Will this be Epic's best yet?
Exclusive news this month is that Epic Software plans to release a massive new adventure in the summer.
After the fantastic success of Wheel of Fortune, they have decided to reward Electron adventurers with the most complex adventure ever.
As yet unnamed, it will feature high resolution graphics with a 64 colour palette and a split-screen display to allow graphics and text to be on screen at the same time.
Epic are naturally reluctant to reveal too much about the game, but it will have about 400 locations and will feature real-time action and character interaction.
It is specifically for the Electron and Epic don't yet know whether they will release it for the BBC Micro. Eat your hearts out Beeb owners!
This month I have had hints and tips from Andrew Clark and, once again, R. Henderson for Crown Jewels and The Incredible Hulk.
I hereby nominate both of these intrepid adventurers for the Hall of Fame which you will find below.
Larry Horsefield has written in to ask if it is possible to have an adventure "Contact Corner". If you would like an adventure pen-pal let me know and I will publish your address.
If you are one of my younger readers though, I suggest you get your parents' permission first!
It's confession time again. My advice to change into the tweed suit at home in Hampstead in November's column was wrong. You should get changed in the Oxfam shop.
In the same column I said that the steak in Sphinx Adventure was past the goblins near the pirate's hideout. I meant the cheese, of course. I knew it was food of some sort. My thanks to the many readers who pointed out these mistakes.
Michael Rocca has seen an advertisement offering Level 9's Red Moon for the Electron and asks if this is a mistake.
As far as I can discover this is a mistake, as Level 9 seem to have no plans for releasing any of their games on the Electron.
I'd like to thank everyone who sent in maps of the catacombs in Sphinx Adventure and especially Mike Messam, who not only sent a map but also a screen photograph of the congratulatory message you get when you complete the game.
I notice you took 472 turns to get the 800 points Mike. Has anyone done it in less?
I always thought my cryptic clues were a bit obvious, but Douglas Lockwood, in response to a tip I gave in a previous column to say magic to open the safe in Sphinx Adventure, has written in to say that typing in SAY MAGIC doesn't work!
Would you like me to keep the clues reasonably cryptic or would you prefer them to be more specific?
You may remember my mentioning that the function keys can be programmed before loading in Sphinx Adventure. It seems that it can also be done with The Stolen Lamp. As a general point, function key definitions are stored from &0B00 to &0BFF. Providing the program doesn't overwrite this area it should be possible to program them on any adventure.
Before we leave Sphinx, I'd like to thank Mark de Weger for sending in a map and vocabulary. I wish I'd had this when I was trying to solve it for the special.
I have been asked by a lot of readers to do a special on Classic Adventure.
I have managed to raise 150 points by collecting all the treasure and have got out of the repository, but have yet to score maximum points.
If you can tell me how to get those missing points, write and let me know how you do it and I will send the first person to do so a copy of Adventure international's new game, Robin Hood.
If there are any other adventures that you would like me to do specials on write in and tell me.
I. Thomas wants to know what in my opinion is the best adventure and adventure software house.
Wheel of Fortune had been number one in both Top Tens and Epic have done well with their other games, so I would say that that answers your question.
David Jackson has written in criticising the inclusion of Classic Adventure in the Top Tens. Well, the rankings in the Top Tens are based on what the consensus of my readers think.
If you don't agree with the results then you should award marks accordingly for the next Top Ten.
In fairness, you are in the minority, David. Most people think that it is a very good adventure.
Jeff Boden has taken me to task for telling Robert Carlton in November's column to type in a code when you have scored all 1,024 points in Twin Kingdom Valley.
As he rightly points out, it is not necessary to type in a code in the game. If you read what I said though, you'll see that I told him to type in the code given in the special.
This was simply a series of letters that, on taking every other letter, gave you the words you actually needed.
The idea was to provide the answer but to make sure that readers who didn't want the answer wouldn't have things spoilt for them on seeing it by accident.
No prizes for spotting what the remaining letters gave!
Finally, here are some tips and solutions to previous month's problems. Someone who prefers to remain nameless has sent in tips for two adventures.
To kill Medusa in Gold Baton, get and hold the mirror then enter the room. You will find that Medusa has been turned to stone.
In SIM, take all the simirals straight up from the rabbit, (right to the top of the screen and then as far left as possible).
The grid will open, so go through it and then drop a simiral through the hole. If you stay in the room until the simiral reaches the bottom you will get an extra life.
Craig Terry and Steve Milner say Eve Thompson's problem with the tetrahedron in Kingdom of Klein can be solved by keeping east on the Moebius ravine.
Finally, Daniel, who didn't give his surname, has sent in some tips for Gremlins. When the gremlins follow you go to the cinema and start the projector.
Cut the mail box with the welding torch - you will need the spark indicator that is in the kitchen drawer with the knife.
Weld the resultant plates over the smashed vents in the store then plug in the drill and use it.
Use the hacksaw to get the pipe from the bar in the tavern.
THIS part of the column exists just to report any bugs found in adventures, and will only make an appearance when readers write in and report some.
There has been quite a lot of correspondence in these pages over the last few months about the bug that prevents you saving the game in Twin Kingdom Valley.
Mike Horden at first thought he had the bugged version, but in fact found that with the Plus 1 disabled or removed the game worked perfectly.
Would those people who have written in about problems in this game please try again without the Plus 1, if indeed they have it, and let me know whether this bug does in fact exist.
On the subject of the Plus 1, Anthony Lee says that Greedy Dwarf won't load in at all with it fitted.
The following lines typed in before you start, will disable the Plus 1, so they might be worth trying first before you disconnect it:
Les Shipton says that there is a bug in Woodbury End from Shards that crashes the program if you try to open or unlock a locked door in the town hall.
I had already discovered this, as the bug was in my review copy.
Shards assure me that it was only in the very early version of the game and has now been rectified.
As Les also points out, you don't need to use any commands on the doors anyway. As long as you have the keys, moving in the direction of the doors will enable you to go through them.
I must say I am prepared to overlook this bug in view of the quality of the rest of the adventure, which I still haven't solved.
Geoff Larsen - see next time for some of his superb hints and tips - has let me know that there is a faulty copy of Adventure International's The Count in circulation.
If your copy is version ELC-1 /115 and you find that you can't get out of the bedroom window with the sheets (yes, I know you shouldn't want to) or find later that after having used the sheets correctly and gone out of the window that you find it impossible to get back in, then you have the bugged version.
Return it to Adventure International who will, I'm sure, be only too happy to replace it with the newer version converted by Brian Howarth.
Larry Horsefield has a problem with Savage Island Part 1, an adventure that I have yet to see.
He wants to know what to do after he resurfaces in the lake after diving to retrieve the block and knife.
Each time he tries to get back to the shore he comes up against "something too big" and ends up drowning. Can anyone help him?
Mike Messam has a couple of problems with Quest for the Holy Grail. Can you get past the fallen rocks, or what do you do there and how do you get past the black knight? Does anybody know?
Michael Buckley can't get into the final location with the dynamite in Classic Adventure. Does he mean the repository, and what dynamite is he talking about?
Craig Romans is stuck in Terrormolinos. He can't get out of the "inevitable dark location", switch on or get light or find the film for the camera.
Carl Barlow has scored 95 per cent in Hampstead but can't get any further. He also says that he has translated the motto. What motto?
Nicholas Latham has written in with some questions on Bored of the Rings, which I think is a BBC Micro adventure.
He wants to know how to get through the gate on the lakeside, where pepper comes into the game and what you are supposed to do after the meeting.
The only tip I have heard about this game is that you can increase your score by swearing!
Someone who hasn't given his name (probably can't stand the notoriety!) wants to know what object you need to get the baton at the end of Gold Baton.
There has been a shortage of problems this month, probably due to last time's Sphinx special.
Marilyn Rodger and Stuart Kelly both want to know what the route through the jet black maze in Castle of Riddles is. From the alcove go E,N,E,NW,N,N,NE,W.
Stephen Henderson and Robert Carlton are having problems with Wheel of Fortune.
Pay the beggar and he won't let go when you are only partway down the well. The gun is for the werewolf and use the ladder to cross the pit.
Kristian Took wants to know where the crystal gate is in Twin Kingdom Valley. If I'm thinking of the same thing as you I would wave the rod at the chasm.
David Jackson wants to know how to make the beans grow and Steve Parkinson wants to know how to get out of the castle in Eye of Zolton.
Dig a hole, plant the beans and then water them. Courtesy of Eve Thompson and Les Shipton, I can suggest that saying minotaur will get you out.
B. Whittle can't get past the giant in Kingdom of Klein. Rise to the occasion and stone him.
Paul Joels wants to know how to get past the enchantress and where to find the sledgehammer in Stolen Lamp. Drop the bracelet and search the desert.
In Hampstead, Derek Willoughby would like to know how to open the filing cabinet and what to say to the butler. Use the screwdriver from the store and tell him to see chubby.
David Roberts has scored 239 out of 250 points in Philosopher's Quest. He wants to know how to get past the pool of ink.
Shouldn't you be filling something here rather than trying to get past?
Chris Shadworth has some questions about Ring of Time. Where is the rope, how can he get the password to the safe and is there anything in the supply shed?
The rope is past the mad monk. Burn the parchment to get the combination. The matches are in the supply shed.
Con Carey wants to know how to get past the dog and where to find the dwarf's hut in Greedy Dwarf. Give the dog a bone. The hut is past the dog.
Quest for the Holy Grail is causing Mike Messam some problems. The banana and the hammer aren't used. You can't ride the horse.
Throw the cask of oil at the dragon. Climb the huge oak tree. The angry shouts mean that the woodcutter has realised his axe is missing.
Mike Horden wants to know how to open the locked doors and how to remove the large grate in Mystery Fun House. You can't. Remove the bolt with the wrench and slide the grating off.
Gisburne's Castle has prompted a lot of questions. I have still not seen it so I can't really give much help. I can give you what information I have got though, so for Matthew Shepard, Stuart Taylor, P. Taylor and Mohd Sharif, here is an extract from a letter that gives all I know about the game:
"When you want to go into the dungeons use the rope and then the key. You need poison arrows to kill the creatures in the castle.
"If you dig with the spade when you are in the dungeon you will go into the cellars and somewhere in there you will find Gisburne.
"Here you will need a flint, gunpowder and shot. You get the shot from the room with the rusty lock - use the oil, bottle and the shrinking potion.
"When you kill Gisburne you will find a small key which will allow you to enter the chapel and rescue Maid Marion".
If Chris Wray, the writer of the letter, can send me a full map and solution that I can understand - don't forget I haven't seen the game - then I'll reward him with a free adventure.
HALL OF FAME
Crown Jewels - Andrew Clark
You can't attract the policeman's attention so don't bother trying. Go to Tower Bridge and pose for the Japanese tourists you will get something useful in return. Give the ring to the old man at the station. You can then unlock the cellar door near the Tower of London and get the map. Read it and you will be able to go east at Tower Green to get the torch.
Then go to the Chamber of Horrors. Here you will find some matches and you should use them to melt John Noakes'.statue. Move the throne in Buckingham Palace. At Tower Bridge, drug the man's coffee and pull the lever. Cross the bridge and catch the bus to Parliament. You may have to try a few times to catch it. The last treasure is behind the clock face of Big Ben. To finish the game you have to take the jewels back to the guard in the opening location. Make sure that you solve the game as more than a congratulatory message is displayed.
The Incredible Hulk - R. Henderson
To get out of the first dome PRESS BUTTON, BITE LIP. Lift the dome to get a gem. Dig a hole then GO HOLE. Keep digging until you find a gem and then go to the fuzzy area. Go to the dome with the bees, wave the fan at the mesh and go inside. Get the wax and leave the dome as the hulk, lift the dome and then dig as before.
Go to the dome with the ants and examine the baseboard in the room. Block the outlet with wax, BITE LIP and ASK STRANGE three times. Get your wax back and go back to the fuzzy area. HOLD NOSE, BLOCK EARS with wax and CLOSE EYES. Go back to the dome with the ants, DIG HOLE, GO HOLE and OPEN EYES. Go up and lift dome then get the ants and go to the fuzzy area.
Go back to the first dome and REMEMBER NIGHTMARE. Go to the room and remember again then pull the ring. Remember again and then GO HOLE. Remember yet again and EAT EGG. Remember for the last time(!) and SCRATCH WALL. Then GO CRACK and DROP ANTS. They will free ant-man and leave you a gem. Go back to the fuzzy area (leave the bio gem).
Go to the Chief Examiner's room and search for the gems (I'll leave that bit to you). Then SAY SCOTT. Go north, get bio gem and then go back to the fuzzy area. Drop the bio gem and you have finished.
Many gems are found lying around and these haven't been included. Drop the gems you find in the fuzzy area at regular intervals. The bio gem must be collected last.
Larry Horsefield <address removed>
This article appeared in the Febraury 1986 edition of the "Electron User", published by Database Publications.
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