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.
This page last updated on 01/29/2005.