Sunday, May 24, 2015

Classic Game Review: On Line Adventure Games

MISSION: ASTEROID, MYSTERY HOUSE and THE WIZARD AND THE PRINCESS (three adventure type games by On-Line Systems) follow the traditional two-word adventure game format, with one interesting exception. In addition to a text description you get a hi-resolution graphic view of the scenes. The gaming system is easy to learn with the program containing a basic vocabulary of some 300-400 words.
You give two word commands involving a verb and a noun and the computer responds with the appropriate actions. Though on the surface the system appears uncomplicated, the games themselves provoke a flurry of mental activity. All of your wits are needed as you encounter one problem after another. Solving particular situations may take you just a few minutes while others may take several hours (perhaps even weeks) to conquer.
Movement is totally in your hands as you command the computer to perform various actions. The colour graphics are superb, providing the amateur sleuth with surprises and entertainment galore.
MISSION: ASTEROID is the simplest of the group and only requires a few hours to solve.
MYSTERY HOUSE is considerably more difficult and provides many traps for the unwary in a wonderfully Victorian setting.
THE WIZARD AND THE PRINCESS has the best graphics and has a beautiful fairy tale setting as its theme. Of the three it was the most challenging and should be attempted only after you are familiar with the gaming system.

The only drawback to most "adventure" type games is the necessity of limiting commands to just two words. Many actions seem to require more words than are contained within the program's vocabulary. However, if you experiment enough with different terminology, you can overcome this potentially frustrating experience. One hint to aid you in solving these adventures is to "get" any and all objects you can as they will come in handy at some point in time.
The "save game" command is a particularly useful feature. If you can solve these games in one sitting you are truly a master at puzzle solving. It will probably take many sittings and you may wind up being stumped at some particularly difficult point. Have no fear; ON-LINE SYSTEMS thoughtfully include a panic number which the hopelessly frustrated can call during reasonable daytime hours. My rating for this 3 in 1 game package is 2.5 out of 5.
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