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Softdisk #152 - Banana Republic by Sam Ruby

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski


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.

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