindless fleeing until the insidious RNG gives you the results you desire.
To be sure, this was a landmark adventure for its day with many advanced features and some interesting special effects. But by today's standards, its intolerant puzzles cause it to pale considerably. I give it an (8) for difficulty, but it almost deserves a (9).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: PRESS, READ, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.8/4
Description: "You are about to investigate a rumor about a powerful new weapon that had been built by a local mad scientist. A technician in his employ tells you that the scientist and a colleague plan to blow up the entire kingdom. When everything is settled, they will come out and take over.
"It all sounds pretty fishy to you, but the man does use long words and sounds very sincere. He offers to go with you and help."
Comment: There is more to the intro, but that is the gist of it. While it doesn't really give you a Quest to fulfill, it's always more fun to have one. There is no end-of-game programming to tell you how you did, so I will tell you that you can consider it a successful mission if you kill both scientists and also melt the bomb down to slag.
For such a large Eamon, there is surprisingly little content. You wander mostly empty halls and run into an occasional guard for the most part. A couple of locked gates and a couple of combination locks make up the bulk of the puzzling. This can be a somewhat frustrating play, but I found no death traps or similar gotchas.
This Eamon does some things with hidden artifacts that are fairly unusual. Here are two hints that will make the game less difficult for you: first, dead people have pockets. Second, button colors do matter.
The difficulty of (7) may be eased by the above hints.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: PUSH, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 6.0/3
Description: "You decided to investigate some strange rumblings in the Marewood Forest. You found some tracks and started following them, and soon found yourself lost. Just as you were about to give up hope, you felt a hand grab you around the ankle and pull you into a pit. You were caught by surprise and had no chance to fight back. You lost consciousness when you got below ground level."
Comment: This is one of the many "just for fun" Eamons that John is rightly famous for. To give you an idea of the seriousness of this dungeon, the companions you acquire are none other than the Fantastic Four!
You'll find no quest other than simple escape. There isn't too much to figure out, apart from finding and pushing a bunch of buttons. The monsters are fairly mundane and usually not very interesting. There is one no-warning death trap in the form of a 1,000-man army.
Because of the army, and a couple of the button puzzles are a bit obscure, this otherwise easy romp gets a (7) for difficulty. One hint: a console is likely to have buttons on it.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 Hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.0/4
Description: "You learn about a mysterious disappearance. Not your typical everyday disappearance, but a disappearance on a grand scale. An entire village has disappeared! Where the village once stood there is a gaping hole in the ground.
You suspect only the villainous Mole Man could have perpetrated such a thing, but you do not know how to reach the villain so you go about it the only way you can.
You set off for the Marewood Forest to find the same quicksand that you found once before (by accident, actually). Well, you've succeeded in locating the same spot as before and you were dragged into the bog."
Comment: This sequel to Eamon #26 is perhaps a bit more serious, but not a lot, with companions who are named Eddie, Neddie, and Freddie!
This time there is a quest, sort of: to rescue the village, though this is not specifically outlined anywhere. With the exception of one device that you have to figure out how to use, this is pretty much a straight hack'n'slash outing. There is another dumb army to defeat, and this time you do have to do something with it, since the room is significant.
Between the army and the device, this otherwise simple foray gets bumped up to a difficulty rating of (7). Be sure to remember to use full names when checking stuff out!
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: BUY, READ, DIG, OPEN, UNLOCK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 5.5/3
Description: "Past and Present often meet in the old historic streets of London. However, people still stare at you strangely. You clank as you walk and the weapons you carry are centuries out of date!
"Because you've heard rumours of an impending attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London, you decide to go there...
"To prevent the theft? "Or to steal them for yourself!!"
Comment: This is decidedly what you would call an "educational" Eamon. It is a tour of the Tower of London. And I do mean "tour". I had the strong feeling that it closely paralleled an actual trip that the Smiths had taken.
It's well written, with lots of detail. I found it easy to visualize the things they described. So why the poor rating? First, it is loaded with other tourists and ghosts who decide to tag along with you. By the time you've explored 50 rooms, you literally have a screenful of companions. This being a very old Eamon with no screen pauses, it was a pain to catch the room descriptions before they scrolled off the top.
Second, it is aimless. There was no plot to steal jewels that I saw anywhere. Nobody cared who I attacked or what I took. The READ and DIG commands don't do anything at all.
Still, it was a pretty good play, and I must point out that the other people who rated it gave it a (6) or better. I just wasn't very entertained. I give it (3) for difficulty.
Be sure to check the Bug Fixes in this issue for an important playability enhancer for this game!
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, SWALLOW Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-Res navigation, food Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "You are trapped on an island. There is a wizard here who can teleport you home, but your gold and weapons cannot go with you. There is a castle to the north that supposedly has a passage home, but there are obstacles.
"As you explore the island, notice the large harbor to the east, and the mountains to the north-west. Beware of monsters and evil men, but know that there are also men good and true.
"A final word of warning--be sure that you are kept well supplied with food. Every day, you and your friends must eat three meals or they will slowly starve."
Comment: This Adventure is totally unique in the world of Eamon. It combines a high-res "overhead view" interface with four small standard Eamon-type dungeons. The hi-res interface was fairly common in the early days of the Apple II; one commercial game that used something very similar was the commercial game "Odyssey".
Make no mistake; this is not a great Eamon, and Bob Davis had good reason to give it a (2) rating when it was originally reviewed. But I like unusual Eamons and Eamons that push the envelope, and this is definitely one such. Thus I gave it a higher rating than it would otherwise deserve, because it truly is a unique Eamon gaming experience.
There are two major flaws. One is content so low that it is rather tedious to play, and becomes quite boring after a while. The other is that there is no way to exit with your weapons and gold except through use of the POWER spell, and that method will result in your death by drowning in 9 out of 10 tries. I am guessing that Don was working on this Eamon when he decided to go commercial, and that it was never fully completed as a result. Another indicator that it is unfinished is a cryptic hint from a wandering hermit that makes no sense to me and that I never found a use for, even after perusing the programs.
Here are the usual hints: you and each of your companions consume one unit of food for each turn taken in the hi-res mode. There are four entrances to be found on the hi-res map: the temple, the castle, and two unmarked ones. The only way to find the two unmarked entrances is by walking across every single point on the map until you stumble into them. This consumes a LOT of food, and thus I suggest that you start out with 3000 units of food. It really doesn't matter if you spend all of your money, because you don't want to return to the Main Hall from this game, unless you are happy to lose your weapons and gold!
Difficulty is hard to define. There is only a 1-in-10 shot at getting back to the Main Hall with your weapons and gold, so it earns and retains its (9) rating, even though actual play is simple and rates no more than a (3).
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: INSERT, PUSH, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "A short, chubby man approaches you. In a heavy French accent, he says, I hear zat you are looking for ze adventure. I have juz ze zing for you. Zer ez a crack in ze earth many miles from here. Zer ez zed to be much treasure zer, but alzo much danger."
Comment: This was a nicely conceived adventure that fell down somewhat on execution. It consists of aimless wandering about an abandoned underground city in search of an exit.
The setting has a strong SF orientation, with androids and such wandering about. Many of the room descriptions are clever and engaging, but the city has been abandoned and has a large number of empty and uninteresting rooms to wade through as well.
In short, this is a typical "Kill'n'Loot' example of an early-era Eamon. I found the map interesting to explore, but little else rose above the mundane.
Though the intro warns that it is for powerful players only, the combat was pretty easy going. I give it a (7) for difficulty, for a large maze that must be negotiated to escape.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: READ, PRESS Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.0/2
Description: "You had heard of a new and strange place that sounded intriguing. There are rumors that some kind of god lived there as well as other very powerful creatures.
"It was said that one had gone in and returned with twice his former strength and agility.
"After searching a week you finally stumble upon a place that matches the descriptions. The air seems charged with magic here."
Comment: This Eamon is basically a "Monty Haul" outing for character stats. If you are already using a very powerful character, then the specials here might actually diminish your stats, but if you are using a newbie character with low numbers, then this is a way to pump things up quickly.
It is a classic John Nelson Eamon, with umpteen signs to read and other specials that are fun to get involved with. Though the map is small, there are a lot of things to discover here, and your playing time could easily exceed my estimate if you get wrapped up in finding and solving every little thing.
The difficulty is a bit hard to judge, depending on the character you use and how many of the specials you discover, but a (6) is close.
Two hints for this one: what goes around comes around, and the bird can be given directions.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: Yes (see below) Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0 Average Rating: 1.7/3
Description: This Eamon is very gross and probably pornographic by most people's standards. It has no redeeming value, no quest, and not much to do except "interact" with the House's prostitutes.
I don't know where it came from originally, but it's obviously been around a long time. One bit of strangeness is that it has a HELP command for chatting with a Sysop, suggesting that it was originally designed to be played on a BBS.
Comment: My traditional stance has been to sort of ignore that this Eamon and #196 exist, but I recently realized that I should let everyone know what this Eamon is all about so that they would not be rudely surprised by it. So here it is: if you are offended by gross sexual content, stay away from this Eamon!
Parents, you'll want to play this Eamon yourself before you let your children see it.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: WEAR, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Effects of cold Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.2/4
Description: "A warlock needs assistance in obtaining a magical orb of great power and consequence. The orb must not fall into the wrong hands, or it could mean great disaster. The warlock says that he cannot go after the orb himself because mystical defenses of unknown nature have been set up to guard the orb from him. He must thus send some brave adventurer in his stead.
"'Find the orb and return it to me, and I will give you the greatest reward you'll ever imagine.'"
Comment: This Eamon takes place in a very cold cavern. In fact, it is so cold that your first order of business is to find something warm to wear before you literally freeze to death. John does some clever things with the cold that you will probably find novel. For example, you might slip on the ice as you take a swing with your weapon in combat!
There are several mildly amusing bits of the sort often found in early Eamons. Your companions are chosen as much for laughs as for their fighting ability. The tone here is an incongruous mix of deadly seriousness and silliness.
The other downer is that things are not what they seem, and the adventure will not turn out well for you if you don't twig to it. The clues to put you on the right track are there, but poorly founded and therefore easy to ignore. I came very close to giving it a (5) rating for this, but in the end the good stuff won the higher number.
Luck weighs heavily on the difficulty, but (7) seems about right. You may need to play more than once if you don't get the stuff and info that you need before you need it. Here are your hints: you need a special weapon found somewhere in the cavern, and you need your spell abilities. Finally, I want you to know that there is a way to resurrect Frosty if he should melt on you.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: USE, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 6.5
Description: The local blacksmith has disappeared. You search his shop for clues and find an obscure reference to some gates, and a map. After following the map, you come upon a destroyed castle. Searching the ruins, you discover the blacksmith's body, and a spiral staircase that leads down into the ground.
Just then you see a fellow adventurer who you know fleeing from the ruins. He has been stripped of all his possessions, and does not stop to talk.
You descend the stair...
Comment: This is in many ways a mundane version 4 adventure. You must type the full command and the full name, and passages are not well marked at all. On the other hand, there are a lot of interesting effects and puzzles that are often pretty funny. There are two or three no-warning 'Gotcha!' death traps, so it would be a good idea for you to save the game fairly often.
The basic 'quest' of this adventure is simply to escape, as you will find yourself trapped once you enter the dungeon. The theme of the adventure is to win your way past a number of gates, each of which requires its own solution (only one gate requires a key).
This is a puzzler's adventure. While there is quite a bit of combat, the opponents aren't that tough and can be handled easily enough. I give it a difficulty rating of (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DESTROY, WORSHIP Deleted Commands: none, no Save Special Features: Magical Amulet Playing Time: 60-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: Five mutant brothers have created a huge underground lair in which they are preparing an enormous mutant army. A wizard hires you to go in and kill the brothers and destroy their equipment. You are his last hope; many others have disappeared in the lair before you. His only help for you is in the form of a magic amulet that you may use in times of need. If you make it out alive, you will be heartily rewarded for your accomplishments.
Comment: This adventure is quite long and tough, with few friends and much combat. Only a highly advanced warrior will live through it; FRESH SAM will work fine. I give it a 9 for difficulty.
Although the combat is grueling, it is gratifying to see the mutant brothers' empire collapse slowly as the result of your actions. The mutant brothers are skillfully painted in a hideously evil light; overall, The Lair of Mutants gives the appearance of a high-quality adventure, while still supplying bouts of tough, exciting combat.
I would recommend this to a warmonger with a free evening, because it has no save command. But don't be scared away from it, as it is one of the better adventures written with the old version 4 DDD.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DRINK, OPEN, SAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 6.0/4
Description: "You heard interesting stories and rumors of the Citadel of Blood-- tales of giant creatures and armored beings that patrolled the castle, and of fabulous wealth. You were especially interested to learn of the 'Serpent Eyes' rubies, a solid platinum sundial, and the Lost Stone of Seeking--all said to be in the Citadel.
You have also heard tales of the great sword wielded long ago by the king who dwelt in the Citadel, and you wonder... You gather up your courage and decide to find out just how much of the stories you heard were true...especially the tales about wealth beyond belief!"
Comment: Here we have a basic "Kill'n'Loot" scenario with no quest and really no puzzles. You can make your own quest by seeking out the items named in the introduction. It would be classed as a Fantasy Eamon but for a gaggle of Sentry Robots that were apparently lifted from Epyx's "Rescue at Rigel" game.
This is a nicely done example of an early Eamon. It has a well-done gimmick that preserves the state of the dungeon if you return to the Main Hall, but this feature was largely nulled by the later addition of the usual Eamon SAVE command.
It is a bit aggravating to have to type full names, but the map and the descriptions are competently done, and the play has many special events that help keep the interest up.
Among those specials are some apparently random trap doors that complicate mapping by dumping you out of where you were exploring into pits in the dungeon, but not unfairly nor dangerously. But the added mapping complication, plus some pretty tough bad guys, gives this Eamon a (7) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: TAKE-OFF, DESTROY, KISS, SHIELD, INVOKE, MEDICATE Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, WAVE, SAY, no Save Special Features: ray-gun and light saber sound effects during battle, several good effects Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.5 Average Rating: 6.8
Description: EPISODE V- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK After destroying the Death Star, Han Solo and a group of key rebel personnel have come to the city in the clouds seeking refuge and repairs for the Millenium Falcon. But the Empire had been awaiting them and they have walked into a deadly trap...
You, while leaving the Main Hall, have been caught in an inversion of reality and now you are a fledgling Jedi Knight. Your weapons are gone but now you have a light saber. Your spells don't work, but you are able to invoke the force, a powerful ally in battle.
While flying there, a vision showed that the Falcon has been disabled, and in any event Imperial patrols would destroy the ship, which is being held fast by tractor beams. And you see that, unless Princess Leia is rescued, the rebellion will collapse. So you have come to meet your destiny in the city. All you know is that somewhere in it is your way back home...
Comment: This is a good adaptation of 'The Empire Strikes Back'. Besides the 'City' segment, a lot was borrowed from the first 'Battle Star' segment from 'Star Wars'. It was skillfully blended into a quest with a half-dozen pieces that must all be successfully completed to escape alive.
The sound effects add a lot of fun to the battles. The encounter with Darth Vader is full of special stuff and is pretty exciting. The only serious drawback to the adventure is the lack of a Save. Vader is no lightweight and this encounter is very difficult to survive. (See Bugs'n'Fixes, this issue.) If you like SF Eamon, you will definitely enjoy this one. Hack'n'Slashers will love the fighting. The only puzzling is figuring out when and how to use the new commands. I give it a difficulty rating of (7).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, OPEN, USE, ASSEMBLE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 6.0
Description: You are approached by Professor Larkspur, a physicist who is in need of the services of a free adventurer. He tells you that the plans to his Interdimensional Translocator were stolen a few months back. Just this morning, the Eamon Museum of Natural History disappeared! The professor's assistant, Yrn Zandro, is also gone.
The Professor believes that Zandro had stolen the plans, built his own translocator, and warped the Museum into another dimension for evil purposes. He wants you to travel to this dimension and recover the Museum for a fee of 5,000 GP. He warns you that this other dimension may have other natural laws, which would have unpredictable effects on the contents of the Museum.
Comment: The map of this adventure is well-organized and well thought out. Basically, the objective is explore a museum until you find and destroy Zandro's translocator. Where the adventure falls down is that text descriptions of the insides of museums are not necessarily all that fascinating to read. However, the monsters were generally interesting enough.
This is basically a hack'n'slash offering with a couple of puzzles thrown in. One of them is extremely obscure, so I will give a hint here: you will need a bomb, and you ignite the bomb by saying a certain word that has to do with fire. Knowing this much, the clues that you discover should carry you through.
If not for this one puzzle it would have a difficulty rating of (4), but I give the adventure an overall difficulty rating of (7).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: a few that duplicate normal cmds Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.7/3
Description: "You are on your way home after a strenuous day at the Main Hall. You pass by a park and see some children playing in a sand pile. You step closer and see that tiny buildings are connected by roads of dried mud and sticks serve as vegetation.
"Just then a huge daemon materializes and trains a strange rod on the frightened children. You gallantly fling your body in front of the rod and a bright red light engulfs you!
"Your last sight is of the children escaping and the daemon grinning evilly!"
Comment: This is a fairly simple "hack'n'slash' foray. You just wander around, killing everyone you meet and gather up four unhidden keys needed to pass four gates to escape.
I expected to be placed in the children's play village, but the place seemed normal (by Eamon standards), with full-size monsters.
This is a quick, easy play, suitable for young Eamonauts. All of the monsters were easily beaten in two rounds of combat with my magic weapons, so if you enjoy combat, you'll want to use weapons from Marcos for the outing.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: GIVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-direction Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: The noted archaeologist, Dr. Andrew Whitehead, approaches you in the Main Hall. He says, "You have been well recommended as an experienced Adventurer and I would like to hire you as a guide. I plan to explore the caverns of Lanst in search of artifacts of the fabled Lanstians. My research indicates that the caverns were inhabited many centuries ago by a civilization of great capabilities!
"I've prepared a standard contract." He passes over a legal-looking paper:
1. I will guide Dr. Whitehead through the caverns of Lanst. 2. I will give all artifacts of indicated archaeological value to Dr. Whitehead. 3. All non-archaeological artifacts are mine to keep or sell. 4. Dr. Whitehead's suggestions will be considered in all decisions. 5. I will receive 5000 gold pieces when the party returns to the Main Hall.
You sign, and together you set out. After many days of following old maps and weary searching, you find the caverns of Lanst!
Comment: This is a very large adventure for its time, with 97 rooms and an adequate number of artifacts. The ten-direction map is quite complex, but holds no nasty surprises. I came across a few traps that triggered a "narrow escape" special effect rather than actual death, which was a nice touch. There are several possible endings, depending on how well you fulfill your contract obligations.
The scenario takes place in an ancient, abandoned location which doesn't have much to offer in the way of opponents for combat. Rick compensates for this by sprinkling looters throughout the complex. They felt somewhat contrived and in my opinion added very little to the adventure, but there would have been no combat at all without them.
While the adventure was well written, it lacked a plot or any puzzles to solve. The "quest" consisted of wandering about, picking up artifacts and fighting off looters. If there had been more content or variety, it could easily have garnered a higher rating. With no puzzles nor difficult encounters but with a challenging map, it gets a (5) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.0/6
Description: There is no introduction text. You wander about a different Beginners Cave.
Comment: This is a very adequate adventure for beginners and young Eamonauts. It has 46 rooms, one secret passage, one hidden treasure, one container, one magic potion, and one maiden to rescue. I encountered no death traps. The monsters were pushovers with my magic sword. There were a couple of nice special effects with monsters appearing in the room. Overall, a good job, considering the target audience.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: EXIT, PRAY, UNLOCK, BUY, SAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 5.7/3
Description: "Welcome to the Priests of Xim! As you travel through the tomb, you will encounter many powerful enemies. However, the rewards will far outweigh the costs. Because of the large amount of time required to complete the full adventure, it is possible to leave, if decide you cannot go any farther. However, if you wish to enter the tomb again, you will have to pay hommage again, and start over. Please wait 1 minute."
Comment: The above is an exact copy of the entire introduction. I think that it serves fairly well to give you a taste of the flavor of this offering. This adventure didn't originally have SAVE and made special provision for exiting at any time via the EXIT command, but SAVE was added by the NEUC.
This is straight kill'n'loot with a handful of locked doors to open. Contrary to the intro, the bad guys are medium-to-lightweight and sometimes decide to ignore you after first presenting a very hostile description.
The "hommage" that you must pay to enter is 70% of all your gold. I managed to scrounge together less than 4,000 GP of loot, or about 32,000 GP short of what I was charged to enter the tomb.
I found this to be a mediocre offering largely because the authors threw whatever popped into their heads into the dungeon map, which makes very little sense and has lots of incongruities. It is painfully obvious that they were running out of ideas and patience in the last quarter of the dungeon, which is decidedly poorer in quality than the first half, which is pretty darned good.
If the entire dungeon was up to the standards of the beginning, this would be a real keeper. But instead it winds down to what I felt was a disappointing ending. Still, you should note that the average rating is quite a bit higher than mine, indicating that several people enjoyed it more than I did.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.8/4
Description: "Boy do you feel good as you go looking for new adventure! Striding down a nearby dark alley, you feel so energetic that you almost don't feel it when you are clubbed in the head by a group of orcs.
"You wake up some time later and, groggy as you are you hear part of one of their conversations.
Voice #1: 'It won't be long before we have enough captives!'
Voice #2: 'I just hope we make enough ransom money, or I will have your head, Grishnakh!
"Unfortunately, you lapse into unconsciousness again, but you realize without much difficulty that it is your duty to escape and warn the Guild, before it meets certain ruin!"
Comment: This adventure is a Hack'n'Slasher's delight. There are 2 potential allies and 60 bad guys. There are only a half-dozen artifacts that aren't monster weapons!
This is a smallish, 48-room dungeon. You'll want to LOOK in every room for unhinted secret exits. There are no puzzles nor complex actions to complete. Simply hack your way through the bad guys and exit the dungeon.
The bad guys aren't all that tough, and this is a walk-through for anyone with decent stats and weapons. I give it a difficulty of (3); probably a good choice for the Young Eamonaut.
But this adventure has more than lots of combat. It has good descriptions, a logical layout, good puzzles, some new and interesting magic, and lots of action. I wasn’t bored for a second. You won’t be either.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "The king's daughter has come down with a rare and possibly deadly fever. There is only one known cure, the leaves of a certain tree in the fabled Paradise, whose medicinal properties are legend. You will be very well rewarded if you succeed!"
Comment: Actually, you don't get any reward except your loot, but that's OK, because the promised reward was an estate and a half-million in gold. But you'll know if you succeeded.
This is a rather strange Eamon. It's a mixture of industrial-type warning signs and corridor markings mixed with Old Testament Biblical stuff like angels and such. Yep, we're talking about the real, original Paradise here. You even visit the throne room of the Almighty, although he has seemingly stepped out for a moment. The flavor is such that you almost expect to meet Saints wearing hardhats in the hallways.
I had some real mixed feelings about it. It's OK, but weird. Bob Davis didn't like it much at all. Ardent Bible students may enjoy it more.
This Eamon had a difficulty rating of (9), but I don't understand why Bob set it so high. You'll have to stay on your toes to stay alive, and you'll need your magic weapons, but otherwise it isn't so bad, so I'm downrating the difficulty to a (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: ACTIVATE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hr. Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 6.2/4
Description: You finally managed to get a date with Heather, that cute girl in the Main Hall you'd been watching. She wanted a picnic in Paradise Park just a short way down the road. You remember the place: a nice quiet park with lots of trees, birds, and flowers.
You soon reach the park and find a nice spot a few yards from the cliff. The journey has worn you out more than you expected and you decide to take a short nap prior to eating. While asleep, you dream of a horrible abduction and it scares you enough that you wake up with a start. You look around, and your date is gone, without a single trace.
You don't know what happened to the girl; she must've gone home. You must now find your own way home, too.
Comment: Well, as you probably guessed, she didn't go home but was kidnapped; and if you go home without her you wind up regretting it. There's a couple of levels of questing here: of course your main goal is to rescue Heather, but there is a second bonus rescue to fulfill if you can figure out the clues.
This was the very first version 6.0 Eamon, and John made his usual excellent utilization of the then-new features. There's a couple of interesting twists on room lighting, several locked doors, and lots of embedded artifacts to find. John also programmed the game to recognize the character's sex and modify the text to accommodate it. For example, if the player is female, the date is with Marcus, not Heather.
The dungeon is medium-sized, with 50 rooms. The map is interesting, with something to see or do every couple of rooms. I give it a (7) for difficulty, for its heavy use of embedded artifacts that require the full name to find and for a mildly inconsistent implementation of some commands. I enjoyed it.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: WEAR, REMOVE, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Special artifacts Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "The Castle Kophinos, once one of the most splendid houses in the land, has fallen upon hard times. Five years ago, it is said the wealthy and reclusive Nikos Kophinos (owner of the castle) made an unheard-of trip into town. Furthermore, he was on foot, and was in a state of utter hysteria about 'the devils' having taken over his castle. No one has visited the castle since-- least of all Nikos, who is still 'resting' at an insane asylum.
"Naturally, this has hurt the Kophinos family reputation. Distant relatives have offered a reward to anyone who can 'clean out' the castle completely. No one has collected.
"The reward is more valuable than gold. The Kophinos family has commissioned the forging of a magical sword, a sword of awesome power and breathtaking beauty.
"But the family is very insistent that the castle be completely cleared of malevolent beings. If even one remains, you forfeit the reward."
Comment: I found this adventure to be a pleasant play; not especially difficult, yet complex enough to keep my interest. Right at the beginning, it gets interesting as you encounter a wizard-merchant who wants to sell you such things as healing potions, invisibility rings and Holy Hand Grenades.
Even though it was kinda fun to play with this new magical hardware, I didn't find any genuine need for any of it. Buy the extras if you want to play with them, but don't worry overmuch about when or where to use them.
One of the more interesting features of this adventure is a couple of adventurer's journals that offer pointers and warnings about the castle. While it did add to the overall interest, the journals gave very little useful aid and were actually counterproductive in several places.
The usual, proper way to play this Eamon is to touch all the bases, trying LOOK, READ RED BOOK, READ BLUE BOOK, and all the directions in every single room. There are 80 rooms, and if you do this you will be playing for many hours. Here's a couple of tips to save some time. LOOK finds nothing extra. The books give about as much bad advice as good advice; they're fun to use but you can safely ignore them if you want to pick up the pace.
There is an unmarked secret passage that can only be found by trying to go in that direction. Unfortunately, you can't ignore it because one of the bad guys is back there. Look in the bed rooms for this passage.
There are a couple of death traps. Be sure to do a save every so often. I think I'll put the difficulty at about (7), for the unmarked secret passage and the death traps, though the bad guys aren't all that difficult and there are no puzzles to solve.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, UNLOCK, OPEN, PICK Deleted Commands: None, no Save Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.7/3
Description: "Hearing legends about a huge city, filled with strange, powerful weapons and priceless treasures, you make your way to a little used path going east."
You make your way to the city. But once you enter, a great door closes behind you. It is sealed, and you cannot get out!
Comment: Like Tim's other Eamons, this one has a strong theme that evokes interesting images in your mind's eye. The gimmick here is a series of "crystal barriers" and mirrors that can mess up your map if you're not careful. There is a gizmo that can break the barriers, but until you find it, many paths will be closed in front or behind you. Once you begin passing the barriers, it can get confusing in this 90-plus-room dungeon.
All in all, there wasn't a lot of content beyond the barriers. All of the monsters except one were one-hit pushovers for my magic sword. That one was so strong that I elected to FLEE until I lost him. There are quite a number of spelling errors; if that tends to bother you a lot, you might want to pass this one by.
But for tricky mapping and the tough guy, this was a walk-through, and gets (3) for difficulty. However, even though it's easy, the map may make this a poor choice for young Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: ROTATE, KNIGHT, READ, DRINK Deleted Commands: EXAMINE, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 5.7/3
Description: "Your and your friends spent last night together in the Main Hall celebrating the Feast of Carroll, the one day each year when all three of Eamon's moons are full.
"You must have enjoyed yourself a little more than you intended, because now you don't know where you are, and you can't remember how you got here. All that you know, for sure, is that you are in a very mysterious place!"
Comment: This is a fairly interesting and not too difficult foray into the worlds of Lewis Carroll and fairy tales in general. The bad guys are few and pretty easy. There are a couple of minor puzzles.
The little gimmicks are clever and funny, and overall I did enjoy the play. Read everything you can, and try your POWER spell when all else fails (and "not• before!), and you shouldn't have any real trouble. One item: the way the "Excalibur" code is written, there is only a one in four chance that you will be able to get the sword, and you only get one chance at it. If you don't get the sword, the KNIGHT command is inoperative. But don't worry if you don't get the sword; it's not a very big deal.
While I give this one a (4) for difficulty, the puzzles are subtle enough that they may be over the heads of very young Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: LIGHT, PULL, OPEN, UNLOCK, DRINK, PUSH Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Cannot FLEE during combat Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "While reading this month's issue of Adventure Monthly, you come across an article about the legendary Crystal Kingdom. It gives the standard info. Location, probability of truth (73%), and legendary treasures: a black pearl necklace, a great diamond, and the Crystal Sword (legend says it will make the holder invincible).
"Since you are brave, daring, and broke!, you decide to search out Crystal Mountain, seat of power for the Crystal Kingdom. After much searching you find an entrance. Just as you enter you trip on a wire and there is a low rumble. Cave in!"
Comment: This is a largish 85-room dungeon with several small mazes, a couple of death traps, and several minor puzzles that revolve around the special command list. It has a good map and a fair number of spelling errors.
I enjoyed the mazes; they are the really bad sort with identical descriptions and names and totally mixed-up room connections, but they are only a few rooms each and not too difficult to solve with persistence. There is a good bit of special stuff involving such items as levers, keys, doors, cells, and buttons.
The mazes, a death trap or two, the modified FLEE command, and a very strong dragon run the difficulty up to about (7). Here are some hints: LIGHT turns the lantern on and off so you don't have to drop it; don't forget your POWER spell; the Crystal Sword is an exceptional magical weapon, but it does not make you invincible!
There is no Quest other than simple escape, but I suggest that you make your own by recovering the items listed in the introduction.
I tried this adventure in my never-ending quest to get through all of the "contest" adventures. (The contest CALL A.P.P.L.E. held last spring – summer.) It is only the 4th of these 13 adventures that I have tried but I would have to rate it about second of these four. I believe it is better than The Feast of Carroll (the winner of the contest!).
The room descriptions were fairly good, although there were some ambiguities and I found myself trying to do impossible things to interact with my surroundings. It is not a version 6.0 adventure, of course, so this was not really necessary. The descriptions of the monsters were not bad, although none were dramatic and many were so similar that they must have been related.
The worse thing about this adventure is that action-wise it was somewhat boring. There were very few monsters, and lots of empty rooms. (Although I don’t expect every room to have something in it, this one went too far.)
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: EAT, READ, SMOKE, HELP, QUIT Deleted Commands: None, no Save in DOS 3.3 version Special Features: interactive intro program Playing Time: 1-1.5 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: You find yourself outside a very bizarre temple. For reasons that you don't really understand, you go inside and take part in a weird ritual. Drugs that you ingest during that ritual have an very odd effect on you...when you come to yourself, you find that you are one inch tall and in a friend's yard!
And so you embark on a quest to discover how to make yourself normal again.
Comment: This adventure does a pretty good job of portraying the experience of being so very small. You start out in a "forest" of lawn grass, and fight your way past an assortment of insects. There is an interesting side-trip into an anthill. Though most of your opponents are small like you, you will have to find a way past a cat which thinks that you are dinner.
The introduction is very unusual. It actually consists of a mini-adventure with its own commands and events and its own small map. It somewhat gives the player a feeling of having gotten himself into this mess (although in actual truth he has no choice).
All in all, I enjoyed the play. It mapped well and was very consistent. It had two or three nicely done puzzles. It would have rated better but for two things: first, drug use is an integral part of the adventure both going in and during play, and the solution consists of trying drugs until you find one that makes you big again. Secondly, there is a large number of death traps. While there certainly are warning clues for all these traps, there are so many that stumbling into one or two is virtually unavoidable. The cat, for instance, is instant death if you don't do the right thing on the very first move.
The combination of puzzle difficulty and death traps gives this adventure a (7) rating for difficulty. Puzzle fanciers will probably enjoy it more than Hack'n'Slashers, but there is plenty of combat to go around.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 5.5/2
Description: "As you step out of the Hall, a hansom cab pulls up. Soon after you are seated in the cab, you fall into a deep slumber. You awaken, in a strange room alone."
Comment: This is a somewhat strange Eamon. While I haven't read the poem personally, it appears to be based on "Jabberwocky". It has a lot of odd creatures. The map itself is rather mundane, although the room connections are often pretty mixed up and one-way, and exits are seldom named. About half of the map is simple in-one-side-and-out-the other rooms, and the rest almost constitutes an intermittent maze.
Your "quest" is to find an exit. I would guess that you probably won't see more than about 30 of the 50 rooms on a given playthrough. With a difficulty rating of (4), it is actually an easy play, although it may not be suitable for young Eamonauts because of the room connections.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: GLASNAR, ALTAR Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: In the distance you see a huge obelisk which the Night Marshall says is 'the Pillar of Time'. "Many people," he says, "have come this route never to return. Good Luck." Slowly, he turns and leaves.
Turning towards the east, walking, you soon find yourself before a huge fifty meter obelisk. As you draw close to it you see an inscription.
HAIL ALL THOSE WHO COME THIS WAY. WOE BE THOSE WHO SPEAK THE ANCIENT WORDS AND DESECRATE THIS MOST HONORED SHRINE. LO THE PROPHET OF TIME, JOHN COOPER, HAS SPOKEN!!!
Casually you turn to leave even as you hear a voice say "Cooper's Revenge is upon you...foolish mortal!!!"
Comment: There is some more to the introduction, but it has very little to do with the play. Basically, you find yourself in a rather odd city with overhead railroads, magical mists, and lots of cryptically inscribed obelisks. The basic thrust of this adventure is to explore the city and find a way back to the Main Hall.
The city is loaded with fascinating objects and clues and seems to promise a lot a interesting puzzles and special effects. Every few rooms you run across yet another inscribed obelisk with passages like this one: "THAT WHICH IS SEALED IN CRYSTAL CONTAINS THE POWER TO RELEASE THE FROZEN." Unfortunately, nearly all of it is fluff-- "color" and "atmosphere" pieces that actually have nothing to do with solving the adventure. At least, if more puzzles existed, I couldn't find them and didn't need them for anything. There is no indication of success or failure at the end of the game, so I conclude that the only true objective is escape.
Even so, the atmosphere is well done and interesting to read. It fails on two counts: first, it has dozens and dozens of stupid spelling errors. The extra command ALTAR, for example, is really "alter". The second, and in my opinion much more damaging failing is that it has about a half-dozen death traps.
I give it a difficulty rating of (6). While there is very little that is actually challenging, the map is pretty complex and the death traps do offer minimal warning once you have fallen into one and know what they are. I feel that it is worth playing for the interesting descriptions and map, but there is little combat and only one puzzle.
With no mission previously defined, I started in a U.S. army barracks in Vietnam. Venturing out into the jungles and villages of Vietnam, I found many peasants (Peasant 1, Peasant2, etc.) and "Gooks" (Gook1, Gook2, etc.). The monster names and descriptions were of such a monotone flavor that I became bored and just started killing everybody, whether they were friend or not. This wasn’t too difficult to accomplish since I had a rocket launcher with a seemingly endless supply of rockets. No monster (including tanks and planes) withstood one attack from me. Realistic, maybe. Fun, no.
The mission, I later realized, was to get out of the army. I was not pleased with the way I had to do this. I believe an alternative method should have been provided; especially since the character I used does not condone the use of perception altering substances (drugs). Perhaps Mr. Allen was making a social comment with his adventure – but looking through his other adventures (The Sewers of Chicago, Master’s Dungeon and Lost Adventure) I rather doubt it.
In summary, this is a great text adventure for people who don’t like to read, like the adventure to do their thinking for them and are entranced with killing things in one blow.
Personally, I would not recommend this adventure to anyone, especially children.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: READ, HELP, QUIT Deleted Commands: none Special Features: random rat movement Playing Time: 30-90 minutes Reviewer's Rating: 3
Description: The Chicago Health Board has determined that the numbers of rats in Chicago are so high that if nothing is done, it would be necessary to evacuate the city. To combat this menace, they have offered a 20 gold piece reward for every rat brought to the Bounty Office. Good Luck!
Comment: This adventure has a neat catchy name, but is a poor game, leading to quite a disappointment for those who bought it for its name. The above description is the actual description, more or less, which should give you some idea about the depth of the adventure. The only plot is to kill rats and take them to the Bounty Office at the end of the game. Even if you are a Hack'n'Slasher like myself, you will find it dull, as the rats are wimps.
An important aspect of this adventure is that the author went out of his way to put in 'Gotcha!' death traps. These include unlabeled poisons, nuclear materials in stupid places, and fixing the POWER spell so that it only does harm. The only saving point is that this adventure was one of the first to list exits in the room names.
This adventure is one of my least favorite, and I would recommend it only to people who have everything else.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Error recovery prevents Ctrl-C Playing Time: 10-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.0/3
Description: "As you leave the Main Hall a dark Dwarf sidles up to you. He says, 'Would you like to visit a kingdom in the clouds?'"
Comment: This begins as a standard "Kill'n'Loot" scenario, but after a while I found myself more interested in finding an exit than anything else. The map is rather messy with lots of very similar room names, though you can't call it a maze, because the room descriptions are quite different. However, the room names don't even remotely resemble the descriptions, which makes mapping a difficult chore.
Much of the stuff was interesting and clever, but mapping got to be a real grind, greatly lowering my overall enjoyment, and a no-warning death trap didn't help. The exit is not marked either, which means that the game is over once you stumble through it, which can happen in 8 or 9 moves if you make all the right choices. There are no puzzles, and the bad guys aren't too bad, but the map bumps the difficulty up to a (6).
Hint: there are secret doors which LOOK will not find. There are hints, but to be safe you might want to just try all directions in every room.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: DRINK, UNLOCK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "You have been chosen to journey into the Caverns of Doom to recover the stolen machinery desperately needed by the Apple Computer Corporation for their new computer, the Apple IIe.
"The town will reward you for each piece of machinery returned. In addition, Hokas Tokas says that he will reward you himself."
Comment: This Eamon starts with much promise, but it is not well turned out and shows a severe lack of final polishing. There are tons of text errors of just about every kind. The room exits are usually well enough marked on this 100-room map, but there are several significant room connection errors.
There is no theme to the adventure. You'll see Egyptian pharaohs, mad scientists, dinosaurs, demons, Superman, evil priests, and more. That probably lowered my rating as much as anything. There are several death traps. The artifacts are apparently quite heavy; I was unable to carry more than a handful at any time.
This is not an easy Eamon. Between the mapping problems and some tough bad guys, a difficulty rating of (8) is none too high. But there's more. I could find no way to exit the dungeon after having completed the Quest! Spelunking the MAIN PGM with Program Writer revealed that the UNLOCK command does nothing except set a variable that is not used anywhere else. I can only conclude that this is yet another bit that didn't quite get that final polish.
Hint: when carrying the sword TELON, you will be randomly teleported every 15-20 moves. There is no text or message, it just happens. It looks like a bug, but it's that way on purpose.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: EXCALIBUR, READ, OPEN, SMOKE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 2.5/2
Description: "One day, you meet a tall man. He says that he is Lord Hobart, rightful owner of the castle Valkenburg before the evil sorceror Draxnehr conquered it. The castle holds many monsters that have occupied the castle from the start to the last years. I am too old to fight to get it back. I will pay you to defeat the evil lich that lurks in Valkenburg castle, and rid the castle of its monsters"
Comment: This Eamon has a number of problems: First, the room descriptions use very confusing wording, making it very difficult to figure out where the named exits are. All of the descriptions begin with the article "A", which spoils the narrative. There are a staggering number of spelling errors. And there are about a half-dozen death traps, though you'll probably only be killed once before you learn to recognize them. I give it a (6) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none Special Features: none Playing Time: 1-3 hours Reviewer's Rating: 6.5
Description: Welcome to Modern Problems! You have been transported to Seattle circa 1983. There are two ways in which you may win the game: 1) buy a bus ticket to the Main Hall; 2) win the game. The bus ticket costs 200 GP, and is the easy exit.
To win the game, you must: 1) get a job; 2) get a car; 3) get an apartment. Your armor and weapons will be saved for later, and you will be given a .357 Magnum and a bullet-proof vest.
Comment: This adventure is refreshing in that its quest is not related to violence or fighting. Don't take me wrong- there is a good deal of fighting, but it's not too significant.
The worst feature about this adventure is that it can get rather unrealistic, allowing you into all kinds of places that nobody would let you go in real life. For example, you can walk right into a mental hospital and get wasted.
A nice feature is that in order to make a transaction, you must say something to the clerks, or else they will ignore you. (But that's unrealistic, too- they always ignore you in real life!)
This game is rather fun, but has the simple style that you expect of an earlier Eamon.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none Special Features: none Playing Time: 2-4 hours Reviewer's Rating 5 (6 for young Eamonauts)
Description: When leaving the Main Hall, you bump into the Duke. He asks you if you would do him a favor. Being no coward, you agree. He tells you that a party of bandits broke into his castle last night and stole several treasures. Luckily, the guard caught all but the leader, and recovered most of the treasure. The leader, a thief named Karal, took 5 family treasures and hid in the ruins of some terrible place on another level of reality.
A wizard enters, chants a few words, and there's a flash.
Comment: This adventure is probably one of the best you will find that has almost no modification to the MAIN PGM. The only modification that I found was a sequence that required you to have the 5 treasures to exit.
The text is well written and entertaining, often humorous. I myself found it entertaining because of its resemblance to the school I attend.
It is mainly a Hack 'n Slash joke-fest, with almost no puzzle solving. I don't really mind this, but fans of puzzle-rich Eamons will be disappointed.
Recommended to young Eamonauts and Hack'n'Slashers.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: READ Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "An evil man is building up an army and is planning to take over the Main Hall. I was once a prisoner in his concentration camp. I escaped and came to the Main Hall to warn a brave and loyal Free Adventurer like you. You must stop this evil man. His name is Xenor. The way to find him is that you must venture into the DUNGEONS OF XENON.
"The dungeon leads to his hide-out. You go past the dungeon and through the forest of Eldar. Along the way you will meet five friends. Now remember, you must kill Xenor. The Main Hall is at stake and we're all depending on you."
Comment: Well, I saw no army, so you don't have to worry about fighting one. And I have a sneaking suspicion that this is supposed to be named "Dungeons of Xenor", but there you are.
This Eamon will be of interest primarily to the young Hack'n'Slash crowd. It has one death trap, a couple of unimportant signs to be read, no artifacts other than weapons and treasure, and "lots• of bad guys.
This feels mostly like a largish Beginners Cave, with a bit of humor and a mixed bag of monsters. Being a very early-version MAIN PGM, it requires that the full command be typed, but I did not find that to be a big deal, given its simple nature and the repetitive nature of combat (type command, hit return, hit return, hit return...)
The map is not bad at all, nicely laid out and written, though the room descriptions were often very simple. There appears to be a couple of bad room connections near the end, but it felt intentional to me, to fake a simple maze.
It gets a (4) for difficulty, and it is that high only because there is no SAVE command. This is definitely a good pick for the Young Eamonaut.
MAIN PGM version: 4 Extra Commands: READ, EAT Deleted Commands: none, no SAVE Special Features: none Playing Time: 30 minutes Reviewer Rating: 3
Description: 'One day, you see Hokas Tokas, the wizard. He says to you, "I have just heard word of a new tyrant. He has the ancient Medallion of the Mind. It was stolen from King Eamon's treasure room. It has the power of controlling other people's minds. I found the tyrant's hide-out. It is in the CHAOSIUM CAVES. You must venture into the caves and kill the tyrant. His name is Astrallion. To get out of the cave, get the Medallion." He makes a gesture with his hand and you find yourself in the caves.'
Comment: The above is the entire text of the introduction. Although you are given a quest, the background is rather bare. And so goes the adventure. There are no puzzles nor hidden stuff. The extra commands are nothing special. The descriptions are typically no more than a variation on the name (eg: YOU ARE IN A N/S HALL). Four-fifths of the monsters are bats and skeletons (BAT4, BAT7, SKELETON11, etc.). Punctuation is very erratic.
It has two things going for it: there is a quest, and the room exits are clearly stated in both the room descriptions and in the names. It is a VERY simple adventure, and may be well-suited for young Eamonauts. I give it a (2) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: INSERT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: "The Wizard Frobos has commissioned you to secure a dragontooth from the lair of the White Dragon beneath the smith's stronghold."
Comment: Here we have a pretty straightforward Hack'n'Slash Eamon, with a large map and well-written room descriptions. The play is to check out a smithy and the passages hidden below it. LOOK appears to do nothing special at all; there are many secret passages, but you can only find them by simply trying every direction in every room. There is one "Gotcha!" no-warning death trap. The monsters and weapons are somewhat boring, with names like DWARF10 and VIPER7.
No mental heavy lifting at all. Just check out all the passages and kill all the bad guys. I half-expected to get slammed by the dragon once I got the tooth, but all I saw was one quick glimpse of him and then he was gone. Difficulty rings in at (5).
MAIN PGM version: 5 Extra Commands: SEARCH, PRY, READ, HELP, DRINK, OPEN Deleted Commands: none; no SAVE Special Features: HELP cmd gives hints Playing Time: 1.5-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7
Description: The revered hero Gladmar has gone insane. The powerful wizard Dracnard has determined that Gladmar is possessed by the demon Demogorgon. The only way to cure him is to recover a magical golden statue of the demon which was last possessed by the evil Lord Rovnart of Nagog hundreds of years ago. His stronghold, the Black Castle of Nagog, was conquered over 200 years ago and has been abandoned ever since because of its evil reputation.
Comment: The adventure is well-written with a clear quest, and was very enjoyable to solve and to play. This is not a simple rehash of old ideas, but presents some fresh puzzles and concepts. I had fun. The level of the dungeon is geared towards a 'standard' character with ordinary, mundane weapons. If you get a lot out of combat in Eamon, then arm yourself with a simple sword from the Main Hall's armorer for this foray. Using a 2D10 sword, I killed many with one blow.
The puzzles are well done, quite adequately clued, and not difficult to solve, with the following exception: LOOK doesn't find secret passages or hidden clues; that is the function of the SEARCH command. In order to find secret passages, you must SEARCH WALLS. There are several clues similar to version 6 embedded artifacts that can only be found by using SEARCH. It works well enough, but the method is poorly explained.
Because of the weak monsters (even Demogorgon!) and the complete puzzle clues, I give it a (5) for difficulty. There is a reward for a successful quest and an amusing penalty for failure. Doug produced a good adventure; it's too bad that this is the only one that he did.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: none Special Features: Intro in ornate hi-res typeface Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer's Rating: 4 (6 for Cthulhu types)
Description: The dreaded Cthulhu Cycle has existed since the dawn of time. The ancient myths of the Elder Beings from beyond space and time have, in other worlds, too often proved true. You hear a rumor of the Tomb of Y'Golonac, filled with hideous monsters from a bygone era. It must be looted and the god destroyed. You read a rotting, worm-eaten tome...
'Beyond a gulf in the subterranean night a passage leads to a wall of massive brick, and beyond the wall rises Y'Golonac to be served by the tattered eyeless figures of the dark. So may Y'Golonac return to walk among men and await the time when Earth is cleared and Cthulhu rises from his tomb among the weeds, Glaaki thrusts open the crystal trapdoor, Snub-Niggurath strides forth to smash the moon-lens...'
That night you set off to find the Tomb. After heading over a small, forgotten path winding through the huge Voormithadreth mountains, you came across the entrance to the Tomb!
Comment: This adventure was dedicated to H. P. Lovecraft who originated the literary tradition which has come to be known as the Cthulhu Mythos. If you are familiar with these stories by Lovecraft, et al., you will appreciate this adventure more. If you have played the Call of Cthulhu game (( C ) by Chaosium, Inc.) you wil have a good idea of what to expect from this adventure - you will probably die. If youare a wimp, the monsters will kill you. If you're really tough, and you don't fumble your heavy-duty weapon (killing yourself,) then you may survive. But if you are thorough in your explorations, then you will die in one of the traps. The best way to deal with this is to heed any warning that the author provides during play. This limits your exploration but gives you the best chance of surviving.
My biggest gripe about this adventure is the large number of unmarked exits from rooms. The LOOK command does not find these exits. The player is reduced to trying every direction in every room. This wastes a lot of time and quickly becomes a pain in the neck. I would normally complain about the 'gotcha' traps but these are true to the genre. In the Cthulhu Mythos, the humans who confronted the Elder Gods typically died, usually horribly. That's why if you are a shade Cthulhoid yourself, you may appreciate the numerous opportunities to croak. There are few mistakes and typos, and the descriptions are sufficiently gruesome to raise the adventure's rating. I would recommend it to any Cthulhu nuts, but there are better adventures for normal Eamon players. If you have played all of the better ones and are still after a challenge, then you might consider this one.
"You are in a charming double bedroom in modern Miami style, with dark green walls and a polished oak floor." Room after room, they’re all the same. Another description the author painstakingly mulled over to set the proper mood, "Too normal to bother describing." The writer, obviously short on ideas after the first room or two, persevered to create 100 rooms of boredom (quantity vs. quality). One actual warning sums up this ‘adventure’: "Don’t waste your time, just leave".
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 15-45 minutes Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "While sailing the Great Lake Eamon you are caught in a dense fog. After several hours of aimless wandering you land upon an island in a strange land."
Comment: The above is a brief summary of the actual into text. The variation in playing time stems from the fact that I played it on the ApplePC emulator at a very fast speed. This is an old Eamon with no speed-ups and would run slower on an actual Apple II. I felt that this adventure deserved a modern review after reading Bob Davis' harsh review and rating. Don't get me wrong, this is by no means a masterpiece, but I found it to be amusing and pretty well written. Other than some obvious typos, I found few spelling or grammar errors.
The map is large (100 rooms) but laid out so simple that mapping is unnecessary. The descriptions are interesting and pretty funny at times. The theme is based on the "James Bond" adventure series and it features several classic Bond villains as well as 007 himself.
Where it really falls down is its lack of special events. The ONLY modification to the standard v4 MAIN PGM is a REM statement dedicating it to Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond). My theory is that the author, while having some decent writing skills, knew little or nothing about Applesoft programming. Still, the story moves along remarkably well through the use of some one-way passages and doesn't stray from the theme at all.
This is a version 4, so you have to type complete names and commands for everything. There is one empty secret room that can only be found by moving in an unlisted direction and a deathtrap room that has been permanently sealed off (I'm assuming the author didn't know how to implement it). One of the monster descriptions has been accidentally wiped out with a carriage return. The text is still intact on the disk and I fixed my copy using the Copy II Plus sector editor. (Track $10, Sector $03 change: A2 8D A2 to A2 D9 CF)
One final warning. Some of the descriptions use stormy language and/or adult suggestions. This isn't inappropriate if you consider the theme it is based upon. I didn't find anything obscene or profane in what I saw, just some stuff in the PG-13 area.
Difficulty of 4.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: OPEN, EXAMINE (used for READ) Deleted Commands: conventional EXAMINE, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 2 hours and up Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 4.5/2
Description: "Hearing tales of great adventure in a place called Eamon Bluff you set off to find this ancient place.
"You come upon two paths thick in fog. One leads past an old cemetery and past a well. The other path goes deeper into the fog, and a deathly silence overtakes you."
Comment: This Eamon has much of the vivid imagery that Tim does so well. He's quite good at generating atmosphere. But, unfortunately, this Eamon was released before it was completed. I recently talked with Tim, and he said that it was never finished because he had lost access to an Apple computer at the time.
But even apart from that, this is an uncommonly difficult Eamon. There are several death traps, some without warning. There is a nasty gimmick that turns all of your companions against you without warning. The bad guys are absurdly strong; many had hardiness ratings in the 200-300 range. One had a hardiness of 910!
The map is a bit of a mess, with several mismarked exits, and I wound up trying every direction in every room to ensure that I didn't miss anything because of incorrect exit descriptions.
This is an older Eamon, and it requires the typing of full commands with no abbreviations. This isn't normally all that bad, but there are several name misspellings that drove me nuts because I kept typing them correctly.
In the end, I had to throw in the towel. By the time I had exhausted my leads and my ideas I had still not seen 19 of the 100 rooms and could not get past several "force walls". And it didn't help any that the program crashed 5 or 6 times with OUT OF MEMORY stack overflows during play (but the simple POKE51,0:GOTO100 restart command got me going again every time). I was left with the strong impression that this Eamon does deserve its (10) difficulty rating.
Here are a few hints that I gathered:
Take the cemetery route. Don't go down the well until you can find nothing else to do. You'll take a life-threatening hit every time you enter the anteroom off the front door.
It's too bad that this Eamon wasn't finished. It's got a lot of Good Stuff in it. But it's just too hard.
While walking along a plateau, you meet a man who professes to help you find your way and then promptly pushes you off a cliff into a deep canyon. Luckily, a magic spell saves you from being crushed on the hard, rocky ground below. After determining your physical state, you find yourself in a hot, dry environment with no idea how to get out of the deep canyon.
A basic escape adventure, the Deep Canyon is excellent for beginning and/or young adventurers with a small puzzle to solve before being able to leave. The descriptions are good, with some interesting effects and the designer did keep with the theme throughout the entire scenario.
I found the adventure to be easily survived using test character ALDO CELLA – hardiness 15, chain armor and 55% sword ability – so go ahead and put any character through this adventure with little fear of losing him/her.
I think one hint is deserved here; the secret passages cannot be detected by the LOOK command, so the adventurer must stumble upon them. But after all, what’s a secret passage if it isn’t secret?
Another dull boring night at the Main Hall. Being a bit irritable from inactivity and a quarrel with your lover, you decide to overindulge in Hyperborean mead and insult Hokas Tokas, the resident wizard. Bad move. Hokas says, "Only my sense of honor and discipline prevent me from striking you dead where you stand! Instead, I will send you on a quest to the land of Dharma. Perhaps you will learn to help others and not think only of yourself. Perhaps you may even find and conquer the warrior within." With that, he waves his hand and you find yourself in an unfamiliar land.
Roger says there are two missions in this adventure, one within the other. Actually I feel there are three LEVELS of missions: one to help others, another explained in the adventure and the third in the temples of the Greek Gods. I played this adventure approximately 6 times and it continued to hold my interest. ( I would have played it more, but I had to stop and write this review.) Some parts of the dungeon are not always accessible each time it is played and special effects abound.
Minor points like exits not described in the short room descriptions and spacing problems of descriptions are easily overlooked when considering the entire scope of the adventure. (I did have a little trouble on how to use the rings at first, but that may have just been me.) Overall – Good job, Roger!
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: See below Playing Time: 10-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.5/2
Description: "At the Temple, you can get as involved or as uninvolved as you please in a variety of attractions. You may leave the Temple with permanently elevated hardiness, agility, or charisma, for example. Perhaps you will choose a new name. There are opportunities to win gold, and several ways to spend or lose it. There are also a few ways to get killed."
Comment: The description pretty well sums it up. This is a formalized "Monty Haul" adventure where you can easily bump up your stats or your cash in a way that is more "honest" than using the character editor. There are four parts:
Bureau of Names: here you can change your name or the name of a weapon.
Sheepskinner Casino: you can play roulette or bet on wrestling matches. (You'll make a lot more money if you bet negative amounts of cash.)
Gladiator's Pool: fight robots in an arena for pay. The pay varies from 75GP to 10,000GP, but I found them all easy to kill.
Adventurer's Proving Grounds: an easy 18-room dungeon where you can win an extra point for your hardiness, agility, or charisma for a fee.
The concept is unique, but I confess that I was not quite bored as I worked my way though the place. Bob Davis gave it a (5) for difficulty, but this seems exceedingly high to me. I think that the difficulty is something closer to (3).
I believe the author does an excellent job of describing this adventure; so as not to do him or his adventure any injustice, here’s Don…
You were drinking too much. You know that now. If you hadn’t been drinking too much, you wouldn’t have made that foolish bet. Now it’s too late.
The fellow looked so young, so inexperienced. He looked drunk, too. So when he bet you 500 gold pieces that he had a magic spell you couldn’t get yourself out of, you naturally assumed he was bluffing.
He wasn’t bluffing and he wasn’t drunk. You have awakened in an underground labyrinth. You feel tired and drawn. It’s more than a hangover, though you certainly have one of those. No, it’s as if a part of yourself were missing.
A part of yourself IS missing!
You have been split into two selves, and what is worse your other self is somewhere else in this maze. You cannot survive outside this magical maze unless you merge back with your other self.
The barroom prankster was not completely merciless, however. You find that by exerting a little concentrated thought, you can transport your mind to your other self. (Type ‘SWITCH’ whenever you want to do this.) Unfortunately, if one self gets wounded, the other is injured simultaneously.
Remember, you must not try to leave the dungeon unless you have merged with your other self.
Bob again. Two big pluses this adventure has is 1) A very original idea and 2) the most complex maze in Eamon. It is very survivable (if you’re careful), the room descriptions are generic (helping to make the maze confusing), the monsters and artifacts are interesting, and the theme is refreshing, warranting special consideration.
This is not your typical "kill everybody and get everything you can get" adventure. Indeed, quite the opposite is true. It’s to the players advantage to find non-violent solutions to the finer points. Temple of the Trolls strikes the delicate balance between having enough brawn to get in, yet brains to get out.
Rough notes on a dying man’s map start you on your quest for Grommick, a Trollish Blacksmith and mighty weapon-maker without human peer who possesses the skill to forge a magic sword. Legends maintain that a stout warrior with a fearless heart and a matchless arm can attain such a weapon.
Written one Sunday afternoon, John Nelson utilized the DDD 6.0 and created a genre of Eamon guaranteed to take a month of Sundays to crack, it you don’t know what you’re doing. If you like snooping into every nook and cranny, this it the one you’ve been waiting for.
You are to bring back a 600 year old bottle of the finest Scotch in the land to King Radaar. The trouble is you have to go into the Prince’s Tavern to find it.
The descriptions in this adventure are first rate: they are intricate, detailed and different. Some arts are hilarious, some are sad (alas, poor thief) and it is very enjoyable and entertaining.
This adventure has hundreds of special effects programmed into it that make it interesting to play time after time.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: HIT, FREE, OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: "Tournament" game: timed play Playing Time: 30 minutes per attempt Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 5.8/6
Description: "Baron Hador, being the kind soul he is, took in a man who had collapsed in front of his castle. The next morning he man was gone, and a search showed that gone too were certain private papers, the Baron's crest, and Tanya his daughter!
"The Baron has asked you to recover the stolen items and rescue his young daughter. Knowing a little bit of magic, he will teleport you inside the castle where you can search.
"He told you, "I will be able to arrange a distraction that will keep the Count out of his castle for an hour and a half. You'll be doomed if you are there when he returns. Therefore, I will teleport you back when the time is up."
Comment: This is one of Brown's best Eamons. It is not a complex play, but is simple like most early Eamons were. But the time gimmick greatly heightens the tension. Every move gives you the time elapsed, and I found myself trying to plan how to shave seconds and minutes from my search.
The timings are nicely done. You get a readout to the second, and the timings seem reasonable for the moves made, except for movement. Each room move consumes an entire minute, the time required for most people to walk a city block! You are not penalized for typos.
You are scored at the end of play. You get points for each GP of loot, plus bonus points for the three things you were tasked to recover.
The "90 minutes" of play generally took me about a half-hour. I was not successful in rescuing Tanya on my first attempt, but just made it in my second (the map is a set piece and does not vary from play to play). She is hidden magically and was difficult to find. This plus the time limit puts the difficulty at about (7).
Two hints: EXAMINE is an important command. And be sure to watch for unusual characteristics in the descriptions.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 15 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.2/4
Description: You have been selected by the king to rescue several high officials who were kidnapped last week. The king's warlock has devised a plan that should make your job fairly easy. However, for it to succeed, you must first possess the fabled Key of Molinar. The key is a magical teleportation device.
No one knows where the key currently lies. The warlock has a spell that will teleport you to the Key's vicinity. You are advised to get the key as soon as possible, and use it to return.
Comment: This Eamon is the first part of a two-part adventure. Eamon #81 is Part Two. This was the very first two-disk Eamon, and the NEUC mistakenly assigned a number to each disk. This was also originally something called a "Tournament Eamon". I have never seen the Tournament version and don't know what was involved. I assume that it incorporated some kind of scoring system for competitive play. John Nelson converted it to a normal Eamon back in 1984.
This can be played without Eamon #81, but you cannot return to the Main Hall at the end, since it exits to #81 only. I don't recommend playing this Eamon without #81.
This is one of the shortest, easiest Eamons in the list, with 26 Rooms and 7 Monsters. There are no puzzles or hidden passages. Just run through the rooms, find the Key, and teleport out. I give it a Difficulty rating of (2).
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: OPEN Deleted Commands: no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.7/3
Description: "You are now ready to rescue the kidnapped officials. Again, the warlock does not know where they are, but he can and will teleport you there.
"You will be carrying a lantern and the Key of Molinar, in addition to your weapons. You can teleport yourself or a friendly person home by saying their name."
Comment: This Eamon is Part Two of a two-part adventure. Eamon #80 is Part One. It would be very nice if we could reassign these two Eamons to a single number, but they have been listed separately for 10 years now.
The proper way to play this Eamon is by entering it from Eamon #80, but it was modified in 1989 so it can be played from the Main Hall also.
The 53-Room map is a simple collection of uninteresting corridors and cells, and the bad guys nearly all have names like GOON19. There is a large group of people to rescue who are spread all through the map. You will enjoy the play the most if you try to envision the original "tournament" objectives and try to rescue as many as you can, as quickly as you can. I also recommend playing the two Eamons in one sitting, as originally intended.
Except for killing umpteen goons, there isn't a lot to do or solve here, so it gets a difficulty rating of (4) from me. One hint: there's no need to wait to teleport the prisoners home.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: AT, GO, OPEN, CLOSE, BUY, PULL, EAT, DRINK Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: "Tournament" game: timed play Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "There is trouble in the town of Yomber! The queen's dog, Fifi, has been dognapped and there is a reward for the person who finds her. Fifi has been stolen by a group of vicious goblins known only as the Rogues of R.T. Yomber will never be safe until this R.T. is stopped.
"You will be issued a special ring. This extraordinary ring has many powers, the most powerful being on your death, you will be teleported to Yomber castle, alive.
"You have approximately three hours to complete the mission. If not back within that time, the ring will teleport you to Yomber castle."
Comment: This adventure is very similar to Eamon #79 in that you have a limited number of moves and are scored at the end. It plays well enough, and is not especially complex or difficult to complete. I was able to rescue Fifi in my first attempt, though time was getting short.
I got somewhat bored while exploring a large forest and while floundering about on the ocean in a boat. I have no doubt that these mapping aspects were included so as to run up the game clock as the player frantically explored them. This works as a random element of play, which never thrills me. Apart from that, the play is a set piece, as in "Count Fuey".
In the end you are scored on loot taken, goblins killed, Fifi rescued, R.T. killed, and the state of your health. I peg the difficulty at (5).
Three hints: remember the GO command and your spells, and don't put to sea without provisions.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Companion offers hints Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.3/3
Description: "King Escher calls you before his throne and asks you to take on an assignment of incredible importance. The magic orb, Ballweena, has been stolen by Vathek, the king of a neighboring realm. The orb supplies the psychic power that keeps the whole kingdom going. The orb can be recognized by its blue glow.
"It is your job to find the orb and return it to the king. Escher says that he will have his favorite psychic waiting outside the castle walls to accompany you."
Comment: This was Jim's first Eamon, and it is a very creditable job. The largish map is a bit simple, but clear. He's done some nice coding of special events. He did a very nice job with his method of printing a single description for a band of several bad guys in this time before the advent of the multiple-monster.
This is an early version of the 6.0 MAIN PGM. You have to type full command verbs, and LOOK doesn't recognize anything but full names. However, the other commands all seem to accept truncated names without problem. When playing, you'll want to stay aware of the full-name limitation of LOOK, otherwise you won't be able to find an embedded artifact that you need.
One item I really liked was the comments that the psychic guide made as I progressed. You'll want to pay close attention to his advice.
While nicely written, this Eamon doesn't have a lot of depth, which lowered my rating slightly and gives it a difficulty rating of (4).
MAIN PGM version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, DRINK Deleted Commands: none Special Features: none Playing Time: 1-1.5 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Difficulty: 4
Description: "A man tells you of a castle to the north of town which was abandoned by the royal government when the queen mysteriously died in her bedroom. The man gives you a map to the Castle, and quickly leaves. You study the map for a while and decide to adventure in the castle."
Comment: This was a fairly average adventure, being neither outstanding nor a stinker. It is strictly a 'kill and loot' scenario, and the only puzzles are secret passages and an unusual 'elevator' gimmick. I detected a hint of a quest for vengeance against the queen's murderer but it wasn't followed through with. It has 80 rooms and the map had lots of diversity with no problems, although there was never a real castle with such a weird layout. I found a few minor faults. The 60-odd monsters had dead body artifacts, and they all said YOU SEE THE DEAD BODY OF THE (monster). It got boring to fight and kill them with such mundane death scenes to read. Another fault is that many of the monsters are wild animals that have no business in an abandoned castle. The most notable such encounter was with an angry giraffe in an underground tunnel! Last, there were valuables laying about to be looted in dumb places; for example, a "priceless" Ming vase in a cistern room.
But it was otherwise well built and error free. Hack- &-Slashers should note that it is geared for weapons from Marcos' weapon shop and is a pushover with magic-class weapons. But with a mundane weapon in the 1D8 class, this adventure would be an interesting challenge.
I didn’t quite understand the point to this adventure. It said I was going to check out a science exhibit at the Eamon Hall of Science. The exhibit turned out to be a time portal.
One interesting thing about this adventure was there were multiple settings. One could pass from one setting in time to another by passing through the portal of his choice. Telling too much here may spoil the suspense, so I won’t elaborate.
The adventure was paced a little slow for my taste, but was still adequate to keep my interest. It seemed a little small after I had it thoroughly explored.
Once nice thing about this adventure is it wasn’t too difficult in either problem solving or survivability (as long as you picky our enemies carefully.)
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, OPEN, CLOSE, DRINK, MOVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.0/2
Description: "I've heard from a few of the boys that you're looking for something to do to 'pass the time'. Well I've got something you just might be interested in, old buddy!
"I've heard that the boys down at the Science Institute have made a fantastic discovery. They've come up with a wonderful new time machine!!! This machine is supposed to be able to take you to places you never dreamed were possible."
Comment: This Eamon is actually a conglomeration of three small Eamon dungeons linked together through the "time portals". The three themes are movie monsters, movie cavemen, and Star Trek.
Each of them was smallish, of course, with very similar-feeling, unimaginative maps. There were a few specials that upped the rating somewhat, though. The CLOSE and DRINK commands are pretty useless, so don't expect too much from them.
I guess it gets a (5) for difficulty, too. Be sure to read the descriptions carefully, as each place has a death trap that is described before you get nailed by it.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: HiRes screen at startup Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: You are summoned before King Stevron. He wishes you to go to Castle Mantru, where the evil wizard called Crimson has hidden the magical Amulet of Wizdom, which was stolen from the king. If Crimson has the amulet long enough, he will be able to use its powers to control the world.
It is rumored that the amulet is also where you will find Crimson deep in his castle. It is also rumored that Crimson has many deadly monsters and traps in his castle.
King Stevron says that he will reward you well if the amulet is brought back and is not damaged. Any special weapons that you find are yours to keep. You will probably have to kill Crimson to get out safely.
Comment: This adventure isn't terribly sophisticated. It plays much like an earlier version of Eamon, with no hidden artifacts or locked doors to contend with, but it has the convenience of the shortened commands that version 6 allows. The descriptions and monsters are on this same level: short and simple but not exactly lyrical in their content. The 76-room map is laid out well enough, and the room names and descriptions list available exits, a definite plus.
So while there is little of special note to make this adventure stand out, it is a competently done Sword & Sorcery dungeon and well worth a play. The Hi-Res screen at the end of the intro is a nicely done line drawing of the Castle that was a very nice touch. As puzzles are nonexistent and the monsters are suitable for mundane weapons, I give this adventure a (3) for difficulty. All in all, a superior beginner-level Eamon adventure.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: WEAR, REMOVE, FILL, USE, EAT Deleted Commands: none Special Features: some really neat programming tricks Reviewer's Rating: 6
Description: You were searching for a new adventure in the hills of Mansui when you stumbled upon a small cave that you remembered from tales told at the Main Hall. It leads into Hollow Mountain, and is fabled to have great treasure, if you can get out with it.
Comment: This adventure would at first glance seem quite dull, as it has no quest and the exit is plainly marked at the beginning, but it is one of the funniest that I have ever played. The monsters quite often have rather silly names like Froggy, Horation of Pi, or Jeff Harris (Ed. note- I wonder what Jeff would think about this opinion!), and some actions have very amusing results.
People of both the Hack'n'Slash and Problem-Solving genres will be moderately pleased with this adventure, as there is a good deal of both. Its only drawback is the lack of a quest.
I would recommend it to everyone, especially people with a less than serious nature.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 5-15 min. Reviewer Rating: 1.0 Average Rating: 1.0/4
Description: "By the whim of whatever gods or spirits control your destiny, you have been chosen to enter... THE SHOPPING MALL"
Comment: Here we have a leisurely stroll through a shopping mall. I'd bet that it reflects a real mall somewhere, and that the store clerks are real people. As for content, we've got 17 store clerks and ONE artifact. No one to fight, no puzzles to solve, nothing to find. There is one rather bizarre side path to a little cabin with an underground tunnel that contains nothing but seemed to spring from the author's childhood memories.
Strangely enough, it's very well written. But it's pointless and BORING. Difficulty of (1).
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: HELP Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 3.9/4
Description: "You are now in Japan. A tyrant, Lin Wang, recently seized power there, by force. He built a huge fortress, so that no one could harm him. You must avoid his karate experts (ranging from white to black belt), his Samurai and Ninja guards, captains, and generals, and you must avoid his Oriental and Komodo dragons. Finally, you must kill Lin Wang and escape his fortress.
Comment: This is straight Hack'n'slash fare. No puzzles, no secret passages, just lots and lots of combat.
I confess that I was put off from the beginning by Sam's use of a Chinese name for a Japanese bad guy, and it didn't help that the punctuation is all over the map. Also, every one of the dead bodies had the same spacing error.
It's an OK Eamon, but not a great one. Once you've killed one Ninja, you killed them all, so to speak. Sam added some bits to his narrative, such as gratuitously calling me a coward in the middle of an empty passage, that didn't set well with me, either.
There is a lot of combat here, so you may want to bring along a good set of magic weapons. Given a good magic sword, I peg the difficulty at (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: DISARM Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Time limit Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: You have been assigned to the embassy in Moscow, officially as an Air Force attache. Actually, however, you are a highly-trained member of a covert branch of the CIA known as SOG, or Special Operations Group. SOG was famous during the Vietnam War for its covert operations behind the lines in North Vietnam, including assassinations.
One night you are called to duty by your section chief, who looks like he is about to have apoplexy. He informs you that our agents have discovered an unbelievable but terrible plot -- the Libyans have succeeded in putting an atomic bomb somewhere in the Kremlin and the thing is set to go off in a few hours! If the bomb explodes, the Soviets will think the Americans did it and launch their missiles, starting World War III!
It is your task to go into the Kremlin and find the bomb and dismantle it. Your adrenaline starts pumping! This is the one you have been waiting for -- the assignment that will let you use all your training and skill, and save the world besides!
Comment: This adventure does a nice job of conveying the tension of the situation. Every move that you make takes one minute, and the bomb goes off after two hours! Each round prints an inverse bar with the remaining minutes on it. It can really get on your nerves, which is a nice approximation of how you would feel if the situation was real.
The maps and descriptions of the Kremlin grounds give a pretty good feel for how it is laid out and what it must be like. Descriptions and room names give available exits, an very important feature in Eamons with a time limit. Good use was made of version 6 stuff, with notes, containers, and other features in ready abundance. Jim supplies you with a full arsenal of modern weapons and special equipment for the task at hand. All in all, a well-turned-out adventure.
Ok, if it's so good, how come I didn't give it a higher rating? Well, essentially you have to fight and kill everyone that you meet. While this is not unusual in Eamon adventuring, I was left wondering what the Soviets would make of a truckload of dead guards and KGB officers, bomb or no bomb. Some special programming for special monster relations would have been a huge plus in this scenario. Secondly, the time limit is too short to find the bomb unless you happen to luck into it. While I don't have a problem with a short time limit, it offends me that there is no way (that I could discover) to figure out where to look. The Kremlin is a big place! Lastly, I personally favor Sword & Sorcery stuff and don't get real excited about contemporary settings, as a rule.
Eamonauts who enjoy adventures that offer some real texture to their scenarios may favor this one. Hack&Slashers won't find much here to kill and maim. The puzzles are all within the normal bounds of what can be done with embedded artifacts. Because of the time limit, you may have to play it more than once before you finally cover all the bases and manage to find and disarm the bomb. I give it a difficulty rating of (9) because of the game's complexity in relation to the time limit.
This is a pretty unique adventure and well worth a play; there's nothing else like it in Eamon.
You have once again been chosen to perform a great deed in the 35th century. Since your successful assassination of the Krell emperor, much progress has been made in liberating Earth’s former space colonies, but the fighting is bitter and the advances slow. A Krell scientist, Mordir Kang, has developed a doomsday device – the Zontar ray machine. This ray machine generates an anti-matter field which, when it touches matter, produces a dimensional inversion, sucking matter into the 8th dimension with cataclysmic results. Your mission is to locate Mordir Kang’s secret base, kill him, steal the plans to the ray machine, and destroy the device.
I first started playing this adventure with a wimpy guy and lasted 15 minutes. Well, says I, a hardier character is needed. How about the Mad Haranguer, hardiness 23, agility 28, charisma 16 – dead in 30 minutes. Uh-oh. Methinks this calls for drastic measures; in from the Stone-age walks Fred, hardiness 32, agility 17, charisma 4. (What he likes in speed, he makes up for in good-looks.)
Between getting lost in the desert, getting lost in the jungle, getting lost in the swamp (Fred isn’t the greatest with directions) and having the entire Krell empire after his buns with weapons ranging from rocket launchers to missiles (alas, poor Fred has a rock, a club, and a big stick), Fred decided he wasn’t having a very good day. If it weren’t for luck, a few tricks of Eamon and an altered heal spell, Fred would have been back in the Stone-ages as a fossil.
This adventure kept my interest during play, always having to get out of a tight situation. Some special effects are present, most notably the SAY command which is used to activate machines. Interaction with these machines is sometimes quite interesting.
I do have a couple of "gripes" with the adventure. The short descriptions do not have directions in them so when a room is re-entered, a LOOK must be done to find the exits (unless you can keep flawless maps). The names of the monsters are not in the long descriptions so something must be done (such as trying to leave) to get the short descriptions to print without getting attacked first. And last, but most frustrating of all, the POWER routine is unchanged from the original MAIN PGM (i.e. you hear sonic booms, tunnels collapse, the dead are brought back to life, and all wounds are healed. Realizing these may be personal pet peeves, I did not take them into consideration when rating the dungeon.
Overall, this is tough adventure. Not so much tough in problem solving as tough in surviving. One hint because I think you’ll need it: an XM-68x device will heal you once you acquire it, however it has a limited number of uses. This is indicated by a warning message that the unit is beginning to short-circuit. I discovered by method of flawless deduction, that I could perform a certain technical adjustment (not documented in the owner’s manual) by using normal standard commands that would remedy this problem as often as needed. Good luck!
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: WEAR, DIAL Deleted Commands: none, no Save Special Features: roving soldiers Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: While sitting in a bar, you happen to overhear a conversation between two men sitting nearby. It turns out that these two work for Lord H.R. Bottomsmith, a man whose utter lack of scruples is at least as famous as his great wealth. As they talk, you realize that they are paid assassins, discussing an upcoming murder. They notice that you are listening!
As you leave the bar, you are hit from behind and knocked unconscious. When you wake up, you find yourself in a cheap hotel room. Beside you lies a dead body, and his blood is on your weapon! You realize that the assassins have decided to kill two birds with one stone, by framing you for the murder that they had committed!
The only way to clear your name is to travel to Lord Bottomsmith's castle, find the proof of this murderous conspiracy, and carry it to the local judge, before soldiers can arrest you. If they find you before you can get the proof to the judge, you'll hang!
Comment: The really unique feature of this adventure is the roving soldiers that are combing the town for your whereabouts. Like the description says, if they catch you, you die. They move from room to room and don't jump randomly all over the map. You can see them coming in time to get out of their sight. This feature was done well in a nicely realistic manner.
You have a couple of things to accomplish here. First and foremost is to avoid the guard. Next, you need to visit much of the town, looking for clues, companions, and supplies. Last, you have to travel to the castle and find the evidence. Good use is made of 6.0 features and I found little to complain about. The castle also has roving guards who move independently of one another.
There's not overmuch combat here, though you do need to dispatch the odd guard or slimy monster. The only puzzles are the finding of the embedded artifacts that you need, such as a torch. I give it a difficulty of (5). The roving soldiers were a really nice touch.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, OPEN, UNLOCK, USE, EAT, PUSH Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Can heal companions Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: 'Good day! We apologize most sincerely to those of you who have bought this program, under the impression it was connected in any way with the humorous television series, 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'. It is really an adventure based on World War I air heroes as compiled by Oscar Tritt.
'Good day! We apologize for the previous apology. That apology was unnecessary and appeared on this disk owing to an administrative error. This program is not as stated in the previous apology, but does contain material from the humorous television series, 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'.'
Comment: And so it goes. This adventure is largely a collection of bits and pieces from 'Monty Python' skits. If you are a fan of the show and can put the proper voices and emphases to the bits, you will likely enjoy it quite a lot. If you don't know 'Monty Python', it won't be nearly as good. Much of the adventure doesn't even try to be overtly funny, but makes references that Python fans will enjoy spotting.
Bring some big guns; the bad guys are fairly tough. On the other hand, you will pick up quite a few companions in your wanderings. I never once had to use the heal spell on myself, but some enemies took quite a lot of beating with my best sword before they fell.
There is some puzzling in the form of imaginatively-hidden keys and magic doorways that require the answer to a riddle before you can pass. Be sure to read descriptions closely and to examine likely-looking stuff mentioned in those descriptions; that's where the answers to the riddles will be found. Here's a puzzle hint for you: what word rhymes with 'ding' and 'dong'? Don't worry if this makes no sense now; it will be meaningful when the time comes.
I give this a (7) for difficulty, because you have to be on your toes to catch all of the puzzle clues. Apart from that, it's a pretty easy play.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: READ, OPEN, UNLOCK, USE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Saves game when leaving castle Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "A Gnome takes three hours to fill you in on the history of Blood Feud Castle and the rivalry between the Pozzis and the Spanners. Now he gets to his point. The evil Suedo Guru has stolen the Rod of Stupidity from the Royal Depository and he has taken up residence in Blood Feud Castle.
"Should you succeed in recovering the Rod you will be given the title of Knight of the Realm, and all will call you 'sir'. You may keep all possessions that you find, and that includes an amulet that has the power of increasing all your attributes!!
"Since this mission is quite difficult you will have the advantage of leaving the castle and returning to the Main Hall to heal, without disturbing the castle."
Comment: I have no idea what all that is about in regards to a feud. You see no one other than the Guru's guards and some oddball allies and monsters. There are a bunch of sporting artifacts lying about plus some other stuff which makes me think that it all might have something to do with wherever Rick was going to school at the time he wrote this thing.
It has 99 rooms and takes a while to explore. You have two options to save. As Rick wrote it, he intended that you save the game by returning to the Main Hall, and this does work well. When you relaunch the adventure, it picks up right where you left off. However, someone has also added the normal type of save routine. NOTE: see the bug fixes in this issue!
It's an OK Eamon but nothing special. Some of the bad guys are really tough, so be sure to pack your magical weapons. Between the tough guys and a couple of death traps, it gets a (7) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.2/4
Description: "You have heard that a group of fighters have gathered in the Maze of Quasequeton. You know that they are lead by a man call the Master. You must find him and kill him. Good luck!"
Comment: And that is the introduction in its entirety. I think that it sums up the content of the adventure nicely. The dungeon map consists of a mere 18 rooms. No special effects. No secret passages. No companions.
This is classic 'hack'n'slash' fare: kill everyone you meet and grab anything that isn't nailed down. The poll ratings on this one range from (1) from a puzzle fan to (5) from a hack'n'slasher. It's very short and simple, but it's cleanly written.
It's very easy to complete. Being very simple and short, it may be a good choice for young Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 10 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 2.3/3
Description: Explore the Chamber of the Dragons.
Comment: This is a very simple Hack'n'Slash foray. There are 21 rooms, simple treasures and no puzzles apart from one "hidden" room that is hinted at in the previous room's description.
This would be an excellent choice for the Young Eamonaut. The low ratings reflect low content rather than a quality problem. A difficulty rating of (1).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, DIG, READ, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: You are returning to the Inn and take a short cut, when you stumble over the bodies of several adventurers. Their arms and armor have been stripped away, but you search them anyway. On one you find a crumpled map and a note. The note vaguely mentions treasure and extreme danger. Your purse is a bit light so you follow the map. After a long trip, you close in on your goal. In the distance is a stone building. As you near the building, you spy a message engraved in stone:
ENTER YOU MAY, BUT HEED WELL POWER THOU MUST TO ESCAPE MAGIC THOU MUST TO DRAGONS FELL KEYS THOU MUST TO TREASURE TAKE.
You move on.
Comment: This adventure had a large, well-organized map. It is somewhat misnamed; this "house" is manor-sized with several dozen rooms, courtyard, wine cellar, etc. Combat wasn't especially bad for my advanced character's weapons. The inscription is partly right; you do need POWER and many keys to get past a number of obstacles. But the dragon wasn't too difficult with my magic-level sword, though he did take some wearing down. For a character with mundane weapons, there does appear to be a magical means provided to handle the dragon.
This is a nice, average-level adventure, certainly worth playing. There's no quest; this is strictly a kill and loot scenario. But it isn't a simple straight walk through. There are several locked doors, and the keys are not exactly lying by each door! I give it a (5) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM version: 4 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none, no SAVE Special Features: none Playing Time: 30-45 minutes Reviewer Rating: 3
Description: 'Welcome to the Slave Pits of Kzorland! In this adventure you will enter the slave pits in the hope of getting to the treasury vault. To get there you have to pass many guards and other creatures, some stronger than you and some not. You would be well advised to flee from some of the monsters and if you are not very strong, you should not even attempt this adventure.
No one can carry out all of the treasure you will find so you will have to decide what is worth more.
Note: METAL CLAD FIGURE=GUARD LARGE METAL CLAD FIGURE=KING'S GUARD MONSTER W/CRAZED LOOK=ORC You have to figure the rest out.'
Comment: There isn't much else to figure out. the above is the entire introduction. The 3 types of monster named above very nearly describe the entire pantheon of bad guys here. More than 50% of the 'rooms' are of the 2-exit 'YOU ARE IN A N/S HALLWAY' variety. There are no puzzles. The adventure isn't as tough as it makes out, by today's standards; it is geared for a player with a Hardiness of 18. It gives the room exits in nearly all room descriptions & names, but misses a couple, which can really mess you up while mapping, especially since many of the room descriptions are of 'room name' lengths.
This is straight 'kill & loot' with an enormous reward for all the treasures. I give it a (3) for difficulty, because of the semi-tough monsters
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: WEAR, PAY Special Features: not exactly Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer's Rating: 5
Description: You received a letter from a friend stating he was in big trouble. On his way to visit you, he was riding through the province of Darland when he was stopped by the forces of the governor and questioned. He says he lost his temper and smarted off. Big mistake. This governor is somewhat of a tyrant. Now Jason (your friend) needs some gold to pay his fine and court costs. He asks you to bring some gold and free him. The fine and court costs are only 10,000 GP. And he says he needs to get out of here before he goes crazy. At the bottom of the letter are some little pictures that you recognize to be a code you used to use as scouts. It is a message that he didn't want his jailer to be able to read. It says, 'If you are going to try to spring me (rather than pay these butchers), be careful. There's a lot more guards than you think. It may be a better idea to be sneaky than try a full frontal assault.'
Comment: This adventure was troublesome due to a programming error. This adventure makes extensive use of embedded artifacts, which cannot be examined until the bug is fixed. (See Bugs & Fixes, this issue.) With the fix in place the adventure is much better. It has an interesting variation on a theme of infiltrating an enemy castle which seems to offer ways to reduce combat, but in practice I don't think that things happen in exactly the manner that John intended. I didn't notice much difference in the play when I followed the variation and when I didn't. Of course, if you are a dedicated hack-and-slasher, you can arrange to have plenty of combat. A weak character may have some trouble completing the adventure, but an intermediate or stronger character shouldn't be taxed too much. The adventure isn't too long, and much of it is superfluous to your task. There are a few typos and grammatical errors, but not so many as to be overwhelming. The hardest puzzle to solve is how to get into the castle at the start. Program recognition of synonyms at this point would have been helpful. This adventure is in John's typically humorous vein (i.e., emphasis on bad puns) and has one of the all-time classic monster names, Sir Render. I would say that it's a fairly average example of a 6.0 adventure.
MAIN PGM version: 6 Extra Commands: PRESS, WEAR, THINK Deleted Commands: LIGHT Special Features: THINK cmd gives small hints; best magic in all of Eamon Playing Time: 3+ hours Reviewer Rating: 6.5 Average Rating: 7.9/4
Description: While sleeping behind the stables, you heard that a traveller crawled into town, all but dead, and barely made it to the doctor's house. You went to see the man. He was severely burned by magical blasts. The man didn't wake, but would mumble about the Sorceror's Spire.
The Sorceror's Spire is a school for wizards and the leader in mystical research. The dean, Xandar, was getting old, and was said to be working on an immortality spell in order to head off a power struggle after he dies. Whoever controlled the school would be the leading influence in magic for years to come. Being short on sense and long on guts you venture to the Sorceror's Spire to find out what is going on.
Comment: This is a very complex and difficult adventure. The plot is confusing, and the puzzles are not easy to identify or to solve. A saving point is that its use of magic is the best I've ever seen in Eamon. Your allies and enemies cast spells in combat, much more than the simple 'blast'. There's an impressive array of spells that the player can cast, for combat, as part of puzzles, and for other things.
The adventure was all very coherent and everything fit together very nicely. The puzzles all make sense, save for the main quest (reviving Xandar), which is difficult to even recognize, much less solve. I would have given it an (8) rating except for the extremer vagueness of this puzzle. You may or may not like this adventure, depending on whether you are able to recognize certain key elements of the plot.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: OPEN, SWIM, EAT, UNLOCK, EAT, EXITS, READ Deleted Commands: none, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0 Average Rating: 1.5/2
Description: "You are probably beginning to think that you should not have come here. Too late!!! There has been a full scale nuclear war where you are going and are just about to get close to what is known as GROUND ZERO.
"I am not sure how to get back to the Main Hall from here, or even if you can get back, or even survive. You probably wish that you didn't come here. Now. Too late! There is no turning back now."
Comment: This is a strange Eamon. It is set in the present, and you find yourself near the flat crater of a nuclear blast. You explore a sleazy night club and also a tunnel that inexplicably services both the anti-nuke "good guys" and the "evil" military installation.
The stance of this Eamon is that the military is a bunch of idiots who believe that nuclear weapons can't hurt you. The anti-nuclear energy, anti-military preaching got real old real quick.
Even so, the two things that really shot it down in my estimation were a huge number of useless rooms to explore and quite a few bad room connections. The stupid nightclub seemed to go on forever and was staffed. Also, the treasures seemed inappropriate for a setting right next to a fresh nuclear bomb crater.
Difficulty of (2) if you play the author's game and avoid doing anything that might expose you to radiation or pollution.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0 Average Rating: 2.2/5
Description: Take a tour on the Eamon Railroad. The train makes five stops and you get to explore each one.
Comment: It's a novel idea and actually not badly done, but the content is extremely low here. The setting is contemporary and there is darned little to see or do. The excitement of hanging out at any old train station is about what you would expect in real life.
By the time I reached the last stop, I found myself wondering why I bothered to explore it.
Difficulty of (2).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, SAW, EXITS Deleted Commands: None Special Features: EXITS command Playing Time: 30-90 minutes Reviewer's Rating: 1
Description: You have been sent to recover the top secret plans from deep within the enemy's base. If you can make it out with the plans, you will receive 1500 gold pices. Good Luck!
Comment: This is one of the worst Eamons in existence. The copy I have has a lot of bugs. Even after I fixed it, it was still bad.
The EXITS command lists the known exits of a room, since the room descriptions and names do not. The descriptions are uninteresting. The only puzzle is one involving sawing some bars.
For hack'n'slashers, this game has only 10 monsters in about 90 rooms, and each one is a real wimp.
This Sam person has written four other adventures, 101 through 105, each about as good as this one. I would not recommend any of these to anyone unless they had all of the other ones and want a complete collection.
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: OPEN, SWIM, EAT, UNLOCK, EAT, EXITS, READ Deleted Commands: none, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 10-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0 Average Rating: 1.5/2
Description: "As you leave the Main Hall, you find yourself being teleported to what appears to be a planet that seems to have suffered a very bad fate in the past. The air is quite polluted. There are signs around that point the way to see mainly ruins. Some of the buildings look more damaged than others. Please be careful when you explore.
"If you survive and get back home, try not to let the real world suffer the same fate that has befallen this world."
Comment: If you can't tell from the stats above, this Eamon uses exactly the same MAIN PGM as Eamon #101. It even has the same number of rooms. It has the same good guy, some scientist named Sally, and everyone else is a guard or a wacko.
This was mildly painful to play. It is insufferably preachy about the Evil of nuclear power and the Goodness of solar and hydro power. All the nuke facilities are, of course, in horrible shape, and all the alternative energy facilities are showplaces. Sheesh.
It's a stupid Eamon and only worth a play if you are working on playing the entire set. I give it a (4) for difficulty because of all the hits taken from radiation, but if you stay out of the nuke facilities, it's more like a (2).
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: none, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 10-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 1.0 Average Rating: 1.0/2
Description: No introduction. You wander aimlessly around a nearly deserted vacation resort.
Comment: 74 rooms, a large percentage of which have interesting descriptions such as YOU ARE IN A ROOM. Several bad room connections. There's almost nobody there, and the half-dozen bad guys include a soldier, a homicidal baseball player, and guards armed with Star Wars weapons. The loot includes really neat stuff such as a faded cookbook lying on a kitchen counter. My take for the adventure was 64 GP.
Difficulty of (1).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: DRINK, UNLOCK, FREE, TYPE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-res map in intro Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.0/2
Description: "A group of Nazi fanatics have made plans to invade the Main Hall. Not only have they captured many fine Adventurers, but in their last raid they took the burly Irishman captive. They also took the complete floor plans for the Main Hall. With those, they can invade any adventure they choose -- even this one.
"The Nazi camp is nearby and run by a Herr Hess. It is heavily guarded by both humans and dogs. You can not refuse. The life of every Eamon Adventurer is at stake. There are rumors of experiments going on there, something called --accelerated cloning."
You get a look at a rough map of the compound, and are on your way!
Comment: It's a real hi-res map, too. I'm not sure that it actually helps any, but it's a nice touch. This is a quasi-science fiction offering: the Nazis are not only invading neighboring adventures, but are cloning grotesque half-human mutants to help guard their compound. But it feels more like a contemporary Eamon setting to me than an SF one.
You will pick up plenty of companions as you rescue various denizens of other familiar Eamon adventures, and the bad guys don't hit all that hard. Bring some heavy artillery, at least a 3D8 weapon. The guards are well-armored and can take quite a beating before you wear them down.
Not only that, but Bob re-uses old, dead bad guys as "new" guards whenever you trip an alarm, so you will find yourself fighting most everyone twice before you win through. This gimmick works well to keep the database small, and would have played quite well if the monsters got new names when resurrected. They mostly have names like GUARD #22, so it wouldn't have been all that difficult to manage. But they are not renamed; it is a bit jarring to find yourself fighting people that you have already killed!
This being an older version 5 Eamon, Bob had to invent his own version of things like hidden doors and embedded artifacts. This extra coding was not always elegantly done, sometimes looking for the entire name of a monster or artifact. It is a very good idea in this adventure to always type the complete name of the artifact or monster, just to cover yourself. If you don't, you may not find everything that you need to complete the quest.
There is no "Attaboy/AwShucks" text at the end of the adventure to tell you how you did, so let me tell you what you should do to feel like you have completed the adventure successfully: pick up the maps and the plans, and rescue the burly Irishman. Bonus points for rescuing the Cyclops and killing Hess.
Here are a few hints to keep you from going astray: the corrugated metal box found in prison camps is called the COOLER. The vault is important. UNLOCK won't automatically show you what is beyond the locked door or inside the artifact.
Players of the DOS 3.3 and 40-col. ProDOS versions would do well to watch out for a dirty trick that Bob plays on you if you do a certain action without thinking about the consequences. It's a pretty funny trick, if you have done a recent game save. I won't spoil the surprise by telling you what it is; just trust me and do a save before trying anything unusual.
This one ranks in at about (6) for difficulty, if you remember to type full names and watch those room descriptions for clues.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 8.0 Average Rating: 7.7/3
Description: "You find a body lying face down near a stream. Cautiously you turn him over and look at his face. An Elf! This one is badly wounded and delirious. The Elf keeps talking about dragons. No. A dragon. The last dragon! A ship waiting in a hidden cove. He draws a crude map in the mud showing its location and dies.
You stare silently at his body and ponder his words. A treasure! A dragon! A mysterious voyage! You think to yourself, 'Here is your great adventure. Why hesitate? Do you want to live forever?' You mount your horse and ride towards the cove."
Comment: This Eamon has many elements in motion. Like many of Roger's Eamons, you must pay close attention to what you've been told, and must try to do the right things in order to cause the plot to move forward.
At first glance this seems like a simple Quest to kill a dragon. But there is far more going on here than just that quest, and killing the old dragon (if you survive) is just the first part of the adventure.
While you have to read carefully, this is not really a puzzler's Eamon. There are lots and lots of secret passages and locked doors, and there are three magic words to learn. But the secret passages are found with a simple LOOK, the doors all have keys, and the magic words will get things moving when nothing else seems to work.
Lots of combat. Very well written. Interesting plot twists. Highly recommended! I give it a difficulty of (7).
Here are a few hints:
Invictus is for one purpose only; don't try it before its time. Think about a world without dragons to slay, but don't let it keep you from putting the old dragon out of its misery. And never forget to try the magic words when you need a result.
It is a bad time for the free people. The forces of the Dark Lord, Sauron, are massing; armies of orcs, trolls, and evil beasts are strengthening the shadow that will soon envelope the Earth.
For the moment, the land of the west is protected by the Misty Mountains which Sauron is not yet ready to cross. The men of the south have been fighting bravely, but cannot hold out long against Sauron’s dark forces. But there is hope. At great risk, a wizard and his ranger companion smuggled information out of Sauron’s fortress which could be of great use to the men of the south. They set out to deliver the information but discovered all paths through the Misty Mountains were blocked due to winter storms and other routes were watched by Sauron. The two men decided to take the path that would not be watched by the Dark Lord because it is more terrible than his army – through the mines of Moria.
Built by the dwarves long ago, Khazad-Dum (the Halls of the Dwarves), became the center of dwarfdom. Skilled dwarvish miners built a kingdom under the Misty Mountains. The mines produced immeasurable amounts of gold, silver, iron, jewels, and most important – Mithril, the most valuable metal on Earth! But the dwarves dug too deep and awoke evil things far below the Earth. Many dwarves were slain and the rest were forced to flee. The doors were shut and Khazad-Dum was renamed Moria – The Black Chasm.
As a precaution, the wizard left a copy of the information with the bartender at the Main Hall. The wizard has not been heard from and the bartender now gives you the information to deliver. Your mission is to enter the mines of Moria from the west, survive in Moria, find the exit, ‘East-gate,’ and deliver the information to friends.
The setting may sound familiar to you. It is from the Lord of the Rings. And like the book, the action doesn’t stop. The monsters are mean and plentiful, the way through the mines is treacherous and the clues/hints are very, very subtle.
I found a variety of monsters from orcs to trolls and from spiders to dragons. The dungeon kept me interested with gates, cave-ins and chasms. A little humor is threaded throughout the adventure. All in all, I am very impressed with Sam Ruby’s style. And this is his first adventure! What do I have to look forward to?
This is part one of a three part series. Part two is adventure #109 – The Forest of Fear. Part three we have not received yet, but have learned from this adventure (#108) that is will be titled the Ring of Doom. One need not have to go through the series in order or have all three diskettes to play the adventures.
The only problem I had with the Mines of Moria were the bugs (see this issue’s Bug Bytes column.) However, bugs in a good adventure are much preferable to perfect code (or no special programming) in a boring adventure. Sam Ruby definitely does not making boring adventures and seems to have a very good grasp of what the Dungeon Designer 6.0 can do for an adventure. I am looking forward to playing and reviewing The Forest of Fear.
Description: The chief of the Nazgul, the Witch-King of Angmar, has recently re-occupied one of Sauron’s old haunts, the fortress of Dol Guldur (Elvish for "Hill of Dark Sorcery")
Dol Guldur lies at the head of some foothills in Mirkwood Forest. The forest was once a bright place, but Sauron and his evil poisoned it. The Wood-Elves of the North renamed to forest "Mirkwood"… the Forest of Great Fear.
Worst of all, the Black Captain of the Nazgul has captured and locked away in his prison a wise and mighty ranger, who is much needed in the fight against the Dark Lord.
Your mission is three-fold: One, to secure Southern Mirkwood (where the trouble is) and drive off or kill all the foul creatures you find there. Two, to rescue the ranger and bring him out alive. Three, if possible, destroy the chief of the Nazgul.
Comments: A noble mission; however, I feel one and three should be switched –One, destroy the Chief of the Nazgul, and three, iff possible, drive off or kill all the foul creatures in Southern Mirkwood. Have you every tried to kill all enemies in an adventure? In this particular case, special weapons would be needed (and some may be found/earned) but even so, good armor, ability, agility, heal spell, etc. would still be required. Friends can be found and are most welcomed on this adventure, but rest assured, killing all of the fiends is not required to leave the forest. I suggest just killing as many as you can and then make a dash for the exit (all the while keeping the ranger from being killed.)
This is a good brute-force adventure. And it makes you think about the survival of others. (By the way, there is no way to heal the ranger once is he is hurt, unlike some sneaky authors’ methods.)
The characters are interesting and plentiful, the treasure valuable, but the descriptions were lacking once inside Dol Guldur. Overall, the play is good. I was continually getting myself in trouble the first time I played it (mainly by poking my nose into everything that came along) but got through the adventure on the second try with a little more common sense.
This adventure is recommended for those times when you want to kill something or have a strong character is bored with the usual ‘wimps’ (normal hardiness characters) in most dungeons.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: EAT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-Directions Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "The Adventurers Guild has a very large mission for you. You must travel to Fire Island, an island several miles off the local coast.
"Once there you must stop a mad scientist from activating a large volcano. If he succeeds not only will many lives be lost, but we will lose one of our only supplies of citrus fruit.
"If you come back empty-handed, you will die."
Comment: He's not kidding, either. If you don't kill the mad scientist, you die when you try to return to the Main Hall.
I had mixed feelings about this Eamon. On one hand it was moderately clever, interesting, and funny. But on the other hand it was silly and stupid in some ways. It has good overall design, and with better writing it might have gotten a 7-rating, but there you are.
It's a challenging dungeon to explore, with lots of secret passages, a very tough maze, and many strong opponents, particularly a couple of very strong dragons that make your life rather more difficult. Many of the descriptions and events go for laughs, which tends to run a little thin for me unless it's very well done. I did smile a few times, but this never comes close to the humor of the funniest Eamons.
I am bumping the difficulty up to (8) because of the strong bad guys. It's tough to stay alive when, for example, facing a trio of giants with Hardiness ratings in the 60's-80's.
A friend, Heinrich, has died. But he has left you an inheritance. Heinrich had always talked about going to Europe and you feel this is how he would like you to spend the money he left. Packing your weapons (apparently airport security is low) you board a plane and take off for the European continent.
After landing in London, you find that the flights out have been discontinued due to a strike. You long to find romance and fortune, but now must also find a way home.
This is the first adventure by David Smith and is written to be education; a glimpse of Europe. David apparently has included some of his own experiences (including getting lost in Poland?) The descriptions of the countries include one or two characteristics of each and the map follows a European map pretty closely – although some countries are hard to find.
Several ‘keys’ must be found to go through a series of moves to find a way home. The ‘keys’ are not obvious and their locations can not be deduced logically; they are seemingly hidden at random around Europe (hence the 4-5 hours).
I rated the adventure for its educational value and did learn a few things about Europe. For you puzzle solvers and warriors, this dungeon is probably not your style. Basically the action is restricted to searching for artifacts and locating the keys. There is lots of treasure, however, I sold my loot for over 10,000 gold pieces!
In summary, this is an educational adventure that is good for beginning adventurers. I believe with a little practice and intriguing plots, David Smith could make quite an impression on the Eamon world.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 6.0
Description: You have been up for several nights in a row studying for your final exams at the College of Wizards and Wanderers. Your history test is the one that really worries you. There are so many historical figures and deeds to learn. You suddenly remember an endurance potion that was given to you by a Senior you once did a favor for. You take a large swallow.
Too late, you notice that the potion's expiration date has passed! As the room begins to spin, your mind tries to focus on all the facts you have been reading about. You must find your way out of this nightmare. Learn what you can while you fight history's villains and search for the treasures of our past.
Comment: You find yourself on a road in a strange land that is populated by a wide assortment of people from the history of the world. As usual, there is no exit in sight and you must traverse the entire map before you find it. While there is a fair amount of combat, it isn't too difficult to overcome your enemies. About the only puzzling consists of doing a LOOK in every room and opening embedded containers to find hidden keys and treasures.
The premise of the adventure works out well enough and the historical aspects are presented as well as you could possibly expect in single descriptions. One item drove me nuts and lowered my rating of this adventure: Dave has set up every piece of water on the map as a death trap. I guess that he assumes that your armor carries you to the bottom, and he permits you to enter the water without any warning or windup. Never try to go in a direction that might put you underwater and you will enjoy this adventure more than I did. I give it a difficulty rating of (5).
Description: You are anticipating a few mugs of ale and a soft bed after returning from a difficult adventure. You sit down at your usual table and then become aware of the strange absence of conversation.
Most of the patrons, although seemingly immersed in their cups, are staring at you. The rest are looking at a small, wizened man half-hidden in a dim corner. The dark robe and high collar indicate that the man is a sorcerer and the single spiral worked in silver threat is the badge of apprenticeship. Eyes quickly turn away as the muffled figure approaches you and silently sits down. A hand, dark with age, rises and slowly pushes back the cowl. The wrinkled, bald head contains a pair of cold, black eyes and a near-lipless mouth.
"I am Kulath, apprentice to the magician Mevtrelek A’Haet. He has sent me here to engage the services of an experienced adventurer. I have had little success with those you see here. All say you would be the most appropriate choice."
Though you silently curse the generous recommendations of the others, the name of one of Eamon’s most powerful mages excites your curiosity, and, of course, your well-known avarice. You nod at the wizard to continue.
"Recently, strange disturbances in the usual order of things have occurred. The most timid of animals attack those who come near. Fields are ravaged at night and dogs howl during the day. Lightning appears in cloudless skies and thunder is heard beneath the ground.
"Mevtrelek was attempting to determine the cause of this chaos when his life-orb disappeared in a flash of red light. He was able to trace its location before coming too weak to continue."
"Now bedridden, he is losing strength day-by-day and will surely fail soon unless the orb is returned. My presence is needed here to care for Mevtrelek else I would go. We are prepared to pay the successful adventurer 5000 GP upon his return!"
Kulath leads you to his nearby rooms and carefully locks the door. He chants a short incantation and the air becomes hazy.
"Just a de-scrying spell to confuse the sight of any enemies. Now, take this amulet and wear it. Then quickly memorize the spells in this book." The small thin book contains but two spells: STEALTH and SEEK. You have no trouble learning them but there is no explanation to their effects.
You lay the book down and turn to Kulath to ask him about the spells when he shouts, "Now!", and his room disappears. A moment of disorientation and you reappear in the midst of a dark forest.
Starting in the middle of a forest with little information, the road to success starts slow. Putting together what information can be found is a bit tedious at first, but after an hour or so, the plot becomes intriguing. I have to admit it took me three tries to survive this adventure, even will Bill of Accounting who was armed to the teeth with an IRS long form and a pad of pink slips.
Life-Orb of Mevtrelek has good room descriptions, interesting situations, and kept me enthralled with the story. I was always asking myself how each item or new event fit into the plot and what could I deduce from the extra knowledge. I liked the special effects, but unfortunately cannot even hint at them lest I spoil the fun/surprise/etc.
The problems I had with the adventure consist of an unhealthy number of rats, all of which were described the same; the POWER routine is the same as the DDD base program; and the game wouldn’t restart once saved using the DOS on the original disk. We have changed the DOS and are fixing a bug concerning the light routines – the oil lamp never really goes out (See Bug Bytes, this issue).
I was also somewhat disappointed with the lack of 6.0 features that were used. However, the good points outweigh the bad points and I recommend this adventure to all, experienced and inexperienced alike. I believe with a cautious effort, a beginning character can complete this mission.
Description: While lounging about in the Main Hall, two newcomers (an uncommonly fair high-elf and dingy-robed wizard) approach and proposition you.
‘I represent sponsors of a forth-coming expedition into the abandoned mines of Moria,’ the wizard states. ‘There will be a worthy quest, fabulous loot and incredible danger. Dost thou have interest in such an adventure?’
(Who does he think he’s talking to?!!) You nod and try to look nonchalant.
‘This is good, for you are my choice among the many worthies of this hall. As all know, the Dwarvish stronghold of Khazad-Dum that many know as Moria was sacked by the Orcs many hundreds of years ago,’ he explains. ‘It was then that the ring of power that controlled Moria was lost.’
The wizard leans closer, ‘We have reason to know that the ring is still there, and may be recovered by one both cunning and strong.’
Again you nod and state, ‘I am that one.’
The wizard stands stiff and tall and invokes, ‘Peiah!...Arrah!...Zero!’
You suddenly find yourself in a lovely forest, surrounded by elves. Before you is a high-elf lady of great power. Thus did she speak:
‘I see that the wizard has chosen well, a strong warrior of good heart. Know you the ring, should you find it, is the rightful property of the Dwarf Hight Thror, who is of the Lonely Mountain far to the north. And we of the forest Lothlorien would see the ring of power recovered, for we do not like the threat of such falling into evil hands.’
‘I have chosen two stout companies for the quest. The first is the good dwarf Gorim, nephew of Thror. The second companion will be the Wood-elf Galahir, a master bowman.’
‘And know that I have enhanced your own power spell. It will not fail you for five invocations, but then will be exhausted; use it wisely. It may be invoked by any of the three companions."
Comments: The descriptions are fantastic! I felt I could actually see some of the rooms. The puzzles are interesting with a few tricks thrown in. The hardest part of the adventure is finding where to look for a needed object.
This adventure makes good use of 6.0 features (hidden objects, locked/unlocked doors, etc.) has some special effects (once in awhile the characters converse) and can be very frustrating. I found a torch (which doesn’t last very long) but could not find anything to light with it to help me see in the mines. This problem went on for several tries. Once solved, I became very alert of the surroundings and questioned the existence of most everything I was. This proved to be helpful. In the end, I realized that I have been taking most Eamon adventures for granted (expecting them to work via my knowledge of the MAIN PGM) and this adventure got me to think again.
One word of warning, especially to those of you who already have this adventure in your possession: The records room is described as having doors on both ends of the room and that they are strong enough to hold off an army. You could meet an army and therefore decide this is where the army needs to be trapped. Although this was the original intent of the author, due to the size of the adventure program, this feature was deleted. DO NOT trap the army in the records room! If this is done, there will be no way out of the adventure once the mission is completed.
This is the second adventure we have received set in Moria from the Lord of the Rings; the other being #108 The Mines of Moria by Sam Ruby. Both are excellent, but do not resemble each other in plot, mission, or description.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: EAT, REFORGE Deleted Commands: SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "Ages ago, in times few remembered, the Dark Lord, Sauron, fashioned Rings of Power in his Land of Mordor. One he made for himself, and it was the mightiest, for it could control the others.
In all, twenty rings were made. The Elves were not tricked by Sauron's false friendship, so they hid their Rings. Sauron has taken back the Seven of the Dwarves. The Nine are used by the Black Riders, the Nazgul, who are Sauron's most powerful servants. But the One was lost.
Lost that is, until now. The One has been found, by the 'good guys', fortunately, for if Sauron recovers it he will be invincible!
Being a mighty warrior and hero of the land, you are summoned to a council of the Wise, and the leaders of the free peoples. A debate occurs over the question of what to do with the Ring.
The council's leader says, after long debate, "We must destroy it. Doing that will destroy Sauron. It must be thrown into the Mountain of Fire, Orodruin, called Mount Doom. However, Mount Doom lies in the land of Mordor, where Sauron dwells."
You volunteer to be the ringbearer. You must go through a mountain pass called Cirith Ungol and into Mordor. There you will throw the Ring into the fire of the mountain. You are given some Elvish waybread, shards of a once-mighty sword, and a flask of a magical liquid.
Comment: This adventure is classic Ruby from his "Middle-Earth period". It is a reasonably accurate rendition of Frodo's portion of The Return of the King, beginning at the Rangers' hideout and continuing on to the Cracks of Doom.
This is a very tough adventure, with very dense combat, and often harsh consequences for wrong decisions. To enhance the danger, Sam deleted the SAVE command from the adventure. Get it right, or die. Because of the very intense combat, I give it a (9) for difficulty. Bring your strongest character and heaviest weapons!
The puzzles are pretty easy, if you have read Tolkein's Lord of the Rings books. If you haven't read them, then some of the necessary actions may be pretty obscure. If you've read the books, it's a Hack'n'Slasher's delight.
Here are a few hints to lighten the difficulty: the reforged sword is a 5D5 weapon; if that's a big gun for you, then be sure to watch for the opportunity to reforge it. You can complete the Quest even if you do not have Frodo, Sam, or Gollum with you. Look for the Rangers at the beginning, they will be invaluable in combat.
Sam did a pretty nice job with special text. There are many secret passages, and every one has its own special text announcement. Overall, a nice job. It would easily have garnered a higher rating if not for the high difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: THROW, PULL Deleted Commands: SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 2-3 hrs. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "In the beginning, the gods called the Valar came into the world. Then other races were born. Among them were the Elves, wise and skillful. Their greatest smith, Feanor, created three gems--the Silmarils--which shone with the light of stars.
"But the Valar named Melkor took the Silmarils and fled to the North, and the Light of the World was diminished. From that day he was called Morgoth, the Black Enemy. He built a vast underground complex, and it was named Angband, the Iron Prison. Above Angband, he raised Thangorodrim, the Mountains of Tyranny. Morgoth made war on all that would not call him king. He set the Silmarils in an iron crown, and it never leaves his head.
"Now, the Final War is brewing. As the armies prepare for battle, you are summoned by Manwe, the king of the Valar. He tasks you to infiltrate Angband and retrieve the Silmarils. This is extremely dangerous, for Morgoth has a great host of monsters at his command. And none who have entered Angband have come out alive.
"You travel for days through forests until you come to the edge. In the distance you see Thangorodrim, and the entrance to Angband.
"May the Valar give you strength!"
Comment: As we all know, Sam cut his teeth in Eamon by adapting much of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth saga to Eamon. This adventure is Sam's adaptation of the Second Age story of Beren One-Hand, as it was recounted in "The Silmarillion". Naturally, much had to be changed to make an adventure out of it, but all of the primary characters are in place.
Castle Angband was a very dangerous place that was populated by very powerful denizens. Sam sought to duplicate the vast danger that was recounted in the original story. There are four or five friendly monsters and over 80 enemies. Many of the bad guys are demonic and have huge Hardiness numbers. To enhance the danger, Sam removed the SAVE command. Get it right or die.
Still, it's not an impossible adventure for a very strong character carrying a 'tactical nuke' class of weapon. I found it to be quite playable with a player hardiness of 25 and a 4D8 sword. And Sam scattered three healing potions around the castle. Everything that I drank healed me.
This is a savage "Hack'n'Slash" foray. While there are about a dozen locked doors, they are all easily opened once you find and dispatch the bad guy who has the key. There are a half-dozen secret passages, all revealed by LOOK.
I gave it a (10) for difficulty when I first played it some years ago. This high number comes from the heavy combat against very strong opponents, a couple of no-warning death traps, and the lack of a SAVE command. I found the replay for this review to be much easier, because I had my old map to guide me past the worst of it.
The high difficulty also had a lot of effect on my rating of the adventure. It has the kind of high-quality text and map that we have come to expect from Sam and might rate a 7 or 8 if it was more survivable.
This adventure comes from a period in which Sam strongly believed that a good adventure should require several replays before you win through. It is virtually certain that you will play it two or three times at the minimum. Make careful notes on your map of the locations of your friends, of important artifacts, and of the bad guys that can be avoided, and you will make it soon enough.
One hint: Though I found him to be killable by conventional means, Morgoth can be easily slain if you use the right command and artifact.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: DRINK, HELP, OPEN, READ, RUN, STATUS, USE, KEY, BELL, SOUND, RESTORE, QUIT Deleted Commands: WAVE, FLEE (replaced by RUN) Special Features: sound effects, key click, prompt bell, (all can be turned on and off) 80-column version accepts lowercase input, unlimited heal and power spells, can heal other monsters, can save up to 3 games, can restore at any time. Playing Time: 2-4 Hours Reviewer Rating: 8.0 Average Rating: 8.0/4
Description: "Dungeon of Doom is not a game for undeveloped characters. Weak characters will be eliminated quickly. It is suggested that your character have some armor expertise and that they know the 'heal' spell...
"Dear adventurer: You have been chosen by the A.A.A. (Adventurers Association of America) as the only one capable of the following task:
"You are to enter the dark recesses of the dungeon of the great dragon Shantieka in search of the black sword. It has been said that Shantieka herself guards the sword, deep in the dungeon's lower level. You are to find it and return it to the A.A.A. (by making it out of the dungeon alive.) If you should make it back with the sword, great wealth and fame shall be yours. And now, you are teleported to Shantieka's dungeon. Good luck
Comments: Above is all of the intro except for the notes on the commands. Here we have a classic "kill and loot" game with several bells and whistles with some good puzzles thrown in for good measure. The first puzzle you encounter is a medium-tough riddle that when solved, allows you to proceed to the lower level. The dungeon itself is huge with tons of bends, t-intersections, and 4-way intersections.
The intro isn't kidding about the game being tough! There is loads of combat with a large variety of monsters. The unlimited heal spell is absolutely necessary and the fact that you can heal your companions is something that I have always missed in older Eamons so I'm glad to see it included.
This is the most ambitious Eamon (in terms of features) I have ever played based on the old version 4 DDD. The sound effects are not great but add some fun to the game.
Another nice feature is the status command which prints the information about your character that you can normally only review from the Main Hall. This is good as the power spell can mess with your stats and also, you can decide if a weapon you find is worth keeping. The help command merely lists all commands.
I'd peg the difficulty around 7. A few hints: pay attention to the advice you are given just after you get to the second level. Don't read any writing on the second level as one inscription holds a nasty surprise. It's not a death trap but it does set you back a bit. Also, ProDOS users should run the "Eamon.117.INTRO" program to resume and DOS 3.3 users should run the "DUNGEON OF DOOM" program. Otherwise, the sound routine won't get loaded and you'll end up getting dropped into the monitor.
Overall, I liked this Eamon. My only complaint is that although the puzzles were good, there weren't enough of them. I'm a big puzzle fan. I would recommend this game to anybody who likes combat and likes unusual game features.
MAIN PGM version: 6.0 Extra Commands: REMOVE, WEAR, PRESS, JUMP, KICK Deleted Commands: none Special Features: 10-direction adventure Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 8
Description: The demon Pitt is challenging any fools or adventurers in the countryside to attempt the recovery of the 'Star Stone', a nearly priceless jewel, from his tomb. From what you have heard, this demon collects traps of all kinds. In Pitt's tomb you will probably find some of his collection.
Comment: This is a good adventure. It is not overly complex plot-wise but it has 44 special Effects. There are 6 or 8 nifty events that keep your interest up. There are only 8 monsters, but they are all pretty much important encounters; there are no miscellaneous guards or orcs here. One monster is a puzzle to be beaten and another is a sorceror who has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. The puzzles are thickly laid but generally fairly simple, including a dozen of the 'key' variety. The traps are well done and may be considered puzzles, as all can be found before they hit you.
Scott writes pretty well and has a sense of humor. I enjoyed a couple of running gags. There were also a number of things that were intriguing, but I never found their purpose, suggesting more Good Stuff that I missed. This adventure is of your basic 'kill & loot' variety, but it is a cut above the ordinary such Eamon. I give it a (6) for difficulty. Recommended to anyone who can get along without buckets of gore.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, OPEN, PULL, WEAR, DRINK Deleted Commands: none Modified Commands: EXAMINE Special Features: plays music Playing Time: 4-6 hours Reviewer's Rating: 6
Description: The annual Saturnalia is coming up and you are flat broke. Already you can hear your comrades ribbing you because you can't afford to buy them drinks during the holidays.
Desperate to avoid this embarrassing predicament, you must get out of town during the holidays, but nobody leaves during the holidays without the possiblity of making lots of coin with little effort.
Finally you decide to skip town to the remote burg of Grunewalde on the premise that you have a lead on the location of the lost Gruner mine.
And you're off to Grunewalde!
Comment: This was a really fun adventure, and surely would have gotten a higher rating if Pat had put a quest into it somewhere. The plot seems to be to hang around until the holidays are over and then come home.
Though it lacks a true quest, there is lots of stuff you can accidentally get involved in. You can get sent on a search of the caves for a cask of Amontillado, discover the Duke's horrible secret, and find the lost Gruner mine.
The game seems quite erratic in its purpose. One moment you're dealing with an intriguing mystery about the Duke, and the next you are battling the nefarious El Mouldo of Johnny Carson fame. In fact, many parts of the game have something to do with the Tonight Show, contrasting with its more serious side.
If you want something along the lines of Pat's later adventures such as the excellent 'The Dark Brotherhood', you will be somewhat disappointed. But if you like light humor in your Eamons, then this will suit you well.
Scarcely in recorded history has Eamon experienced such calamity. It seems all of nature has finally run amok. Animals normally possessed of mild temperament attack on sight and fight to the death. Strange winds and storms come up without foresight or warning, and then just as quickly are gone. No one so far seems to have an answer.
You are at a loss at what to do, if anything when you are summoned to the royal palace. Sagonne, royal wizard to the kind, has sent for all experienced free adventurers to come to his aid. The palace guard reports that you are the only one they could find. All the others have run off in search of the solution to this crisis on their own, or are hiding out until it passes.
Sagonne greets you from his bed, for the life-force seems to be draining from him each passing minute. He explains, "I need your help. I was going to use the power of my own life-orb to battle the strange forces that are tearing at Eamon, but upon reaching its magical resting place, I discovered it missing. I suspect there may be a link between its disappearance and this crisis."
"During the last few nights, I have had nightmares about someone trying to take the orb away. I woke each night with a hideous scream in a cold sweat. I took the precaution of placing a powerful force-field around the orb. Apparently, it wasn’t powerful enough."
"The orb is a magical vessel of great power and value – a powerful magic amplifier. It can increase the amount of magic a being can generate. If the possessor is willing to make the sacrifice of linking his life-force to that of the orb, the level of power that can be achieved is triple what would normally be possible."
"I made that sacrifice. But now that the orb is missing, my life-force has almost gone with it. I must have the orb back before my life-force ebbs and I die."
"Recently, I sent a party of adventurers to the lair of Tolor, a good friend of mine, to seek his aid, but there was a cave-in. Some of the party were trapped and buried, others returned saying the entrance was forever blocked."
"Tolor seems to have what we need to get where we must go, but he is forever buried now, possibly dead. There is only one hope – a rumored alternate route. I have instructed the palace guard to take you to a temple. There you may find your way. And please – be thou careful with the orb – for it is the orb of my life!"
With that, Sagonne passes out.
I believe this is John Nelson’s best adventure to date. The layers of discoveries coupled by deception are interesting and I received great satisfaction with each step of the problem-solving. The adventure is broken-up into three different environments, the temple, the cave, and the intriguing dimension of dreams.
Loaded with special effects, unusual situations not normally found in Eamon and interestingly hidden items (just using a LOOK command will not reveal all), this adventure kept my interest and made me want to keep trying even when the frustration was rising. Even when the solution is known, luck can still play a part in the carrying out of the final triumphant acts.
I recommend this adventure to all Eamonites, young and old, novice and experienced. The difficulty is mostly in the problem solving rather than survivability. Moderate characters and above should be able to complete this adventure, although it may take a couple of tries.
Author’s Note: Wrenhold’s Secret Vigil was written with the idea of creating a serious adventure with an atmosphere of mystery; much unlike the frivolity and general good time of my last adventure, The Prince’s Tavern. I found seriousness a lot harder to accomplish with a lot of detail to attend to and having to use logical (!?) thought processes to make the adventure flow smoothly and actually make sense. Although I am very pleased with this adventure, I believe I’ll be back to writing humorous scenarios because they are just plain fun.
NOTE: This is a very shortened version of the description for this adventure. The full-length description (or book, as some have said) is included on the adventure diskette and can be read or skipped at your own leisure. Very little of the below is in its actual context.
While napping by the edge of a lake, you wake to a heavy-set balding man shouting at you as he hastily wades from a nearby rowboat.
"My king has sent me for a hardened rogue to help save his kingdom. One such rogue would surely be well paid for his services," the man states.
You state you are what he seeks and insist he look no further. You learn his name to be Adrelik, the king’s scribe and engage him in conversation about your task.
"Things are not right within our kingdom," Adrelik volunteers. "Nightly raids are made on the king’s fields, scouts do not return from assignments and the wild animals run mad killing peasants and livestock.
"Our wizard, Wrenhold the pure, his life-orb stolen, grows weaker by the day. He can no longer cast spells to protect the kingdom."
The boat lands at a dock where a royal entourage awaits you. A dark-robed man silently escorts you thorough a door in the stone wall surrounding the lake-side of a castle and ushers through many passages before entering a conference chamber.
I am King Argas," the black-robed figure states. "Our land is troubled, crops razed, people hurt and killed by the most timid of creatures. Master Wrenhold, our wizard in counsel, was seeking an answer when he lost possession of his life-orb. Now he lies destitute, his health slipping each hour."
"We need you to either find the life-orb of Master Wrenhold or, better for us all, eliminate the travesty that plagues us. Master Wrenhold has become much too expensive lately for services all too often not rendered and we are uncertain of any solution he may propose even with his life-orb returned."
"If you succeed in your task, you shall be rewarded with 4000 gold pieces and a special weapon hand-made by elves that used to dwell in these lands before the Great Battle of Darkness."
You are then escorted to the base of a mountain, Mt. Eilaak, where the most incidents of attacks and disappearances have occurred.
This adventure could more accurately be described as an electronic novel in adventure form. The story is elaborate and interesting with lots of visual verbiage. Room descriptions, monster descriptions and all of the other descriptions in the adventure are very detailed and realistic. I found the adventure quite pleasing to play and fun to solve as long as I stuck to the main routes. The most unpleasant part of the adventure is a nasty little maze that is difficult to escape from or avoid. Staying out of this maze is a definite advantage.
Talking with Bob after playing this adventure, he told me a great deal more about the story that doesn’t come across completely in the adventure. I think it would make the adventure better to have some of this story elaborated more, but like I said before, it is already an electronic novel as it is.
I had little trouble surviving this adventure once I learned my way around and avoided unnecessary battle. You can take anyone from a moderate to heavy-hitter on this little romp. Keeping your eyes open, checking out almost every little nook and cranny is also advisable, and you will get some mental exercise too.
I would rate this adventure as one of the top 5 of 6 Eamon adventures and well worth any Eamonite’s playing time. A must for the collector of top notch adventures
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: (Paraphrase of a typically lengthy Ruby introduction): You and a good friend spy a sign: 'Adventurers! This Is Your Big Chance! Need two good warriors not afraid to face danger. Organizing expedition to the Valley of Death. Untold riches await!'
Inquiry reveals that only one man has ever survived a trip to that place, and he can't explain how he got out alive. You decline to sign on, but your friend goes ahead and signs up. And now he is missing.
You resolve to visit the valley and find your friend, and return alive!
Comment: This is a quite uncharacteristic Sam Ruby Eamon adventure. It is primarily a "kill 'n' loot" scenario; there are just a couple of gate keys for puzzles, and they aren't very deeply hidden if you look for them.
It has nothing at all to do with the Lord of the Rings stories, as all of Sam's other early Eamons do. The Valley of Death borrows more from King Kong than anything else, though there are no huge apes to be found. But there are plenty of dinosaurs, and a village outside a massive wall. The village is just loaded with people who want to kill you; in fact you'll find that you have to FLEE several times to get the number of enemies down to something survivable.
Lots of combat, with more than 50 enemies to battle. Hack'n'slashers will love this one. Just remember to examine likely-looking items in the descriptions to find out if they are real artifacts, and those keys will show up OK.
One hint: that firewood is really dry; it will burn in a place where you wouldn't expect it to.
I'm modifying my original ratings slightly, raising my rating to (5) and the difficulty to (7), because of two "gotcha!" death traps plus all the bad guys. (Don't forget that FLEE command, though!) Also, I should mention that it does have a Quest, to find your friend, though that is not very clear from the introduction text.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: DESTROY, HELP Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Voices spoken though speaker Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "Something is wrong with Hokas. You watch him as he walks across the Main Hall toward you with his eyes looking at the floor.
"Hokas starts to speak, 'My brother Pokas has been captured by the Wizard of the Spheres and none of the Adventurers here are willing to risk saving him. Will you help?'
"After thinking about the possible reward you say yes. 'Good,' says Hokas as he begins to smile. 'The Wizard of the Spheres is very powerful and has never been defeated. All the spells I have taught you will be useless against him.'
"You wonder what you have gotten yourself into. Hokas continues, 'The Wizard's power is contained in the many spheres which are stored in his lair. Destroy the correct ones and he will be helpless.'
Comment: This Eamon adventure has a feature that no other Eamon has: the various spheres and the wizard actually speak out loud to you! To be sure, the sound quality is quite poor because of the limitations of the Apple II speaker, but it's a very nifty effect.
While all of the standard commands are in place, you will quickly discover that the spells are indeed nullified by the wizard's powers. But it's not difficult to stay healthy, as the evil spheres aren't all that strong and healing is provided in a couple of spots.
This is a very simple adventure, with an elementary 50-room map, no puzzles, and short descriptions. Yet I was intrigued by the mental picture conveyed by the descriptions and greatly enjoyed the voice-related special effects.
This is probably an excellent choice for the young Eamonaut. It has a difficulty rating of about (4). The (5) rating that I gave it could have been a (6), except for two no-warning death traps that can only be avoided if you happen to have found and picked up the right artifacts before you reach them. But the adventure is simple enough that an occasional save will make these traps a minor annoyance. Be sure to get the latest version, dated 7/2/93, which has several playability enhancements. If you already own the older version, the bug fixes in this issue will help a lot.
You have been sought out to aid your two friends (from Thror’s Ring, #114), Gorim the Dwarf and Galehir the Wood Elf, in the rescue of the High-Elf, Fromir. Fromir’s wisdom is a vital asset to the forces of good in Middle-earth, but he has been seized by Orcs and imprisoned in Dolni Keep. Storming the keep would insure the quick demise of Fromir, but a small group might be able to penetrate the keep and affect the rescue. Gorim is going because the keep is of Dwarven construction. Galehir is going because the rescue of an Elf warrants an Elven representative. You are invited to join because the expedition needs a salty adventurer experienced in arms.
Despite the fact that this adventure has a small number of rooms, uniform monsters (orcs), and a reduced command list, it is a real treat to play. A consistent theme is developed and adhered to throughout. This is not a hack-and-slash adventure but a realistic treatment of the rescue theme. It plays more realistically then most Eamon adventures. The player is an actor in the flow of events rather than the agent who determines everything that happens. Thus, the adventure can be undertaken by an inexperienced character as well as an experienced one with almost equal chances of success. The experienced player must always bear in mind the ultimate purpose of the foray and sublimate the usual Eamon instincts to plunder and kill that he has probably nurtured through his previous adventuring.
The descriptions are well done and lend a feeling of action to the adventure. It’s almost a pleasure to go astray occasionally to see how well the author has covered all the bases. Your com[anions offer comments which add an extra touch of realism and imbue them with a personality not usually accorded to non-player characters. You may check their health, inventory the items they are carrying, or request objects from them. They each have special skills and the ability to switch weapons in combat. For example, Galehir carries spare bowstrings in case one should break in combat.
The adventure can be displayed in either 40 or 80 columns and is compatible with several 80-column cards, Videx or Apple //e compatible. There is a fast start feature which loads the initial status of variables and parameters in much the same way as restoring a saved game. This significantly reduces start-up time. The NOTES-COMMENTS-HINTS files discusses some of the specially programming and how it is designed. In addition this file lists adventure hints in chronological order so that they player can get help without revealing more the adventure then necessary.
Overall it is an excellent adventure with several innovations which greatly improve playability. The MAIN PGM (similar to that of Thror’s Ring) marks a radical departure from the standard one and warrants some study by prospective Eamon adventure designers.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: USE, EAT, LAMP, READ Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0
Description: "You are about to face your most trying task. A powerful and Irish landlady has raised the rent. Your friends are being evicted!
"You must help your friends! It is up to you. You must enter the Mattimoe Palace, defeat the landlady, and recover the rent cheques.
"However, Mrs. Mattimoe does not like just anyone to barge in on her. She has set many obstacles to overcome before you find her.
"You will undertake many tasks, but this is probably the most difficult. Good luck to you."
Comment: Most difficult, yeah, right. Sneak into a boarding house and murder the landlady, her husband, and most of the tenants because she raised the rent on your buddies. A Quest to make an Adventurer stand proud.
This is mostly straight Hack'n'Slash fare, as almost everyone you meet will want to fight. There are several mimic-type artifacts. Bring a strong weapon, as many of the bad guys are heavily armored.
The map has a couple of clever gotchas that were probably on purpose, although sloppy text handling and programming tends to give the impression that the mapping gizmos are errors. Rest assured, there is an exit to the Main Hall!
One "gotcha" death trap. Lots of combat. Difficulty of (4) with a good weapon.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: JUMP, WEAR, SWIM, THROW Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions, water consumption Playing Time: 1-4 hr. Reviewer Rating: 8.0 Average Rating: 7.3/3
Description: You are enjoying a quiet tankard of ale when you notice that it is getting dark outside. And it is only 9 o'clock in the morning! A large black cloud has formed over the town and is sending down jagged bolts of lightning. The frequent flashes show the cloud to be shaped like a giant taloned hand. The townspeople surge into the temple square to implore the priests to come forth and repel the evil manifestation. Pindar Rambis, the High Priest, appears, and his voice rings out:
"Be afraid, people of Eamon, for the conflict between Good and Evil is at hand and the evil ones have found new strength. My commune with the spirits has revealed that the tomb of beloved Anharos has been desecrated by grave robbers. His Diamond of Purity has been stolen! Anharos will reveal the gem when he is made whole again. Woe unto us if his tomb be not restored."
The tomb is in the Desert of Terza. Terza is the goddess of purification through pain and sacrifice. The desert is her personal domain, but it is inhabited by tribes of desert nomads, the Riffs, reputed to be thieves, slavers, and murderers. Anyone who could restore the tomb would be deemed the savior of Eamon and amply rewarded. It is an ideal quest for an Adventurer of your ilk; big dangers - big treasures. Before you go, you might want to hire a desert guide.
Comment: This adventure has a number of unique features that make it stand out from the crowd. First, you get to hire a guide at the beginning to get you through the trackless wastes of the desert. Second, the desert is hot; you (automatically) consume your water at a scary rate, and you must be on your toes to replenish your water bag. Next, Pat is up to his usual tricks, subtly rewarding good behavior and punishing evil behavior.
Pat is a master at the good/evil thing. You must be properly purified and protected before you can win through into the interior of the tomb. The scenario's atmosphere is top-rate, and the puzzles are well balanced. There's plenty of combat, too.
One thing kept this adventure from getting a (9) rating from me: the water consumption. The water goes fast and you will probably die and have to restart several times before you find sources of water replenishment. And once you do, you have to go off and replenish your water bag every 50 moves or so, and the traipsing back and forth gets a little old. (If you aren't opposed to a bit of cheating, the water counter is variable KW.) Apart from that one item, this adventure is high up among the best-written and most sophisticated of Eamons.
If you are a puzzler and/or appreciate well-written adventures, don't miss this one! It gets a difficulty rating of (8) as well.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: WEAR, REMOVE, COMBAT Deleted Commands: POWER, SPEED Special Features: None Playing Time: 2-5 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.8/2
Description: To make one of Sam's trademark long introductions short, Gandalf has commissioned you to seek out the One Ring and deliver it to Rivendell.
This story and quest is of course based on J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy. It encompasses just about all of the story that does not actually involve Frodo's Quest.
Comment: This Eamon dates from the time when Sam was just starting to find himself as a premier Eamon author. It is a very intricate story with very well-hidden puzzles and very dangerous combat. Sam expects you to get killed out several times and have to start over; he considered it part of the gaming experience at the time this was written. All this garners a difficulty rating of (8).
Bring some pretty strong weapons. You'll need them! They will go far in lessening the number of restarts you have to do.
Being one of Sam's earlier Eamons, it lacks the error tolerance of his later work. As long as you stay on the path of events that he has visualized, everything is fine. But stray too far from it, and the program may start having problems. I saw a couple of crashes and one endless loop. Yes, these are bugs, but the problems are related to plot events and far too complex for an outsider to fix.
So here are some hints to help you avoid those pesky problems:
The specifics of your Quest are outlined in the introduction. Read it carefully.
Discretion is the better part of valor at Weathertop.
Orthanc holds secrets.
Do not enter the secret passage in the cave unless you have a light source. This will come from an act of kindness to a stranger who you will not meet unless you know how to call them.
There is much to learn in Gondor, but Denethor will not help you unless you prove your worth by returning something to him.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: DIG, COUNT, WAIT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Special Dwarf handling Playing Time: 1-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: "Ages ago, there was Moria, the Dwarven home. But darkness came, and we were forced to leave. It was then that Thror went to Erebor, the Lonely Mountain of the East. There he built the kingdom in exile, and became King under the Mountain. The Dwarves prospered and traded with the Northmen of Dale and Esgaroth.
"Smaug the Terrible he was, a dragon from the Withered Heath. He destroyed Dale and entered the main gate of Erebor. Once inside he killed all the Dwarves, sealed the passages, and gathered the treasure. For two hundred years he has sat there. Now it is time for us to regain our gold and kingdom. Our journey itself will be perilous, for we must go through the north of the Forest of Fear, Mirkwood. Then we must reach Erebor and face the dragon.
"There must be a secret entrance. Our map does not show where it is, but there are words that prove that one is there, somewhere."
Comment: The above paraphrases Sam's intro, which is somewhat longer. In short, this adventure is based on J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit". You will accompany Bilbo Baggins and the fifteen Dwarves on their Quest to slay Smaug and regain the Lonely Mountain. You will play all the parts that Bilbo played in the book.
I give this adventure an (8) for difficulty. There are parts that may not be simple to figure out unless you have read "The Hobbit". If you have read the book, then the adventure will be easier as you will know what the correct course of action is, and will only have to figure out how to do it in the context of Eamon play.
As you might expect, having 16 to 18 companions would make a real mess out of the play, but Sam has thoughtfully made modifications so that instead of seeing 15 different Dwarf names each turn, you only see "The Dwarves are here." And the COUNT command enables you to list them to see who may be missing.
This is a clever adventure that captures much of the feel of "The Hobbit", without the fairy-tale touches that pervade the book. Sam added lots of special stuff to make many of the book's events come to pass in a very readable and entertaining fashion. But here is where the rating suffers: the special programming isn't very flexible and sometimes does a poor job of handling the events if you don't make exactly the moves that Sam envisioned.
It is for this reason that I revised my ratings of the adventure. When I originally played it years ago, I must have had less trouble than I encountered for this review playthrough. I had sufficient difficulty that I lowered my overall rating by one number and bumped the difficulty up by one number.
One last thing: this adventure is pretty well stuffed with bad guys. Hack'n'slash fans will likely enjoy this adventure a lot. There are plenty of unfriendly spots, so be sure to save early and often.
A desperate council has gathered in Minas Tirith, stronghold of Gondor, to determine a course of action to save Middle-earth from the hordes of Sauron. Sauron’s armies have taken Osgiliath, the bridge into Gondor, and only Minas Tirith stands between Sauron and the conquest of all Gondor. In the last attack the mithril bars that seal the main gate of Minas Tirith were broken, and another attack could easily breach it. Although most of the fighting men of Gondor have been gathered into Minas Tirith, they are still hopelessly outnumbered and will certainly be destroyed if Sauron’s legions penetrate the city. The council quickly decides that new mithril bars must be obtained to secure the main gate, but this brings back bad memories of Moria, the only known source of mithril.
Even if mithril can be retrieved from Moria, Sauron may still overrun Minas Tirith by sheer force of numbers unless additional forces aid Gondor’s cause. The dwarves would help, but they have sustained heavy losses and are contemplating acceding to Sauron’s will. The various groups of dwarves are splintered and there is no leader to unite them against Sauron. The return of Durin the Deathless is necessary to rally the dwarves. He is said to sleep in the depths of Moria where he awaits the time of the dwarves’ greatest need. Again, Moria is the focus of your interest.
The council decides to send an expedition into Moria. Boromir, the steward of Gondor, volunteers to go since Gondor no longer requires a steward when the king is present. Gimli, an emissary from the dwarves, volunteers to go to find Durink and to search for a group of dwarves who tried to retake Moria four years ago. Legolas, an elven prince, volunteers to help his good friend Gimli. Then everyone looks to you. Will you venture again into the underground haunts of Moria?
This adventure is a solid offering and provides both hack-and-slash and problem solving. The first half of the adventure is mainly hack-and slash while the problem solving occurs mainly in the second half. This creates the major drawback of this adventure – if you don’t successfully solve the problems, you can easily die. This means replaying the adventure from the beginning and repeating all of the hack-and-slash (and there’s a lot – why else would he give you 3 comrades at the start!). There are quite a few ways of meeting instant death in the second half of this adventure. It pays to look things over carefully before doing something potentially fatal.
There are more artifacts than usual since dead bodies are not artifacts but merely markers. This abundance of artifacts allows the player to interact with the environment to a greater extent than in many adventures. The descriptions are extensive although somewhat repetitive in places, particularly in describing orcs and trolls – but then again, there are lots of orcs and trolls. The author strongly suggests that a player first adventure in #108 – The Mines of Moria before trying Return to Moria. This is not absolutely necessary but there are references to events from #108 that would make more sense to someone who has played that adventure.
This disk has some additional ‘specials’ to recommend it. There are 3 extra programs included that provide extensive background information. PRONUNCIATIONS lists the pronunciations of some of the names of Middle-earth. THE HISTORY OF THE DWARVES provides an extensive history of Middle-earth with emphasis on the dwarven race but covering much more besides. MIDDLE EARTH ADVENTURES is a listing of the 8 Middle-earth adventures designed by the author. He notes their chronological order and their thematic connections. In addition, he reviews each one individually with a plot synopsis; ratings for monster content, treasure content, descriptions, problem solving, etc.; and his own overall rating of the adventure.
The land of Gondor is menaced by its traditional enemies who are massing forces to attack and destroy it. Corsairs from Umbar and Black Numenoreans have assembled a large fleet to assault Gondor by sea. The Haradrim, the warlike people of the southern desert waste of Harad, has assembled an army to assault Gondor by land. If either attack surprises Gondor, it will surely fall to its archenemies. Advance knowledge of the attacks is paramount to the defense of Gondor. If a spy could penetrate the southern waste, Haradwaith, and steal the battle plans, then perhaps Gondor could be saved. Anyone who undertook this mission would be confronted by the arduous task of crossing Haradwaith, locating the plans in the midst of the enemy, and escaping with the plans back to Gondor. And there is little chance of finding any help in the land of the enemy, although the tree foes don’t always get along well with each other. It’s a solo job for an experienced adventurer with courage, strength, and battle skill – namely you!
This is a relatively straight-forward adventure with plenty of combat. There is one problem in that two sets of plans must be obtained which is not clear from the adventurer’s introduction. The author makes this clear in his MIDDLE EARTH ADVENTURES program (See Review of #129 ‘Return to Moria’). This problem is compounded in that if the navel plans are obtained first, the program terminates without giving the player a chance to obtain the second set. The combat involves a lot of monsters, many of which are quite tough. The adventurer needs a strong weapon to have any hope of defeating these monsters. Unfortunately, since there is so much combat, it’s likely that the adventurer’s weapons will be fumbled, break, and severely injure or kill the adventurer. If you like to slug it out, this is a good choice for your Eamon library.
The naval program is an interesting change from the normal Eamon format and is well done. It requires some disk swapping, but directions are clear and easily followed. The command format may seem strange at first, but it isn’t really difficult. Remember, play this part of the adventure last.
There is also an interesting subplot which requires a good deal of attention to details. All that can be said is that the reward is commensurate to the effort.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: RESTORE, BUY, STATUS, USE, HELP, RUN Deleted Commands: FLEE Special Features: Status line, progress scoring, 80-column display ONLY, can save 3 games Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "You have but one task. Find the most precious treasure in the universe, the Nucleus of the Ruby. The great king Argoth stole the Argothian Ruby, a jewel of great power.
"Through years of abuse, the ruby has lost most of its previous power, but the nucleus is as powerful as ever. You must find it and be careful not to use its force unwisely.
"Remember, there are easier ways to get around than walking. Good luck and I hope you have plate and shield for armor!"
Comment: This is a very nicely turned out adventure, with a decent map and lots of little play enhancements. Most of the commands have special abbreviations available. Typing just the command defaults to ALL; for example typing a G executes a GET ALL command. Typing an A attacks the first enemy monster in the list.
The new commands are excellent. SAVE and RESTORE can do up to three different games. STATUS gives you a complete printout of your character stats, including weapon stats for all weapons carried. HELP tells you what dungeon level you are on. The status line tells you what your current score is both in points and percentage of total possible.
This is largely a "Hack'n'Slash dungeon, with the only puzzles being the "find the key" type. I did see what may have been a death trap if I hadn't been carrying a certain object, so you may want to accumulate as much stuff as you can in your wanderings. Many of the bad guys are pretty tough, so be sure to bring some strong weapons.
Even though it was very simple for my tastes, this Eamon was a pleasure to play because of its many minor playability specials and general good polish. It gets a (6) for difficulty if you bring a decent weapon or two. I only got 94% of the possible points and don't know what I missed, even though I got the nucleus and achieved the Quest. The nucleus was hidden, but it is very well hinted and I never doubted how to find it. Difficulty of (6).
Note that this Eamon REQUIRES an 80-column display. It works fine on an 80-column-equipped II+.
One hint: I never did find a light source.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: MEDITATE, EAT, SEEKER commands Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED Special Features: 10-directions, Seeker Robot, Healing through meditation, advice Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 9.0 Average Rating: 7.9/5
Description: "The time is the far distant future. Science and sorcery have intermingled and merged into a semi-scientific, semi-mystic art called Rhadshur.
"Things were going well until Threndor Tokas, descendant of the great Hokas Tokas, discovered a parallel universe. Zagora was identical to the world of Eamon; yet at the same time evil, twisted, and deadly. Threndor immediately recognized the danger, but it was too late. The evil Mystics of Zagora keep the hole open, and have stolen the Life Orb of Threndor, the only one capable of closing the hole. Threndor now lies unconscious and at the brink of death.
"Three Rhadshur Warriors have entered Zagora but none have returned. You are now chosen to enter Zagora & retrieve Threndor's Life Orb. You will be accompanied by the latest model Seeker robot.
"You close your eyes and go to third level meditation. You slowly bring your heartbeat and respiration back to normal. You feel the Mystics reach out and gently soothe your troubled mind. You go to tenth level meditation and form a mental image of your Ki. It shines gloriously like a fiercely blazing sun."
Comment: This adventure is classic Pender. The text descriptions are rich with detail, the map is sensible and interesting, and the combat and puzzles are well balanced. The basic Seeker robot has its own interface, and is able to SCAN the area and sometimes offers cogent advice.
There are several mini-quests to fulfill that you learn about as you progress through the adventure. You must find and deal with a street low-life who happens to have several important enhancements you will need for your Seeker. There are allies to find and/or rescue. You must connect with a banished Mystic who can supply you with assistance in combat against the evil Mystics. You discover that Threndor has been bodily kidnapped and must be found.
The standard spells have been disabled, but Roger offers several replacements for HEAL. The basic one is your ability to MEDITATE yourself back to health. This can only be done when you are not fighting; but once there you can enhance your Seeker to heal you during combat.
There are two small drawbacks that puts some people off: one is that the Seeker interface is somewhat awkward to use, and to cover all the bases you must LOOK, SCAN, and get ADVICE in every single one of the 100 rooms. Needless to say, this does get a bit old. The other is that all 10-directions get heavy use on a rather dense city map, and it is somewhat difficult to keep track of where things are. But this is a great adventure, and I loved playing it.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: STATUS, HELM, BEAM, COMPUTER, ASSEMBLE Deleted Commands: INVENTORY, READ Special Features: Animated Hi-Res Title screen, space travel simulation; timed deadline to complete quest Playing Time: 2-4 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "Hokas Tokas turns off his futurevision machine and says Eamon Trek is not your ordinary adventure as it is set in the galaxy Eamon with space sectors. Coordinates are in 3-D from 0-20 so that simple mathematics tells you there are over 9000 space rooms!
"But some sectors have stars with habitable planets or space stations. But beware of the Nebuleans. The United Federation of Eamon occupies half the space, the Nebuleans the other half, with the Neutral Zone in the middle.
"Your assignment is to rescue a scientist, Dr. D. Brown, who has been captured by the Nebuleans. You must complete your quest by Star Date 3750. Hokas ushers you into a clear tube where you teleport to the 23rd century."
Comment: Right off the bat this adventure hits you with a bit of strangeness: it calls itself "Eamon Trek" on the title page and in the intro. This adventure was entered into (and won) the AAA Eamon contest many years ago; Ron Maleika may have changed the name, as he was extremely mindful of not wanting to step on toes.
This is an unabashed clone of Star Trek. Your starship, the Intrepid, is simply laid out in seven rooms, and your crew consists of Sawbones, Scotty, and Mr. Sparks. The space travel mode is fairly clever, the plot develops nicely, and the quest evolves as you travel through space.
Each "planet" consists of 4 or 5 rooms that you beam to and from. The first planet that you visit will be very difficult unless you have seen the Star Trek episode in which Kirk builds a cannon from raw and natural materials.
The game's basic concept, plot, and space layout is excellent. However, the execution of many details was not well done. You must do an inordinate amount of traipsing about the Intrepid, going to each room for a single function. And the transporter only functions from transporter room to transporter room; nearly one-quarter of the rooms in this 58-room adventure are transporter rooms!
The monsters were not well thought out. Fully 27 of the 34 bad guys have names like "#22", and the descriptions all read, "YOU SEE A MASSIVE NEBULEAN CENTURION. HE IS TATTOOED #15" And you will find one of these guys in virtually every room on every planet, resulting in seemingly endless replays of the same combat scenario.
The adventure gets high marks for originality and low marks for execution; (5) is the average.
Difficulty is hard to score. When I first played this long ago, I found it childishly simple and gave it a (3) for difficulty. This time around I was unable to complete it without cheating. I had successfully completed every step, yet I was not permitted to beam down to the last planet, and I could not find my error. I don't know if I missed a subtle clue or if there is a flaw in the code that tracks the sequence of events.
How much you like this one will depend on how much of a Trek fan you are and how well you key on the clues. As I said, this adventure won the AAA Eamon contest, beating "Thror's Ring"; Ron obviously liked it a lot more than I do.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 4.0
Description: "After many weeks of traveling, you came to a huge pyramid. You found a small entrance on the south side of the ancient structure, but your guide refused to enter. He told you that the pyramid had been built during the days when the gods dwelled on Earth. He also said that it was a cursed house of pain and death and that he would never enter it.
"The next morning your guide and his camels were gone. Now you must decide what you will do. Will you risk death in the pyramid, or will you try to find some way home through the desert?"
Comment: Let me save you some aggravation right now: if you do anything but enter the pyramid, you die. Once you enter, you are sealed in, so the "quest" here is to find an escape from the pyramid. Apart from that, it is a straight kill'n'loot scenario with tons of loot and lots of combat.
It's a mildly annoying play because the screen pauses work poorly and the room description scrolls off the top in nearly every single room in the entire pyramid. You accumulate lots of companions, which aggravates this flaw.
It maps pretty well, although this is one huge pyramid based on the map layout. The Egyptian theme is not adhered to and you will find all kinds of inauthentic stuff and mixed mythology as you explore. The worst of the lot was the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, I think. Also, the authors must have been young guys because there is a bit of shock-value stuff that no doubt struck them as pretty funny. Tons of typos, too.
It gets a (3) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: SWIM Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 15-20 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0
Description: "This past week, a group of workers who were clearing out part of the dense forest uncovered an opening to a small cave. One of the workers ventured into the cave and never returned.
"You gather your weapons and armor as quickly as you can and head off to another adventure..."
Comment: Contrary to the above text, this is not a rescue mission. I never saw that lost worker. This is pretty much a straight "Kill'n'Loot" scenario with the only quest being to find an exit from the caves.
It has a very simple map of 43 rooms, no puzzles, one death trap, and mostly mild combat. With a difficulty of (2), it's probably very appropriate for Young Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, DRINK, INSPECT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0
Description: "You overhear an adventurer telling a tale of a great fortress, high atop a lone, foggy, mountain. He says it is heavily guarded, but claims that Goff is there.
Goff has a price on his head. He's a torturer and killer. Waiting only long enough to find out where the fort is, you set out to rid the world of the man named Goff."
Comment: This is a pretty well done Kill'n'Loot type Eamon. There are no puzzles, just lots of combat and loot. The map is large for an Eamon of this difficulty level, but it is not extremely complex. The style is that of older Eamons that had a bit of this and that in them. It has no anachronisms, and is coherent.
The low rating reflects low content rather than any problems. With a difficulty of (2), it looks like a good pick for young Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, LOCK, THROW, DRINK, READ Deleted Commands: none Special Features: none Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer's Rating: 6
Description: While reading an old history book, you read of a powerful wizard who lived in a castle of ivory situated in a dark forest. You learn that the castle contained many treasures in its underground labyrinth of rooms. You suddenly have a great urge to acquire those riches and set off to find the infamous Castle of Ivory...
Comment: This is a well-knit, well-written dungeon that was very enjoyable to explore. The one big drawback is that it is rather aimless, being strictly of the 'kill everything & grab all the loot' variety. If there was some kind of quest built into the dungeon, it would easily have received a higher rating.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 4.8/4
Description: "Looking around calmly, you quicken your pace. Ahead of you the Black Mountains loom ominously. You smile inwardly. This is the home, you've been told, of the fabled Starfire, a sword made by the great forger Gnomedestries.
Soon it will be yours. Beside you marches your friend Thug and Thug's vicious pet Imp, who offered to help you with your Quest."
Comment: This is a rather plain-vanilla Eamon adventure. There are no puzzles to solve other than the discovery of several ordinary secret passages. The map of 58 rooms is very straightforward and has no nasty surprises.
However, there is plenty of combat. You might find yourself in trouble if not for your two very powerful companions, who carry their share of the load.
This adventure, though simple, is competently laid out and cleanly constructed. It is a worthy candidate for young Eamonauts and those who are just getting their feet wet in Eamon.
Two hints: save the potion for real emergencies; try to get around the dragon by FLEEing instead of fighting him (he's a very tough opponent!)
Extra Commands: SCOLD, LECTURE, PET, TIME, PAY, FEED Deleted commands: ATTACK, BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, READY, PUT, FREE Special features: no violence; time limit; can stand alone without Master disk Playing Time: 1.5-2 hours Reviewer's Rating: 8
Description: In a remote world, once upon a time, a group of teachers all signed a document (legally binding) vowing chastity, poverty, and obedience. This document was entrusted to one of the teachers, who put it in a 'safe place'. Somewhat later, he left to take another teaching position, and the other teachers have been unable to contact him. A political group is searching the school for the document in order to use it to intimidate the teachers.
You have been summoned here by a spell that several teachers pooled their life savings to buy. You have two hours before the spell wears off and you are sent back where you came from. If you find the missing document and take it to the teachers' lounge, you will be rewarded.
Adventurers should realize that in this world violence is frowned upon. Therefore, your only weapon is an unabridged dictionary and all battles are verbal. You need to remember to 'scold' or 'lecture' your opponents.
Comment: This adventure marks a radical departure from ANYTHING that I have seen previously in the Eamon world. There is absolutely no violent confrontation at all. The player 'scolds' his enemies, and is 'lectured' in return. Each opponent scores hits on the other's ego, until one of them 'dies with embarrassment'. The verbal battles are very clever and fun to follow. The school is full of surprises and events. It is well written; there is a single no-warning 'gotcha' death trap that was funny enough that I really didn't mind all that much having to start over.
I got the distinct impression that the school and its inhabitants were based on a real school & faculty somewhere. It all had the ring of truth, from the odd things that I found in the classrooms to the crocodiles beneath the kitchen. I loved it all.
There were two minor drawbacks that reduced the enjoyment a little. This adventure has a time limit, which served well to heighten the tension, but none of the room descriptions gave the available exits, forcing the player to waste turns finding them. And the other drawback was that the 'dungeon' was actually a large elementary school, containing three long halls that were flanked by an endless procession of classrooms. The authors did a very good job scattering surprises and jokes throughout, but it wore a little thin just the same.
This adventure will NOT be for everyone. It is definitely not one for the 'hack & slash' crowd, and may not be fully appreciated by younger adventurers. But it is an excellent shot at a non-violent Eamon adventure, and I had a great time.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, WEAR Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: Beginner characters only Playing Time: 10-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "You have no trouble finding a horse that you, well, borrow to take you on your first adventure. You follow several signs to take you to the Beginners Forest.
"You see a green, vine covered arch and a locked gate under the arch. The gate is wrought iron, into the design is worked the letters 'BEGINNERS ONLY'. As you stand there, you see the local Knight Marshal come out to inspect you."
Comment: As the above implies, this Eamon will only accept beginner characters, just like the "Beginners Cave". I whomped up a new character, bought myself a sword and leather armor, and jumped right in.
It is well enough written, with a small, coherent map and good descriptions. It is heavy into combat, and is pretty tough for freshly minted characters with very little in the way of weapons, armor, and spells. I got killed out five or six times in 20 minutes of playing, and never did see more than about 20 of the 32 rooms. In fact, I am going to jump up the difficulty rating to (7) because I found it darned hard to survive the combat with a brand-new character.
One hint: don't even try to fight the spooks; you'll soon find yourself hopelessly outnumbered. Run away!
Kildarin’s fortress was known for its hospitality, exemplified by its excellent food and drink. It was stormed by a large group of monsters led by Gakkian warriors. Outnumbered, Kildarin fled to the nearest city for help. He hires you to recapture the fortress. You can keep any treasure that you find and he will send along a paladin from his own forces to assist you. As a final gesture, Kildarin blesses you with a medallion of Hupp, the Great Wanderer of the North.
This adventure is a routine kill-the-monsters dungeon. There is nothing particularly memorable about it; and if I hadn’t been planning to review it, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. Many of the commands are useless as the authors haven’t done anything with them. The POWER spell has the standard outcomes provided on the DDD. There is one artifact to open, but it isn’t locked and there is nothing in it. There is nothing to read. There appears to be a set of bound victims to free, but the authors didn’t deal with that and have short-circuited the FREE command. The TOUCH command was added, but it is only effective in a single place. There are no problems to solve or tasks to accomplish. There are no Effects in the Eamon.DESC file at all. The one saving grace that this adventure has over some others of this genre is that it is not full of grammatical errors in the descriptions. (Not that there aren’t some; just not as many as something like The Beermeister’s Brewery- a real dog). The difficulty rating of 4 is due to the toughness of some of the monsters. This may be a problem for weak adventurers. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this adventure unless you are looking for a mindless kill campaign.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: PUT, RETREAT, ESCAPE, OPEN, DRINK, FREE, WASH, USE Deleted Commands: none Special Features: Keypress beep Playing time: 1-3 hours Reviewer's Rating: 7
Description: 'You are about to face your most trying task. You must go rescue your friend Damian who has wandered into the Beermeister's Brewery while he was intoxicated. You will undertake many tasks, but this is probably the most difficult. Good luck to you.'
Comments: The above contains the ENTIRE intro program text, which should give you some idea about the depth of this adventure. It has poorly written descriptions, massive spelling and grammar errors, an obnoxious keypress beep, and is vulgar and makes light of drinking problems. For these reasons, Pat Hurst hated it and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
However, if you can live with the above, it is absolutely stuffed with funny jokes and terrible puns. I have a sick sense of humor, and personally loved it. But in light of the above listed problems and Pat's opinions, be warned that you may not.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: PRAY, OPEN, READ, DRINK, WISH, USE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 60-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: You are about to face your most trying task. The land is colorful, the people superstitious. The Pontifex is a good and just ruler. The Pontifex has latent metaphysical powers, which are enhanced by the Staff of Law. The Staff of Law is now in the clutches of Lord Creyn and Lady Valentine. Lord Creyn resides in the Alternate Zone. This is where you will venture.
Lord Creyn has surrounded himself with psychic individuals. His people are extremely loyal to their lord and lady. You too have latent talents, as yet undiscovered. We have heard that the Lady Valentine was given the Staff of Law as a present. It will be your duty to defeat Lady Valentine and recover the Staff.
Of course, you will never return home unless you can successfully defeat Lord Creyn, and recover the Book of Demonology!
Comment: This adventure has very little to make it stand out from the crowd, though it's a well enough done example of an average Eamon adventure. While the introduction seems to promise a lot of supernatural events and combat, in actual fact there is very little and the encounters are all mundane.
I found it a pleasant diversion, with a couple of minor puzzles and an adequate amount of combat. I give it a (6) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 Extra Commands: DIG Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "A friend of yours, Larrabbold, has just purchased a large, expensive manor-sight unseen. He went there only to discover it was haunted. He is not an experienced fighter (he is not a fighter at all, in fact). So he is offering you 10000 gold pieces to "de-haunt" it for him.
"Before you go he warns you that the previous owner installed many devious traps and secret doors are abundant."
Comment: This Eamon is a real mixed bag. It is a pretty fair "haunted house" scenario that is marred by bad room connections and massive spelling errors. The 10-direction aspect mostly offers redundant room connections and only serves to confuse the map; indeed, it apparently confused Greg as well, as almost all of the bad room connections are diagonals.
The DIG command as implemented doesn't work, but all it would do if it did work was allow you to dig up an unremarkable corpse.
Last but certainly not least, there is no exit from this Eamon. You begin in the entrance foyer of the house, which curiously has no front door!
Having said all that, it is pretty well conceived and written. It could easily have garnered a (6) or even a (7) rating, had it been properly debugged and cleaned up in the first place. Difficulty of about (4). Strictly combat, with no puzzling other than finding secret passages with LOOK.
"It promises to be an exciting day in Evenhold. The pirate Henri Le Marque, scourge of the Malphigian Sea, is slated for execution today. The execution will take place at the jail yard in the harbor district. In case the hanging isn’t enough of a lure, Le Marque was the most successful pirate of the Malphigian Sea, and reputed to have hidden a king’s ransom in booty. Perhaps, when faced with the gallows, he will make the grand gesture of sharing what he won’t be able to enjoy."
"Be on your best behavior, because the harbor patrol is accustomed to dealing with waterfront scum. If you want to scrap with someone, be sure that you are in a very private place; a place where no one will summon the watch."
Pat Hurst has shaped up as one of the best Eamon authors of all time. His puzzles are tough, his reasoning tight, his stories consistent, and his descriptions are so rich with detail that they are generally two-disk adventures. Buccaneer! is no exception. It is a two-part adventure, one part to a disk, and each disk is jammed to the limit with detailed descriptions, scores of special effects, and special programming.
The first part of Buccaneer! involves your escapades in the harbor district of Evenhold. There is no specific quest here, but there are dozens of things to get involved in. You can drink, fight, gamble, steal, get arrested, get shanghaied, bribe your way into places you don’t belong, attend the hanging of Henri Le Marque, make business deals, hire a ship, crew it, prepare for a sea voyage, and many other things as well. The general idea is to pick up some clues about the whereabouts of Le Marque’s treasure, and prepare to put to sea in search of the treasure in part two. It even appeared possible to set yourself up in business as a smuggler or freebooter.
Part two is actually a completely separate adventure, with its own MAIN PGM and text files. There is a transfer of information from part one, so that part two uses the ship, crew, and artifacts that you obtained in part one. Part two is an adventure on the Malphigian Sea, in which you can sail to a half-dozen islands in search of treasure and adventures. There is a lot that can happen while on the high seas, including encounters with merchant ships, pirates, naval vessels, sea monsters, uncharted reefs, storms, and mutinies. How well you fare will depend on how complete your preparations were in part one. Every island is unique; a mini-adventure in its own right. The sea is not structured into rooms, but allows you to sail where you will; also, the sea is quite large and requires expert navigation.
The seagoing adventure is unique in its execution. The effects are very good, and the ship-to-ship battles are very well done and full of surprises. It is not difficult to get yourself killed on some of the islands, but Pat has made it very easy to restart part two without needing to return to part one or perform a SAVE.
My first impression of Buccaneer! was that I was smothering in detail. It is very richly described, with most descriptions running to 10-12 lines, and takes a bit of play to familiarize yourself with things before you can begin to really figure them out. It is not an adventure that you casually sit down to and expect to get anywhere quickly. I had to make pages and pages of notes and maps before I had learned enough in part one to take a shot at part two. It takes a lot of thought to figure out how you want to go about the sea voyage. There are eight ships to choose from, ranging from a small felucca with a crew of 4 (good for smuggling?) to a huge packet ship with 12 guns, 3 officers, and a crew of 24. You have 50 or 60 prospective crewmen to choose from, and each is a distinct person, with differing abilities and morals. You will need to select officers if your ship requires them. If you choose to ship cargo for trading in the islands, you will need to determine which of the many merchants you wish to deal with. And you must be certain that you have obtained everything that you need for the voyage, from grog for the crew’s morale to materials to repair damage at sea.
This was a very enjoyable adventure, and all the more satisfying for requiring a great deal of thought and careful decision among the many options. However, it was an expensive undertaking; I had to spend nearly 20,000 in gold to outfit my ship and put out to sea. I found less treasure than that and actually had a net LOSS of 6,000 by the end of the adventure, an experience that must be nearly unique in the history of Eamon.
MAIN PGM version: 6.0 Extra Commands: DIG, USE Deleted Commands: none Special Features: multiple-monsters Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: 'Long ago, a committee of concerned citizens and officers of the now defunct National Eamon User's Club closed the book, temporarily? on perhaps one of the darkest pages, (the infamous House of Ill Repute) of Eamon History.
But lately things haven't been right in the wonderful world of Eamon. The most timid of animals attack humans on sight. The fields are ravaged one-by-one at night. Distribution once again of said repute has been allowed to infest our decent community. The K.E.C. (Keep Eamon Clean) committee endeavored to restore order but recently was robbed of its campaign contributions.
Your mission: Resist temptation. Avoid staying overnight. Recover the campaign funds and help the K.E.C. correct the problems...'
Comment: The above is the text of the introduction. Basically, your mission is to re-enter the House of Ill Repute (that was cleaned out in adventure #32), find the stolen funds, and return them. The house is no longer the den of immorality that it once was; your opponents will be primarily wild animals of various sorts that have moved into the now-vacant building.
There are a couple of very unforgiving puzzles that will do you in, and here are hints for them: 1) the Killer Bees will kill you VERY quickly unless you resort to a command that sometimes aids you in times of greatest need; 2) don't head north from the room where you left your horse without finding it first.
The puzzles were pretty good and Dan has made good use of embedded artifacts. I found this new revision to be somewhat more pleasant to play than the old one because of the text improvements, too. I give it a (7) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 Extra Commands: WEAR, KNEEL, INDULGE Deleted Commands: TAKE, EXAMINE, GIVE, WAVE, PUT Special Features: two-disk adventure; notes & hints on disk Playing Time: 3-6 hours Reviewer's Rating: 9
Description: 'Mighty Phrax, God of the Underworld, Shepherd of the flocks of the Dead, is angered. Some Evil of this Plane seeks to usurp his power. This Evil must be sought out and destroyed before the wrath of Phrax engulfs us all. He has loosed the Dead Legions to kill indiscriminately until he has regained what is his- the reservoir of his power and the bulwark of his strength- the legendary Shroud of Phrax!'
'This Adventure is quite dangerous as the Adventurer will be dealing with the Undead (hard to kill and in some cases drain life energy), Spellcasters (easier to kill but have offensive spells that penetrate armor), and gods (impossible to kill and awesome in attack). Any life energy (Hardiness, Agility, or Charisma) that is drained away is lost forever.'
Comment: This adventure has a dazzling array of monsters and artifacts that are quite out of the ordinary, and a number of great puzzles to solve. The quest (returning the Shroud) is punctuated by other minor 'quests' that must be fulfilled along the way. Your companions reveal their weaknesses as you confront various evils, and your own ability to accomplish various tasks is modified by the purity of your actions. The bad guys, from the Undead all the way to the god of Evil, can be defeated if you put the clues together correctly. However, if you go at them without the proper preparation, you will be lunchmeat. It is tough to stay alive; an occasional SAVE is a good idea.
If you should go astray, or are just curious, there is a HINTS.NOTES file on the disk. Using it, the adventurer can get sequential hints to help him past a stuck spot, or can read detailed notes that explain many of the adventure's subtleties.
This adventure is highly recommended, and is firmly entrenched on my personal 'Top-Ten' list.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: EAT, REQUEST, TELL, JMP, VERBOSE, BRIEF Deleted Commands: HEAL, SPEED, BLAST, SAVE Special Features: "text" artifact recognition unusual SAVE feature, 40/80 column display Playing Time: 1 hr Reviewer Rating: - Average Rating: 8.2/4
Description: You had become interested in legends of the far northern lands, and traveled there to see what you could see. While there, you saw several wondrous things before you were set upon by robbers and killed.
But this land is ruled by Odin, and his Valkyrior chose you for Valhalla. Soon you find yourself wandering the land of Asgard, tasked by Odin himself to learn about the gods and their deeds.
Suddenly you are called to the Valhall. There, you are told that the TIME of Ragnarok nears, and the gods find themselves ill-prepared. Frey had given up his mighty sword in a fit of wrong-headedness, and now Thor's war hammer Mjollnir has been stolen! You have been chosen to accompany the gods on a journey of desperation to the land of the giants in an attempt to find and recover the hammer.
This is truly a desperate move. The giants do not love men nor the gods, and the Valkyrior do not go there.
Comment: OK, I know, I shouldn't be reviewing my own adventure, but I've been waiting for years and no one else ever did it for me! <grin> This adventure has some unique features, and I want to spread the word.
The above description is not the intro text, but is a condensation of a good deal of the actual adventure. You get "killed" about a quarter of the way into the adventure, and don't find out what the true quest is until it is about half over.
I wrote this adventure in response to a challenge by John Nelson in an old "Adventurer's Log" to come up with a way for the player to get intelligent responses when he tries to manipulate anything that he can see in the room descriptions. I did this by coming up with a new class of artifact, the "Text" artifact. These text artifacts don't really exist, but when the player examines them he will get an item description. The program recognizes hundreds of words, and I am very pleased with the way this feature turned out.
Though there are only 30-odd rooms, there are nearly 100 special effects, and there is something special going on most of the time. Properly handling all those effects was an enormous task; for example, it took me two weeks of steady work to get all the bugs out of the encounter with the Man in Blue at the start of the adventure. The MAIN PGM is huge, and I didn’t have enough memory left for the standard SAVE command. It was replaced by the JMP command, which moves you to the middle of the adventure if you can answer a question about the first half.
The adventure is based on real Norse legends which I spent a lot of time researching. I also stole heavily from the novella "The Last Trump" by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp. It's a great story and you should try to find it. There is a fair amount of combat, but there is only one encounter that can kill you dead unless you are dumb enough to go around picking fights with gods or groups of giants. Most of the puzzles are pretty similar, so once you figure out one, the rest should be easier--they are mainly used to trigger special effect sequences.
In many ways, this is more like an interactive novel than a regular adventure. The difficulty rating falls in at about (7). I hope you enjoy it.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 (Heavily modified) Extra Commands: EAT, REQUEST, TELL, JMP, VERBOSE, BRIEF Deleted Commands: HEAL, SPEED, BLAST, SAVE Special features: "Text" artifact recognition, no SAVE, 40/80 column display. Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 9.0 Average Rating: 8.4/5
Description: Being interested in legends of the far northern lands, you traveled there to see what you could see. While there, you saw several wondrous things before being set upon by robbers and killed.
But this land is ruled by Odin, and one of his Valkyrior chose you for Valhalla. Soon you find yourself wandering the land of Asgard, tasked by to learn about the gods and their deeds.
Suddenly you are called to the Valhall. You are told that the TIME of Ragnarok nears, and the gods find themselves ill-prepared. Frey had given up his mighty sword in a fit of wrong-headedness, and now Thor's war hammer Mjollnir has been stolen! You have been chosen to accompany the gods on a journey of desperation in an attempt to find and recover the hammer.
This is truly a desperate move. The giants do not love men nor the gods, and the Valkyrior do not go there.
Comment: Let me start off by saying that fans of hack-'n'-slash won't care for this adventure, there are only about three to four foes and the program is entirely puzzle-based. I was amazed at the amount of special events and the way they interacted so perfectly with each other. Like all of Tom's adventures, it more closely resembles a version 7 Eamon rather than a 6.
The puzzles all basically revolve around three commands, TELL, POWER, and EXAMINE. Because of the size of the MAIN PGM, SAVE was deleted. In its place is the JMP command (named, I think, after the assembly language "JuMP" instruction) which allows you to skip ahead to the middle of the adventure.
The special feature being shown off here is the "text artifacts" routine. Each room has about four to six things mentioned in the description which can be examined. I wrote a short routine which printed out the names of all the "text" artifacts in each room, so I saw all of them. While I can't recall there actually being anything genuinely useful in the "text" artifact descriptions, it was a very impressive feature and was done in a very sensible and efficient fashion; I'm thinking about stealing it for one of my own adventures. There are also a few embedded artifacts in Asgard which are very important.
In one puzzle, your progress is blocked because of Thor's fear of any sort of bathing; just remember to "TELL" Thor about everything that is revealed to you by the POWER spell. The Giants of Jotunheim find great amusement in fooling the gods with illusions, you can see through those illusions via POWER also.
I was a bit disappointed by how quickly it was over, I was expecting to be sent after Frey's sword as well. All in all though, I would have to say that this is the best puzzle-based Eamon that I have ever played. I give it a (6) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: DIG, FILL, PULL, WEAR, REMOVE, DISPLAY Deleted Commands: none Special Features: 4-disks, WEAR cmd, it doesn't use your character, DISPLAY cmd, armor artifacts, SOLUTIONS pgm Playing Time: 10-20 hours Reviewer's Rating: 6
Description: Shipwrecked upon an unknown continent, you easily learn the language and are eager to get home. You decide the best way to accomplish this would be to go to the capital. When you reach the capital, the Prime Minister is eager to speak to you. He tells you that a month ago the king had traveled to a retreat in the northern district, and not a word has been heard from him since. He sends you off to find the king and report what you find.
Comment: The above is a VERY abbreviated version of the introduction. The real intro is EXTREMELY long, a trademark of Sam's adventures. You are not allowed to use your own character but must select a new one from an offering of 10 'bios'. Most of the important weapons are swords, so you would do best to pick a swordsman of some sort.
DISPLAY toggles between full room descriptions or just the room name. Armor is 'real' and includes magic stuff that only works in this adventure. The WEAR command is mainly for putting on armor.
One of two flaws that knocked it down from an 8 in my opinion was that it's just too long. There are 390 rooms, and the monsters are so tough that you must start over again and again. The other was short, dull descriptions and its resemblance to an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (c) TSR adventure. Many monsters had copy-cat descriptions and got tiresome by the fourth disk. The resemblance to AD&D was irritating (to me anyway) in its bland treatment of magic items, weird monsters, and direct reference to the game mechanics in descriptions (eg: 'this item will give you a +6% bonus to hit'). The monsters were OK, but does any 'real' fantasy hero have a '+2 sword' or a 'potion of extra-healing'? This aspect might not bother you or might even be a plus for you, but I disliked it.
I also disliked the numerous traps, which can be found and most of the time disarmed, but can kill careless people. Some were illogical or unfair, such as being killed by a drop of blood or not being informed that you were standing on the very edge of a cliff.
This had a solid plot and challenging nature. If you can stand the length and traps, you will enjoy it.
This adventure was reviewed by Nathan Segerlind in the June '89 EAG. As some of you know, Nathan has very strong opinions about what is right and wrong in Eamon, and he doesn't pull any punches. Sam wrote a strong protest concerning the low rating that Nathan gave this adventure (the letter is printed in its entirety in the 'Eamon Forum' column of this issue). Sam makes several good points; in the future I will monitor reviews more closely and will give the author the chance to respond before publication if the review seems excessively harsh.
The adventure itself is actually a series of 4 full Eamon adventures that are linked together. Each adventure must be completed in order to pass through a 'portal' that transports you to the next disk. There is no way to exit back to the Main Hall once the adventure is undertaken without completing all 4 disks.
I found the armor and AD&D stuff (that Nathan disliked) to be a plus in that it helped make this Eamon a unique adventure, unlike any that have come before or since. It did seem to me that the special weapons favored swordsmen, or at least heavy-duty fighters; I chose a magician as my character and had a LOT of trouble surviving.
I went back through my old notes and correspondence from mid-1987 to see just exactly what Pat Hurst and I thought about 'Elemental Apocalypse'. Here is a condensation (the second number of each rating is for difficulty):
Disk 1: Tom-(8:9) Pat-(8:10) (loaded with death traps) Disk 2: Tom-(6:6) Pat-(7:9) (1st half tedious & boring, 2nd half excellent) Disk 3: Tom-(8:7) Pat-(9:7) (best disk of the 4) Disk 4: Tom-(8:9) Pat-(7:9) (sudden death everywhere) Overall: (8:9)
My notes say: "It is an excellent effort. There was a definite thrill to completing each segment and going on to the next, causing an escalation of interest with each one. There is a big investment in time and effort by the player here, and you get well wrapped up in the story/plot as you proceed along." Further notes refer to the extreme danger of various traps and monsters, making the adventure extremely difficult to survive.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 (modified) Extra commands: PRAY, ENTER, EARN, BUY, PAY, SELL, WEAR, REMOVE, REQUEST Modified commands: SAVE & RESTORE up to 3 games) LOOK & EXAMINE, GIVE Special features: 40/80 column capability; Author's notes, accessible at start, wearable artifacts, no Dos on disk. Playing time: 3-4 hours minimum, the maximum depends on your ability to solve the puzzles. Reviewer's rating: 8.5
Description: A feeling of uneasiness leads you to consult a local seer who directs you to Hokas Tokas in the city of Lumen. As you enter the city you are cast into darkness and seized by some unseen presence. It paws through your things, and you sense its pleasure as it takes your gold and its scorn as it laughs at your magic weapons. A timely intercession by Hokas Tokas drags you free of the malevolent force. Within the city you find Hokas who says:
'You have come at last! Almost had I come to despair that you would arrive in time! The situation is most desperate. Lumen, the patron god of the city, has been cast down by his ancient enemy, a god of evil whose name is not spoken. The darkness that seals the city is his work and we will soon be doomed. Other gods, unfriendly to the Nameless, have taken Lumen's possessions into their keeping in the hope that a champion will appear who has the wit and worth to win the trappings of a god, and banish the Nameless to the pit from whence he came. Go now as there is no champion who may better succeed than yourself. I have informed the gods of your arrival.'
Comments: The above is an abbreviated version of the Intro program which belies the rich texture of the adventure. The author has taken great pains to detail this adventure in such a way as to animate the city and its inhabitants. The descriptions are not so lengthy as to impede the play of the adventure, however.
The adventure contains several puzzles (or tasks) which must be solved and their solutions are not particularly obvious in some cases. You must be attentive to details and very thorough in tracking your progress. To assist the player, there is an Astrologer who may occasionally offer some advice. You can save up to three games at once and you should save after completing any complicated task. You can die in this adventure, but if you are properly prepared, death is unlikely. However, the proper preparation isn't always easy to determine. I would recommend that you know how to resurrect a character on your master disk before playing this adventure. Certain eventualities may terminate your character or you may become hopelessly stuck.
This is another solid adventure by Zuchowski. It will have more appeal to problem-solving types than hack-and-slash types. There are some nice special effects and some punny references. My only real criticism is that you'll do a lot of traipsing around the town before you're done. Overall, I would recommend this adventure, primarily to experienced players.
MAIN PGM version: 6.0 Extra Commands: RESUSCITATE (not working) Deleted Commands: none Special Features: hi-res intro screen Playing Time: 30 minutes Reviewer's Rating: 3
Description: Trouble is brewing on Deneb III. You receive a message from the crown prince, a personal friend, which asks you to rescue his daughter who is being held by the Deneb Liberation Army, a terrorist group dedicated to overthrowing the ruling families of the Deneb system. The terrorists are hiding in an office-warehouse complex in the seedy section of town. The building is surrounded by royal marines who want to avenge the deaths of their comrades at the hands of the terrorists. Your strike team must first enter the complex and rescue the prince's daughter. There is a side door which is not equipped with an alarm, booby-trap, or guard. It is time to strike.
Comments: This adventure is a simple walk through - visit all of the rooms until you rescue the princess. There are no puzzles to solve, no hidden objects to find, no embedded artifacts, nothing to be found by opening containers, and no significant modifications to the POWER command. The monsters are neither tough nor numerous. There are many typos and mistakes; apparently no serious effort was made to edit this adventure (the RESUSCITATE command wasn't even available, not being in the command list). Line counting is not properly implemented. The OPEN command didn't do anything. There was nothing to drink. There was no reason to put anything into something. There was one funny bit with the HEAL command. The premise and setting were interesting, but the implementation didn't live up to the early promise. This adventure is suitable only for younger and/or inexperienced players. (See this issue's Bug Fixes to learn how to install the RESUSCITATE command - Tom)
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: CAPTURE, EAT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10 directions Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 5.0/2
Description: "You have been chosen by a group known as "The Students" to capture an evil king known as -- Mr. Roessler!
"They will give you 5000 GP for his capture, not assassination. They then give you a rope to tie him up with and send you out."
Comment: In case you are wondering, Mr. Roessler was Nathan's computer-education high school teacher. I understand that the poor gentleman was somewhat bemused by Nate's tendency to cast him as the villain in his Eamons!
This is actually a pretty well-written Eamon, even though the concept is silly to the point of bordering on stupid. You explore this 60+ room computer club that has all sorts of computer crazies and unlikely stuff laying around. I got somewhat worn down by the silliness, and didn't greatly enjoy the Samurai Cat references, but there are many clever bits that I found pretty funny.
This would be a harder Eamon, but there is something wrong with the combat code, and enemies won't attack you if you simply leave the room. But stay and do something, and they jump you. Even so, it's not a big deal, as you will probably find plenty of companions. You might not want to hang around the Picts, though.
Watch for hints in the room descriptions, and you won't even have to bother to LOOK in every room for the several secret exits.
Here are a couple of hints: first, the Computer Clubber has a key you need; if he becomes your friend you will find yourself stuck if you don’t know this. Second, Mr. R. is a real heavy guy; you'll need a bit of magic to get him out and get your reward.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: MUTILATE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1.5-2 hours. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 4.0/2
Description: "You were playing a polite little game of poker with Hokas when you were dealt a ROYAL FLUSH, SPADES. Having the temper he has, he yelled, 'Why you little cheat!' and casts a spell at you.
"You awoke in the Desert of Sands, a place as terrible as its name is stupid.
"You wandered for months, and now..."
Comment: The above is the complete introduction to the adventure. there is no quest or extra money at the end; just the standard treasure and weapon selling stuff. Some of the monsters are a little tough, but not super tough. I used a standard character straight from the Main Hall. I took no spells nor weapons but was able to find a weapon near the start.
It's a Hack'n'Slasher's dream--if it ain't nailed down, go for it. There was one easy puzzle. I had some good laughs with the different monsters and descriptive locations. There are some death traps! Look for friends, as they will help in your struggle to kill monsters.
My rating is low because there was no quest, the poor screen pausing allowed stuff to scroll off before I could read it, the death traps slowed me down, and the one puzzle was relatively simple. I observed no profanity, although there was some implied stuff. Those who are tired of GUARD1, GUARD2, etc. will be pleased to know that there are no GUARDs.`
The ending, for me, wasn't cute or fancy. It was different, but nothing to write home about. I would recommend this one for the young Eamonaut.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-Res splash screen Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "You are on your way to your 50th high school reunion at Fort Scott, Kansas. On the way you have been commissioned by the Adventurer's Guild to look into the strange happenings in and around the Mulholland Tunnel located in the Santa Monica Mountains. There have been reports of strange creatures appearing and of people disappearing in the area.
"A famous dancer named Amanda is among those who have disappeared. Your main quest is to find Amanda and her cousin Matthew and return them to their home. Some who supposedly escaped have mentioned being transported in some weird way to Civil War times. The police have dismissed these stories as hallucinations of weirdos and have given up searching. You don't believe the stories are true but........"
Comment: This is a nice, little adventure with some fun and interesting stuff happening. It is a simple foray with no mental heavy lifting. I found it to be a relaxing play. However, Dr. Trent isn't kidding about it being for advanced characters. Some of the bad guys are really powerful, so there is something for the hack'n'slash crowd, too.
The map isn't the most clear and coherent that has ever been seen in Eamon, but the dungeon is only 52 rooms, so it's not a serious detraction. Much of the special events and developments are fashioned in a way that young Eamonauts will probably enjoy, while still being entertaining for adults.
The time shifting into the past comes and goes rather abruptly, and may seem poorly crafted unless you remember that the introduction specifically described this type of activity.
It's a pretty easy adventure, with no mental heavy lifting. The worst of the bad guys can be safely bypassed if you know where they are, so it's worth doing an occasional save. I give it a (4) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-Res picture during intro Reviewer Rating: 4 Average Rating: 5.0/2
Description: You have been asked to help a Transylvanian city defeat a vampire located in an abandoned cave in a mountain behind a cemetery.
Comment: This adventure consists of 80 rooms, or so I have read in an Eamon catalog from a PD shop. I was only able to hit about 65. This is version 6, which means that hidden passages are located by LOOKing, and I got tired of doing it in EVERY room that I went into, and it eventually made me quit the game. Yes, I did not complete the adventure (shame on me, eh?). The map I made showed a better-than-average go at making a good map, but some of the monsters in it shouldn't be in abandoned caves; the guards for one. There is a trace of humor in a couple of the monster descriptions, which kept it from being a totally serious game, but not enough to make it a funny game. Also, quite a few of the rooms have incomplete descriptions, lacking which directions can be moved from it. One of the rooms has no description at all! One just says HALL, etc. You are warned at the beginning of it that it is not 'The Beginners Cave', and not recommended for beginning characters, and that you are to know all of the spells. I dunno, I only needed to use POWER twice; maybe the rooms I missed required the other three spells.
I have to give it a 4, but that is only because of the too many hidden rooms and the sparse text in some of the rooms. Maybe if Dr. Trent were to get version 7.0 and redo it and take care of these problems would it be a better game, but until then I stand by my rating.
(Counterpoint: I personally feel that Rob is coming down a little hard on this adventure, blaming it for the same obsolete methods that 65% of all Eamons in existence use. It is well-known that you must keep careful track of LOOKs in rooms while playing a version 6 Eamon so that you don't miss any; in my view that's just part of the game, much like the fact that very early Eamons don't permit abbreviations. We discussed this point, and Rob feels this way about all adventures that lack the sophistication and user friendliness that we have come to expect from modern, top-rated Eamons. He is not inclined to allow for the standard of the time but feels that old stuff should be upgraded to allow for evolving standards. So I advised him that I would probably follow his review with my own opinion, and he had no problem with that.
I gave it a 6 rating, and like Rob I might have given it a higher rating if some of the descriptions were better. If Dr. Trent would like to comment, I would be happy to publish it - TomZ)
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-Res picture during intro Reviewer Rating: 6 Average Rating: 6.0/2
Comment: First off, I would like to apologize to Dr. Trent for the "bad" review of this game in the Dec'90 issue. When you trade disks with as many people as I do, you don't have much time to make sure that everything is as it should be. That is how I got a bad copy of this game. After performing the bug fix in the same issue, I discovered that this was the cause of a lot of my gripes. I would like to withdraw my comments and rating in the Dec'90 issue and offer this instead.
The map was well thought out. I had a copy that was sent to me by Dr. Trent and compared it to the one I came up with. Pretty much the same, with the exceptions of hidden (LOOK) passages and those which didn't show up on my first copy. The bad descriptions were replaced by full sentences.
In short, this was a lot better once the bug was fixed. I rate it an overall 6 for the thought-out map and the relatively difficult yet simple puzzles. The clues are there, you just have to look at them!
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0
Description: "Way to the west, in a dark land called Death, is the lake. A dark place, with darker monsters and glittering treasure. Deep in the middle of the lake is Fred's Island, rumored to be a lair of several disgusting orcs... and worse.
But ye beware of the terrible dragon, Anglacion! He's as big as the world and as black as midnight. Beware of him, but behold his treasure for no mine mines as much gold in several years as he steals in a day!"
Comment: This adventure consists of a survey of a very large lake (about 50 rooms) punctuated by the island and the dragon's lair. The lake is, as you might expect, pretty boring to explore. Every few rooms you run into a giant this or a ticked-off that to fight, but I found them all to be light one-or-two-round combat with Fresh Sam. Even Anglacion isn't that tough to kill; the catch with him is that he can kill you with just one or two blows.
My impression from the way Nate designed the clues is that you are intended to find out how to steal some of the dragon's treasure without actually having to face him. It's up to you: you can steamroller the place with a strong character and tactical nukes, or make it interesting with a "normal" character and Main Hall grade weapons. Difficulty of (3) unless you choose to do it with Main Hall equipment.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: FIRE, USE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "While having a real blast last Friday at the annual Adventurer Day bash, someone yanked you aside. It was a short skinny Dwarf with a black beard and a name tag which read "Sledgehammer". He said to you...
"'The evil tyrant Mr. Roessler has built a small outpost in northern Eamon. It is believed to be nothing more than a small hideout, but who knows exactly the power he has in his grasp. Your goal is to stop Roessler by destroying his fortress.'
"The Dwarf takes you on the North Road to the Really-Big-and-Scary Forest, where Roessler's outpost is suspected to be."
Comment: This is another of Nate's early juvenile works. It has lots of general silliness, out-of-narrative descriptions, and in-jokes relating to his high school. In general, it is an example of the kind of lightweight Eamon typical of those written by young boys.
Yet this is in many ways a sophisticated Eamon and there are flashes of the brilliance that Nate gradually developed and finally demonstrated in "Kretons". There are many specials of various kinds, and some of the humor is pretty good. While there are several items to work out, the flavor here is primarily Hack'n'Slash.
I am bumping up the difficulty to (7) for several likely-death traps. Along those lines, here are some hints: if you enter the secret room off the tunnel with the stalactites, you will probably die. There is an antidote for the poison, but you may have to replay that segment several times before you find it in time. There is no way to honestly survive an encounter with a Balrog. You get exactly one turn to escape after using the detonator. That's a lot of hints, but there are a lot of ways to die here.
You most likely won't find a way to open the steel door without cheating. If you do open the door, you will either be amused or annoyed, depending on your sense of humor. I thought it was a pretty good joke.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: STATUS, USE, EAT, MAKE Deleted Commands: SAVE Special Features: Status Cmd Playing Time: 1-3 hours Reviewer's Rating: 7
Description: 'One day when you went to the Main Hall, your good friend P'tin Kan wasn't in his usual seat. The burly Irishman told you that he had been investigating a case of sabotage in the King's castle last Thursday. P'tin Kan found a trail of horse-hooves leading directly to the sabotage, indicating that it had been the work of that renegade stallion, Mr. Ed!
Nobody saw P'tin Kan after that night. His chambers were searched, and all that was found was a trail of horse-hooves! It is almost certain that Mr. Ed has captured P'tin Kan, since he knew too much.
Infuriated at Mr. Ed's evil deeds, you set out at once to find the whereabouts of this Mr. Ed guy. It turns out that he dwells in a heavily guarded fortress in the middle of a thick forest. And so you set out to rescue your friend and destroy the diabolical Mr. Ed!
Comments: This is by far Nathan's most successful Eamon to date. It was quite amusing, as his adventures usually are. There were a number of good puzzles that interlocked to some extent that had to be solved in order to gain entry into Mr. Ed's castle. The overall effect was very coherent. I also thought it was a real hoot the way Mr. Ed, that talking horse of TV fame, was presented as an evil mastermind.
Two regular features of Nathan's adventures are armed animals (eg: Ninja Carp) and his computer club moderator, a Mr. Roessler, and both were present in this adventure. The animals were only simple 'orcs', that is, common sword-fodder, and the ever-diabolical Mr. R. took Wilbur's place as Mr. Ed's prime confidant.
The STATUS command was a small feature that printed out your character's current abilities in the same way that the Main Hall does. I very much missed the SAVE command, though.
All in all, I was quite entertained by this one, and would recommend it to anyone.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: DEFLECT, SCRALET-TAPEWORM, PROPELLOR-BLOW, PRIME, THROW Deleted Commands: POWER, SPEED, TAKE, GIVE Special features: multiple monsters Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer's Rating: 6
Description: Several years ago your brother moved to Japan. Lured by his success, you went to Japan, but your adventurous spirit led you to become a samurai for the local shogun, the noble Tokugawa Nobunaga. He recognized your fine skills as a warrior and decided to train you personally. He gave you two fine swords and magnificent armor; special training that improved your dexterity, hardiness, sword skill, and bow skill; and taught you Bushido, the way of the warrior. You became Nobunaga's fiercest warrior, and easily handled battles, secret missions, and adventures. After a fierce battle in which you eradicated the renegade Takeda clan, Nobunaga granted you three months vacation. You visited your brother for three days but grew bored and returned to Nobunaga's castle only to find it in ruins with dead bodies everywhere. You find Nobunaga's severed head in the debris. Clutching the head, you mutter with bitter rage, "If any of the butchers survived, may God deliver them to me!" Then the head said, "Don't drag Him into this. I bet you want revenge? Well, here's the list of names and addresses." He gives you a huge list of villains of all descriptions. So that's how you have ended up outside of Catzad-Dum, the lair of Fugu-Otoko, the blowfish who never smiles, organizer of Nobunaga's brutal murder.
Comments: This is an adventure for tough characters since there is more than enough combat to satisfy anyone. Even intermediate characters will find it to be rough going. In this regard, powerful weapons aren't the answer because the adventure provides sufficient firepower. Your character must have high hardiness, agility, and weapons and armor expertise. Some of this is provided by the author in the MAIN PGM so your character will be leaving the adventure stronger than when he entered.
The adventure is absolute lunacy, disguising mild satirical jabs at several targets. If you are new to Eamon, the inside jokes will escape you, but there is plenty of humor remaining. For full appreciation, you should play Sam Ruby's and Tom Zuchowski's adventures set in the worlds of Tolkien. Familiarity with Dungeons & Dragons (c) helps, too. The adventure is long and well-detailed. There are some typos and grammatical errors remaining but not overmuch in comparison to the body of text material. Some programming problems still crop up in this latest version, but hopefully these can be corrected in the near future by the efforts of the author and the EAG. I am unfamiliar with the Samurai Cat stories (the genre used in this adventure), but I had a good time playing this adventure anyway. I would recommend it over other hack-and-slash offerings because of its tongue-in-cheek attitude.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: BUILD, USE, EAT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: See caution below about SAVE Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.0/2
Description: MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL MONTE PYTHON UND DA HOLE GRAIL by Nathan Segerlind bie Nathun Segerlund Inspiration by Monty Python Inspurashun bie Monte Python Technical aid from the Bug Stomper How about da holidae in Sveden? Eamon game system by Don Brown See the loveli lakes V6.0 MAIN PGM by John Nelson See lots of furre animals Distribution by the Eamon Adventurer's Guild Inkluding da majestik moose Dumb comments by Ryan Brown A moose bit my sistur once Animation by John J.J. Schmidt Reallie! She was trieing to carve hur initials in da moose with a knife when
Comment: And so on. If you've seen and love the movie, you will probably get a lot of enjoyment out of this adventure. It's one of Nate's earlier Eamons and doesn't work nearly as well as it might for many of the sophisticated things it tries for, but it does pull them off for the most part without too much awkwardness. If you are familiar with the movie, you will do best if you try not to deviate from the movie script any more than you have to. If you don't know the movie, you may miss some specials and may die a bit more often before you win through to the end.
There are about three death traps, and odds are you will get nailed by a couple of them. But overall the puzzles and combat are not that bad; the difficulty rings in at about (6) if you've seen the movie and maybe a point or two higher if you haven't. When you get killed out by a trap, you will find that you can get back where you were pretty quickly, for usually there isn't much reason to repeat stuff you have already done, and most of the stuff is on side-paths.
This being one of Nate's early Eamons, much of the text assumes that you have done everything in exactly the order that he visualized it. But that isn't very likely, so some text will read a little strangely, but it won't mess you up.
There was one item that I couldn't solve. Saint Xavier has the Holy Hand Grenade and the Book of Armaments, and isn't inclined to use or share them. This leaves you with the choice of murdering one of your companions or slugging it out with the bunny. I slugged it out and did OK, but that meant I missed that special. (I went back and replayed the game to see that special, and it does work. But I find it distasteful to murder loyal followers.)
HERE IS THE "SAVE" WARNING that I mentioned above: the disk is full, and there is not room to save a game. If you try to save a game, the program will crash with a DISK FULL error. However, the game isn't that complex and it will cost you very little extra aggravation just to start over if you get killed out.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: USE, ARM, ENTER, RELOAD, CLEAR, WAIT Deleted Commands: TAKE, BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, SMILE, WAVE, SAY, LIGHT, OPEN, DRINK, FREE Special Features: 3-disk adventure, 183 rooms, lower-case intro available, automatic weapons Playing Time: 3-10 hours Reviewer's Rating: 9
Description: The war with the Breakers is bogged down on the Eastern Front, though they are advancing on the South Front. Word is received that the Breakers have deployed a long-range missile, equipped with a nuclear warhead, and have installed it in a mountain fortress that is impervious to air bombardment. They are waiting until their southern forces cross the river before using it. Fortunately, they only have enough weapons-grade plutonium for the one missile, but one will be enough to smash our industrial base. There is only one option: to send in a Special-Forces Team to blow it up.
Priority 1...the mission must be accomplished at any cost. Operatives may take steps to assure their escape only if there is no interference with the mission. Once the mission is accomplished, operatives must find their own means to assure their survival.
Comment: The above is only a small fraction of the wealth of background offered in the intro program, which is a little 5-act playlet in itself. The MAIN PGM continues this intense detail, having a great deal to see and do. The detail is even carried into parts of the Breaker installation that a successful mission will never see. These extra rooms give a added dimension of realism when you realize that you really are trying to sneak through an enemy base, and randomly opening doors to see what you can find will promote neither the mission nor your life expectancy.
Sam has done some great things with modern weapons. The automatic weapon fire is well done, and the player must occasionally reload at most inconvenient moments. Knives are carried for the silent dispatching of sentries, and your team carries a variety of lethal hardware for use in any situation. There is an array of special equipment such as climbing gear, mine detectors, remote detonators, medi-kits, and more, that must be properly utilized to succeed AND survive. Your teammates will occasionally offer opinions and can take a small amount of independent action. (For example, they will use their medi-kits on themselves when badly wounded.) They also can do anything you can do if you GIVE them orders to do so.
This is a very subtle and a very dangerous adventure. It is virtually certain that you will die a number of times before you finally work out the right moves. It may sometimes feel like Sam has blindsided you with a no-warning deathtrap, but when you regain that spot, a careful reading of the descriptions will always show that the clues WERE there, after all. And always easonable, once you think about it. For example, if you leave a dead sentry out in the open where he will be seen, it should come as no surprise when the base goes on alert and you are found and killed. Just the same, the SAVE command gets a workout here. SAVE has been modified so that you can perform a save and continue playing. This speeds things up a lot when you miss a clue and go down, for all you have to do is insert disk 1 and type RUN to resume from the saved location.
This adventure is loaded with scores of special effects and other Good Stuff. One of them is that the Intro program is in lower-case text but is automatically converted to all-upper-case for old II's by a small machine-code program. (Note-this is one of two M-C programs available for LC-to-UC conversion on the 7.0DDD.)
When I first played this adventure, I was appalled by how easily I was wiped out. But as I learned the capabilities of my Special-Forces Team, I got better, and I learned to watch for subtle clues and to choose the correct course BEFORE I got nailed. And when I finally pulled off a successful mission and escaped with most of my team, the satisfaction was tremendous! This is one of a very small number of Eamons that I have replayed once I had successfully completed the quest, and it seems to get better with each replay.
This is a very advanced Eamon and is one of the most difficult. It is very sophisticated, and you will see clues that may not be needed for hours. There is a fairly high frustration factor at first, but the rewards when you get the pieces together are correspondingly high. Highly recommended to advanced Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 10-15 min. Reviewer Rating: N/A
Description: "You have been sent by the Irishman to investigate a modern Eamon that he has heard about. You are told that there will be many subtle changes, and you promise to try many things, and to be on the watch for new stuff. Among other things, you suspect that the old spells may be completely new, that the battles surely have been extensively reworked, and that the 'LOOK' command no longer will find hidden doors. You can INVENTORY your friends now, and HEAL them too. You set out, eager to see what can be seen!
"This adventure is designed to show this version's features. There are 18 rooms, 141 artifacts, 2 effects, & 763 monsters. Most of the artifacts and monsters are 'dummies' that do not exist within the adventure, but were added in order to demonstrate the speed of the search routines. The vast majority of the monsters are in the form of 'group-monsters', including a 750-man army. Among the things that you will want to check out are examining, inventorying, and healing monsters. Your spell ability decreases with use, but will regenerate over time. A monster now knows which weapon is 'his' when he drops it. Some artifacts have new fields, and the monster fields have been redone. There is a new artifact type: 'wearable'. This includes clothing, shields, and armor. Note that the special fields for this type are in place for the sake of standardization, but are not presently implemented."
Comment: When I wrote my first Eamon, I had a simply awful time figuring out how stuff worked. The method I used to learn it all was to analyze John Nelson's "Temple of the Trolls" and thus learn from example. When I wrote the v7.0 MAIN PGM, I wanted to save people the trouble that I had, so I wrote this demo, which as far as I know demonstrates everything you can do with a standard v7.0 Eamon MAIN PGM and database. Most of the artifact and monster descriptions give programming and database info, for easy reference.
Note that this Demo uses the very earliest v7.0 MAIN PGM. You should not use this program with new data files, but should always use the latest MAIN PGM available on the v7.1 DDD.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: VANISH, MATERIALIZE, SUSPEND Deleted Commands: None, no Save Special Features: Runs in 'real time'; single-key commands Playing Time: 1-3 hr. Reviewer Rating: 8.0 Average Rating: 5.7/3
Description: As you leave the Main Hall, you are challenged by a guard who could only have come from the Red Planet. He speaks - 'The Martians are looking for a few good men. Be all that you can be. Join us.'
You accept his challenge, and follow him to an odd shimmery area where your eyes waver and you can't quite make out what lies beyond. The Martian says, 'Remember to pick your friends well. You'll meet two groups, the Green Meanies and the Rowdy Reds. You must choose between them. Your choice will guide your destiny through your stay. And whatever decisions you make, make them fast! Mars waits for no man.'
He pushes you into the shimmering field. Your guts twist and then...
Comment: This adventure is 100% unique in that it runs in 'real time'. That is, combat continues to happen whether you do anything or not. The other guy will attack you every five seconds or so even if you don't type anything. This is very disconcerting at first, but you quickly learn to hit the bad guy as soon as you see him. It has been modified so that you only need to hit a single key to enter all commands so that you can keep up. To make the single-key thing possible, some commands (such as the spells) are typed in through the SAY command. There is also a SUSPEND command that pauses the 'real time' feature; it resumes as soon as you hit any key.
The map consists of 95 rooms that contain two castles and a battlefield in the middle. The map is a perfect mirror image; that is, the Green castle has exactly the same floor plan as the Red castle, but reversed. I picked the Red side since they are the good guys in Burroughs' 'John Carter of Mars' books, but it doesn't matter which side you choose to join, as the map, monsters, and artifacts are identical on both sides.
Like many early Eamons, this one isn't extremely sophisticated in its puzzles. In fact they are rather difficult to reason out, but if you persevere in trying directions and doing LOOKs you should be able to find all the pieces. Here's a few hints: the book can be opened; read the inscription over the exit (which isn't in a castle); and don't enter the enemy castle until you can VANISH (unless you enjoy heavy combat).
While I gave this adventure an (8) because I really enjoyed the 'real time' feature, the other two people who have rated it didn't like the feature and rated it much lower. To be sure, the bad guys are plenty tough and the good guys don't help much. Bring your heavy armor and big guns for this one. You may or may not enjoy the novelty; all you can do is try it and see for yourself.
I originally gave this a difficulty of (4). This is somewhat misleading, as some combat is heavy and the puzzles might be a bit obscure if you miss a step. While the difficulty isn't bad for a heavy-duty character and a player who is careful to cover all the bases, it will be much tougher for children. They will undoubtedly enjoy the 'real time' combat, but they probably won't solve it.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: GRAB Deleted Commands: no Save Special Features: GRAB used in real time Playing Time: 1-1.5 hours Reviewer's Rating: 6
Description: 'As you leave the Main Hall you notice an abnormal number of large eagles circling as if on a hunt. Suddenly one swoops down, grabbing you in his talons. He begins to gain altitude, carrying you up the gorge. Your fear of heights soon gives way to admiration of the powerful bird. Circling between the east and west walls of the gorge, you see the Main Hall dwindle in size and finally disappear in the mists.
'The eagle flies toward the tallest promontory on the east cliff and jarringly deposits you on the top. With a screech of victory he flies off into the eastern sky.
'You find yourself alone on the top of a rocky plateau. Realizing your desperate situation, you look about.'
Comment: This adventure is nicely written and laid out. It is has a fair number of puzzles that are not extremely difficult and tend to reward benevolent action towards others. There are several traps that start out very weak but grow more dangerous, and they all are preceded by a special clue so that the player can learn to avoid them. The special effects are well done. The real-time special effect using the GRAB command is fun.
This adventure may be well-suited for use in grade-school computer classes, and merits a look from teachers who use Eamon for such purposes. It is not that difficult, promotes benevolent actions, and the special effects make it fun. The (6) rating that I gave it comes from its being a little simple for my advanced tastes, and from its lack of a true quest other than the one of simply getting off the promontory.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: SALVAGE, DISARM, UNLOAD, RELOAD,DIG Deleted Commands: POWER, BLAST, HEAL, SPEED, GIVE, LIGHT, OPEN, PUT, DRINK Special Features: 2-disk adventure; 3 Quests possible, map Playing Time: 1-3 hours (depends on quest and player's character Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 6.0/2
Description: OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM STOP E-I-E-I-O STOP AND ON THIS FARM HE HAD SOME BRAVE PATRIOTIC SOCIALIST REVOLUTIONARY PIGS STOP E-I-E-I-O STOP WITH AN OINK OINK HERE AND AN AK-47 THERE STOP NOW THE PIGS HAVE THE FARM STOP E-I-E-I-O STOP AND WE WILL DEFEND OUR WORKER'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC TO THE DEATH AGAINST CAPITALIST IMPERIALISM SO GO SUCK EGGS STOP
Comment: The above is just a part of the intro text (a short intro text compared to some of Sam's other works). The basic premise is that you have to go in and complete 1, 2, or 3 objectives: free Old MacDonald, blow up a windmill, or go for broke (the first two plus some other stuff).
The map is well planned, and a copy is available to the player (READ MAP), though understanding the 'sector location' is a bit difficult. The puzzles are minor, which makes it play smoother; there are enough new ideas here to comprehend without having to deal with major puzzles.
There were some spelling errors and the location of the reinforcements didn't seem to correspond to their sector on the map. If you want to cheat, you can kill all your opponents in a room if you SAY DIE; this is apparently a development line that didn't get removed.
(Ed. note: Sam never really finished this adventure. He lost interest while polishing it and used the experience and knowledge he gained from working out 'Animal Farm' to produce 'Operation Endgame'. It sat around for a year or two before being released 'as-is'. Even so it is better than a lot of other Eamons.)
Because of the level of the puzzles and monsters, I give it a 7 for difficulty. If you like modern military adventures and George Orwell's 'Animal Farm', or have a strange sense of humor where it concerns Eamon adventures, you will enjoy this one.
MAIN PGM version: 6.2 (with 7.0 search routine) Extra Commands: SHOW, BUY, USE, XTINGUISH, WEAR, RESUME Deleted Commands: BLAST, SPEED, HEAL, POWER, TAKE, SMILE, WAVE, OPEN, FREE Special Features: 3-disks; author's notes; hints program; 3 simultaneous saves permitted Playing Time: 5-10 hours Reviewer's Rating: 9
Description: You had finally reached your home continent. You went up the coast, looking for a sea port, but for 3 days you found none. On the morning of the fourth day, you awoke to find something else. A tremendous storm had set in, the likes of which you had never seen. The clouds were black and threaded with crackling energy. Huge waves and strange currents tossed your ship about. Finally, a port was sighted, and with great hardship, you made it in safely. The captain says that sailing is impossible under these unnatural conditions and that the best thing to do is to wait it out. You agree, and as the crew secures the ship, you step out onto the docks. - - - - - - - - - - Centuries of sleep ended. He awoke. Gradually his awareness returned...and he remembered. Then he looked outside...a city surrounded him - it had been built around his tower! But by whom? They were men, and for a moment he feared that his enemies of long ago had survived...but no, these that surrounded him were weak; unlike the others, these could be controlled. He felt power surging through him, recharged after a millenium of rest. Aye, he would rule them, and they would worship them, for was he not a god?
Comment: This huge Eamon has 195 rooms and 125 effects. Much of the action takes place within the city, but you must make several forays into the countryside for a variety of reasons. The puzzles are many and difficult, interlocking and evolving as the plot progresses. Usually the danger is not too high as you can FLEE to safety; the emphasis here is puzzles, not combat. The SOLUTIONS program offers hints for each puzzle that progress to outright solutions, and chats about what is happening around you just in case you are not sure. Sam offers his usual author's notes to clarify command modifications.
The above description is the introduction. Several things happen right off that leave you stranded without gold or weapons in a city that is undergoing a grave supernatural pounding. It is up to you to figure out what to do about it. Things are confusing at first as you wander about a large city with dozens of shops, but gradually you hit upon clues that put you on the right track. There IS a detailed, complex story here, but you must discover it a piece at a time while playing. Besides the above-mentioned god and sundry citizens, there are giants, dwarves, undead, evil cultists, dangerous animals, and even a dragon to overcome, and it all fits together within the framework of the story that Sam has wrought here.
This adventure is a sequel to #149 'Elemental Apocalypse', but the two stories stand alone and you do not need to have played #149 first. The difficulty rating will range between 5 and 10, depending on how much you use the SOLUTIONS program. If you require 'Hack & Slash' combat, you won't find much here, but it is highly recommended to puzzle fans.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 Extra Commands: DIG, CAMP, WEAR, REMOVE, ASK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions, camping, buried items, magical artifacts Playing Time: 3-8 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 5.0/2
Description: "Several of the town's children, seven to be exact, were abducted by marauders from the Darkwoods last night. Those attacks were only the most recent in a series of many and different evil-doings that have been going on for about two months. All of our best Adventurers have been slaughtered within moments after they disappeared into the Darkwoods."
And thus you join a company that includes a wizard, fighter, and thief. Your mission is to find the children and put a stop to the evil.
Comment: This Eamon was written as an entry for the NEUC's "Life Orb" contest of many years ago. I don't think it was submitted in time, even though there are some comments towards the end that indicate that the author was cutting his vision short because he was up against a deadline.
It is a real mixed bag, with lots of very well conceived specials that are for the most part poorly executed. The poor execution was an unfortunate result of Greg not getting the feedback that the EAG has given to new authors. Simple things like having to type exactly what the program is looking for go far in piling much frustration on an otherwise fine offering.
There is a goodly amount of combat, and you will do well to bring your better weapons. But there is also quite a lot of puzzling, and the puzzles are the more difficult for being narrow in their interpretation of your actions while dropping few hints along the way. For this, it garners a difficulty rating of (9).
When I originally played it many years ago, I was put off by the poor spelling, death traps (I HATE death traps!), and the tedium of trying LOOK, DIG, and SAY in virtually every room of a large dungeon. There are also a lot of companions and events, and this coupled with version 6.2's truly awful screen pausing, resulted in a personal rating of (4). Pat Hurst, who has a real thing about sloppy spelling and programming, rated it even lower. But this time around, I found myself getting into the Quest, and I made a real effort to work it through rather than dismissing it as a poor work. I think it was worth it, and I am upgrading my rating to (7).
If ever there was an Eamon that rated a hint or two, this is one, so here they are: first, the dragon has something you need. You can't beat him, but you can reason with him; SAY TELL and SAY HELP are useful there. And here's a more cryptic hint: when looking for a conductor, think of Ben Franklin's famous experiment. Finally, to save you some aggravation, the ravine is a "Gotcha!" death trap. Hopefully these hints will lower your difficulty to something more like a (7).
Having taken the time to really wring this Eamon out, I found several minor bugs that were missed before. The only one that perhaps rates a fix before play would be to add a PRINT statement after the GET in line 204, but even this one merely clips one effect record out of a special event, and I had no trouble getting the gist without it.
In spite of the combat, this is definitely a puzzler's Eamon. Those who enjoy taking the time needed to sift through everything they can find in order to assemble the nuggets of puzzling will enjoy it the most.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, CONSUME, READ Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 3.5/2
Description: "You find yourself at the entrance to a very old high school: St. Marquis de Sade. It has no windows or other exits that you can see. The only door is the one before you. You recall that you've been told that the Senior class is missing, a guest speaker gone, and the whole school overtaken by horrifying creatures.
"Feeling a sense of duty, you enter the school. A cold shiver runs up your spine as you realize the doors have locked behind you. Your adventure has begun. Good luck, you'll need it!"
Comment: Here we find ourselves locked in a very boring, nearly empty high school building peopled by a handful of incongruous monsters and bad men. I personally find it rather poorly done to run into, say, Adolph Hitler with a machine gun without ever seeing an explanation for what he is doing alive and well in a modern U.S. high school.
You will almost certainly achieve the dual Quests of freeing the class and the speaker in the normal course of exploring, so your real goal here is to find an exit. This bit is somewhat clever and almost raised the rating all by itself.
Here is a hint that may allow you to see a special without really spoiling anything for you: "time."
Difficulty of (5).
MAIN PGM version: 6 Extra Commands: RETREAT, SALUTE, SURRENDER, COMPUTER, MISSILE, COMMO Deleted Commands: FLEE, BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED Special Features: 10-direction adventure; character's personal weapons not used Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 7 Average Rating: 7.8/3
Description: After a struggle of nearly 300 years, Sol system has been devastated, but the fight continues between the two empires. It is now 5688, and the Star League and Procyon Confederation are locked in mortal combat on the planet Apollonia in the Epsilon Indi star system.
The special forces team of the 101st (the Black Phoenix) has been reactivated, and you have been called up under your old commission. After six months of intensive training, you find yourself orbiting Apollonia in the troop carrier Sulu Sea, receiving final instructions before you drop to the surface. As you step into the drop capsule the technician gives you a thumbs up sign. You are on your way to hell with the Black Phoenix.
Comment: The introduction is much longer and more detailed than the above description, outlining galactic history and describing your reinstatement in the Black Phoenix. Roger's galactography is rather hazy (he admits that he was more interested in how it sounded than an accurate map), but it is a treat to read the historical section if you are a science-fiction fan.
This adventure has many of Roger's science-fiction trademarks: personal computer, menu-driven options for special commands, and so on. The adventure does not have a single quest but has 6 missions that must be performed that begin with a simple reconnoiter of an enemy position, progress through various rescue and covert activities, and end with a very rough 'hold until relieved' firefight.
You command a team of on-the-bounce fighters. You keep track of your mission requirements and progress through your computer, though you actually receive each from your commander. You periodically receive fresh equipment and replacements. The COMMO command is great fun; you can call in an air strike or artillery support, or a med-evac if required. Each option brings up its own special screen, and the responses are well timed for realism.
There are some minor puzzles to be solved with each mission, but the main thust of this Eamon is space opera, and it is well done. There are 40-odd special effects, and they cover a lot of special events. Highly recommended to fans of military science fiction.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: DEFLECT, SCARLET-TAPEWORM, PROPELLER-BLOW, WAIT, USE Deleted Commands: GIVE, SPEED, POWER, WAVE, PUT, FREE Special Features: Animated HiRes screen at startup Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 8.5
Description: Long have you been in search of Ketil and Halfdan Jormunreksson, two Viking brothers who had participated in the murder of your lord, Nobunaga. You now find yourself in Sweden, knowing that you will find them somewhere to the northwest.
You have heard tales of Ragnarok, the end of the world, and it seems that you see many of the Signs in the land around you. You fear the strange and supernatural things that you see happening, but your fear is replaced by wrath as you finally sight your goal!
Comment: Like Nate's earlier "Samurai Cat" Eamon, your character in this adventure is Samurai Cat himself. You live by the code of the Bushido and are peerless in combat. Your quest this time is to find the murderers of Nobunaga and avenge his death. But other events intervene...
This adventure is unlike anything else in Eamon. It draws heavily from the "Samurai Cat" comics, and if you aren't reasonably familiar with the style of these comics, it will probably seem pretty bizarre to you. Such things as Vikings, Apaches, Nazis, spears, cannon, guided missiles, and even land-traveling battleships are routine to see in the same room or battle.
At first glance, this seems like a smallish adventure, with only 44 rooms and 25 monsters. However, there are 87 special effects, and they are used very skillfully to depict a number of special events which range from a single effect to scenarios that run on for many screens and require player participation.
While there is some minor puzzling, a Samurai's strong point is combat, and there is plenty of it to be found here. And no ordinary combat, either; many if not most of the combat encounters are special events that include much more than the usual simple melee printout. Many know that I am no fan of mindless combat, but it is well-done and varied here and kept my interest quite well.
My favorite aspect of this adventure has got to be the special combat commands DEFLECT, SCARLET-TAPEWORM, and PROPELLER-BLOW. I never got tired of attacking an opponent and seeing WITH PRETERNATURAL FEROCITY YOU LASH OUT THE DEADLY SWIRLING SLASHES OF THE DIVINE WHIRLING OUTBOARD MOTOR PROPELLOR BLOW. It didn't hurt that this command is a savage attack on the bad guy, either!
Unless you are somewhat familiar with "Samurai Cat", you will probably be put off by all the incongruous and often downright bizarre things that you see. Don't let that stop you; this is a topnotch, very complex adventure and deserves a play. I also suggest that you play it through a second time after you have successfully completed it. You will enjoy the special effects and events much more once you have seen it and know what to expect. I have played it 5 or 6 times, and it is one of a very few Eamons that get better with replays.
There are several combat situations that require careful reading and quick, correct action or you will die. While there is an amusing resurrection sequence, it is not always easy to see right away what you need to do to defeat this or that supernatural opponent. For this reason, I give it a (9) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "'To speak the name of the Dead is to make them live again.' - inscription on wall in King Tut's tomb -
"It has been many months since you have left the Guildhall. You have traveled far to reach . . .
"The Pyramid of Cheops"
Comment: I think that the intro, printed above in its entirety, does a pretty good job of summing up this Eamon: simple.
There's not a lot to see and do here, even though there are 71 rooms to explore. This is primarily a "mapper's dungeon", as there are a couple of unmarked secret passages that can only be found by trying every direction.
This is a really easy foray. The mapping is straightforward and the bad guys are tuned for Marcos' standard weapons. Difficulty of (3). Probably a good pick for the Young Eamonaut. My overall rating is for that target group. Advanced campaigners will likely be bored.
One very minor hint: don't ignore the signs.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: RETREAT, ESCAPE, DRINK, WAVE Deleted Commands: NO SAVE Special Features: Hi-Res title screen with music Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.5 Avg. Rating: 5.2/2
Description: "While relaxing at the tavern one day, a man in black informs you that you are the 16th in line for the throne of the Land of the Sister Mountains. To prove yourself for such honour, you have to rid their countryside of a warlord who calls himself 'Master'."
Comment: That about sums it up for the intro, though why they called on number 16 to prove himself for the throne is beyond me. Why not someone a bit closer to number 1, or are you the 16th to try? This particular Eamon has a spot in my heart, as it was the first Eamon I ever played. So I felt I should review it.
It clocks in at about 80 rooms, and most of the descriptions are of the N/S HALLWAY type, which gets used about 19 times, one-quarter of the rooms! Add hallways and bends, and you only have 24 rooms, with only 11 actual rooms. The rest are bridges and caves. There are a fair number of monsters here. The intro warns that this disk is for the strong, but the character I used kicked the Master's butt in 3 rounds. It's not a Monty Haul when it comes to treasure, but I still walked away with over 2,000GP.
I had to rate this adventure a 5.5. The over-abundance of N/S hallways coupled with below-par punctuation brought it down. The only thing that kept it at 5.5 was a puzzle, which I don't want to give away.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 2.0/2
Description: "You are the fighter that:
Found the infant that cried insistent- Saved Sammy-Jo Faire, with the really nice pair- That fought skeletons five and barely survived- And found all the treasure beyond measure- All in the house that Jack built.
And boy, is Jack pissed..."
Comment: This is a fairly good-sized Eamon that has very little content. All you do is wander about a very large house. The tone is light and the descriptions mildly silly. If it had more content I might have given it a better rating, though I must note that Pat Hurst gave it a (1).
You'll enjoy it more if you set yourself to do all the things listed in the intro. But as for "treasure beyond measure," my take was 203 GP.
I found two unmarked secret passages not found by LOOK. There are a large number of movement-related death traps, but they are mostly well marked and make sense if you think about it.
Difficulty of (2).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: DRINK, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 5-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.5/2
Description: "A man approaches you and says, 'I need a brave volunteer to escape from my place of dwelling; a sort of test of my security.' " 'And where do you dwell?' you ask.
" 'I dwell at Granite Hall!'
"You reach for your weapon but never get it out in time to strike. You never saw the blast spell that knocked you unconscious. All you think is, 'This is the feared mage Ajakstu, arch-mage to the demons of Hades...' If half of what you have heard of Ajakstu is true, you are in deep trouble..."
Comment: Well maybe not all that much trouble. This is a mild Hack'n'Slash romp with a difficulty of (3). There are several keys and lamps and stuff, but I never saw any use for any of it. The exit was cleverly done and I predict that you will find it only by chance, but that you will not have difficulty stumbling onto it. But the overall content is low, diminishing the rating.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None, has SAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0
Description: You have volunteered to be shrunk to microscopic size and injected into a human body on a mission to destroy cancerous growths, tumors, and bacteria. White blood cells will aid you in battle. You are given a special 'zap gun' to use in killing the diseases. For your trouble, you will be paid 1000 gold pieces. Also, you get to keep the zap gun.
Comment: This adventure was Rob's first attempt at a "Fantastic Voyage"-type adventure. His main purpose was to write an Eamon adventure that would also help educate the player about human anatomy. Unfortunately actual anatomy is almost non-existent, as most of the 'rooms' of the map use terms like "lower-head", "mid-arm", and so on. The monster-like attitudes of the bad guys was rather unrealistic, also.
If you want to use Eamon as an anatomy teaching aid, take a close look at #185 "The Body Revisited". It has a MUCH better and more detailed anatomical map. I give this adventure a (2) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 15-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0
Description: "Greetings, you fools. I am the Games-Master, Dirtie Trix. So you thought my other games were easy? Well, it's safe to say you've never gone to my fun house ...
"... up till now you've had it easy ..."
Comment: This is a straight mapping exercise with no combat. It's not even much of a maze, by Eamon standards, with no diabolical twists that I saw, although the room names tend to be very, very similar.
The drill here is to wander around until you find the exit. If there is anything else, I missed it, although I must admit that I only saw about half of the 96 rooms before stumbling onto the exit. Difficulty of (2) for the large map.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 10-20 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0
Description: "One day, while taking a break from adventuring, you decided to go to the docks. It is refreshing, watching the ships sail in and out of port, to see the billowing of the sails. To see the dock workers loading and unloading the ships.
"A sinister man slides up beside you. 'Ever want to sail?' he wheezes between rotted teeth. Before you can answer, he hits you over the head with a blackjack..."
Comment: You have been shanghaied and your quest is to find a way off the ship. Other than that, this is a straight combat scenario with no other content whatsoever. Nine out of ten enemies you meet will be named PIRATE. No companions. Difficulty of (3).
The ship seems rather nicely appointed for a 17th-century pirate vessel and feels more like a small castle than a ship.
One hint: there is no obvious way off the ship. Look for something a little mysterious to find your exit.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: The adventure starts out with a distress call from MOON BASE to Mission Control. A Russian Top Secret experiment escaped and is headed towards MOON BASE.
Comments: If you are expecting some one-eyed, seven-legged creature that trashes the base, forget it. I found no such creature in the adventure. This is a short hack'n'slash grab-the-loot scenario. The mapping was rather unique and could cause problems if you are not paying attention. I got lost a couple of times, but was able to recover when I found myself back at the start. The author is actually trying to get you lost, so carefully read what is on the screen. The monsters are not very original, either. There are no sudden death traps, or much of anything else special.
I liked the way that the monsters just showed up at random; I played it several times, and the monsters moved around. There are a bunch of friendly monsters, which I didn't like, because they caused the text to scroll off the screen before I could read it. You could probably take a weak character and not die because of all the friends. I used a regular character from the Main Hall with no spells and a Main Hall weapon.
I rated it low because there is no mission or plot, the monsters were boring and mundane with repetitive names (ALIEN, ALIEN, ALIEN). If you are a stickler for spelling, you'll find some errors. On the other hand, I liked the way that the monsters showed up differently on each restart, the unique map, and absence of death traps. I probably would have rated it higher if the monsters were more interesting, there had been a bit of plot or quest, and even one simple locked door puzzle or special effect.
It is probably a good choice for a beginner or young Eamonaut to play right after the Beginners Cave.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.4/2
Description: "There exists an evil wizard by the name of Izurath. He is a cunning and smart wizard, but very evil. He has sent a letter to the Main Hall stating that he will open up his doors to bold and brave (and somewhat stupid) adventurers to gain practice. Now you seek to beat the Wizard's Tower."
Comment: This is a straightforward Hack'n'Slash foray. You can enhance the play a bit by making it your quest to find and kill Izurath. This Eamon is more sophisticated than Rob's earlier ones in that it has several LOOK-type secret passages to discover.
Difficulty of (4). Izurath is a bit more difficult to find than it might at first appear.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: RADIATION COUNTER, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Sound effect when enemy dies Playing Time: 30-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 3.5/2
Description: Dr. Hoosenfire hires you to test his time machine. It will send you into a parallel dimension. You will be paid 1000 GP if you survive.
Comment: Apparently where you are sent is Earth after a nuclear war. You find lots of mutant zombies and a few refugees and friendly guards.
The entire adventure takes place in some kind of underground bunker, so you have your standard indoors dungeon-type map to check out. I found a couple of keys laying in corridors, and if they did anything they did it transparently.
Straight Hack'n'Slash fare, with no secret passages and no puzzles. Difficulty of (3).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 10-15 min. Reviewer Rating: 1.0
Description: "We need a volunteer to help clean out the sewer system. It's plugged again. The last 37 helpers never came back, with the exception of Slasher, who came back through a toilet pipe when someone plunged too hard. I have 2,000 GP for the volunteer.
"What the hell, adventuring is in your blood. You raise your hand to volunteer.
"Oh, by the way, you can't leave until your job is done. You are to clean out the sewer system of rats, bums, alligators, and oh yes, the sewage monster!"
Comment: To be precise, 16 rats, two alligators, two bums, and the aforementioned monster.
Thirty-six rooms. No doors. No hidden anything. Straight combat. But if you enjoy mapping, the place is a bit of a maze of similar passages and would be a minor challenge to map completely.
The monsters aren't tough. Difficulty of (2).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 10-20 min. Reviewer Rating: 1.0
Description: "Oooo-boy!!! You shouldn't had drinkin so muchh. Yer hed sure duz hurt. But thatz not the problim. The problim iz, your in farmer Brown's woods. And wee all no how much he hates trespassserss..."
Comment: Yep, that's the intro. You got drunk and woke up on private property. Now you mission is to wander around and kill everything you meet until you find a key to unlock the gate.
Well, you don't kill everything. You randomly make friends and enemies of sundry deer and squirrels, and it's pretty stupid to be in a battle where you have one enemy deer and two friendly deer and you have to kill them all to get the bad one because they all have the same name. However, you do get to kill about a dozen hands and a big truckload of dogs, not to mention the good Mr. Brown himself.
Wander around a huge compound where every room has a nearly identical description until you stumble on a key. Yawn. Difficulty of (1).
MAIN PGM version: 6 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: SWITCH, USE, WAIT, PLAY, ENTER, RESUME Deleted Commands: TAKE, BLAST, HELP, POWER, SPEED, WAVE Special Features: musical instruments; can READY artifacts in either or both hands; 2-game SAVE; can RESUME a saved game at any time; uses a special character; reusable containers Playing Time: 2-5 hours Reviewer Rating: 8.5
Description: You were orphaned at an early age, and were taken under the wing of the village Bard, who taught you wonderful stories and gave you musical instruments, and taught you how to play spells on them. The Bard was a powerful musical magician who often aided the King's men. He braved many dangers but was finally killed by the evil Kroger. Enraged, you set out to avenge his death, though you were but a small boy. Kroger's men captured you, took your instruments, and laughed as they sent you away.
Six years have passed, and one day you overhear two of Kroger's men talking in a tavern. One of them mentions where each of your magical instruments was cached. Older now, but still desiring revenge, you resolve to recover your instruments and kill Kroger.
Comment: Sam Just keeps cranking out Eamons with amazing detail and overall high quality. The feature of readying artifacts in either hand is novel and makes this Eamon special. For example, you need to READY a torch in order to light it, but you will want to carry it readied in your left hand in order to keep your sword ready in your right. Sam adds realism to the player's inventory by severly limiting the number of items that can be carried loosely but adding a backpack, pocket, and scabbard to store things in. The musical instrument spells are another new feature in Eamon, and are well executed. Besides the new commands, many of the old ones were extensively reworked to accommodate new features; the commands are well explained in the introduction, and the command descriptions can be dumped to a printer if desired.
As usual, Sam's puzzles are tight, tough, and often fatal. To compensate for this, two simultaneous SAVEs are allowed, and either can be RESUMEd at any time during play, or after a fatal move. There are approximately a half-dozen major puzzles, and they are good ones, new to Eamon, and made up of lesser puzzles.
The player's character is not used but is returned unharmed to the Main Hall. Instead, Sam supplies a 'boy' character to be used that has exactly the qualities and abilities that are described in the introduction. There is a fair amount of dangerous combat, but it involves semi-random denizens of the forest; the puzzles can NOT be bulldozed past using brute strength, but must be solved.
Puzzle fanciers will love this one. Fans of Sam's work will be well entertained by the detailed story and special stuff. Fans of the 'Hack&Slash' genre and those who enjoy using a super-character to smash all opposition will be disappointed. I give it a (9) for difficulty, because of puzzle difficulty and the good chance that wrong choices will be fatal.
MAIN PGM version: 7.0 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none Playing Time: 60-90 minutes Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.7/3
Description: All of the animals in the Kingdom of Eamon have disappeared. You, the most famous adventurer of all time, are enlisted to find the animals and return them to the kingdom. Any delay will be deadly to the pets and animals. Your quest begins at a cave of unknown dangers. You quake with fear but realize you cannot back out now.
Comment: The descriptions of the cave rooms are interesting and realistic with stalactites, stalagmites, drop-offs, and pot holes. You will find the usual cave creature inhabitants, such as bats, spiders, lizards, and crabs, with a few others not often found, as well. But what else would you expect to find in a cave, after all--hummingbirds?
This adventure is pretty much straightforward as to play: fight the bad guys and hunt the animals. There are no hidden traps that kill you without warning. The few hidden rooms are easy to find and lend credibility to the storyline. The story is unique, interesting, and well thought out as well as clearly presented. It is fun to play for a number of reasons: 1) there are few extraneous rooms tacked on to take up space; 2) the few puzzles are easily solved; 3) it has an easy and sensible map; 4) it is interesting to follow the plot development.
This is the author's first adventure and is a good example of good, clear, above average Eamon programming. It bodes well for additional adventures in the future and I look forward to playing them. The rating would have been higher if there had been more puzzles and rooms and a more complete storyline, but extra credit certainly should be given for the plot uniqueness and smoothness of play.
MAIN PGM version: 7.0 Extra commands: none Deleted commands: none Special Features: emergency exit Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating:5.0/3
Description: Your doctor friend, S. Fraud, enlists your help. It seems that a VIP has been shot and has a slow acting poison pellet in his body. You are shrunk to microscopic size to run around in his body, banging through organs until you stumble on the pellet, which you are to put in a lead container, after which you will be retrieved and returned to normal size. You enter the body at the left elbow in the brachial artery. To the north is the radial artery and south the left forearm. Get the picture? You travel through 193 organs, veins and arteries, such as: Jugular Vein, Common Carotid Artery, Posterior Tibial Vein, and my favorite, the Inferior Vena Cava. If you get tired of looking for the pellet, just SAY CHICKEN and you are rescued, but be ready for insults. You can also exit through the Urethra.
Comment: My God, 193 rooms- much ado about nothing. I gave up trying to map it after reaching room #85. There are so many rooms that seem to have no point other than to round out a very complete internal map of the body. It is very difficult to map without getting mixed up because of the difficult anatomical names and because the body's organs aren't laid out in a very orderly fashion. One of the things I enjoy doing is making good, clean and understandable maps, but not this one.
The pellet is randomly placed and the quest consists of stumbling about until you come upon it. The ending is unsatisfactory because you are not recognized nor thanked for your enormous effort in killing cancer cells, tapeworms, and tumors and bringing out the pellet. The small reward gives little satisfaction. The monsters were very monotonous, being mainly an endless succession of cancer cells and white blood cells.
I reluctantly rate this a 4. I say reluctantly because I know the author must have spent a lot of time learning the proper names of the parts of the human body and getting them in the right places. He set out to write an educational Eamon adventure that teaches the body and probably deserves more credit for that alone, but I was turned off as I don't have that kind of interest. This is a perfect example of an adventure that has too many rooms that don't go anywhere.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none Special Features: none Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 1.0 Average Rating: 2.0/2
Description: This Beginner's Cave was set up by the Warlord as a service to all free adventurers giving them a chance to try their skills in a not-too- dangerous setting. However, it is really a get rich quick scheme.
Comment: With John Nelson as author, I was expecting an improvement over the original Beginner's Cave but was disappointed. The warning sign read, "For Beginners Only," but I was able to enter with an armor expertise of 10%. The monsters in the cave consisted of the usual rat, troll, and snake, but the wild boar and bull were out of place in a cave. Treasure was misspelled. The Power spell caused an OUT OF DATA error. The action was dull with no exciting Trollsfire type weapons or hidden surprises. The treasures were give-aways with little hazard for the taking. The original Beginner's Cave remains the better of the two for me.
(Editor's comment: the OUT OF DATA error is a bug resulting from an incomplete conversion from Eamon II to version 6.2. See 'Bugs 'n Fixes', this issue. Likewise, non-beginners can enter even though it says "Beginners only" because I did not add any code to the basic 6.2 MAIN PGM to check for it. In other words, These two items are my fault and not John's. Tom Z)
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: USE, OPEN, READ Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0
Description: A wizard leaves you a bizarre outfit that turns you into Batman on Earth. As the adventure opens, you find yourself in the Batmobile, headed for the Joker's hideout.
Comment: This Eamon is pretty low in content and is very unsophisticated. You will see about 30 rooms of the total 48. The rest apparently aren't used, except for one mostly useless unmarked secret passage that LOOK doesn't see.
Young Eamonauts who really like Batman will enjoy this Eamon the most. That group might well rate it considerably higher than I did. Difficulty of (1).
Three hints: first, Robin won't follow you unless you go E then W again to set up his friendliness. Next, you can't READ anything unless you are holding it, and the READ command may not recognize the full artifact name (e.g.: you must type READ FILES to read the POLICE FILES.) Last but far from least, you will do well to pick up everything you find.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: HINT, XTINGUISH, SUICIDE, EAT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.5 Average Rating: 6.5/4
Description: Hokas takes you to the Eamon Public Library. "Inside the library, you see books thrown about, as if vandals had broken in and ransacked the place. Picking up one of the books, you see a three-inch hole through the center of it. Opening it up, you discover that all of the pages are now completely blank.
"'This is the fifth library to have this happen to it.' Hokas says. 'We have to stop this madman before all of the books are destroyed. Luckily, these books are easy to replace. However, if this had been a library of rare manuscripts...'
"'Who did this?' you say.
"'The Bookworm.' Hokas hisses through clenched teeth. 'I shall never be able to thank you enough if you defeat him. I have found out a bit about him for you. He plays an odd sort of savoir-faire. His hideout, I am told, has many "clues" or "hints" built into it. I do not know any more, so pay close attention to anything and everything.'"
Comment: This is a very decent Eamon, arguably Rob's best work. It doesn't rate higher because it is a bit low on content, but the writing and mapping are excellent, and it has several novel room ideas. I came very close to revising my old rating upwards after replaying it for this review.
One thing that knocks it down a bit is that it has a few minor glitches in presentation. One is a very long special with no screen pauses that occurs at one of the "entrances". The other is that it displays resumed saved games in 80-column mode regardless of the screen setting when it was saved. (If you want or need to use 40-column mode when resuming a saved game, delete line 29065 before beginning the game).
Difficulty will run 3-7 depending on how much you use the HINTS command, which pretty much gives away all of the puzzles if you use it regularly.
SUICIDE is a perfectly useless command that kills you and ends the game. I don't know why Rob thought that was better than simply using Control-C or reset. XTINGUISH is merely a way to snuff your torch without having to drop it (which is the standard Eamon method to put out torches).
Here's a warning of sorts: the can will mess with your character's stats in an amusing way. If you feel strongly about that, don't fool with the can. But if you are using FRESH SAM or don't mind having to "repair" your character, you may get a chuckle out of it.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: SEARCH, SLEEP Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 10-40 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0
Description: "You teleport into the near future, surrounded by the gathering clouds of war." To war-torn Ireland.
Comment: This Eamon is set in some part of Belfast that has been devastated by the fighting between the two Irish factions. What isn't war-torn is poor and abandoned. In other words, this is an icky Eamon to play. It has nineteen rooms, and I didn't even bother to map it. You meet a small handful of characters, most of which are "not right" in some way. I can't imagine what I was thinking of when I gave it an earlier (3) rating. I almost gave it a (1) this time around.
SEARCH is only useful in the hayloft. SLEEP is an aggravating though harmless "Gotcha" trap that scatters your stuff all over the map.
There are three puzzles, all of which are obscure to the point of absurdity. One is that you get a machine gun if you find and pick up the scattered parts in the correct order. The other two give you one (1) chance to get it right, and then you fight. The first expects you to somehow know to give a needle you found to a Leprechaun. The other expects you to know that the secret password is "The luck of the Irish", even though you aren't told that anywhere I could find. If you know the password, you get sent back home again. If you don't, you apparently fight forever.
I guess I'll leave the difficulty at (7), even though a higher number could be argued.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, PUSH, THROW Deleted Commands: none, no Save Special Features: no killing Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: 'As you leave the Main Hall, a dark gentleman sidles up to you. "Arrgh," he says. "There's them hereabouts that would pay plenty to know what goes on at the back building of the Grimmwax Waxworks! I wonder, are you man enough to go find out? Of course, getting past the guards will be your first problem. And your last! Har! Har! Har!" His cold, sardonic laughter lingers in your mind as you close the door on the Main Hall and step out into the mid-afternoon sum.'
Comment: The above is the text of the introduction. It doesn't exactly give you a quest but does charge you to find out what is going on at the waxworks. This adventure has quite a few puzzles of medium difficulty which must be solved to progress.
An interesting variation on combat is that no one is ever killed, but is knocked unconscious instead. For your purposes this amounts to the same thing because they do not revive during the adventure. However, the player DOES revive if knocked out, and once he finds where his stuff was stashed, can continue.
There definitely are Things Going On at Grimmwax to be discovered. The emphasis is on puzzles, not on combat. Recommended for puzzle fanciers.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none Special Features: for beginner-level characters only Playing Time: 30 minutes Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: This is an expanded version of the original 'Beginners Cave' adventure on the master disk. This it the adventure that is offered on the Expanded Master by John Nelson & John Heng. Besides the contents of the original Beginners Cave, it has 11 more rooms, 11 more artifacts, and 10 more monsters. It uses the version 6.0 MAIN PGM which accepts some abbreviations and has a larger command set than the version 4 original.
Comment: I thought long and hard before assigning this adventure its own number, but one-third of the database is new and it has a completely new MAIN PGM, and in the end it seemed that it would be easier to track bugs and revisions if it was listed separately.
If you have seen the original, you haven't missed much if you haven't seen this one. It is after all an adventure for beginners and is very simple. The rating reflects this; if it was judged as a normal adventure it would not rate quite as well. I give it a (3) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: RIDE, VERBOSE, BRIEF, OPEN, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: short EAMON.ROOMS record lengths, no DOS on disk Playing Time: 60-90 minutes Reviewer Rating: 3.0
Description: "Welcome to 'Mean Streets' Your task is a valiant one. A pimp has moved into our fair city. He has full intention of making it his own. To insure his wishes he has kidnapped my only daughter 'Tina'. He intends to turn her into one of his prostitutes.
"As mayor of this city I give you full power to rid our city of this vile man(pimp) by any means you see fit. Also it is rumored that a huge thug is hiding out in the subway killing people at any given chance. We would very much appreciate his extermination. Also be on the lookout for thieves, they are know to be lurking when you least expect them."
Comment: This is a very large map of a small 5-block by 5-block city. It has 97 rooms, but there is no need to map it because it is so orderly and because there isn't much of anything to go back to after you've entered a room.
I was very much reminded of "The Shopping Mall" while playing this, as most of it's "rooms" are empty streets, and most of the buildings are uninteresting one-room affairs with no more to offer than a touch of combat, if that.
This is an icky city, showcasing the warts and problems that any city has without offering any countering uplifting content. I found myself wondering if Thomas was a high-school student (or perhaps dropout) who was no stranger to run-ins with the Law.
Having said all that, I have to add that it didn't get a higher rating for a two-pronged reason: it uses no screen pauses at all, and you will pick up as many as two entire screensfull of companions. Thomas addressed that with two new commands. VERBOSE prints everything (as if you had typed LOOK) at a slow speed that is easy to read and takes quite a while to print. BRIEF prints at normal high speed, prints just the room name, and omits the normal space between monster names. Either method will drive you nuts, though for different reasons. I found that the best way for me was to leave it in BRIEF, and to liberally use the control-S key to pause printing so I could read stuff before it was shot off the top by the companion listing or the combat text.
There are so many characters that I almost always had to do a SMILE to find out which one was the enemy when I entered a room, because I couldn't remember all the names of my companions.
One cute special is a thief who will steal everything you have (except your ready weapon) every 10 moves or so. It got terribly annoying to see the accompanying "OOOH NOOO!" message, and almost pushed me down to a (2) rating all by itself. Don't worry about your stuff; enter the dumpster at 3rd & Tyler, and you'll get it all back and do away with the thief as well. But be sure to READY your best weapon as soon as you start the adventure, so it won't be stolen.
I was not able to get past one door without cheating. Thomas used a brute-force programming approach that gave nearly all of the artifacts no location until they were actually needed (for example, if monster X dies, then change weapon Y's location from zero to the room number.) I could not find any code that made the door key available. But all you will find behind it is one enemy and one treasure.
One very elaborate and rather stupid death trap. Difficulty of (3) if you're using high-grade weapons.
Here's a hint: how do you find out if an open mailbox has anything in it? Also, if you get killed and want to restart the game, be sure to type SPEED=255 before typing RUN, or else it might take 10 minutes for the game to load!
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: PULL, REST, SUICIDE, STATUS, REFILL, THROW, SEE, PRAY, ASSEMBLE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions, lo-res picture, HINTS program, 40/80 column display. Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "The country of Rhyl has been beset nearly every night for many years by a terrible creature that flies out from the mountains near the city of Asereht. The creature soars over farmland, picking up livestock or an occasional unfortunate farmer and carrying the victim back into the mountains.
"Nearly a year ago the creature broke through the wall of King Namreh's castle and carried off the king's son, Prince Laechim, along with a large amount of the Royal Treasure. Since that incident, which did not seem like the act of an unthinking creature interested only in food, King Namreh has suspected that the creature is somehow under the influence of the mad magician Astylis.
"Your mission is to go to Astylis' complex, rescue Prince Laechim plus the royal scepter and the golden crown that were also taken, and kill the fearsome creature that seems to be under the wizard's control."
Comment: This is a very good Eamon, in many ways the best one Rob ever did. It is a mapper's Eamon, with 133 rooms, lots of nifty stuff and several door puzzles to conquer. The combat is sparse and not terribly difficult.
The problem with it is that he didn't write it. It is a "Dungeons and Dragons" scenario. The D&D people had had a long history of suing first and asking questions later, so I never gave it the publicity it deserved, nor did it get a conversion to 80-col. ProDOS. I buried it through neglect and hoped that people would find it on their own.
Several of the door-puzzles are pretty tough, and there are all those rooms plus 100 artifacts to keep straight. This is no outing for the Young Eamonaut, or for those looking for a quickie foray. Difficulty will ring in between 4-8, depending on how much you use the HINTS program.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: TALK Deleted Commands: PUT, LIGHT, POWER, SPEED, BLAST, REMOVE, WEAR Special Features: none Playing Time: 1.5-2.5 hours Reviewer Rating: 9.0
Description: 'This adventure is loosely based on the 'Groo' comic books by Sergio Aragones. I can't tell you much other then that they're the funniest comic books on the market and they are a good influence on young children, with lots of slaying and pillaging. Remember, the game is >loosely< based on them, so you can't buy them all in hope of some hints!
The most confusing part of the game is in the beginning, as you have no actual quest at this point. Well, you are in a nigh-helpless city under attack by barbarians. This should pose as a problem for any normal person. Just find out what you can do to help. That's the whole point of the game. It's important to keep your companions alive, also. Some play crucial roles in the game, then again, some don't.
The Saga Begins...
You've been searching for the villain who's been spreading carnage and death across the land like a plague for almost five months now. In an almost random fashion, towns and villages have been looted, burned, and some levelled to the ground. Nobody has seen any armies, and mages claim that no magic is at work in the land.
You finally wound up in the hick town of Oigres. You searched the town, but all you could find besides basic fare was the unusual dependency the populace had on cheesedip. In fact, the town was cheesedip mad. A bowl of cheesedip accompanied every meal and a watered version was drank.
You were on your way out of this bowl of stagnation when a horrified cry broke the monotony! "Barbarians! A horde of them! Storming the city walls!", cried a sentry. The ill-equipped guards barely closed the gates in time. Peasants scrambled in and many fell outside the gates. You lent your hand with a bow and shot several of the invaders. They were fat, short, and obnoxious. The dreaded Kretons of Kraut! The most bloodthirsty killers on the planet! After a short fight, the Kretons fell back and surrounded the city, closing off the only road out of this dump.'
Comment: The above contains selected portions of the introduction text. It does a pretty good job of summing up this adventure.
Combat has a minimal role here. There are many puzzles of medium difficulty that are well done. The plot develops nicely in a series of mini-quests as you work from one to the next, not really knowing where it is all going, but not really caring either. This is a very funny adventure and it is unquestionably the best Eamon that Nathan has ever done. I give it a (7) for difficulty.
One hint: don't proceed to the final confrontation unless you have *both* wands.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: You're an experienced adventurer, but you know how to listen and pick up some good info once in a while. When you heard that there was a place outside of town that gave beginning Adventurers a chance to hone their skills and pick up some loot in the process, naturally you jumped at the opportunity to make the most of the deal.
So you hitchhiked your way out there, and readied your weapons and yourself as you approached the main entrance.
Comment: The above is the entire text of the introduction. It's about par for the adventure itself. There is no quest of any kind and there are only 36 fairly simple rooms.
This adventure is for beginners who want to pump up their character's stats "honestly" instead of using the Character Editor. There are lots of goodies everywhere you look that enable the player to bulk up his character. The loot and weapons are really good, too.
Advanced and experienced players will find this one to be an unremarkable "Monty Haul" scenario of the "kill and loot" variety. But it is just the ticket for beginners who need a stronger character but don't want to "cheat". I give it a difficulty rating of (2). With its low difficulty and high rewards, it is probably a good candidate to use with children.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: (unprintable) Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 10 min. Reviewer Rating: 1.0
Description: Explore Madam Dolly's Cat House.
Comment: This is a very simple, quite pornographic adventure. All you do is visit each room of the house, kill the generic customer, then have your way with the girl in the room. While it's not as gross as "House of Ill Repute", it has even less content.
Difficulty of (1).
I have to add that it would get the overall (1) rating even if it wasn't pornographic, being an awful Eamon from every possible standpoint.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0
Description: You find yourself in front of a temple that has been converted into an Imperial stronghold.
Comment: This is a very bare-bones Eamon. There is no intro text. The room descriptions do not ever list exits. The monster descriptions read like you already know the guy is in the room (As the game begins, the first description you see is COMPUTER TEACHER, WHO HAS JUST LOST HIS FALSE TEETH.) Many descriptions start out with nouns, they are so simple. All the names tend to have no relation to the description. Mapping is a bit of a chore because of the poor descriptions.
The actual adventure is pretty much just 20 rooms, followed by 15 rooms of aimless wandering in YOU ARE IN SPACE rooms until you stumble on the exit.
This is a straight Hack’n’Slash outing. The combat is tough enough that you will probably want a magic weapon or two, unless you like lots and lots of combat.
Difficulty of (4), partly for the combat and partly for the mapping tedium.
MAIN PGM version: 7.0 Extra Commands: PRAY, EAT, SUICIDE Deleted Commands: none Special Features: a couple of extended effect sequences Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.5 Difficulty: 4
Description: This is a sequel to #188 'Encounter: the Bookworm'. Yes, that ol' bookworm is back with more mayhem! You are working for Hokas Tokas, and when he discovers that you had inadvertently released the Bookworm from his Aquarium prison, guess who gets the job of bringing him back!
Comment: This is a pretty funny adventure; not in the guffaw class but it kept me smiling as I played. It is done strictly for laughs and any resemblance to a 'serious' Eamon foray is inconceivable. Robert did some collaboration with Nate Segerlind on this, and Nate is a huge believer in humor in Eamon. It is set in Des Moines and lots of Eamon authors have cameo appearances in the adventure. I had fun figuring out who was who, and if you play much Eamon you should be able to do so, too. However, some of the pot-shots at Eamon authors are very close to being inside jokes, and it is possible that you might be put off if you can't figure out who is getting slammed.
There are few puzzles and they aren't too hard. The fighting is minor and besides the point of the adventure, which is to joke around and have fun. Lots of the descriptions talk to the player rather than to the player's character, much like Hope & Crosby used to talk to the camera in the 'Road' movies. Recommended to those who like funny Eamons and who don't mind silly descriptions.
MAIN PGM version: 6.0 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none Special Features: none Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Difficulty: 3
Description: "You have been summoned to the palace and there told of a powerful magic wand that the city is in dire need of. The council informs you that the wand is composed of 5 parts that do not necessarily look like parts of a wand. The reputed location is known as the Dungeon of Death, given this name by the local widows and orphans. This due to some rumor that their husbands and fathers were lost in these catacombs.
"Your mission is to recover all 5 pieces of the wand (you need not assemble them as this will be done by an expert) and return with them to Sam Slicker. He will give you your reward. If you do not recover all of the pieces, all of the items found in the catacombs will magically disappear and you will not gain any benefit from your trip. Be sure to search everywhere as the pieces are thoroughly scattered about the place."
Comment: The above is the entire text of the introduction. It's a small dungeon, and all puzzles can be easily solved by doing a LOOK in every room. It has some pretty fair special effects as well. This adventure may be appropriate for the skill level of young Eamonauts. If you are wondering, this Robert Davis is not the same Bob Davis who wrote for the NEUC "Adventurer's Log" and authored the Eamon classics #78 and #121.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.0/2
Description: You overhear a conversation between a wizard and a mage about a lost island full of riches. You decide to go claim the treasure before they do.
Comment: The entire purpose of this Eamon is to be a Kill 'n Loot adventure, as the introduction might suggest. There is only one (rather simple) puzzle that comes to mind in this adventure.
You get two fairly strong companions from the start of the adventure, a dwarf and an elf. With them and a reasonably strong character, the battles which occur in nearly every room are not too challenging.
The main trick in this game is getting out of the island once you have entered. You need to map carefully - the room connections in this game are off the wall. Because of the mapping and the one puzzle, I give this Eamon a (6) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "The king's beautiful daughter, Heleena, was abducted by a vile, scummy thief type person by the name of Sampson Gremonis. Rumor has it that he is holding her for ransom in an abandoned fort located somewhere in the Cunnamulla Foothills. The fort (Vanavara Outpost) is unusual in that it is built into the side of a hill, and is, therefore, totally underground. One village Elder has told of an old secret hideout under the fort itself that the kidnappers may be staying in.
"Rumor also has it that Gremonis has a couple of friends with him: one a powerful warrior, the other a necromancer, an evil mage with the power to raise the dead and use them as his slaves. Your mission is to enter the fort, find the secret hideout, rescue the princess, apprehend Gremonis and bring him back dead or alive. You will get 2000 GP for the safe return of Heleena. For bringing back Gremonis, you will get 2000 GP if he is alive or 1000 GP for his dead body."
Comment: First off, let me tell you that as far as I could tell, there is no way to bring Gremonis back alive. This is a simple "kill’n’loot" foray with the Quest tacked on top. There are quite a number of locked things to open, but they all open with simple keys that are found with LOOK, usually in the same room.
This is a pretty well written Eamon, but it is a little low in content to achieve a high rating from me even though it has 87 rooms, good descriptions, and well-executed Effects. However, it should be a fun outing for Hack'n'Slash fans, as there is a fair amount of intense, difficult-to-survive combat. Using FRESH SAM, I had to cheat-resurrect myself at least a half-dozen times. There are at least two locations where FRESH SAM can be killed in just a couple of rounds of combat.
Difficulty is a little hard to gauge, since the mapping and locked-door puzzles are simple enough while the combat is quite tough. Perhaps a (7) is the closest balance.
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: none Deleted Commands: none Special Features: a few special effects Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 4.5
Description: "You have been left on the plain of Srevi A hot breeze blows from the south and as far as you can see, there is only waving grasses. As you gaze to the west, you spy a tree. One solitary tree on a treeless plain. "Thunk! Ouch! You've been hit in the head by something. You look around and see a goose lying nearby. As you stagger towards the goose it disappears and in its place is a scroll. You unroll the scroll and it says...'Beneath, below, riches abound, below the plain, under the ground.'"
Comment: This adventure has a simple map of about 50 rooms. There are quite a few things to be found using LOOK, so keep track of them. The puzzles are about medium-tough, being mainly of the 'key' variety but with some twists. Combat isn't too difficult, as the monsters are geared for 'Main Hall' weapons. There are 3 no-warning 'Gotcha!' traps: one is a cave-in that kills you, and the other two are no-exit dark rooms (you can escape these with the POWER teleport).
There is no plot; it is a simple 'wander and loot' scenario. While a quest as such isn't given, you shouldn't feel that you have successfully explored the place until you have freed Maryanne, and gotten the hidden big treasure. There are several fun effects (including these two events), and a few interesting clues become evident as you explore.
Though it was rather aimless, this was a pleasant enough sojourn which might well have rated better with me except for my well-known dislike of no-warning traps. I give it a (7) for difficulty, for the puzzles. One hint: Maryanne is tied, not manacled as it says, and only one weapon will cut the ropes.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Lower-case text option, 40-col. Only Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating 5.5/2
Description: "Many years ago, the kings of ancient Eamon maintained a summer residence known as the Ervuol on a tiny isle in the stormy sea. Its location has been lost for ages, but an art fancier has discovered its location through careful research. You have been offered 5,000 GP to go there and recover a priceless art treasure: a bronze statuette of the goddess of love in ancient Eamon, Etihw Annav."
Comment: This Henry's first Eamon, and he has worked hard and come up with a nicely done adventure. The descriptions are pretty good. The map is coherent enough, although there is some mapping weirdness that was apparently thrown in for fun (like a mine shaft on the second floor of the castle!) Good utilization was made of 7.0 features, and he went the extra distance and did it in lower-case with an upper-case option.
The place had a somewhat random feel to it, but was pleasant to play. After wading through an assortment of generic goblins and thieves, things get really weird towards the end as you must win your way past a number of fantastic adversaries. This serves as a climax of sorts, as you escape from the castle once you get past the last of them.
This is a basic 'kill & loot' scenario with no plot beyond a simple quest. It doesn't worry overmuch about being consistent but throws new things at you for laughs and variety. Lots of hidden doors and secret passages to discover, and that is the biggest part of the puzzling. I give it a 5 for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 (heavily modified) with 7.0 database structure and lots of new goodies Extra Commands: REMOVE, FILL, USE, EAT, SWITCH, WEAR, RESUME Deleted Commands: BLAST, POWER, SPEED, WAVE Special Features: can READY artifacts in both hands; 2-game SAVE; can RESUME a saved game at any time; true distance fighting using a bow with real arrows; comprehensive SOLUTIONS program; detailed player instructions can be dumped to printer; 2-disk adventure; uses 7.0 ML search routines Playing Time: 2-10 hours, depending on how much you use the SOLUTIONS program. Reviewer Rating: 9.0
Description: Your people were nearly wiped out when they were driven from their homeland generations ago. Now, their numbers have grown, and many think that it is time to march and reclaim the homeland. But the coming battle is anything but certain, for the enemy is very formidable. A party must first recover the Staff of Retribution, a talisman of enormous power that was hidden by the priests when the final battle was fought outside the great temple named "Sanctuary". With this power, victory would be more assured.
So you find yourself leading the party, sneaking into enemy territory in a desperate bid to win entry into Sanctuary and then to try to discover where and how the Staff was hidden. But when you near the site, your entire band is wiped out in a surprise attack! You are the only survivor...but the Staff must be found!
Comment: Every time I think that Sam has peaked out, he comes up with something new that amazes me. With this adventure he again breaks new ground. Starting with the 'encumbrance' system that originally appeared in 'The Boy and the Bard', it has been greatly expanded into what Sam calls 'ACE': Advanced Combat & Encumbrance. ACE has many new features never seen before in Eamon. Among them is a combat system that takes distance into account--for example, you might be pinned down by enemy bowmen who you would have no choice but to shoot with arrows. You carry a quiver and must actually nock an arrow for each round (this isn't as inconvenient as it sounds, for there are several different types of magic arrows available).
There is TONS more Good Stuff. Surprise attacks are possible. You must brew your own healing potions. More magic than you can shake a stick at. Lots of sophisticated combat. Dozens of subtle puzzles. Sam buries you in clues; which are real and which are bogus? Most are real, but you will have to work it all out.
Hack'n'Slashers can pass this one by; even the combat requires careful thought: sword or bow? What kind of arrow? Is this thing supernatural? Is it charging? Omigod, what weapons do I have readied? A mindless approach will not give satisfactory results! And some of the puzzles are pretty complicated, though I found them all to be reasonable.
It's hard to judge the difficulty. The SOLUTIONS program gives you a progression of hints that work right up to outright solutions of each puzzle and trap. If you do it all yourself, it probably rates a (9) or (9.5) difficulty. If you use the hints, it of course drops considerably.
One hint: if you think that you have run across some typos or mapping screwups, the odds are pretty good that you haven't! I missed entry into a series of important puzzles because I made this mistake.
I can't decide if this is the best Eamon that Sam has ever done, but it is certainly a contender!
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.5
Description: You have been daydreaming of a very obscure, tranquil, and charming planet. Suddenly your head reels and you feel disorganized. Things are not as clear as they should be. As you reach for your ale, the tankard shrinks from your grasp. That is the last conscious thing you remember...
Your mind is foggy with confusion as you find yourself being steeped in shadowy legend. Your survival depends on your wits and recognizing certain magical practices older than Eamon itself. Your mission lies in the legends of:
*Sinope *Wroteus *Adrastea *Oberon *Veda *Rosalines *Elara *Larissa *Dione
Study these words well, for the answer lies within.
Comment: This adventure, though set in a fantasy world, is a commentary on our own planet Earth of today. The planet of the adventure is dying from a multitude of man-caused maladies and short-sighted plans. As you explore, it becomes obvious that Something Must Be Done before it is too late, if it is not too late already.
The quest, believe it or not, is clearly stated in the intro, which is condensed above. As you travel about you gradually uncover clues and messages to piece together what you must do to fulfill the quest.
As she did in her last adventure, Pat made full use of 7.0 features, especially hidden doors and containers. There isn't much combat; however, the puzzles aren't that complex and mainly consist of finding stuff that is hidden in rooms in various ingenious ways. There are a couple of red herrings that were nicely done.
This is a well-executed adventure with well-written text. The reason why I didn't rate it higher is because it was a bit lonely and I felt rather lost at times, and because it took a lot of time to find all the hidden stuff, which got a little old. Also, I felt that it was too much of a dark commentary on our own world for a fantasy. Still, Pat is an excellent writer and it is worth playing for that reason alone.
Some bits of this adventure are a little obscure, and I give it a (7) for difficulty in figuring these bits out. Pat writes really good text, and I eagerly look forward to her next Eamon adventure.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.5
Description: "It happened one day that you chanced upon a wondrous sword of black metal. This sword had a marvelous edge that did not dull, and it sang eerie melodies as you tested its edge against nearby saplings. But you cannot put it down! The most you can do is pass it to your left hand to free your right for other weapons.
"Later you met with some friends. One of them recognized it as a weapon of Hell, and told you of a cave that is reputed to hold the key to lift its curse. You listened closely as he told you how to find it.
"Still it is a marvelous sword, and you could do worse than to be saddled with such an obviously magical blade. The sword began its strange song as you prepared to demonstrate it for your friends. You felt a tremendous surge of strength as you severed a 6-inch limb with one blow!
"And then, even before you knew what was happening, you swung about, and you watched in horror as the sword slew all of your friends! Its song grew deeper and stronger as it tasted the blood of each. You realized then that this blade is more than just cursed, but must be possessed by a demon.
"It's plain that the sword is stronger than you, and if it drinks much more blood it will control you completely. Apart from that, it simply won't do to go about slaying everyone that you meet. Without a doubt, you must find that cave and rid yourself of the curse of this Hellsblade."
Comment: I should start out by mentioning how this Eamon came to be. It was originally designed by John Nelson for his "KnightQuest" system, which was supposed to be a sort of "Super-Eamon", but because of memory limitations of the Apple II was never finished. The only reason this was important is that the version 7 Eamon does not support a couple of things that were in this adventure to begin with, which made conversion to Eamon a bit more difficult, so I kept this in mind when reviewing it.
Anyway, I liked this one a lot. It has a clean, coherent map that wasn't too simple yet not so insanely dense that it was easy enough to map. There are a couple of unmarked secret passages that can only be found by going in that direction. When this was originally written, version 7 did not exist yet, and older adventures supported finding secret passages by LOOKing in the room. This is not a big deal, but this sort of unmarked passage really irritates me when I try to EXAMINE everything in the room, and when I don't find anything, I ignore it, only to be forced to come back later and finally figure out that there is a passage there.
(Author's Response: I must say in my defense that every room with a hidden passage had a clue in the room description, and the room name had the unusual "feature" of not listing the exits in the usual way. Even so, EXAMINE should have revealed the passages, for consistency. TomZ)
There is not a huge amount of combat here. There are a couple of tough monsters, but I didn't have much trouble getting by with a slightly "above average" character. I actually prefer this to having lots and lots of easy monsters that can be killed with one shot-- it makes play a lot less tedious. I'm not a huge "hack'n'slash" fan, but I do like a decent amount of combat. Not a lot of puzzling, either, but there were a couple I had to think about for a minute before I got by them.
I put the difficulty at about (6). It is a fun play that does not wind up requiring lots of play-through before you finally complete it. I won on my third try.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: GROWL, PLAY Deleted Commands: None Special Features: No DOS on disk Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "For many years, the world of Eamon had no trouble with renegades. But recently there have been quite a few people who decided to go out on their own. After a month or so, these rebels founded what is now known as the Eamon Renegade Club. Many of the rebels stayed with the ERC, and now it poses a major problem for all of us who don't need it around. So you have been commissioned to get rid of the ERC. There is a big chance for you to better your character's fighting skills, so be sure to take advantage of it."
Comment: Lots of combat, indeed. This is a pure Hack'n'Slash outing with heavy combat against multiple foes, and the companions you pick up aren't good for much more than absorbing some of the punishment for you. I was forced to cheat heavily to survive while using an "average" character, so you will want to bring your best weapons to even things up some. The difficulty of (8) stems entirely from the combat. The map, though large, is very simple in layout, and I saw no puzzles.
This game's largest flaw is in its text, which tends towards bad line breaks and uses very awkward-sounding phrasing. Nearly every monster's description reads as if the first sentence is missing, and most of the names start with THE. You'll want to be careful about using ATTACK THE in combat, or you might accidentally do in some of your companions, as I did. The artifact descriptions are seldom complete sentences, but merely embellish the name a bit.
The map felt rather contrived, and Phil was obviously straining to make a large map for his first Eamon. The last 15 or 20 rooms are bizarre and meaningless and not within the context of the theme of the play.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 40-col. only Playing Time: 1 hr. Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: Throughout recorded history, there have always been Adventurers, and their enemies. For a long time, these brave Adventurers fought the enemy, and they usually won. But recently, there have been rumors of a large enemy city somewhere in the Eamon world. The city is supposed to be the legendary city of Helstar. You don't know if you believe this or not. The last recorded sighting of Helstar was over 1000 years ago near a small African village. But if it has arrived here in Eamon, the chance to destroy it forever is finally here.
Legend has it that Helstar can only be destroyed by 'the two jewels'. After a long month of research, you learn that when these jewels are brought close together and a special phrase is said, there will be some sort of magical explosion and the entire city of Helstar will vaporize forever.
Both of the jewels have been guarded by powerful people for millennia. One of them is in a cave somewhere, inside an indestructible magic field. The other was in a Wizard's chest but about a year ago it was stolen. If you do not get it back, Helstar will be destroyed anyway...except that you'll still be in the city when it happens. And then you'll vaporize too.
Comment: Overall, I liked this adventure pretty well. There are several little specials that are interesting to play with; I especially liked the magic boots. Although it is described in fantasy-adventure terms in the intro, most of the adventure is quite contemporary in its map, rooms, and artifacts. There's even a wrecked car alongside a highway at one point. But it is a fantastical adventure in terms of magic and monsters.
Though the overall adventure is of average difficulty, there are a couple of puzzles that aren't all that easy to work out. Therefore, I give it a (7) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: KISS Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 45 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: You have just been contacted by the people of Wagramtown concerning an attack by the Marauders, a very powerful group of cyborgs, mutants, and hired thugs. The Marauders have turned the old high school into their headquarters. They have been attacking and destroying nearby towns and villages. They employ a science that has been all but lost since the Great War.
You have been asked to help rescue the captured people of Wagramtown, which includes the mayor, his daughter Meg, and Captain Josh of the Wagramtown Guard. All of the material wealth of the town was also taken. You will be given a reward based on the success in rescuing the captured and returning their stolen valuables. A young warrior who was not captured will assist you.
Comment: This is a clean, solid adventure, refreshingly free of errors. There's a ton of combat here and the puzzles are minimal; this is one that the "hack'n'slash" crowd will enjoy, for sure. Many of the opponents are not lightweights; be sure to bring your heavy artillery along with you.
It's biggest flaw is that it isn't all that much fun to map. This comes as no big surprise, since the adventure takes place in an old abandoned high school, and settings in institutional buildings often have this failing.
On the plus side, it is well-assembled and choreographed and had some nifty specials that I greatly enjoyed.
As you well know, I am not a "hack'n'slash" fan but am a puzzle nut, and this type of adventure is not my favorite. Eamonauts who enjoy combat and get bored by puzzles may well rate it higher than I did. I give it a (6) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 45 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: Once again, travelers and people in the area of the old ruined citadel are being attacked by odd creatures and strange robed figures. You had thought the demon exiled from the Earth with the destruction of the medallion.
Could someone have reconstructed the medallion? The King wants you to take a look into the situation. To help you, he has sent runners to find and enlist the aid of those who helped you fight Ngurct before.
This time, the King wants you to wipe out the cult members, recover the reconstructed medallion, and destroy the demon Ngurct. The King will give you 5,000 gold pieces upon the successful completion of your task.
Comment: As you can figure out from the title, this adventure is a sequel to "The Temple of Ngurct", by the Plamondon brothers. Once again, you are tasked to get rid of the demon.
Hoyle is a "hack'n'slash" kinda guy, and this adventure will please people who share his tastes in Eamon adventuring. There is a puzzle or two, but they aren't that tough. Some of the combat, though, is very intense. Be sure that you are well-prepared when you fight Ngurct!
Like all of Hoyle's adventures, this one is solidly crafted with a good map and few errors. It might have rated higher with me, except that there are lots of monsters and artifacts; by the time you reach the final confrontation you will have a following of about two screensfull of companions. Make no mistake, you will need all the help you can get to nail Ngurct, but it got a little tiresome to wade through all those --IS HERE messages after every command. I give this one a (7) for difficulty, mainly in staying alive during combat.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: The Marauders are back in business. They have set up shop in an old abandoned military complex. Several of the old Marauders are still alive and are presently trying to beef up their ranks. Adam of Wagramtown has gone to try and stop them before it is too late. He is strong, but lacks the power and experience to take them alone. You decide that you must go help him to take on the Marauders if you are going to save your rash friend. Hopefully you will get there before he is killed.
Comment: Well, you do get there in time, of course. And the two of you proceed to lay waste to the Marauders' stronghold.
This is a good adventure for young Eamonauts, with a good map, lots of simple combat, and simple puzzles. Even though it is on the simple side, I liked it for its clean, solid construction. I give it a (4) for difficulty.
Let me give you one hint about all of Hoyle's Eamon adventures: it's usually worthwhile to INVENTORY your companions; you never know what kind of stuff they might be carrying...
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "In years past, the Haunted Keep belonged to the Ratus family. It has been abandoned for many years. As the legend goes, the Ratus family mysteriously disappeared. The keep is now rumored to be haunted. Passing townspeople often hear sounds and see strange lights coming from the keep. Most of the keep is in ruins. Only two towers remain. They are connected by a falling gatehouse. The upper levels of even these towers is in decay.
"Recently a tribe of goblins, which live in the ruins of Haunted Keep, have been raiding the countryside. One of their last raids was on an Elfin village, and eight prisoners were taken. (Some were friends of yours,) your help is needed to help rescue them.
"Unwilling to let your friends down, you pick up your weapons and depart for the keep."
Comment: This is a well-written "Hack'n'Slash" foray. It does not get a higher rating from me because I am not a big fan of this type of Eamon, but I am sure that lovers of "Hack'n'Slash" will enjoy it a lot more than I did.
Not much more to say. Kill all the bad guys and rescue your eight friends. There's one key and a couple of hidden passages.
Two hints: search the Chapel, and remember that werecreatures are very hard to kill without the right weapon.
Difficulty of (4).
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: While you were returning from a distant adventure, you decided to stop and visit your old friend Lorin. He is a cleric at the Abbey of Light. Days earlier, a wizard had left a golden ankh for safekeeping. The ankh is the key to a gateway from our world to a demonic realm. Recently the Darklord had used the gate to summon a powerful demon which wreaked havoc before he was finally defeated by the wizard and a small band of adventurers. Since the ankh had been housed with the Brothers, the Darklord has concentrated a large force of his minions against the Abbey. In the last three days, there have been several attacks which left many Brothers dead or wounded.
You find the Abbey wrecked and most if not all of the Brothers dead. A strange, supernatural black wall of darkness now stretches out of sight and blocks travel to the north. Is it the doing of the Darklord?
There is no one else. It is up to you to find the ankh and put things to right.
Comment: This is Hoyle's best adventure to date. A good map, lots of nice special effects, and a clear quest add up to enjoyable adventuring. The puzzles are minor, mainly consisting of finding and opening hidden doors. A couple of additions were made to the USE command. The combat is plentiful but unusually well-balanced; though I am decidedly "not• a Hack'n' slasher, I enjoyed fighting my way through the many undead that were everywhere.
This is by no means a deep or complex adventure. No mental heavy lifting is required to win through to the end. But its nice execution makes it a fun, relaxing hour of adventuring. I give it a difficulty rating of (4), making it an excellent Eamon adventure for young Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: BLOCK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 40-col. text only Playing Time: 1 hr. Reviewer Rating: 6.5
Description: The Deathstalker is again threatening the world. If something isn't done soon, doom will overtake all. His power has grown, and now he claims to be immortal. The only weapon that might be able to kill him is the Sword of the Gods, which is rumored to be hidden somewhere in his castle.
Your mission is to enter the castle and kill the Deathstalker. His castle is huge, and his lair is protected by two enormous mazes. The task is formidable; can you do it?
Comment: The above is not the actual intro but is a summary. The actual intro has a rambling style that eases you into the scenario from other activities that you are doing at the Main Hall.
This adventure is certainly Phil's most ambitious undertaking to date, with 143 rooms and several interesting but not too difficult puzzles to solve. The two mazes are quite straightforward without insanely twisting room connections, but they are both very large. These mazes would definitely not be for amateurs, but Phil has thoughtfully provided maze maps for those who are clever enough to find them.
This adventure has one new twist that is new to Eamon. Every hit that is deflected by your armor "weakens" it until it breaks apart. There is plenty of armor available in the dungeon to replace yours if you should need it.
I was somewhat worn down by the sheer enormity of the place. It would have played a little better if there had either been fewer hallways or else more content in the hallway descriptions. Still, this is a pretty good dungeon with interesting special effects and a decent quest. The mazes are killers, but the maps bring the difficulty down to about (7).
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 40-col. text only Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: You found an old map in a pirate's treasure chest. There was a note on the map saying that there were a lot of treasures on an island in the ocean. You thought you could use some more money, so you found a boat and went sailing out to look for the island. By following the map, you found it. It is a very small island, so it should be easy to find the treasures. You pull your boat up on a small sandy beach, get out, and start looking.
Comment: This adventure was written specifically for Margaret's 8-year-old nephew. It is a small, simple 'kill & loot' type scenario, with very simple puzzles and just 34 rooms. It is well-written and effectively error-free, and has a half-dozen very nicely done special effects.
This is a very easy adventure; I give it a (3) for difficulty. At the same time, I'd say that this is the best game of this difficulty level that I've ever played. If you are looking for Eamons for very young people, take a look at this one. I think you'll like it.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 40-col. text only Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: Dirty Dick is the meanest pirate there ever was. He and his crew have kidnapped Prince Charlie. Dirty Dick and his crew left their ship at the Pirate Cave and went to town. You think that it is a good time to check the cave and see if you can find Prince Charlie. There are also a lot of treasures in the cave. Good luck.
Comment: This too is an adventure that was written for an 8-year-old boy. It seems to have hit the target audience very well. This adventure is a bit more sophisticated than #215, getting plus points for a fair number of locked doors to open and a clear quest to fulfill. I felt that the 39-room map was a bit less interesting to explore than the one in #215; hence the slightly lower rating.
Still, it seems to be an excellent selection for young Eamonauts. I give this one a (3) difficulty rating.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: TALK, BUY, SELL, EAT Deleted Commands: SAY, PUT Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "You have been contacted by the king of Dorier to aid in the fight against the forces of the Darklord. Your journey to the capital city if perilous. The Undead have overrun much of the country and have laid siege to Dorier itself. Fighting your say through to the city, you are greatly praised for your skill and bravery.
"The king needs you to complete a most vital mission. You are to travel to the city of Duron, enlist their help, and return with the Eye of Agamon. The Eye is an ancient magical charm that can be used once each one hundred years to defeat the Undead.
"You are given the 'Seal of Dorier', a magnificent golden ring, to prove that you are the king's messenger. Do not lose it! You will be slain if you cannot prove who you are.
"Hurry! We cannot hold out for long."
Comment: Hoyle has crafted his most complex Eamon in this nice offering, using several ideas and features in ways that have been rarely used in the past. The TALK command was done well. There is a well-done seafaring segment. Plot development occurs, sometimes dramatically, as you progress on your Quest. You can even hire assistance at one point.
A bit of advice: things aren't really as grim as they may seem. Don't make needless enemies, and be sure to use TALK and INVENTORY to find out who are and are not your real friends. I give it a solid (7) for difficulty. A couple of points require careful reading to determine how to proceed. This is a sophisticated play and well worth a look.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: TALK, USE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 6.5
Description: "Traveling near the Shadow Wall (from 'Demongate') one day, you notice the trail of three humans heading into the wall. You decide to follow and see what they are doing here. After a short distance some Orc tracks appear. They seem to be following the humans. This could be trouble. You had better help."
Once you catch up with them, you discover that they are on a quest to save the world from an evil wizard. They mean to slay him and recover the magical artifacts that he has stolen.
Comment: The first paragraph of the above description is the entire introduction. You only find out what your quest is once you join up with the three humans. This is done by using the TALK command to converse with your new-found companions. This is nicely done, but the TALK command only works within a limited window--be sure to TALK with them as soon as you can, before going anywhere.
Hoyle has come up with some interesting special effects that are triggered by the USE command. There are two artifacts that you can USE that will greatly aid you in certain battles, and one artifact that you can USE to completely avoid combat with certain foes. Be sure to explore this command and don't dismiss an artifact just because it doesn't do anything in an empty room. The effects are pretty neat ideas and I enjoyed them.
This adventure was certainly enjoyable and is well-crafted. I was mildly disappointed that the quest wasn't more clearly spelled out. Indeed it is quite possible to play it through without ever learning what you are supposed to do or knowing if you did it correctly. This is good news/bad news; it requires some thinking to successfully complete, but at the same time it's a decent 'Hack'n'Slash' foray if you miss any or all of the quest elements.
I give it a (4) for difficulty in its role as a 'Hack'n'Slash' adventure. The quest and special effects add a lot to the play and raise the difficulty only if you desire to solve them. One hint: both cornerstones are important.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: PUT, PAY, SAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1.5-2 hr. Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "In the Main Hall, you meet a strange pair of Adventurers, a Dwarf named Dworkin, and Lightfoot, an Elf. They tell you of a quest that they are about to start in the city of Griswald.
"The jewel that serves as the Eye of the statue of the god Barantu has been stolen. Without its magic protection, the ancient city will soon fall under the control of the evil magician Arach. Your friends plan to find the gem, and to try to release Griswald from his grasp. They ask you to help them in their quest.
"Realizing that there is probably gold to be had in this adventure, you accept their invitation."
Comment: This is a moderately ambitious adventure, as early-version Eamons go. It is rather large, with 92 rooms. The map didn't have to be that large, given the content of the quest, combat, and puzzles, but it's done well enough that I didn't get bored while mapping.
There are no secret passages, but there are several unmarked room exits and a couple of bad room connections. But the map is sensible enough that neither of these flaws caused me any difficulty. There are a couple of special effects that are mildly interesting; one concerns a real vampire and the other describes a rather nifty reward scene that occurs if you complete the quest.
I enjoyed this adventure quite enough to give it a higher rating, but didn't do so for several reasons: First, this early version requires that you type in the full verb and object, and I have been spoiled by later versions that don't require that. Next, the special effects and confrontations were very terse and could have used more development. There is no notice if you fail to complete the quest. Last, I don't think that this adventure was completed. While all the necessary pieces are in place to complete the quest, there are a number of tantalizing tidbits that promise interesting play but do nothing. These include a weapon shop and a tavern, and the PAY command.
This adventure was discovered by Jeff Hurlburt of Softkey, who forwarded it to me. We don't know anything about Mr. Osgood. Roger developed a very nice Eamon adventure, given the fact that it was his first and that he was using version 4 tools. It's too bad that he's no longer with us. With the experience he gained and with modern Eamon, he could do some dynamite stuff.
This adventure rates a 4 for difficulty, if you can remember that the PUT command is new.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: HIRE, DISMISS, THROW, JUMP Deleted Commands: POWER Special Features: Mercenary companions Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "The time has come for you to go on yet another adventure in the land of Eamon. After all, you get rather bored sitting around in the Main Hall all day doing nothing but sipping ale and looking at the other poor adventurers who have barely made it back alive.
"There is a cave not far from here which is rumored to be the entrance to some ancient catacombs. Your mission: just find all sorts of valuable treasure. But once you get there, you find that it is not so easy to leave...."
Comment: Phil has come up with some pretty original ideas in this adventure. The potential companions are mercenaries for hire and some are jealous of one another. There's a gaming room of sorts where you can bet as much as your lives on the outcome, if you desire.
Though there is no clear quest, once you have begun the adventure there is no turning back until you have solved five tests of your mettle. These tests are rather difficult puzzles to solve and require special paraphernalia in most cases. However, Phil has made it easy to temporarily escape from each test in order to scour the catacombs for the stuff you need.
While the tests are tough, they are somewhat alleviated by numerous hints that are scattered all over the place. The companions will offer sage advice--listen to them!
This adventure had plenty of sophisticated and interesting stuff. It would have received a higher rating but for a few inconsistencies of play that didn't sit just right with me, and the high difficulty of a couple of tests.
I give it a (9) for difficulty, for the puzzles and some tough monsters. Here's a hint that should lower this number a bit for you: the diamonds are important.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0
Description: "One fine day, after having one too many root beer floats, you layed down to take a nap. It was an awful nap, and you had a bad dream. You dreamt of vampires! But the really scary part was when you dreamt that you woke up, and you were there..."
Comment: This is a very simple adventure, with no puzzles or secret stuff. The bad guys are easy enough, though there are a lot of them. I give it a (4) for difficulty.
The map is simply laid out. Just about the only monsters that you see are bats and vampires, which gets a bit old. The descriptions were quite simple, with numerous spelling errors. The adventure does have a "quest" to fulfill, though it's not spelled out: kill the Count.
I suspect that this adventure may be a pretty good pick for young boys, with tons of combat and absolutely zero mental heavy lifting. It's actually not that bad of an adventure; it's just way too simple for my tastes.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, UNLOCK, SIT, STAND, WEAR, REMOVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions, secret door screen effects Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "The king needs your services. He informs you, 'The beautiful princess Aeriel has been kidnapped by an evil Adept.
"This is bad enough, but it is worse. A war may break out if she is not returned in time to marry the barbarous king of the Northern Reaches. It is said that the king has the aid of Demon magic, and Eamon would be destroyed if you fail.
"The king offers you a reward of 7500 gold pieces for Aeriel's return, and another 2500 for the Adept's body. And of course, you may keep whatever you, well, acquire while questing. He cannot send another man with you, as they are preparing for war."
Comment: After a lapse of 150 adventures, Tim Berge rises from the dead with a quite competent offering. It is rather dated by being based on an early version 5 MAIN PGM, with such flaws as requiring full object names and having virtually no screen pauses. But it is simply jammed with nonstop specials and effects. This adventure has all the right elements: a clear quest, interesting companions and foes, magical devices, and some minor puzzling.
The POWER spell is loaded with special stuff that you won't want to miss. There's a (literally) fire-breathing companion that makes combat rather more interesting. There is a special screen gimmick for secret doors that I really enjoyed. There are a number of random traps, but most are not fatal.
This could possibly have garnered an 8 or 8.5 rating if it had been based on the more solid footing of the version 7 MAIN PGM. But the massive special programming required by the use of such an ancient version is a little uneven and a bit cantankerous in spots, which accounts for the lower rating.
I guess I give it a (6) for difficulty. This one is worth a play for all the specials; they are pretty neat.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: SWIM, READ, OPEN, PULL, DIG Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0
Description: There is no actual intro text, but the story is basically this: you find yourself at the entrance of a small cave dungeon. You decide to explore it.
Comment: This is a small 27-room dungeon. While there is no quest, a cave-in prevents your exit and you must find an alternate means of escape. Strangely, the adventure's title has nothing to do with its content. There is no time travelling that I could see.
For such a small, simple adventure, there is a surprising number of special items that kept my interest quite well. I would likely have rated it higher if it had been larger. There are a couple of death traps, but they are fairly well marked and are survivable if you luck into having the right artifacts with you.
I give it a (3) for difficulty. I'd say that this is a good pick for the Young Eamonaut.
Main pgm version: 7.0 Extra commands: REST, CLIMB Deleted commands: None Special features: None Playing time: 2 hours and up Reviewer Rating: 6 Average Rating: 6.5/2
Description: "Once again, you find yourself captured in a far away castle. So find your way out and kill your enemy.
"You have come into possession of an ancient platinum coin. You know you must return it to the Free Adventurer's Guild as they will know what to do with it."
Comment: Above is the entire introduction you get for this adventure. If it sounds like an easy quest, let me assure you that it is not! In fact, this is a surprisingly difficult Eamon. There is quite a variety of monsters in this one. If you're tired of games with monsters named GUARD1, GUARD2, and GUARD3, you'll appreciate the trouble Phil went to in order to come up with some unique monsters. There is a lint monster, coal elemental, and my favorite, the horned cave-dwelling thing.
The game has a number of small puzzles, mostly consisting of finding embedded artifacts that are sometimes quite obscure. There is also a spot where you are seemingly stopped by a fire, a point where you must make a magic potion, and a series of small favors you must do for other monsters. You'll want to read each and every room description carefully and examine anything that is mentioned.
With all the special effects and stuff, you may wonder why I don't give a higher rating. There are two reasons. First, the Eamon really has no plot. While the player knows that they are to escape and return a coin, there is no explanation as to why. The game is somewhat haphazard. Both the monsters and puzzles seem to have been thrown in randomly. Second, the game has some annoying bugs that make it a bit hard to play.
The first reason was the main one that made me downrate this Eamon. It just left too many loose ends. For example, when you escape and return the coin, you are given a large reward, but no reason is given as to why the coin is so incredibly important. Also, you never find out who captured you nor why. I just would have liked to see a bit more plot development.
Overall, I would call this Eamon a decent game. It's definitely not for the impatient nor inexperienced. The combat can be tough and some of the artifacts are extremely well-hidden. If you don't mind the lack of a plot, then this would be a good challenge. It gets a difficulty rating of 8 from me.
Now for some hints and discussion. First, there is something you need in the torture room. Also, the ball of lint hidden in a bedroom is important. Next, make sure you have at least 2000 gold pieces in hand when you start, otherwise, you can't complete the game. You end up getting spit back to a previous room and told that you need more gold. However, there doesn't seem to be a way to get more. Lastly, you are not supposed to be able to survive the attack by the 8 mine monsters. The way the author wrote things, however, you are likely to kill them if you use a decent character. This causes the programming to get flaky, so be sure to let them kill you. This is a rather odd thing, as the author was quite forgiving of errors near the beginning of the game. It appears as if he lapsed off in the end. With this advice and some thought, you should be able to complete the game.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: BOARD, CLOSE, RESUME, SHORT, QUIT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Lower-case text Playing Time: 1-2 hr. Reviewer Rating: 8.0
Description: To make a long and amusing introduction short: while Hokas Tokas was away on a trip, you got into his stuff and drank all his best imported beer. When he returned, he cast you into the Interzone, to teach you a lesson-perhaps a permanent one!
Comment: Let me lead this off by saying that the above rating may well be on the low side. I downrated it for some details that didn't hit me just right; if these same details catch your fancy, you are liable to rate it a good bit higher than I did.
Frank has crafted one of the most sophisticated Eamons ever done. The player interface is virtually flawless, with careful attention to every detail. It is all lower-case text, with optional all-caps display for II+ users who don't have a lower-case chip or 80-column card installed. Text formatting is done on the fly, with none of the extra-space line padding (such as is used in this newsletter) that many people find irritating.
Though the map is only 54 rooms, there are 90-odd Effects, and the play is jammed with special events and plot developments. Frank has provided against all kinds of ways that you might find to go astray; as I read through the Effects after completing play, I was amazed to see some of the things he had planned for. In short, here is an Eamon in which the author worked "hard• to make as perfect as he could, and it shows.
The play is a Puzzler's delight. The puzzles are subtle and require careful reading and thought, often being presented as plot developments that require interaction with other characters to solve. Though there is very little combat for the Hack'n'Slasher in most of the map, there is a ton of combat to wade through at one point.
You are liable to get killed out several times before you solve the first major puzzle, which is to survive an assault by a gang of thugs. Let's just say that you will need some help. Spell ability gets a workout in several places. And don't forget the fine art of bribery!
I peg the overall difficulty at (8), due mainly to a couple of potentially deadly puzzles. But even if you're not a puzzler, don't miss this one. You'll want to experience the excellent player interface, which is a significant upgrade from the one found in the standard version 7.1.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: TROLLSFIRE, PASSWORD, SUICIDE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Not finished (see below) Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 7.5
Description: 'Hokas sits in jail. An orc lies in a hospital bed. Luke loves Laura, but doesn't want to tell Beth, his wife, who secretly loves Daniel, Laura's son.
Scratch that last sentence. Where was I? Oh, yes. The Bookworm has once again disappeared!'
Comment: Robert Parker no longer has an Apple II. Though he had been working on this Eamon for years, it was not finished before he lost his Apple. It can be cleanly divided into two parts: the first half was a collaboration with Nate Segerlind; it is a send-up of the "Beginners Cave" and is hilarious! The second half is set on a space station; it is much poorer in quality and is not finished in this release.
The first half is so good that we simply couldn't let it go unreleased. Some special text and code has been added to permit the player to quit any time he wishes once the "Beginners Cave" segment is completed. NOTE that the above rating is for the "Beginners Cave" segment only! Players are welcome to explore the space station if they wish, but they will find it an unsatisfactory experience.
I was so unimpressed with the space station segment that I didn't feel that it was worth any attempt at debugging and cleanup. I seriously considered deleting it completely from the database for this release. 'Nuff said.
I give a difficulty rating of (3). This adventure is strictly for laughs, with absurd puzzles and super-lightweight foes. You'll see 38 rooms of great stuff.
One caveat: this is not exactly a "G"-rated adventure. It touches on some, uh, mature themes and uses some language that give it something like a "PG-13" rating.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: HINT, RUN Deleted Commands: EXAMINE, BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, WAVE, SAY, LIGHT, OPEN, PUT, DRINK, FREE Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0
Description: 'A neighborhood has been terrorized!
'The police chief of De Bunk, Iowa, has called you to stop 5 renegade hackers who have barricaded themselves inside a local software publishing house. These persons have lost their minds after feeding piles of confusing commands to innocent machines.'
Comment: As noted above, the EAMON.NAME file shows this to be version 6. But it much more closely resembles a late-version 5 Eamon, as shown by the extensive list of missing commands.
As near as I can make out, the five renegades are the staff of the National Eamon Users Club, and I suspect that the house is John Nelson's.
This is a very simple adventure with 26 rooms, no puzzles, 7 bad guys, no secret doors, and no Quest. It's not badly done, but there's little of interest to do or see, hence the low rating.
I put the difficulty at (6) for some pretty tough bad guys. Apart from the strong opponents, this is a low-difficulty no-brainer.
MAIN PGM Version: 6.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 4.0
Description: 'As you were on your way home from your last adventure, which was across a distant ocean, the ship you were on became lost in a violent storm and for several days you drifted aimlessly until suddenly on the horizon you could make out what appeared to be an island.
'As you ship is washed ashore it is torn to shreds by the sharp coral near the beach. It is several hours before you regain consciousness. And as you look around you find yourself on a deserted island.'
Comment: And here you have an exact reproduction of the introduction in its entirety. This is a basic "escape" scenario.
Though there is 84 rooms, there's very little here to see and do. The map breaks into three parts: 28 rooms of uninteresting beach, 25 rooms of a complex maze, and the rest jungle trails. You may rate this adventure lower than I did. I like breaking mazes, but if you hate mazes, you may be less pleased. However, the maze isn't all that bad, with four of the maze rooms giving you exact directions on how to escape.
I put the difficulty at (4).
MAIN PGM Version: 7.1 Extra Commands: GREET, CAST, DISASSEMBLE, REASSEMBLE, TRAIN Deleted Commands: POWER, BLAST, HEAL, SPEED, SMILE, SAY Special Features: magic spell points, "roving guards", no DOS on disk Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "For the last eight months, the city has been occupied by an elite army from the other side of the world. This army is about to burn the city down. They have found a way to summon a supernatural being that will destroy the city in one fiery blast-- the Firestorm.
"You have one week to save the city. You must find Thorak, the army's leader, and defeat him before his power grows any more. But Thorak is not the easiest person to find. You figure that your confrontation will be in a far-off place, just the two of you, fighting to the death."
Comment: This Eamon has a lot of unusual and special stuff in it, as you can see from the above command and feature lists. Many of the people you meet will give you advice through the GREET command, and there are several mini-quests that you must fulfill to get needed aid from some of them.
This Eamon can be divided into two parts. The first half involves much exploring and most of the mini-quests, as you acquire the stuff and the magical skills needed to continue onward. The magic stuff was nicely done. We don't see enough original magic in Eamon.
The last half takes place in Thorak's fortress, and is very combat-oriented. You will find lots and lots of combat with the "roving guards", a set of four special monsters that are used over and over to save memory space. Phil went to some trouble to vary the names and descriptions of these guys so that they would seem less tedious as you fought them multiple times. There is also a disguise available at one point which cuts subsequent combat by about half.
All in all, a fine job. I give it a (7) for difficulty. One hint: don't do any teleporting until you have obtained the herbs; you will need them later on!
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 Extra Commands: USE Deleted Commands: FREE Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: "Evenhold is in great danger! Signs of impending doom are all about us. Among others, a woman reported seeing her son, who was three weeks dead, stalking the hills above the vast Arcosian Swamp.
"All of the trouble is emanating from the swamp. Therein lies a temple, an eldrich place of aeon-ridden Evil. A madman now seeks there to reopen that which should never be.
"You must proceed north into the swamp to the temple, and stop this madman. His hour of triumph is nearly come, for when the stars are right, the great Old Ones will rise again."
Comment: Pat Hurst sent this Eamon to the EAG nearly two years ago, in a severely flawed and unplayable form. It turned out that neither Mike nor Pat had an Apple II available, and that Mike had borrowed one to enter the adventure, and had never played it even once. We exchanged some correspondence, and I waited all this time for a fixed version to come in. It never did. Therefore, I took it upon myself to fix what needed fixing, and to add every unimplemented feature that I could figure out from the database. The result is likely well beneath Mike's vision, but I can only do so much without becoming a full co-author and reworking it to my own ideas and fashions.
This is a pretty fair example of a foray into Lovecraft's "Cthulhu" Mythos. It's very dark, and if you manage to call up one of the Old Ones, you will surely die. It does a good job of conveying the desired atmosphere, which is one of great unpleasantness and danger.
I had a lot of difficulty rating it, oscillating between a (4) and a (7). Some elements are masterful, while others are poorly done. I have no doubt that it would have attained a (7) if Mike had finished it.
I give it a (6) for difficulty, mainly because the legions of zombies and such soon wear down your HEAL spell. Though they are not necessary to the Quest, you may enjoy trying to decipher the incantations scattered about, and playing with them. Some of them will soon kill you in very horrible and entertaining ways. <grin>
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0
Description: "You have been requested to find the famous Amulet of Bhaal. The amulet was made by the god's priests many years ago, making it the oldest remaining relic of the god and very valuable to them. The Priesthood of Bhaal will pay you very well to return it to them.
"You leave to find the amulet. It's going to be very hard due to the fact that an evil wizard has moved into the place you're going. Rumor has it he's building an army!"
Comment: The actual adventuring has very little to do with the intro. There is no Wizard and no army; I have no idea what that is doing there. This is your basic "hack'n'slash" Eamon, with exactly two locked doors and one secret passage. Just kill everyone who doesn't smile at you and read the descriptions, and you'll do fine.
I give it a (5) for difficulty. I might have given it a higher playability rating, but there are FOUR no-warning death traps. By and large, you would be well-advised to ignore anything that isn't an honest stairway (hint).
There are a couple of doors that don't go anywhere valid, so I simply locked them. So don't worry about getting past any doors that you can't find the keys for.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: TALK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: "While on a Quest to free the people of Arenjun from an evil priest named Yara, you were beset in your sleep by a band of thieves. Chained and beaten, you endured several days of misery when you saw your chance.
"You smashed the first guard and grabbed your armor, which lay near. However, the alarm had been sounded. Wolf-dogs trained to track and kill had been unleashed. You have no choice but to run!
"Alone and unarmed, the adventure begins."
Comment: While this is a pretty large Eamon, it is laid out in four sections with connecting roads, and I had no trouble playing it without a map. Two of the sections really have nothing to do with the Quest, but they serve well to flesh out the map and story. Actually, there is quite a bit of stuff in the database that serves no purpose. This was Hoyle's last Eamon, and I suspect that he lost interest and wound it up quickly.
This Eamon does some pretty neat stuff and is well-conceived and well-written. I really liked the first section for its tense pace. However, the adventure winds up quite abruptly, in stark and unwelcome contrast to the earlier portions of the foray. More evidence that Hoyle decided to wrap it up not fully finished.
Here are a few hints: first, pay attention to what you learn in the descriptions. If it says, for one example, that there are too many guards, believe it. And if you aren't making progress in Arenjun, maybe passing some time in the tavern will bring forth an opportunity (but explore the city first.)
Difficulty of (5) if you take the above advice.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 (heavily modified!) Extra Commands:FREE, UNLOCK, modified WAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 80-column ONLY, ProDOS ONLY, on-the-fly text case conversion Playing Time: 1-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 4.0
Description: An evil wizard named Zenoqq has taken control of the kingdom, and made a prisoner of the previous ruler, the good wizard Maryex.
You are hired to destroy Zenoqq and rescue Maryex. You are given a magic staff that can turn foe into friend, and promised a reward for a successful Quest. You are also intrigued by rumor that Zenoqq's slayer will find a powerful magic weapon.
Comment: Bob includes some Author's Notes that tell of this Eamon's history and recent modification. In short, it is a very old version 4 Eamon that has been updated to modern ProDOS-Eamon standards. It requires ProDOS and 80-column display, and it does work on an 80-column-capable II+. The most remarkable thing you will notice while playing is that all commands are automatically converted into nice-looking lower case. Like any Eamon, you must type in all-caps, but when you type "ATTACK MONSTER", "Attack Monster" appears on the screen. Very nice.
But while Bob did a wonderful job with that feature and regular ProDOS-Eamon capabilities, he neglected to fully uprate the command parser to version 6. Thus, while you can abbreviate the command, the object name must be fully typed. Also, he added a very crude screen-pause line counter that throws in a "Hit any key to continue" after every 20 lines or so. This screen pause appeared every one to three commands and drove me nuts with its pseudo-random appearance.
A couple of things really knocked down its rating for me. The first is a wealth of spelling typos which are beyond easy repair, because Bob uses a special machine-language method for loading the descriptions that is not compatible with the Dungeon Editor.
The second problem is that the descriptions make the dungeon feel uninteresting with a studied effort to sound sarcastic and jaded. Here's a typical example: "Guess what! You're in a north/south corridor, and you can even go through a doorway to the east. Now, isn't that fascinating?"
The Wave command is a major enhancement over the normal WAVE/SMILE in that you have a magical staff that can turn foe into friend when you wave it. But while this is a nifty gizmo, it only works about three times, and it does not work on Zenoqq. You won't really need it to battle the typical enemy you encounter, but I suggest that you use it in encounters with multiple foes so that you will have more companions when you finally meet Zenoqq. Zenoqq himself is a very tough customer who can kill you with about three hits, and I could not beat him without cheating to preserve my health.
The main mapping gimmick is an overuse of secret doors. I counted no fewer than 17 secret doors in 97 rooms of mapping. It's easy to get lost while backtracking old ground as the haphazard screen pauses readily eat movement commands when you miss them.
I am upping the difficulty rating to (7). You will need a good magic weapon, and even so may well have to cheat to restore the HEAL command and to survive Zenoqq.
Finally, even though this is not a great Eamon, it's well worth a play just to see and experience the good stuff it has. One last comment: you are forced at the end to keep the Key of Zenoqq, but it's a 6D4 weapon, so that's not so bad.
"Gimme that ring, ya hairy-footed varmint! Gimme that ring or I'll blast ya!"
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 80-col. only; Lo-res puzzle Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: An assassination attempt has been made on the King! He was cut by a poisoned blade, and now lies near death.
The attempt was done by the King of Assassins, himself. You must find him and obtain the antidote to the poison, before the king dies.
Comment: This Eamon was written for Softdisk back when they were first soliciting an Eamon from us. It had 5 or 6 minor problems, and when Rob learned that Sam had submitted "Redemption", he gave up in the face of such overwhelming competition. While I was waiting for Rob to resubmit this as a regular Eamon, he got himself a PC and is now permanently out of the Eamon business. After checking with Rob, I fixed the problems and released it.
It has a much better finish than most of Rob's Eamons, with many little touches and specials that enhance the play. However, its 90-room map is largely empty. Mapping the seemingly endless tunnels got tiresome enough that I considered a lower rating, but in the end the Good Stuff won me over. If the map had been somewhat smaller, it would likely have gotten a (6) rating.
There are a couple of puzzles that don't make any sense at all to me, but I was able to solve one by simply guessing from the 4 alternatives. To solve the other, make a point of searching out seemingly unimportant junk and toting it along with you, and it will solve itself.
The bad guys are heavy enough that you'll want to bring along a magic weapon. A (7) is about right for difficulty, mostly for the puzzles.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: SEARCH, CAPTURE, SWALLOW, KISS Deleted Commands: SAY, DRINK, USE Special Features: Optional lower-case intro Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: Pyotr Baranov, the emperor of Vaalpa, has gone insane, borrowing and spending money on a wild spree to pay for his huge palace and military, which he is using to oppress his people and raid the surrounding lands.
The banker Shylock and others are doing much to aid the underground resistance, but things are going badly. Therefore Shylock has hired you to enter the kingdom and capture or assassinate Baranov.
Baranov's soldiers are expert at recognizing members of the Resistance. You will have to enter the city unarmed and unarmored, and find your way to a cache of locally-made weapons that will be waiting for you.
Comment: This little foray has a few interesting specials, but is otherwise unremarkable, though it is quite competently written. One such special is that you can read the intro text in lower-case or upper-case text, at your option. The adventure itself is all upper-case, and everything is 40-column text.
The map is coherent and logical. The monsters, however, seem over-armored for the weapons you are provided, with most melees taking dozens and dozens of rounds with only slight damage being incurred every third or fourth round. They seem closely matched to your own fighting ability, which is no doubt realistic, but can be rather tedious to play. It soon gets old to see a seemingly endless series of BLOW BOUNCES OFF ARMOR messages during combat.
You start out with no weapons or armor and must make do with what you find in the adventure. But don't worry about your good stuff that you brought from the Main Hall. You will get your original armor back, and your original weapons will be made available on your way back to the Main Hall.
This is a comparatively easy, relaxing play, but the combat is closely matched and needs careful watching during play, making this a good pick for the Hack'n'Slash crowd. I give it a (6) for difficulty, for the combat.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.0 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: You receive a message from the Princess: "I need a favor. As you know, the Sicilians have been at war with us for many years. We have now learned that King Charles has implemented monsters in his garrison.
Two days ago, the monsters infiltrated my father's castle, and kidnapped the royal Cat, McKenzie. They are now holding him for ransom.
Rescue Mack, and your payment will be 5000GP.
Your mission then is: - Infiltrate Castle Charlast, and get McKenzie. - Kill King Charles and as many of his monsters as possible.
Comment: Clayton submitted this Eamon over a year ago with a severely damaged EAMON.DESC file. I told him about it, and awaited a fix. He fixed it all up, then inadvertently deleted his only copy. He was too dispirited to start over again, and quit, asking me to fix it up and release it for him.
I had to invent the descriptions for all the monsters and the Effects. I am quite sure that some of Clayton's intended specials are missing, but I don't know what he wanted to do and had to leave them out. I suspect that my version is somewhat easier than his would have been, also.
In any event, the resulting Eamon is a relaxing play, with no puzzles and no particularly life- threatening combat. I confess that I enjoyed it rather more than I normally do Eamons of this level. I peg the difficulty at (4). The only downside I saw was that the room descriptions use confusing terminology, but if you make a map while exploring you will have no trouble.
It appears that you do not get any gold at the end as promised. However, you do get a very enthusiastic reward from the Princess that pushes this Eamon into at least a hard PG13 or soft R rating and may not suit female Eamonauts.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.1 (highly modified) Extra Commands: FILL, ASK, RESUME Deleted Commands: UP, DOWN Special Features: Optional 40/80 column display; optional upper/lower case text; PRODOS ONLY Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 8.0
Description: "The end of Eamon is near, and it's all your fault! Years ago, you barged into the Clone Master's lab, slew him and his guards, and destroyed his equipment, ending his reign. Or so you thought...
"It seems that the Clone Master created a clone of himself and sent it out to meet you while he went into hiding. Now he is back, and he seeks revenge. Soon his Clonatorium will be perfected, and he will unleash his wrath upon us all!"
Comment: This Eamon uses Frank's very heavily-modified Eamon 7.1 system. Frank calls it his version 8 Eamon with considerable justification; no one but Sam Ruby so completely guts the MAIN PGM and rewrites it to his own specification.
It's extremely well-crafted. While there is little that you can point to that says, "this is special", it is all special in little ways that add much to the gaming experience.
Frank had fun using bad guys from other Eamons, and you'll enjoy seeing the familiar faces. He also adds individual touches to many of them that keeps your interest up. It's very funny!
This is primarily a Hack'n'Slasher's Eamon, with tons of combat, but there are so many variations and clever touches during combat that even a combat-hater like myself had a good time.
There are a few secret passages to be discovered, and you must figure out how to enable the teleport machines, but these puzzles aren't bad. I give it an overall (6) for difficulty.
At the time of this writing this Eamon is PRODOS ONLY. I looked into the possibility of doing a DOS 3.3 conversion, but Frank's mods are so complex that it would be very difficult to do. However, this ProDOS version works perfectly on my II+ in both 40-col. and 80-col. modes.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.1 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0
Description: "Fight your way through Sagamore's Castle!"
Comment: Joey originally submitted this Eamon to me about three years ago in a severely flawed, unplayable form. We exchanged some correspondence, and he eventually sent me a letter that said that it enclosed the final version, though it did not. He did not respond to any further communication. It's been long enough now that I went ahead and fixed the worst of the problems so it could be released.
This is a VERY simple Eamon. Twenty-two rooms, 8 artifacts, and 11 monsters. Most of the monsters are multiples, and it is a heavy slugfest in the finest traditions of Hack'n'Slash.
Two things lowered my rating: first, the text has almost no punctuation, which makes reading it a chore. And most of the artifacts are absurdly strong magical weapons with huge values; sell everything and you'll get over 100,000 GP!
I give it a difficulty of (2). It's a fine selection for the young Eamonaut who prefers lots of combat.
MAIN PGM Version: 7.1 Extra Commands: JUMP, HELP, THROW Deleted Commands: WEAR Special Features: "Arcade game" action at end of game Playing Time: 2-4 hours Reviewer Rating: 8.0
Description: "In the Incan writings of a time forgotten by all but a few, there exists a priceless and beautiful idol, known as the 'Idol of the Incas', which has never been found. Many explorers have tried to discover the legendary 'Path of Adventure', to where the idol was kept in the days of the Incas.
"There is legend that all who have taken this 'Path of Adventure' have never returned. Some say the idol is cursed, and that all who have found the idol and tried to remove it have died. Many well-known explorers have gone before you and never returned. In times past you have traveled to the ends of the Earth with some of the most famous adventurers, but taking this 'Path of Adventure' may be the most dangerous and rewarding adventure you have ever taken.
"You have climbed high in the Peruvian mountains to get to the once-lost Incan city of Machu Picchu, to find the 'Idol of the Incas'."
Comment: This Eamon is very reminiscent of the "Indiana Jones" movies, with you of course in the role of Indy. It does a very good job of conveying the ambience of exploring a lost and dangerous ruin.
This is a puzzler's Eamon. There is so little combat that you are very unlikely to need the HEAL spell at all! But there is something to take note of or solve in every second or third room of movement. Clyde makes very heavy use of embedded artifacts to conceal parts of the puzzles in plain view. If you've played my own "Thror's Ring", then you will have a good idea of the kind of puzzling in store for you here.
At the same time, this is a very forgiving play. It's darned near impossible to get killed here; you just get stopped from further progress until you find your way past whatever is stopping you. Yet, while stopping your progress, the text of the play encourages a state of high anxiety and danger where the plot requires it. You'll have a great time if you buy into the story line.
The HELP command gives players a boost by way of some heavy hinting about some crucial puzzle elements. If you're a hard-core gamer, you will have a lot more fun if you ignore that command altogether and work to solve the puzzles the old-fashioned way. And those who get bored by too much puzzling can use this command to keep things moving at a pace more to their liking.
A hint: Never forget that artifact descriptions may themselves contain words that lead to other artifacts. And here's a go-faster: the Eamon 7.x PUT command does not require you to be holding the object; it can also be in the room.
At the very end there is a little arcade-game action loosely based on the mine cart ride in "Temple of Doom". It makes clever use of the text screen and is an amusing novelty. A lot of effort went into making sure it would work right at any CPU speed.
Difficulty of (8), I think. The actual difficulty will vary according to how good you are at Eamon puzzling and how much you make use of the HELP command.
Good play. Great atmosphere. Highly recommended for puzzlers, but Hack'n'slasher fans will find it less well suited to their action appetite.
MAIN PGM Version: 7, HIGHLY modified Extra Commands: CLOSE, CONNECT, CONSULT, EAT, ORDER, TALK, PANIC, SMELL, WAIT, HELP, SHORT, RESUME Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, READY, LIGHT, FREE Special Features: PRODOS ONLY; 40/80 display works with all Apple II's; standalone design does not use Main Hall Playing Time: 2-3 hours and up Reviewer Rating: 6.5
Description: "Several years ago a stranger named Ford Prefect appeared at the Main Hall, and you became friends with him. He seemed like a good chap, if a bit odd. He was known to stare at the sky for long periods of time, claiming to be looking for "flying saucers".
"Then one day a green shape appeared in the sky. A voice boomed out of it saying that planet Eamon was in the way of the new hyperspace bypass and was going to promptly be destroyed in two minutes.
"Ford suddenly pulled you aside. 'Another ship has appeared!' he said. 'I'm trying to hitch a ride. Don't worry, I'm bringing you with me!'
"'I've succeeded!' he suddenly yells with joy. 'Prepare to be transported...'" You feel a gut-wrenching sensation and black out. Somewhere off in the distance, you hear the world of Eamon being completely destroyed!"
Comment: If you don't recognize the above, this Eamon is based on Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books. Frank set out to purposely write a very difficult Eamon that is very much like an Infocom game. In other words, it has no combat and a series of small puzzles that must be done precisely in order and on a tight timeline.
Because the puzzles must be done in order and on time, there are many, many ways to get killed out, and you will almost certainly start over at least a dozen times before winning through to the end. In fact, the only thing that makes it solvable with only a dozen or so restarts is the detailed hints available via the HELP command. Without this command, the adventure would be nearly unsolvable for the vast majority of players. Even when using HELP, the difficulty falls near (8).
This Eamon only has about 15 rooms, making maps unnecessary, but takes a couple of hours to play even if you cheat and use the hints, which should give you a good idea of the number and difficulty of puzzles.
This is a technical masterpiece, which is only what we have come to expect from Frank. It gets its lukewarm rating for two reasons: because I got tired of starting over, and because I felt somewhat deflated because I had to use the hints at every turn to lower the difficulty to something I could handle.
One hint: don't SAVE too often. It's better to have to repeat a dozen or two actions than to discover that you have saved an unwinnable game.
I should mention that this Eamon stands alone without the Main Hall. You can launch it from the Main Hall, but the FRESH.MEAT file is not used, and it does not return to the Main Hall at the end.
This Eamon is PRODOS ONLY. Like Frank's previous work, it supports both 40 and 80-column display, works flawlessly on any Apple II in both modes, and has an all-caps option for II+ users.
Highly recommended for serious puzzle junkies, who may wish to try to solve it without use of the hints.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 Extra Commands: HINT, RIDE, WAIT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: ProDOS ONLY, REQUIRES 80-column capability Playing Time: 30-45 min. Reviewer Rating: 7.5
Description: "One day you visited your friend Professor Eric Johnson, the most famous inventor in the entire Eamon universe. When you arrive, you discover that he is missing! While investigating his disappearance, you accidentally expose yourself to the potion he was working on.
"In a flash, you are shrunk to insect size and flung through a vent into the backyard. Now you have two goals, for you must not only find the professor but must somehow find a way to return to normal size!"
Comment: This is an outstanding Eamon from a first-time author. It is well written, involving combat, puzzling, and plot development in fairly equal proportions. As the intro summary above describes, this is a member of the "shrunk to insect size in the back yard" variety, and this is the best example of this genre.
You will want to read each description carefully and be on the lookout for key words to be examined more closely. Feel free to use the HINTS command; it is useful yet doesn't give away all that much information.
Combat with insects can be intense and difficult to survive. If you can't seem to stay alive, then you haven't equipped yourself with the best weapon and armor that is available here. Finding these items and putting all the elements together may take a couple of restarts before you win though to the end. Difficulty of about (7), what with the combat and the puzzles.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, DRINK, DESTROY, ASK, UNLOCK, KILL Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: Hi-Res intro screen Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "Only a fearless Adventurer may survive my dungeon of traps!" says the mighty Lord Barrington to you. "The most warriors which have entered this Domain of Death have never been seen again, but if you really want to die, go in and try to bring me the Diamond of the Necromancer as an evidence of your stay in the dungeon.
"With this mission you ride to the mountains of the Lord. After a short search you find a small wooden chute that seems to be the only visible entrance in the vicinity."
Comment: The above is the intro in its entirety. I must point out that the text reads awkwardly in spots because Marvin is German, and English is not his native language. I thought he did an incredible job, working in a foreign language!
This is an unusual Hack'n'Slash offering. It only has 24 rooms and 16 monsters, but it has at least 8 traps! Normally I hate traps, and there is no SAVE to boot, but for some reason I had a good time with these. Most of the traps offer a random chance of survival, and even when I died it was usually something original and entertaining. I had to restart six times, but when all is said and done it doesn't take long to race back through a dozen or so rooms to regain your previous spot.
Although it was extensively modified and extended, this is based on a primitive version of Eamon, and the commands must be fully typed in. Marvin did what he could to make command typing easier without a full-scale rewrite of the parser.
A couple of hints: ASK can get you out of at least one sure-death trap, and you might find it worthwhile to skip using the Main Hall and put FRESH SAM right on this disk for quick restarts.
When done, you'll want to run the RESET LAST ADVENTURE program to clean up after yourself.
I don't know if you will enjoy this simple, trap-laden Eamon as much as I did, but I do think you will find it an uncommonly enjoyable example of its genre.
MAIN PGM Version: 1 (I think) Extra Commands: THROW, GIVE, DRINK, READ, ENTER, UNLOCK, OPEN, ASK, EAT, REST, SAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: stick-figure animations at beginning; "town visit" in introduction; food, drink, and rest required during play; has many version-6-like features Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: The intro is a little vague in letting you know what your quest is while it runs you through quite a number of hoops. It appears that you have a dual quest: to rescue a royal relative named Caliban, and to destroy a dragon. Once you get started, escape will be of some interest, also.
As the introduction opens, you get the chance to buy a special potion that will help you with the dragon. Then you move on to a town where you can gather provisions, rest, enhance your magic abilities, and pick up some local folklore.
Shortly after you leave the town, a bridge collapses beneath you and leaves you stranded on a ledge high above a raging river.
And thus the adventure opens.
Comment: As noted in the front of this issue, this Eamon was recently discovered on the Internet in DSK form. As discovered, it had a badly damaged database. Tony used some disk tools to recover the database, but a dozen or so records were mangled in various ways. Some of the lost data could be inferred from related information, but some is just gone. In the end, the monsters and artifacts look pretty good. There are a couple of lost Effects; these were part of the folklore and there is no way to know what was contained in them.
Besides these items, you may find that there are as many as ten rooms or so that you can’t access during play. This is because there is an initialization section in the program that randomly opens or closes the passages to these sections. I guess that the author was trying to make his adventure different every time you play it, but the odds are set such that you are unlikely to ever see these rooms. I’ve never understood why an author would go to the trouble of designing in some rooms and specials and then hiding them so they will never be seen, but it’s happened before. I guess they lose sight of the fact that very few Eamonauts ever play an Eamon through more than once.
But the Eamon plays well enough, and there doesn’t appear to be anything in the "lost" rooms that is needed for anything. You will still see 80-odd rooms of adventuring, and might see a bit more.
Given that this is a version 1 Eamon, this is a very remarkable adventure. Not only are there a bunch of new commands, but also there is light, fog, canoeing, roping, wandering monsters, readable artifacts, magic spells, special events and more. The player needs to eat, drink, and rest as time passes during play. All in all, I was very impressed.
The original version had a few "features" that vastly increased the difficulty level as well as player aggravation, and that version rated no better than maybe a (4). I made three very minor program changes to up the rating to the (7) that I gave it.
This is a moderately difficult Eamon. There are a couple of no-warning "Gotchas" and several places to get yourself killed if you misread the warnings. I think that the difficulty might set in at about (8) because of the no-warning problems. Still, if you use the save command regularly, you shouldn’t get too annoyed when you find yourself in a terminal way.
Here are the inevitable hints, and this Eamon needs them:
Do not ever use the command GET ALL while on water. You will "get" your canoe and drown.
Anything lying on the ground in the room will disappear when you invoke the dragon-weapon spell. That includes your canoe!
Buy lots of food and water. I mean like 300 GP worth or more of each. And eat and drink what you find on the road, too. Try to occasionally catch a bit of rest when you think you are in a safe place.
The spell requires EYE OF CYCLOPS. That’s what it is called. You’ll need to say that exactly when you try to get it. (That is what the hag called it the intro, so it really counts as a pretty good clue for a word-hunt puzzle, but we all hate word-hunt puzzles.)
Hang out on that first ledge until you hook up with the eagle. Likewise, hang out in bat country until you are able to pick up a dead one. Don’t be too quick to kill rats and orcs; they have a random friendliness, and if you get a friendly one, that stops the procession of unfriendly ones.
Be sure to learn the local language when you get the chance. It’s a bit of work but worth it. (If you decide that it’s too much work, you can cheat around it by setting LAN=1 once the main adventure starts.)
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: USE, OPEN, DRINK, QUIT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: unusual save Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: You read a news item: "Archeologist needs great person to retrieve artifacts from the famous Eamon Sphinx. Will pay handsomely, plus other benefits.
"Intrigued, you found an elderly scientist specializing in ancient history. He explained to you the nature of the quest. The Eamon Sphinx, it seems, had been created by a wizard in ancient times. He made it for a museum of all the strange and rare beasts of the time. This wizard was defeated by stronger, evil wizard who had died a few hundred years before. Rumors claim that an acolyte remains. The major obstacle, however, is the variety of strange and magical monsters that abound. The most valuable artifact is the necklace that is rumored to be worn by the Sphinx himself. It is a pure mithril. Many have tried this task, but none have returned with anything of value. Many have not re-turned at all.
"After telling him you were willing, he wished you luck and told you where the Sphinx was. He also mentioned that there was only one known exit, although more were suspected."
Comment: this Eamon adventure is pretty much a straight "hack’n’slash" romp. It is well written and well crafted, and I thoroughly enjoyed my outing. The monsters were not overly difficult, and I didn't use my heal spell at all. There were a couple of puzzles related to the new commands, but they were straightforward and I did not have to think hard to solve them. The map is rather large, with 91 rooms, so the biggest portion of the Eamon play is simply mapping your route.
Several of the monsters are interesting specials in their own right, sometimes coming alive as the result of your actions. There were a few secret passages, but all nor-mal room connections were properly described in the descriptions. I remember seeing one death trap. On the whole I think this Eamon rates a (4) for difficulty.
This Eamon is far older than the standard version 6 SAVE command, and in its place it has the QUIT command. This command exits the adventure in much the same way that the SAVE command does, with one exception. When you restart the game, you have to give your adventurer's name in order to resume the save game. This feature works well and is a worthy substitute for the standard SAVE command.
If you enjoy mapping an Eamon adventure as I do, I think you'll find this a worthwhile play.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: READ, DIG, SHOOT, HOLD, OPEN, UNLOCK Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: None Playing Time: 2 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: after a rather silly introduction, you find yourself in the basement of Dracula's chateau, and you will be facing many classic movie monsters. Along the way you'll find several artifacts that will help you de-fend yourself.
Comment: this is a very old Eamon that dates from the early days, but it has many excellent additions and specials. It is very large with 99 rooms, but the mapping is very straightforward except for two locked door puzzles. Because of the large size of the map and low con-tent in spots, it would be an ordinary and even some-what tedious "kill’n’loot" scenario except that there are enough specials and cool effects to keep you interested and having fun. If you can keep your map straight, the difficulty is no more than (5).
Some of the puzzles and events here are obscure enough that it surely rates a few hints:
Nearly all of the monsters have random friendliness, and you can’t tell friend or foe from the descriptions. Any time you encounter someone new, try going in the direction you just came from before you do anything else. If the stranger is an enemy, you will be prevented from leaving the room because there is unfriendliness about.
Eventually you may run into a bad guy named Belg. You'll quickly find that he is far stronger than you in battle. Do not cheat your way to a win. He is supposed to defeat you. You won't really die, and a special effect will be triggered.
The POWER spell has several additions that mainly have to do with enhancing your personal abilities, but it is not required at any point in the adventure. There is a bug somewhere in the program that "resurrects" Belg if the spell's resurrection routine is triggered. This is pretty much a disaster for you if it occurs in any room but the room you meet Belg in. Therefore, it might be best to leave the POWER spell alone.
Dracula's flaming sword, Goldenwrath, is a very heavy weapon when it is not flaming, but it is weightless when it is aflame. You can relight Goldenwrath by saying FLAME ON.
I'll save you a lot of time and trouble by telling you that there is only one place worth digging, and that is on the beach by the rocks. There is no shovel. When asked if you want to dig with your hands, answer YES.
I didn't have too much trouble killing Dracula with Fresh Sam's Crystal Sword, but if you are finding him too much to deal with, there is an artifact that will make him flee from the room if you hold it up to him.
The glass wall is passable with the right magical help.
There is only one movie monster that can be killed by a silver bullet, and you only have one bullet, so don't waste it.
That pretty well sums it up. Have fun!
MAIN PGM Version: 8.0 (Frank’s 6.0/7.1 cross) Extra Commands: PLAY Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 minutes Reviewer Rating: 4.0
Description: In a nutshell, a crazy old man tells you there is treasure to be had in "the Alley." You decide to go see.
Comment: This was the "Beginners Cave" of John Nelson’s aborted KnightQuest gaming system. It is very easy and very simple. You just wander around and take everything you can pick up. Combat is easy, too. It appears possible that Frank’s conversion to Eamon may have stripped off the secret passages and made them normal passages, but it hardly affected the playability in any way.
It distinguishes itself among the various beginner offerings in that the alley is a very icky place, with garbage and derelicts everywhere you go. Yuck.
Difficulty of (2).
MAIN PGM Version: 8.0 (Frank’s 6.0/7.1 cross) Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 minutes Reviewer Rating: 5.0
Description: A nearby village was attacked by a monster. The monster burned it to the ground and killed most of the inhabitants. From the description, it seemed that the monster must be a fire dragon.
But before you embark on a quest to find and kill the dragon, a stranger convinces you that the dragon is gentle and innocent, and there much be some other explanation.
You convince the local sheriff to give you 24 hours to find evidence of the truth before he declares open sea-son on the fire dragon. You realize that you must have concrete proof, or the gentle dragon is doomed.
Comment: This is another of John Nelson’s aborted KnightQuest games. Like Amateur Alley, it appears possible that Frank’s conversion to Eamon may have stripped off the secret passages and made them normal passages, but it still played fine.
As Frank explains in his introduction notes, this adventure was not complete. Frank extrapolated the rest of the data from what was already there, and finished it up.
It plays much like an early John Nelson Eamon and lacks much of the sophistication of his later efforts. But I had a good time.
Here’s a hint: when faced with north/south intersections, try the north one first. You will almost certainly die if you find the hill giant before you find the means to get past him unharmed. The giant lies south, but the help lies north.
Difficulty of (5).
MAIN PGM Version: 7.1
Extra Commands: None
Deleted Commands: POWER, HEAL, SPEED, BLAST
Special Features: Lower case intro text and descriptions
Playing Time: 2 hours
Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.0/1
Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski
Description: "The war between the Zarpathian Empire and the Centauri Confederation has gone on for almost a century. Looking to make some money and win some glory, you enlist as a mercenary for the Zarpathians. Grudgingly they allow you to keep your favorite weapons, but they insist on issuing you a quantum blaster rifle.
"A vessel to which you are assigned crash-lands on the desolate planet Osiris 5, and you are knocked unconscious. When you come to, you realize that the rest of the crew has used the only functional escape pod and left you behind. There is another escape pod onboard, but it lacks a dyrillium power crystal.
"You have crashed near some ruins. With no more than your personal weapons and a sensor helmet, you must find a way off this planet!"
Review: This adventure is our second by new author David Owens. Once again, David set out to make as good as adventure as he could make with little to no special programming, relying instead on the strengths of the 7.1 DDD. This adventure came out even better than his first try.
This is mainly a game for puzzlers. There are 52 rooms and several containers, and you must work your way around as you search for the keys, tools and protective gear you will need before you finally escape.
The SF aspect is fairly low-key, and I didn't find it to be a particular plus or minus. David did an excellent job of setting up a succession of goals to achieve. I did not find the opponents excessively difficult with the standard "Sam" character, although I did take the precaution of fleeing from multiple foes to thin them down. There is a healing potion that was ample to keep me going, making the removal of spells possible.
Perhaps the item I enjoyed the most was the desert, which was the best maze that Eamon has seen in a very long time. I've always enjoyed a good maze, and this no doubt contributed to my overall scoring.
If you like puzzling and mazing, you won't go wrong here.
Difficulty of about (7).
MAIN PGM Version: Modified 7
Extra Commands: None
Deleted Commands: None
Special Features: Entry restricted to prevent super character cheating
Playing Time: 50 minutes
Reviewer Rating: 7.5
"As you sit in the Adventurer's Lounge at the Main Hall, a small Blue
Pixy flies over to ask for your help. It tells you a sad tale of a
The Valley of Cold Iron was once a peaceful and prosperous Barony under the Honorable Baron Randal, but then the evil Baron Kellum attacked the Barony with a band of mercenaries. The Mercenaries, acting on orders from Baron Kellum and coordinated by an experienced Mercenary Captain, killed Baron Randal and many of his followers, and tried to take the Valley of Cold Iron for their own. They could not, however, win the cooperation of the Elven Queen by force, nor could any amount of violence directed against the workers of the Valley cause the old Cold Iron Mine to produce its famous anti-magic ore.
Now all those who live in the Valley, and the Elven Queen in particular are poor and hungry and in great need of a Hero to rescue them from the evil Baron Kellum. The Hero who destroys the evil Baron, saves the starving Elven Queen, and restores the Heir of Randal (rumored to be imprisoned in a cell beneath the Castle) must have many qualifications. The Hero must be strong and brave (of course) and know at least a little magic. He must be kind to the poor and willing to listen to them, respectful of the Elves, and must also be able to swim.
Comment: Another new adventure by another new author. I'm glad to see that there is still some interest left in Eamon after all of these years.
The Pixy Oak was written several years ago by Bruce Haylock. He only recently found it on a backup disk. He rescued it, cleaned and polished it up quite a bit, and produced a very nice Eamon adventure, especially for a first time writer.
The goals of your quest are laid out pretty well in the intro. If you try to leave the adventure, you will get rewarded or punished according to your accomplishments. After some tweaking, I believe this feature works rather well at letting you know exactly what you need to do during the adventure before you leave.
The adventure also restricts you from bringing in a super character or a weak character as an attempt to play balance the game. Overall, I found it to be much more puzzle oriented than combat oriented, so this isn't really an issue. The puzzles are not too hard and can be easily solved with some common sense. I'd put difficulty at around a 4 or so.
The map was laid out pretty well. There are some interesting tricks involved to get at the castle with the evil Baron including some fun playing (and drowning) in the moat of the castle. The forest is a bit tricky to navigate at times, but I usually don't map adventures as I'm playing them. (Conan didn't draw a map either!)
Overall, this is a great effort and a welcome addition to the Eamon world. I look forward to more adventures from Bruce!
"In the small city of Kathros in West Eamon, the high priest's sacred
white sceptre has been stolen by the evil renegade priest, Elrem. He
has fled south to the Cliffs of Fire, and using the powers of the
sceptre, built himself a tower and created monsters to defend it. If
Elrem is given time to unlock the sceptre's full powers he will destroy
the entire city!
"The high priest of Kathros has come to the Free Adventurers Guild to find an adventurer willing to brave the dangers of the cliffs and the tower and bring the scepter back. The task has fallen into your hands..."
Comment: This Eamon, I take it, was the first of three
Wade Clarke-authored adventures. While the adventure is relatively
short with 37 rooms and 10 enemies, the map is well-thought out and the
puzzles are abundant. One can view it as a dry-run for the more
expansive and artful latter two adventures Clarke authored.
A particular scroll found in the adventure provides intuitive clues on how to navigate the tower in which the antagonist hides. There are no "death traps," though challenging opponents face the adventurer who fails to heed the scroll's advice. The story and setting are consistent throughout, with captive friends to rescue and daunting enemies to vanquish.
Despite the adventure's brevity, the player won't be disappointed with it and Wade Clarke's talent can be seen in miniature through the compelling plot and insightful design.
Description: “In his search for the greatest warrior in the realm, the powerful archmage Marduz is holding a contest. Renowned for your previous exploits in the Free Adventurers' Guild you have been invited as a participant. The object of the contest is to find the mystical Prism of Shadows, stolen by invaders many years ago and subsequently split up and lost in the harsh wilderness to the north of the city.
“You now stand in the city square, the contest about to start... The time has come to make your way north to the city gates...”
Review: This Eamon, written by Wade Clarke and James Anderson, has turned out to be one of my favorites. It bears a pleasing balance between combat and interesting, fleshed out “side quests,” one of which must be undertaken in order to secure each of four “charms” required to recover the prism. Each hints at a broader, underlying story and is laden with special effects and secret treasures. There are, to boot, a number of items hidden around the map that, while unnecessary to the success of the quest, reward the completist with additional treasures.
Once all that is cleared and the prism itself is recovered, the additional command PRISM comes into play. By activating one of the charms on the prism, the player is able to master a new talent required to navigate and conquer the puzzles found in the final dungeon. There are throughout the adventure a number of “immanent doom” type puzzles, where time ticks away as the player seeks after a solution. The solutions are, by and large, either intuitive to the attentive player or can be discovered by exploring the map. The foes are generally tough, but not insurmountable, and the terrain is varied, broken up into smaller dungeons, castles, and forests.
It is apparent from the moment the opening notes of the adventure's theme plays (yes, it has its own theme music) that Clarke and Anderson created a worthy adventure. From the interesting characters and map to the expanded options available, The Prism of Shadows is certainly one of the best Eamons I've played.
MAIN PGM Version: 7
Extra Commands: Ring, Eat
Deleted Commands: None
Special Features: Theme music (removed in Eamon DX conversion), lower case option
Playing Time: 1- 1.5 hours.
Reviewer Rating: 8
Description: “One night in your sleep you are granted (plagued with?) a vision:
“In your vision a vague hooded figure, wreathed in ethereal vapours, beckons to you from the western kingdom of Agimen. Its voice is familiar, yet chilling and distant at once. It whispers:
“'Our city has fallen under the influence of an undead warlock- this evil being was returned from the beyond when its remains were unearthed, the seal of its tomb broken during recent excavations...
“With these last words the figure is lost in the clouds of your dream, leaving you with a dread urgency for action...
“The following day sees your hurried departure for Agimen, your belongings hastily thrown together with the sun's cold rise... On the approach you see that a visibly grimy red sky hangs over the city like a pall. Your footsteps are the only sounds as you near the overwhelming and dark structures that form the rotting skeleton of the once great city...”
Review: This adventure is no less ambitious than Wade Clarke's earlier The Prism of Shadows; an underlying mythology seems to present itself at every turn. The story and mood are consistently spooky and dire, and dozens of special effects and secrets await. A number of potential companions can be found, each of which is granted special dialogue at important moments in the adventure, providing either important advice concerning future traps or dialogue enhancing the overall mood.
A wide variety of locations, each quite detailed, keep the adventure exciting, and a few hidden rooms force the player to remain alert for anomalies in the room descriptions. The puzzles and magic items that further open the map to new areas are typically intuitive; on those occasions in which the solutions are not so intuitive, the player can (in theory) rely on his or her companions to offer the necessary insight.
The only thing that makes this a less satisfactory adventure than The Prism of Shadows is the overwhelming difficulty of the enemies (the attributes of which I was forced to downgrade upon converting the adventure). Part of the charm of the adventure follows from holding onto the companions, whose words add to the setting, but even with a souped-up character, there are a number of occasions upon which the player may have to watch his or her charges die at the hands of the undead enemies. A number of turns thus become de facto “death traps,” in turn depriving the player of information needed to avoid the de jure traps. There should be no shame in “POKE”-ing one's companions back from the dead.
The story is tight and intriguing, dispensed to the player through readable books and companions' comments, and the number and variety of areas ensures that the exploring never becomes dull. For one looking at the MAIN PGM, one will also recognize that the programming is extremely well-done. If one is willing to cheat a bit here and there, defeating the titular warlock ensures a satisfying and dramatic conclusion to the adventure.
MAIN PGM Version: 7 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: ENTER, BUY, SELL, TALK, ASK, RESUME, QUIT Deleted Commands: BLAST, POWER, SPEED, SMILE, REQUEST Special Features: Requires 80-col. display; accepts lower-case input; standalone, does not use Eamon Master. Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 9.5
Description: It all started when you returned home from a long adventure to discover that a huge dragon was terrorizing the countryside, eating the livestock and stealing anything valuable. The king's wizards and warriors had been soundly trounced by the dragon, who roamed at will with confidence because a prophecy said that he would die in his sleep, not in combat.
You hatched a plan to cast a huge golden statue, and let the dragon "steal" it, while you hid inside. That night, you would emerge from the statue and kill the dragon as he slept.
To make a long story short, the plan goes badly. The dragon gets the statue, but you don't kill him and barely escape with your life. The king, hardly amused at losing so much of his gold, convicts you of Treasonous Negligence of the Highest Degree, and sells you into slavery.
As the adventure opens, you have escaped from the Slavers. After running for three days, you arrive penniless at the gates of a small village in another kingdom. You quickly discover that they have a dragon problem as well. Dragons have fabulous treasure hoards; if you kill this one you will have the means to repay the king. Can this be the means to your redemption?
Comment: Nobody can do Eamon like Sam can, and he proves it again with this excellent offering. Presented by the Softdisk people with a 100K limit for the entire adventure, he still managed to stuff a complex storyline, varied map, plot development, numerous puzzles and special combat into this (for him) small space. Furthermore, Sam tailored this adventure for newcomers to Eamon, taking special effort to make it wonderfully forgiving and easy to play without compromising the depth of the puzzles or encounters.
This adventure hinges on the new TALK and ASK commands. Most of the play revolves around interacting with many of the characters, finding out what they know, learning how to approach people in power, earning money, gaining secret knowledge, obtaining your equipment and maps. It all is deeply interlocked in the ways that Sam does so well.
This Eamon adventure requires an 80-column display, and may not work on a II+ without modification. (Softdisk presently requires 64K and everything on issue #137 will work on a 64K machine. However, some time in the next few months they will begin requiring 128K.)
This is in my opinion the finest single-disk Eamon that Sam has ever done, and in many ways could be argued to be his best work of any size. I found it to be an immensely good play. Hack 'n'slashers may be disappointed, but anyone who enjoys complex Eamon scenarios will not want to miss this one! I give it a (7) for difficulty.
This Eamon adventure is commercial software. You can not obtain it from the public domain but must buy it from Softdisk. Non-subscriber price is $10.95 plus $4.95 shipping charge. Ask for Softdisk issue #137.
Credit card orders can call 1-800-831-2694
Mail orders should write: Softdisk Publishing P.O. Box 30008 Shreveport, LA 71130-0008
MAIN PGM Version: 7 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: ENTER, BUY, SELL, TALK, HOLD, SEARCH, RESUME, QUIT Deleted Commands: BLAST, POWER, SPEED, SMILE, REQUEST, READY Special Features: Requires 80-col. display; accepts lower-case input; 10 directions; standalone, does not use Eamon Master. Playing Time: 2-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 9.0
Description: "While searching for treasure, you were surprised by an evil conjuror and his warriors. In the ensuing battle, you managed to break both your swords and lose your shield to a conjured Fire Giant. Faced with imminent demise, you pulled out a little talisman that is your only remaining hope, and spoke the magic word.
"Suddenly you were falling! You prepared for the inevitable thud but all you got was a SQUISH! You landed in...what? Bananas? BANANAS! The next thing you heard was an alarm being raised. The next thing you saw were the soldiers...
"You find yourself under arrest for Trespassing -- and 'Destroying Magic Bananas'. They've got to be kidding! Finally you are taken to the leader, who says: 'The Banana Republic is facing its darkest hour. Once we were the most powerful and important nation on this continent, but now we face destruction from our enemies.
"'Our stores of magic bananas have, until now, kept the balance of power in our favor. But our enemies have started their own biological weapons programs. We have developed a new crop of extremely powerful bananas, but the seeds have been stolen by the four powers that oppose us.
"'In our orchards is an ancient tree that bears a single Time/Space Displacement banana that can return you to your own world. Return our seeds, and we will give it to you.'
"'Right,' you say, 'I'm on the job. For starters, I'll need some string, a Holocaust Cloak, a wheelbarrow, and...'"
Comment: Well, of course you don't get anything that you ask for. But the Pres does start you out with a sword, some fragmentation bananas and a sling to throw them with. From there, you are on your own (as usual!). It should go without saying that the above description is shortened from Sam's original.
This Eamon is a Softdisk sequel to Sam's very excellent "Redemption" that Softdisk published a year earlier. Though it only has 49 Rooms, it encompasses an astonishing range of interesting stuff to keep you entertained for the hours you will be playing.
"Banana Republic" is quite a bit simpler than "Redemption", and is perhaps the simplest top-quality Eamon that Sam has ever done. Once again, you must use the TALK command to discover things you need to know. From there, you must solve a succession of small puzzles and battle quite a few imposing enemies before you finally recover all of the seeds. It is not as deeply interlocked as many of Sam's top Eamons, and a careful selection among the many special-purpose bananas will be very helpful in dispatching the bad guys. It is fairly forgiving and has an excellent SAVE command. Between the smallish, symmetrical map and the logical layout, I found it easy to play with no paper map and few notes.
It requires an 80-column display, and probably won't work on a II+ without some modification. Softdisk assumes that you have 128K; though the adventure doesn't itself require 128K, you may find that other Softdisk features won't work on 64K machines.
Like all of Sam's best stuff, this is not an Eamon to be missed. I found the play to be much fun and very relaxing, and highly recommend it to puzzlers and hack'n'slashers alike. I give it a (7) for difficulty. This Eamon adventure is commercial software. You can not obtain it from the public domain but must buy it from Softdisk. Non-subscribers can purchase it for $12.95 + $1.50 S&H. Ask for Softdisk issue #152.
Credit card orders can call 1-800-584-7638
Mail orders should write:
Softdisk Publishing P.O. Box 30008 Shreveport, LA 71130-0008
MAIN PGM Version: 7 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: CAST, RESTORE, QUIT, MODE Deleted Commands: HEAL, BLAST, SPEED, POWER Special Features: Requires 80-col. display; accepts lower-case input; standalone, does not use Eamon Master; too many others to list! Playing Time: 3-6 hours Reviewer Rating: 9.0
Description: To shorten Sam's usual long and convoluted intro, you and a small band of worthies are tasked to recover the long-lost Rod of Talon, needed to nullify a curse that is laying waste to the countryside.
Your companions will include a Cleric, versed in the healing arts and in spellcasting, a Scholar, steeped in knowledge and lore, a Fighter of no small strength, and a Squire to serve as helper.
Comments: This Eamon is good. I mean, really good. Virtually every aspect of Eamon gaming has been greatly enhanced, adding tremendously to the overall texture and experience.
Each of your companions has special abilities that you will need to fulfill the quest. The usual list of exits has been expanded to reflect the situation in combat. Sam used his wonderful "ACE" encumbrance system that involves holding things in one or both hands to use. Your companions' capabilities are nearly as complete as your own. There are many dozens of specials so that every new area you explore is an entirely new experience, and you never know what a new artifact or monster might invoke.
By the halfway point, I had tentatively decided to give this Eamon a (10) rating, something which I thought I would never do, but the new and special stuff is that good. In the end, I dropped it to a (9) for two reasons: first, the squire is a young kid who tends to make silly, even stupid comments during combat; the comments quickly wore thin, and some are anachronistic.
Second and much more importantly, Sam loaded the end game with combat. Once I had acquired the Rod, it took me over an hour to win my way through about 30 previously-explored rooms back to the entrance. I found myself playing the same two or three battles over and over and over as I waited for the random results of combat to let me and my companions survive the battle intact. Frankly, I was quite bored long before I finally completed the game. Thus, my (10) fell to a (9), and I give it a difficulty of (9) as well.
But don't let the above griping put you off. This is an incredible Eamon that should not be missed by anyone who appreciates the Best that Eamon has to offer!
It requires an 80-column display, and probably won't work on a II+ without some modification. Softdisk assumes that you have 128K; though the adventure doesn't itself require 128K, you may find that other Softdisk features won't work on 64K machines.
This Eamon adventure is commercial software. You can not obtain it from the public domain but must buy it from Softdisk. Non-subscribers can purchase it for $12.95 + $1.50 S&H. Ask for Softdisk issue #156.
Credit card orders can call 1-800-584-7638
Mail orders should write:
Softdisk Publishing P.O. Box 30008 Shreveport, LA 71130-0008
MAIN PGM Version: 7 (heavily modified) Extra Commands: BOARD, CLOSE, EAT, EQUIP, BUY, REQUEST, TALK, QUIT, RESUME, SAVE Deleted Commands: HEAL, BLAST, SPEED, POWER, READY, SMILE, WAVE Special Features: Requires 80-col. display; standalone, does not use Eamon Master; Reviewer Rating: 9.0
Description: You are about to become Edgar E. Blevins. One night when Edgar was walking home from his job at a local convenience store he was surrounded by a strange blue light and thick green steam.
Edgar wakes up to find he is aboard a strange alien spaceship and that several blue-skinned aliens are preparing to dissect him!
Your ultimate goal in Edgar's Adventures is to defeat the aliens and escape the spaceship. What happens next you'll have to find out for yourself.
Comments: Frank sold this Eamon to Softdisk shortly before they shut down publication of their Apple II side. Frank did not have a subscription to Softdisk and does not know if this Eamon was ever published. In any event he never received anything from Softdisk to indicate that it was published.
Because of "Edgar’s" uncertain situation, it has been added to the list as a Softdisk title, but without a number.
Frank is undoubtedly one of the top three programmers to ever write an Eamon adventure. This Eamon is extremely well crafted, with a flawless, sophisticated user interface and quite an ongoing plot line. Edgar did indeed have some interesting adventures!
I played it through for validation purposes before adding it to the CD, and I did not need to bother with a map or even much in the way of notes. But it was a very interesting, mildly challenging play from start to end. I give it a (9) rating, and a (7) for difficulty.
"Edgar" is a real treat to play. Be sure to check it out!
Reviewed by Frank Black
New commands: KISS, WAIT, ORDER
Playing time: 1-2 hours
Reviewer rating: 7.5
(Note: I received this adventure in the summer of 2004. After exchanging some emails with the author about a few bugs that needed to be worked out, I lost contact with him. I finally decided to go ahead and debug it myself. No major changes were made to the story, puzzles, or general game play.)
Description: There is a rather long and encyclopedic intro in a fashion reminiscent of some of Sam Ruby's bigger works, particularly Elemental Apocalypse. To make a long story short, you are sent on a quest to find the ingredients for a "Control Potion" so that it can be slipped to a ruthless and powerful dictator before he starts a global war.
There is an amusing segment where you receive the mission from "General Zuchowski" (after entering the secret EAG headquarters through the freezer in the Main Hall's kitchen) that I enjoyed.
Comment: The game takes place on a medium sized ocean map with three islands that you can land at, each island having an element you need to complete your quest. There are several puzzles to solve at each island (well two of the islands anyway), as well as on the ocean. There are clues scattered about for each of these puzzles, so don't be too quick to use the HINTS. There are lots of embedded artifacts in this adventure and many of them are important, so make sure to try and EXAMINE things mentioned in descriptions.
The new commands are each only needed in one or two places. Once you've found the use for each you can forget about it.
This is more of a puzzler's Eamon with a small amount of combat, mostly involving wild animals. I found it to have a fairly consistent and fun setting and enjoyed the flavor of it very much. The descriptions were interesting and often amusing as well. All in all this is an excellent adventure for a first time author.
I would have rated it a little higher, but it has an unfinished feel to it, as if the author had planned to add a lot more. It didn't even have an actual ending until I added one to it. I also had to tie up some loose ends myself and do a lot of debugging so my rating reflects mainly on the author's material and not what I added. Difficulty of (7) if you don't use the hints, (5) if you use the hints sparingly.
Also, Frank wrote: "Journey Across the Muerte Sea" is Eamon Deluxe adventure #20 because all the previous collections were considered "adventures" in and of themselves. Like the Beginner's Cave is EAMON adventure #1, "Beginner's Adventures" (which is a collection of all the classic Eamon adventures with that theme) is EAMON DELUXE adventure #1. There are 19 Official collections, or adventures, after which new adventures come. Muerte Sea is the first new EDX-specific adventure so it falls into line at #20. The first section of the EDX adventure lists shows the names and numbers of all EDX adventures.
Extra features (since commands in not applicable here):
Training for weapons, armor, spells; the ability to increase Hardiness, Agility, Charisma; a Casino, and other fun stuff.
If we had ratings for Master diskettes, this would receive a 10! Congratulations to the author, Rick Volberding.
When I received this diskette, I saw ‘Graphics Main Hall’ I thought another version of the master - no big deal. NOT SO!! This master is very well done and was lots fun to explore! I thoroughly enjoyed taking my little guy wandering around the Hall looking for trouble.
The fist stop, I had to get a weapon and some armor. The graphics shoved the little guy carrying the weapon and I thought he was so cute (Until I realized it was me!) When I bought a shield, I looked so much more experienced and ready to go out and tame those dragons!!
After gambling away all that earned in the Casino, I started getting hooked on the new master and decided it was the one for me.
I discovered a lot more than the standard features found at the Main Hall. There is a warlock that teaches applied spellology. This is the science of becoming more proficient at casting spells you know. You must first hire Hokas to teach you the spell. Then there is a witch that will mystically enhance your hardiness, agility or charisma, but she is very expensive. Once you get oodles of gold, maybe you won’t mind.
One of my favorites was the friendly giant who teaches armor training. He’s good at thrusting and parrying and can really put you to the test. I was knocked down many times before I started getting the hang of it.
Some of the fun is discovery, so I won’t go into some things found in the new Main Hall. You’ll enjoy finding them for yourself.
I tried everything I could find (and afford) and was very impressed. This is going to be MY new master from now on.
The Beginner’s Cave for this master is the standard (unexpanded) one, and is text. Transfer to and from the Beginner’s Cave went without a hitch. I borrowed the same horse and went down the same road I had in previous lives.
All-in-all, I think the Graphics Master is the nicest addition to Eamon since DDD 6.0 (and maybe better.)
This page last updated on 06/07/2005.