Eamon Adventurerís Guild

 

SEPTEMBER 1997

 


Well, this issue is a little late, too, but not so bad as the June issue, and I've taken steps that should give me more time to work on the EAG newsletter in the future. I should have more news in that regard next issue.

_______________________

 

I assume that you all saw a difference in the June EAG newsletter.Yes, I printed it on my inkjet printer on my PC. However, do not be concerned that I have been seduced by the Dark Side.The newsletter was composed in its entirety on my Apple II and the completed document transferred to the PC. Once on my PC, I modified it to take advantage of features not available on my tired, old Panasonic dot-matrix printer. The PC is being used as a printer and nothing more.

 

I selected the settings on the PC to make the newsletter come out to the same 10-page physical size as it would be on the Apple.Actually, the more efficient proportional New Times Roman font freed up a quarter page, which I used to enhance some articles and improve layout.

 

I wasn't entirely satisfied with the outcome. When all is said and done, a photocopier has some trouble making even copies of inkjet output, although the problem is far less pronounced than with dot-matrix work.It is likely that you will see more changes in this newsletter. I will probably narrow the margins slightly to permit a larger font.I may try a sans-serif font to see if I can get more even toning on the0 photocopies, a technique which works well with dot-matrix work.

_______________________

 

I shorted you on reviews last issue.There was a lot of news to relay, the walk-through was a long one, and I felt it necessary to run the ProDOS list since we had a new ProDOS entry. I know that many of you consider the reviews the most important part of the newsletter. This issue has a goal of making up on the reviews and then some by punting the Walk-through. I am also taking advantage of this special "reviews" issue to get through the Rob Parker Eamons, which are by and large not that great; in doing this we avoid one or two future issues with nothing but Rob Parker Eamon reviews. (Interestingly, Rob always felt that I was a generous rater of his works. He was not embarrassed to admit that most of his Eamons weren't very good, but he didn't care because he had a great time writing them. Those of you who have never completed your own Eamon adventure simply don't know what fun you have missed!)

 

In case you are wondering what I will print once all the Eamons have been reviewed, here is my plan: Many of the early NEUC "reviews" were merely cursory one-paragraph descriptions. I plan to revisit those Eamons with true in-depth reviews in the modern style.

_______________________

 

Thanks to all of you who were gracious enough not to give me a hard time about putting "1996" on the June issue. What a bone-headed mistake! I didn't notice it until I was stuffing envelopes. Those issues are collector's items now! I printed up a new master for the first page after spotting the error.

 

Speaking of mistakes, I made an error in Kula's web page address. Sorry, Mike. The address in this issue is correct. I don't know why I have so much trouble getting addresses right.

 

Letters

 

I just read the latest newsletter. Your good work is important to a lot of people. Thank you for keeping it up!

 

How many of us are there? I sure wouldn't mind if you published my name and address for other Eamonauts. I think many people feel the same way. Do you think a roster is possible in a later newsletter?Think about it. Maybe you could ask the other Eamonauts if they would like their names and addresses published so we could contact each other!

††††††††††††††††††††††† - Bob Zelenka

 

Thanks for the kind words, Bob. I mailed out 55 copies of the June newsletter. This included three complimentary issues that went to John Nelson, Joe Kohn, and Tony Ward (the Genie librarian). The EAG peaked at 107 members maybe five years ago. Renewals are running at about the same rate they always did. (The two saddest non-renewals were a guy whose house burned down and a teenager who died.) However, new memberships are way down from what they used to be, which results in a gradual erosion of the numbers. We also took a noticeable one-time hit back when the Mac LC came out and Apple started to get a clue on Mac prices. The majority of present EAG members are people who have been with us for many years, such as yourself.The hard core. <grin>

 

There has always been a standing offer to print people's addresses in the newsletter. But let's up the ante on that and make the mailing list a standard feature. From now on I will publish the mailing list in every issue that is not terribly crunched for space, and will make it a point to publish it whenever there is a change. You people who are already listing email addresses might want to remember that most Eamonauts are not online, and have your mailing address listed as well. †††††††††††††††† - Tom

 

EAMON ADVENTURER'S GUILD

Thomas Zuchowski, Editor

 

Membership/subscription fee for 4 issues:

US-Canada: $7.00; foreign: $12.00; in U.S. funds

This newsletter is published 4 times per year, in March, June, September, and December

 

 

We are always looking for new material!If you would like to publish your own letter or article in this newsletter, feel free to send one in.We make quarterly Eamon adventure giveaways to the best contributions.

 

If you would like to add your own Eamon adventure to the EAG list, send it on a disk to the above address.It will be assigned an Adventure number, and tested for bugs and other problems before release.An informal critique and disk with

bug corrections will be returned.Once released, you will be given any Eamon Adventure of your choice in exchange, and may be awarded several Eamon Adventures if your Eamon is of superior quality.

 

 

BACK ISSUES:

 

NEUC 'Adventurer's Log':

Mar'84, May'84, Aug'84, Oct'84, Jan'85, Mar'85

May'85, Aug'85, Oct'85, Jun'86, Jan'87, Oct'87

 

EAG back issues:†††††† 1988:†††† -†† Jun, Sep, Dec

1989,90,91,92,93,94,95,96: Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1997: Mar, Jun

 

††††† Price: $1.00 each

 

 

Our mail-order Eamon vendor:

 

Eamons are available online.Some good sites are Genie, ftp.gmd.de, ground.isca.uiowa.edu, and

http://www.ecnet.net/users/mumbv/pages/eamon/index.shtml

 

EAG EAMON DISK OFFER

 

EAG members can obtain the complete Eamon set from the EAG. This contains both the DOS 3.3 and 80-col. ProDOS Eamon collections archived to 3.5 disks.These are ShrinkIt archives.To access the ProDOS titles, you must have a minimum of one 3.5 drive.The DOS 3.3 titles require both 3.5 and 5.25 drives.

 

The EAG members' price for the entire set is $25.00.To take advantage of this offer, you must take these steps:

 

1) This offer requires that you supply the disks.You must include 18 DD 3.5 floppies with your payment. NOTE that these MUST be DD disks.My drives cannot read nor write to HD disks, so don't send them.

 

2) You must use a shipping container that I can re-use to return the filled disks to you.

 

3) The $25.00 price includes formatting the floppies with ProDOSIf you format the disks for me, the price is $20.00. This reflects the time savings I get from not having to do the formatting. It doesn't matter what ProDOS volume name you use since they will be rewritten.

 

4) If any of the above requirements are not met, the disks will be returned unfilled, and the shipping cost will be deducted from your refund.

 

5) Both versions of 8-bit ShrinkIt are included with the set.

 

Purchase of the set puts you on a mailing list that automatically gets free updates once or twice per year.

 

Eamon Reviews

 

#125 The Mattimoe Palace†† by Jeff Actor

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

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.

 

 

#127 The Hunt for the Ringby Sam Ruby

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

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.

 

 

#131 Nucleus of the Ruby††††††††††† by Keith Somers

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

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.

 

 

#134 Pyramid of the Ancients

by Joe & Robert Pirone

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

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.

 

 

#135 The Tomb of Evron††††† by Mike Greifenkamp

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

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.

 

 

#173 The House that Jack Built†††† by Robert Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: None

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: None

Playing Time: 30-45 min.

Reviewer Rating: 3.0†† Average Rating: 2.0/2

 

Description: "You are the fighter that:

 

Found the infant that cried insistant-

Saved Sammy-Jo Faire, with the really nice pair-

That fought skeletons five and barely survived-

And found all the treasure beyond measure-

All in the house that Jack built.

 

And boy, is Jack pissed..."

 

Comment: This is a fairly good-sized Eamon that has very little content. All you do is wander about a very large house. The tone is light and the descriptions mildly silly. If it had more content I might have given it a better rating, though I must note that Pat Hurst gave it a (1).

 

You'll enjoy it more if you set yourself to do all the things listed in the intro. But as for "treasure beyond measure," my take was 203 GP.

 

I found two unmarked secret passages not found by LOOK. There are a large number of movement-related death traps, but they are mostly well marked and make sense if you think about it.

 

Difficulty of (2).

 

 

#174 Escape from Granite Hall††††† by Robert Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: DRINK, READ

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: None

Playing Time: 5-45 min.

Reviewer Rating: 4.0†† Average Rating: 3.5/2

 

Description: "A man approaches you and says, 'I need a brave volunteer to escape from my place of dwelling; a sort of test of my security.'

" 'And where do you dwell?' you ask.

 

" 'I dwell at Granite Hall!'

 

"You reach for your weapon but never get it out in time to strike. You never saw the blast spell that knocked you unconscious. All you think is, 'This is the feared mage Ajakstu, arch-mage to the demons of Hades...' If half of what you have heard of Ajakstu is true, you are in deep trouble..."

 

Comment: Well maybe not all that much trouble. This is a mild Hack'n'Slash romp with a difficulty of (3). There are several keys and lamps and stuff, but I never saw any use for any of it. The exit was cleverly done and I predict that you will find it only by chance, but that you will not have difficulty stumbling onto it. But the overall content is low, diminishing the rating.

 

 

 

#176 Dirtie Trix's Mad Mazeby Robert Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: None

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: None

Playing Time: 15-45 min.

Reviewer Rating: 3.0

 

Description: "Greetings, you fools. I am the Games-Master, Dirtie Trix. So you thought my other games were easy? Well, it's safe to say you've never gone to my fun house ...

 

"... up till now you've had it easy ..."

 

Comment: This is a straight mapping exercise with no combat. It's not even much of a maze, by Eamon standards, with no diabolical twists that I saw, although the room names tend to be very, very similar.

 

The drill here is to wander around until you find the exit. If there is anything else, I missed it, although I must admit that I only saw about half of the 96 rooms before stumbling onto the exit. Difficulty of (2) for the large map.

 

 

#177 Shippe of Fooles by Robert Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: None

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: None

Playing Time: 10-20 min.

Reviewer Rating: 2.0

 

Description: "One day, while taking a break from adventuring, you decided to go to the docks. It is refreshing, watching the ships sail in and out of port, to see the billowing of the sails. To see the dock workers loading and unloading the ships.

 

"A sinister man slides up beside you. 'Ever want to sail?' he wheezes between rotted teeth. Before you can answer, he hits you over the head with a blackjack..."

 

Comment: You have been shanghaied and your quest is to find a way off the ship. Other than that, this is a straight combat scenario with no other content whatsoever. Nine out of ten enemies you meet will be named PIRATE. No companions. Difficulty of (3).

 

The ship seems rather nicely appointed for a 17th-century pirate vessel and feels more like a small castle than a ship.

 

One hint: there is no obvious way off the ship. Look for something a little mysterious to find your exit.

 

 

#179 The Wizard's Tower†††† by Robert Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: None

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: None

Playing Time: 30-45 min.

Reviewer Rating: 4.0†† Average Rating: 4.4/2

 

Description: "There exists an evil wizard by the name of Izurath. He is a cunning and smart wizard, but very evil. He has sent a letter to the Main Hall stating that he will open up his doors to bold and brave (and somewhat stupid) adventurers to gain practice. Now you seek to beat the Wizard's Tower."

 

Comment: This is a straightforward Hack'n'Slash foray. You can enhance the play a bit by making it your quest to find and kill Izurath. This Eamon is more sophisticated than Rob's earlier ones in that it has several LOOK-type secret passages to discover.

 

Difficulty of (4). Izurath is a bit more difficult to find than it might at first appear.

 

 

 

#180 Gamma 1†††††††††† by Robert Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: RADIATION COUNTER, READ

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: Sound effect when enemy dies

Playing Time: 30-45 min.

Reviewer Rating: 3.0†† Average Rating: 3.5/2

 

Description: Dr. Hoosenfire hires you to test his time machine. It will send you into a parallel dimension. You will be paid 1000 GP if you survive.

 

Comment: Apparently where you are sent is Earth after a nuclear war. You find lots of mutant zombies and a few refugees and friendly guards.

 

The entire adventure takes place in some kind of underground bunker, so you have your standard indoors dungeon-type map to check out. I found a couple of keys laying in corridors, and if they did anything they did it transparently.

 

Straight Hack'n'Slash fare, with no secret passages and no puzzles. Difficulty of (3).

 

 

#181 The Eamon Sewer System†††† by Rob Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: None

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: None

Playing Time: 10-15 min.

Reviewer Rating: 1.0

 

Description: "We need a volunteer to help clean out the sewer system. It's plugged again. The last 37 helpers never came back, with the exception of Slasher, who came back through a toilet pipe when someone plunged too hard. I have 2,000 GP for the volunteer.

 

"What the hell, adventuring is in your blood. You raise your hand to volunteer.

 

"Oh, by the way, you can't leave until your job is done. You are to clean out the sewer system of rats, bums, alligators, and oh yes, the sewage monster!"

 

Comment: To be precise, 16 rats, two alligators, two bums, and the aforementioned monster.

 

Thirty-six rooms. No doors. No hidden anything. Straight combat. But if you enjoy mapping, the place is a bit of a maze of similar passages and would be a minor challenge to map completely.

 

The monsters aren't tough. Difficulty of (2).

 

 

#182 Farmer Brown's Woods by Robert Parker

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 5

Extra Commands: None

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: None

Playing Time: 10-20 min.

Reviewer Rating: 1.0

 

Description: "Oooo-boy!!! You shouldn't had drinkin so muchh. Yer hed sure duz hurt. But thatz not the problim. The problim iz, your in farmer Brown's woods. And wee all no how much he hates trespassserss..."

 

Comment: Yep, that's the intro. You got drunk and woke up on private property. Now you mission is to wander around and kill everything you meet until you find a key to unlock the gate.

 

Well, you don't kill everything. You randomly make friends and enemies of sundry deer and squirrels, and it's pretty stupid to be in a battle where you have one enemy deer and two friendly deer and you have to kill them all to get the bad one because they all have the same name. However, you do get to kill about a dozen hands and a big truckload of dogs, not to mention the good Mr. Brown himself.

 

Wander around a huge compound where every room has a nearly identical description until you stumble on a key. Yawn. Difficulty of (1).

 

 

#207 Eamon Renegade Club by Phil Shulz

 

Reviewed by Tom Zuchowski

 

MAIN PGM Version: 7

Extra Commands: GROWL, PLAY

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: No DOS on disk

Playing Time: 1-2 hours

Reviewer Rating: 5.0

 

Description: "For many years, the world of Eamon had no trouble with renegades. But recently there have been quite a few people who decided to go out on their own. After a month or so, these rebels founded what is now known as the Eamon Renegade Club. Many of the rebels stayed with the ERC, and now it poses a major problem for all of us who don't need it around. So you have been commissioned to get rid of the ERC. There is a big chance for you to better your character's fighting skills, so be sure to take advantage of it."

 

Comment: Lots of combat, indeed. This is a pure Hack'n'Slash outing with heavy combat against multiple foes, and the companions you pick up aren't good for much more than absorbing some of the punishment for you. I was forced to cheat heavily to survive while using an "average" character, so you will want to bring your best weapons to even things up some. The difficulty of (8) stems entirely from the combat. The map, though large, is very simple in layout, and I saw no puzzles.

 

This game's largest flaw is in its text, which tends towards bad line breaks and uses very awkward-sounding phrasing. Nearly every monster's description reads as if the first sentence is missing, and most of the names start with THE. You'll want to be careful about using ATTACK THE in combat, or you might accidentally do in some of your companions, as I did. The artifact descriptions are seldom complete sentences, but merely embellish the name a bit.

 

The map felt rather contrived, and Phil was obviously straining to make a large map for his first Eamon. The last 15 or 20 rooms are bizarre and meaningless and not within the context of the theme of the play.

 


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