MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, UNLOCK, FREE, DRINK, OPEN, RELEASE, DIG Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Simple text animation in intro Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 4.5/6
Description: "You had arranged to meet in the town of Dunderhaven with your girlfriend, Larcenous Lil. When you arrived, you learned that she had come into town flat broke, and had tried to pick up some easy cash by burglarizing a nearby castle. She hasn't been seen since.
Making your own subtle entrance into the castle, all seemed to be going well until suddenly the lights go on and you see yourself surrounded by bowmen and a fat, ugly man on a throne. He sneers at you, and says, 'Well, boys, another thief. I guess we'll send the scoundrel to meet the first.' With that, he pulls a lever, and the bottom drops out of the floor."
Comment: And from there, your "quest" is to find Lil and get out alive. This Eamon can perhaps be described as an "advanced Beginners Cave". With about 90 rooms, it is fairly large. There are several neat little events and specials that aren't exactly world-class but do make it more interesting to play.
All in all, a pretty good second adventure for beginners. I put the difficulty at (5), for a couple of death traps and a pretty decent maze. The monsters are pushovers for an advanced character, but plenty tough for beginners.
One hint: you can't complete it unless you know your Eamon magic spells.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, UNLOCK, OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: UP, DOWN Special Features: None Playing Time: 15-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 3.2/7
Description: "As you prepare for your next adventure, you meet a little man outside the Hall. He beckons you to see what he is holding. As you get closer, you notice a grail with a strange, bubbling green liquid within. In a strange low voice he says: 'Most adventures are for normal adventurers. But you are special, and should try the most challenging adventure you could imagine.' With a sly wink, he hands you the grail. You look at the potion, then back to the man --- but he has disappeared.
Not being one weak on courage, you raise the grail to your lips and quaff the potion."
Comment: This is definitely a beginner-level Eamon. It has much of the flavor of the original Beginners Cave, with a little humor and simple map and such. It is pretty small, with 26 rooms.
Strictly for beginners and Hack'n'Slash fans. The difficulty will ring in at about (4) for beginners, and much lower for experienced characters with good weapons.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.7/7
Description: "A famous scientist (Prof. Axom) was kidnapped 3 months ago. The Society for the Preservation of Scientists (SFPOS) has offered a reward for the safe return of professor Axom (who is also a friend of yours).
"It has been rumored that the infamous Black Warrior (who lives somewhere along the Zyphur River) was responsible for the kidnapping. You must follow the river, find the professor, and bring him back...alive!"
Comment: This adventure is a very good example of an early Eamon. The large and somewhat complex map is well laid out, with competent room descriptions. It has a boat that is interesting and unusual (but be sure to remember to re-enter the boat each time you enter the river!)
Apart from the above, it's rather low in content by modern standards, with few monsters and artifacts. But it's a clean quest and a relaxing play. If you keep a careful map, you'll find the difficulty is certainly no more than (5).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, RELEASE, FREE, STUDY, EAT, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Unusual Save method Playing Time: 30-60 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.6/6
Description: "The Castle of Doom is run by two kindly old ladies who want to give valiant Adventurers a little bit of excitement.
You will be traveling in a round castle just chock-full of evil monsters and wonderful treasure. A special treat for you in this dungeon -- the owners will keep things as they are if you choose to return to the Main Hall to heal up for a while!"
Comment: This is yet another Eamon in the mold of the early ones: simply laid out, with minimal quest and no plot development. This is primarily a standard "kill'n'loot" scenario.
I enjoyed a couple of clever specials. A "save" is performed when you leave the adventure to return to the Main Hall by making a "snapshot" file of the dungeon's status. Then if the same character returns to the adventure, he will find it exactly as he left it. It works surprisingly well when considered in light of the intro text.
There is a vampire, and lots of vampire-related paraphernalia strewn about. Given all the stuff, I expected something special, but didn't really see anything.
This is a relaxing foray, suitable for young Eamonauts. I give it a (4) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: TAKE-OFF, EAT, DESTROY Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, SPEED, POWER Special Features: Ray-gun sound effects Playing Time: 1-2 hr. Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 4.0/8
Description: "As you left the Main Hall, you suddenly felt a queer wrench in your stomach, as if you had been turned inside-out, then right again. When things became clear again, you found yourself at the helm of a spaceship! You realize that you have gone through a reality shift!
"You are in a parallel universe. You must stay in this universe until you fulfill some quest. Although you have no access to your old gear, your body is the same. However, none of your old spells will work.
"By searching new 'memories', you find out your situation, which isn't good! You are aboard the Millennium Falcon, which has just been dragged into the Empire's evil machine of destruction, the Death Star! To escape, you will have to find and destroy the equipment in either the tractor beam machinery section, or the power machinery room."
Comment: Eight people have rated this Eamon, and the ratings are all over the map, ranging from (1) to (7)! It is possible that many of the low ratings came from people who played Brown's original version of the MAIN PGM, which was incredibly slow. The program speed was improved years ago, and it isn't so bad now.
There are two other important downsides to the play: the lack of a HEAL command makes survival very difficult, and there are at least four no-warning death traps. Another downside for me personally was that nearly every room contains one to ten "soldiers" who must be killed. The soldiers are cardboard cutouts who are lousy fighters and die with a single blow, and I found it rather tedious to have to clean them out with every move to a new room.
So why did I rate it this highly? Except for the endless procession of soldiers, it is a pretty decent simulation of the Death Star portion of Star Wars, and I made vigorous use of the cheating methods described in the December issue! I must state for the record that if I couldn't have cheated, I probably would have given it a rating of about (3).
Though the intro mentions a quest, there isn't one other than simple escape. However, you can make your own quest by making it a point to rescue Leia, Chewie, and the 'droids. Han Solo, Luke, and Obie-Wan are missing from the cast, so don't bother looking for them.
The difficulty can vary dramatically, but I think that a rating of (8) may be close to what most people will see during play.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: BET, OPEN, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Casino Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.9/8
Description: "As you started your next adventure, you accidentally stumbled upon an old book that described a very perplexing and challenging dungeon - - in Hades!!!
"As you read the book, you suddenly hear a booming voice from nowhere say, 'So, you think you are a noble adventurer? If you want a challenge, try my dungeon!'
"As the voice chuckles fiendishly, you realize that you are falling down a dark, narrow shaft. After you hit bottom, you see that you are in a dungeon cell."
Comment: This Eamon combines a small and simple map, lightweight combat, several "gotcha!" death traps, and some pretty tough puzzles. The puzzles are obscure enough that the existing difficulty rating of (9) is not unreasonable.
The only truly unique feature here is the casino, where you can bet a portion of your Hardiness, Agility, or Charisma on the spin of the wheel. If you want to build a cheater super-character "fairly," then here is a place to do it.
This early Eamon has no advanced features, and requires you to type in full commands and object names. However, the solving of the door puzzles requires that you use the object name "DOOR" rather than the door's full name. Another aspect which considerably ups the difficulty.
It wouldn't be like me to let the tough puzzles go by without a couple of clues. Both puzzles apply to closed doors, and you must remember to use DOOR as the object name when working with them. The hints: First, one of the standard commands (not POWER) can get you past that first cell door. Next, that bolted door in the room with the demons requires ALL of your strength, even that being used to carry your stuff (all of the open exits from that room are death traps.)
Finally, I found the TREZORE spells to be interesting, but harmful more often than not. Play with them at your own risk.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DRINK, LIGHT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Wandering guards Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 5.0/4
Description: "A friend of your is in trouble. After trying to retrieve some treasures in a nearby dungeon, your friend mysteriously disappeared.
"After careful research, you discover that the dungeon your friend went to is controlled by a mad adventurer known only as 'The Abductor'. You must find your friend before the Abductor gets nasty and heads start to roll."
Comment: Jim Jacobson was the best Eamon author on the scene before John Nelson hit his stride, and this Eamon is a good example of his work. This is largely a pretty simple dungeon, but the descriptions are good and there are several enhancements to the play. The new commands are well done, and several special events liven things up.
This is an explorer's dungeon. There isn't a lot of loot to scarf up, nor is there all that much combat. Most of the monsters have random chances of being friend or foe, so don't be too quick to start swinging. One special that doesn't work well is an every-turn 1-in-25 chance that your gold will be stolen by a bandit. If you are carrying more than 32,000-odd pieces of gold when he hits, the program will crash, but it can easily be started up again with good old POKE51,0:GOTO100.
I think that you will enjoy trying out the special stuff if you keep these hints in mind: first, the vial lies. Second, the magic swords do stuff when you say their names. Third, the bottle contains an explosive. Also, there are five unused rooms in the database, so don't wear yourself out trying to find any more once you have found 72.
I enjoyed the outing, and almost gave it a higher rating. The difficulty of (7) may be alleviated somewhat if you keep the above hints in mind.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DESTROY Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Wandering guards Playing Time: 20 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.8/4
Description: "You were walking away from the Main Hall when you felt that unpleasant wrench in your stomach again. You are in another universe. This time, you have your normal body and weapons. You just need to find your way back.
"You came upon a group of people who know of your plight. They are rebels, and can return you to your world. They will show you the way, if you will only first go with some of their men on a raid in the fortress of the dreaded Clone Master.
When they inform you that they will kill you if you don't go along, you agree. You must do two things--kill the Clone Master and destroy the device that keeps him in power--the Clonatorium!"
Comment: This is typical Don Brown fare: simple map, no puzzles, combat geared for Marcos' weapons, and a light, humorous air. The map itself couldn't be simpler; it is one long straight corridor with three sets of short side passages to either side. There is one secret passage.
The gimmick that shines in this Eamon is the "wandering monsters." Typically, Eamon authors jump monsters to random rooms, and if one happens to hit your location, you see him "enter" the room. But Don figured out how to actually move the monsters about from one room to the next. From the player's point of view, this looks no different from the "random jump" method, but it is elegantly done and deserves a look from any Eamon author who wants to do something similar.
Don did something with the monsters that may look cheap and lazy, but is actually a pretty good joke. There are only four basic characters here: guard, miner, harem girl, and servant. If memory serves, there are 5 miners, 3 harem girls, 7 servants, and 20 guards, and they all have names like GUARD18. If you remember that they are all clones of one another, then GUARD18 is a perfectly reasonable name!
I enjoyed the play. Two things knocked the rating down: low content, and a full screen of companions shooting the room descriptions off the top of the screen before I could read them.
This is basically a Hack'n'slash combat scenario with no mental effort required. Difficulty will run from perhaps (2) for a modern pumped-up character, to (6) for a character using Main Hall weapons. This Eamon is suitable for the young Eamonaut.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: EAT, DRINK, FREE, RELEASE, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-res Olde English text intro Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 3.0 Average Rating: 4.0/4
Description: "Recently a local evil sorcerer was spying on you through his crystal ball. He overheared you talking about him and, having a short temper like most evil sorcerers, he instantly sent you to the Magic Kingdom thinking you would never return."
Comment: I think that the above intro is a pretty good representation of the quality of the adventure. If spelling errors and bad grammar drives you nuts, you won't be happy with this one. But if they don't bother you all that much, this is a relaxing little dungeon.
The adventure is pretty simple. It does contain a quest, which is rescuing the daughter of a king who offers to send you home as a reward. But the way the map is laid out, you may have completed the quest before you ever find out about it!
The map is 40 rooms and very simple, with no hidden passages. The room descriptions aren't too clear when you're in a place where you can move up or down.
You can leave your bazookas behind on this one, as the monsters are few and not too powerful. You only get one worthwhile companion. I played it several times with an average character, using 2D8 weapons, and had no difficulty. There are two death traps, one easily avoided, the other just as easy if you are careful to EXAMINE things before doing anything with them.
While this is much too simple for my tastes, I found it to be a rather enjoyable play. the monsters are a very creative lot, including a "Semi-giant", an insane baseball player, and a beer-guzzling orc. I would have rated it higher if there had been as bit more to it. Still, it's worth checking out.
I give it a (2) for difficulty. I would say that this is a good pick for the Young Eamonaut.
One hint: a "princess" is a woman.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: HIT, OPEN, FREE Deleted Commands: None Special features: One sound effect Playing Time: 15 minutes Reviewer Rating: 1.0 Average Rating: 3.0/5
Description: "'Molinar was', the King told you, 'the last of the great Wizard-Kings. He ruled wisely for centuries, until he grew weary of this life. He prepared for himself a special chamber to sleep the endless rest in. However, he still loved the land he had ruled for so long, and built his tomb so that a worthy soul and valiant hero could call him forth again.
'The enemy has summoned forth a being of great power. If the being runs unchecked our kingdom is certainly doomed, possibly all on this globe as well. None of our people alive can stop this creature. Our only hope is to call upon our great past leader. You must find the tomb, enter it, and bring back our savior.'
So the King ordered you, and so you set out. After weeks of searching, you have found the tomb. The magical paper tells you that things are desperate. You can't go for help. You must enter the tomb alone. Good luck!"
Comment: The above is the complete introduction; I have no idea what "the magical paper" is. All the traits are here that are usually found in Donald Brown's adventures, including several death traps, a "Mimic", and cardboard cutout monsters with names like "SNAKE5", "BEAR3", etc.
Although you start out carrying a lamp, there are no dark rooms and it serves no function. The intro story makes it sound like the fate of everything rests upon your finding Molinar, yet you can simply leave at any time and still "Successfully ride off into the sunset." Finding Molinar is incredibly simple, just go straight south from the beginning. There is one secret passage and a super-enemy to get through. The super-enemy is impossibly difficult (to cut him down to size, break into the program by entering CTRL-C at the command prompt and type "RC=9 : POKE 51,0 GOTO 100").
About 85% of the map consists of boring N/S and E/W passages with nothing to see. There are two rooms with screwy connections and a dozen or so in which the descriptions are padded with spaces to look exactly like the names.
The thing that brought my rating down so low was one really annoying "feature". If you leave the tomb with a certain seemingly friendly monster, your entire CHARACTERS file is completely destroyed, under the pretense that the universe was destroyed by this monster's experiments.
Not enough combat for the hack'n'slasher and nothing of interest for the puzzler. I put the difficulty at (8) because of the death traps.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: LAMP, USE, READ, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Room light Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.2/5
Description: "You are about to face your most trying task. A powerful and evil wizard has captured a friend of yours. You cannot fight this wizard.
"But another wizard can. You must therefore set off to find Trezore, the powerful and great wizard whose spells have helped you before.
"However, Trezore does not like just anyone to barge in on him. He has set up a test to find out if adventurers like yourself are worthy of him.
"You will undertake many tasks, but this is probably the most difficult. Good luck to you."
Comment: And how many times have we heard that before? But it could have even been true if you had played this in the early days when there were only a dozen Eamons. Jim Jacobson specialized in difficult plays. During his brief stay in the Eamon world, he wrote two of the three most difficult Eamons of the period.
The difficulty here is on several fronts. The first is the combat. The foes aren't any tougher than you, but several are well armed and as well armored as you, so be sure to bring your best weapons. While using my standard "good" weapon, I was getting "bounced off armor" results from four out of five tries. Even after changing over to "Druinval", a 4D8 sword, I was still having to cheat heavily to survive. Zobar was so tough, killing me every third round while remaining nearly unscathed himself, that I finally resorted to upping his damage to lethal levels (MD%1,13)=MD%(1,1:POKE51,0:GOTO100) so he would die the next rare time that I marked him.
The second difficulty level is in the puzzling. There are a couple of tricks in the mapping and the special commands, and there is a secret word to decode. None of these are killers, but they are all well beyond beginner level.
Finally, much of the map is in darkness, and you will find a very limited amount of lamp oil to see you through. I wound up having to refill my lamp several times (the technical term is "cheat") to get through to the end. (If you start seeing "almost empty" warnings, you can refill the lamp by hitting control-C and typing this: LP=500:POKE51,0:GOTO100)
All this adds up to a difficulty rating of (8).
Given the time it was written, this is a pretty sophisticated play, foreshadowing many of the standard features found in later versions. Apart from the brutal combat, it is not the sort of dungeon that offers death at every turn. I saw no death traps, except for one that you deserve to die from if you pull such a dumb stunt.
The text is well written, and the map is coherent and reasonable. The bad guys are all in context. Had it been written a few years later when Eamon had become more sophisticated, it would likely have earned a notably higher rating.
Here are the inevitable hints: don't try to solve the bronze door until you have the secret word. You can't fulfill the Quest if you don't have the miner's pick. Sometimes the danger is less than it appears to the eye. The writing on the wall is a key feature of the Quest.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: YELL, OPEN, PLAY, RELEASE, DIG Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-res map in intro, musical instrument sounds Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 4.5/6
Description: "The Adventurer's Guild has elected you to rescue a captured Adventurer. Recently the Guild received a note in a bottle asking for assistance. The author explained that he had been taken captive on Treasure Island by pirates. Unfortunately, the exact location and name of the unlucky adventurer were destroyed by sea water. However, in the bottle was a map.
A word of caution! Legends tell of hidden caverns with one-way passages and tunnels under the surface of the island. Also the water around is infested with man-eating sharks. A ship will drop you off on the island but it has other duties. Another is scheduled to land on the south beach soon after you are dropped off.
Comment: The intro has a fairly nice hi-res map, too, that is hardly essential to the play, but is a nice touch just the same.
This Eamon has a lot of nice touches. There is some stuff with some magical musical instruments, and when you play them, you hear "music" through the speaker. There are some interesting specials with some of the other commands, too.
However, the intro isn't kidding about the one-way stuff. Unless you are simply lucky, it will take you several attempts to complete the quest, because some one-way passages prevent you from returning to explore other passages. If you don't do them in the right order, then you won't have the stuff you need to complete the quest. There are no clues as to which is the correct sequence. You must simply guess. There are quite a number of death traps, too. Even so, the difficulty isn't much worse than a (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Rising water Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.2/4
Description: While drinking in a tavern, you are drugged and shanghaied. You awaken in a dark room awash in ankle-deep water.
Comment: This is a competently done Eamon. I did not feel like it was hopelessly out of date by modern Eamon standards. It does some original things with light and with a running timed death-trap involving rising water. It turns out that you awaken on a ship that has foundered on a rocky shore and is sinking!
I am downgrading the difficulty from the original (9) rating to a (7). However, be warned that you may have to play it several times before you win through to the end. This is partly because of the relentless rising water in the early going, and also because there are several death traps without obvious clues. But the going is not onerous and there are no stoppers along the way.
This may be a frustrating play for those who like to explore methodically, because there are a couple of one-way passages which force you onto the next segment of the map whether you are ready to move on or not. But if you like your Eamons to play a little differently every time, then you may get several good plays from this one before it starts to get old for you.
One hint: remember your spells.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: USE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.3/3
Description: "You come upon a beautiful maiden crying. Her lover has disappeared, supposedly abducted. After reassuring her that you would investigate his disappearance, you find the castle where he is being held."
Comment: This is a very standard "kill'n'loot" scenario with very little to make it stand out. Most of the bad guys are named GUARD#. There are quite a few specials, but you don't need any of them to complete the quest and will probably miss most of them.
The map contains 80 rooms, though the content is rather haphazard. John was obviously writing for fun. This Eamon has very much the same flavor of the original "Beginners Cave". I give it a rating of (4) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, DRINK, READ, THROW Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 8.0 Average Rating: 7.4/5
Description: 'You are summoned to the king, who says: The evil Mondamen, an evil deposed king from the South, has been amassing an army with which to attack our kingdom. This would be bad enough, but now he has acquired the services of an evil wizard.
'The wizard is going to attempt to call forth the evil Vaprak. If he succeeds his forces will be almost unstoppable. Vaprak is an evil demigod worshipped by ogres and trolls. By getting his help, Mondamen will have all the trolls and ogres in the land on his side.
'But Mondamen is leaving nothing to chance. To be doubly sure of his success, the evil lord has captured the only daughter of king Kahn of Nexdor, a neighboring kingdom. Mondamen is blackmailing Kahn into financing and aiding him.
'We need a brave warrior to enter his stronghold, kill the evil wizard before he can call up the demon Vaprak, and to bring back the daughter of Kahn. Also, if the evil wizard succeeds in calling forth his demon, you will have to find a magic spell that will return the demon to his own plane.'
Comment: This is typical Nelson fare, which is to say, pretty good. It has the feel and flavor of a hack'n'slash foray, yet there are definite puzzling elements that add an extra dimension to the play. The puzzles aren't deep and are mainly solved by finding the clues that are strewn about on scraps of paper, etc.
John has added a few of his trademark humorous touches that makes his work more fun to play. When I stumbled onto Mondamen's army, I quickly hunted for a magical way to escape; when I found it, I about fell off my chair with laughter.
It says a lot that this adventure is so highly rated even though it is very old and has none of the refinements of later versions. You must type in complete commands and objects. Screen pauses are almost nonexistent.
The difficulty rings in at about (8); many of the bad guys are pretty tough, and though the clues are easily put together, some are hidden by obscure secret doors. And if you find a need for a puzzle solution before you have stumbled across the clues, you are dead meat. Yet it's a relaxing play and I had fun. Just be sure to save early and often, and you'll enjoy it more.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing time: 60-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.5 Average Rating: 4.8
Description: While on your way to visit Elfland, the humanoid amusement park, you are waylaid by Elves who demand that you retrieve the Singing Sword. Then they pinch your neck and throw you into Merlin's Castle.
Comment: This adventure uses the classic formula: kill everything but your friends, grab everything but your enemies, and don't even bother using EXAMINE. Monsters are illogically (though humorously) scattered throughout Merlin's Castle. When you finally escape after having killed Merlin (with the aid of your map--this place you will definitely need to map), be sure to kill those pesky Elves, just as you would any other enemy.
I would not recommend this adventure to those who are fond of puzzles, who have short attention spans, or who think combat is just a boring display of chance. However, if you like reading cadaver descriptions and piling up lists of friends so long that you have to hit control-S just to read the room description, this one's for you. I give it a difficulty rating of 7.5.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, SAY, CLOSE, OPEN, KISS Deleted Commands: READ Special Features: advice and artifacts offered by monsters Playing Time: 15 minutes to 2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5 Average Rating: 4.5/2
Description: You are hired to rescue Rowena by her father, a king. He gives you some advice on how to get help and on what you can take. She is being held prisoner by Prince Hogarth in his castle. Once you head for the castle you, find yourself in Hogarth Town. In town you can enter various shops and encounter townfolk, who may be friendly or not and helpful or not. Exploring the town you will find the castle and the way back to the Guild Hall. You can leave anytime you want without penalty. Once you enter the Castle, you will want to find Rowena and get out to collect the reward.
Comment: Pay close attention to the advice that the king gives you. If you follow this advice, both as to what is said and what is not said but logically follows, you will get lots of help and aid from the villagers. If you ignore the unsaid implications, all hands will be turned against you. HOWDY is the code word the king gives you. SAY HOWDY to everyone, no matter how unlikely they look to provide help, or you will not succeed in freeing Rowena. Even if they are unfriendly, they will give you the advice and artifacts they have for you before attacking.
If you explore the town thoroughly before entering the castle, read between the lines in the advice given by the king and the villagers and use your head to think through your mission, you can get into the castle, find Rowena, get some backup warriors, free Rowena and get out pretty quick and easily. It took me about fifteen minutes to do so. Then I went back to the adventure with another character and explored the rest of the castle. If you don't figure out the easy way, make a wrong turn once you are in the castle or just decide to check the whole place out, you can take about two hours to finish this one.
There are a few fairly nasty monsters about, as well as lots of loot. So, you can aim for accomplishing the mission quickly or have a hack and slash adventure where you can get filthy rich. Overall the monsters are of average hardiness. Some are tough. Some are pushovers. Most are in between. None are super tough. However, if you don't do the right thing around a couple of them, you're dead, no matter how tough the adventurer. If you think about the things helpful villagers give you and follow the king's advice, you won't have this problem. Otherwise..... Except for these spots, there was no situation that my adventurers could not handle. However, I might add both were well experienced and carried heavy duty weapons but I think an average character with average weapons would do fine.
Don't waste any effort using EXAMINE or LOOK. They just reprint the room description.
Although there are some secret passages and other hidden objects, you can find them by hints in the descriptions and using the action commands.
There are numerous locked doors that you can't open without first finding the keys. Once you have opened the doors, any friendly monsters that are with you will not enter. They will wait by the door until you come back. Any friendlies you find beyond the door will come out with you.
Weapons seem to get broken and dropped with great frequency but there are loads of others around, either dropped by dead monsters or just sitting there to begin with. Neither of my characters left with the weapon they readied at the start. If you have friendlies with you that aren't helping out, GIVE them weapons. Some are unarmed but pack quite a punch once you arm them.
HINT: The most valuable treasure is located in a place that looks like a 'gotcha' death trap. It's not a 'gotcha' but the toughest monster in the place lives there. If you go after it, you're on your own. No other monster will enter there. If you figure out the clues and decide to go for the easy rescue, this is a pretty straight forward adventure. However, if you decide to search for glory and wealth, be sure to map the place. It is large and the room connections are often convoluted. There are a few nice effects scattered about the castle. Greedy adventurers, who don't follow the between the lines advice that the king gives, will be in for some nasty shocks, both during the adventure and when they head back to the Hall. Overall, I'd give it a 5 for difficulty. If you make the easy rescue, you will find it only a 3 or 4 for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: THROW, READ, OPEN, DIG, (WEAR), (REMOVE) Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-direction map Playing Time: 1-3 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.5/4
Description: "You have chosen to take up a bet proposed by one of your enemies. He bet you 20,000 gold pieces that you would not be able to survive a cave known to the mountain people as 'Death Trap'.
"Your bravery exceeds your wisdom. Death Trap is the deadliest cave ever found. There are dragons, giants, wizards and demons in the cave. You have no chance of beating them by brute force. You must use your wits if you are to survive. Of course, you must also be a supreme warrior."
Comment: This is one of the hardest Eamons in the list. It is also very well done. There are quite a few items that you must master that are not at all well documented in the play. Not least among these is a couple of commands not listed in the "Huh?" command list. There are bad guys that can only be killed by specific weapons. I never did figure out a way to defeat Baalzebul, the worst foe of the lot, but had to resort to fleeing from him repeatedly until I got past him.
This is a straight "Kill&Loot" scenario, and the only Quest is to escape alive from the sealed cave. The difficulty is a well-deserved (9). There are three different ways to escape that vary from quite easy (say POWER) to quite difficult (find the right spot and DIG your way out.)
This is definitely a superior Eamon and well worth a play. But unless you enjoy cracking the really hard ones on your own, I recommend that you tackle this one while using the Walk-Through printed in the March '98 EAG.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, UNLOCK, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.5/2
Description: "You have watched your friends get sick and shake with the fever, some dying while you were helpless to help. It seems like there is nothing you can do, but you feel that you must try. So you journey to the royal palace to seek the aid of the king.
"The king summons you to his chamber. He has received a ransom note of sorts. The note is from an infamous mad doctor. The doctor has found a cure for the plague that now enshrouds the land. The cure of course will be expensive. The doctor wants one billion gold pieces for the cure. If he does not get it, he will allow the entire kingdom to die.
"The king says there is no way he can raise that much gold. The kingdom has less than half a million. The king is willing to pay a fair price for the serum, but could never pay that much! You decide you must seek the serum, in spite of the fact that you have heard that the mad doctor's castle is very well defended."
Comment: Like all of John's Eamons, this one makes full use of the standard Eamon commands and features, and the extra stuff works in very much the same manner. The puzzles are mostly of the "locked door" variety, easily solved once you find the needed key or note.
Just about everyone you encounter is a bad guy, though you will pick up a couple of companions. The combat is pretty routine Eamon stuff as you run into a gaggle of guards and other ordinary foes. There are a few bad things such as various poisonings that can happen that will eventually kill you if you don't find the remedy in time.
The difficulty factor is abut (6), I guess. It can be quite a lot easier if you happen to avoid the poisons, or find the remedies in time. I had no trouble finding the puzzle solutions. This may be a good choice for younger Eamonauts.
I enjoyed the adventure quite a bit. Though I downrated it slightly for simplicity, this is a pleasant foray into a relatively easy dungeon.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, FREE, BIND, GAG, DRINK, USE, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.0/3
Description: "A very good friend of yours recently became violently ill. She ranted and raved like a person possessed. As a matter of fact, that was the exact diagnosis that the head of the church and the local doctor arrived at. They said that there was nothing they could do. But you finally managed to find a wise old Sage that told you of a powerful holy man that specialized in demonic possession.
"The man's name is Marron and he lives somewhere on Mount Sunis in the caves. They say he has lost his marbles and now lives in recluse with his strange friends. You do not know whether you can get Marron to come into the village to help Katharyn, your friend, so you decide to take Katharyn up to the holy man, instead.
"Katharyn is much too violent to take along so you must bind her and carry her. So, you chain her and wrap her in a canvas bag and head off for the caves of Mount Sunis"
Comment: This Eamon has the usual number of nifty features that are typical of Nelson's work. Katharyn is not pleasant company, even bound and wrapped in the bag. She offers more commentary on your progress and ancestry than you are likely to have asked for. <grin>
The gimmick here is to find all the little hidden bits that are needed for the exorcism. John has hidden them in various ways that were quite clever for their day. If you put all the pieces together, this isn't a particularly difficult Quest. But miss a piece, and you may find yourself possessed by the demon, which is definitely a no-good way to end the adventure!
Though the puzzling element is strong, it's not complex by modern standards. The combat is hot and heavy, making this Eamon a good one for the hack'n'slash crowd as well.
Here are some things to watch for while playing: even though it plays much like a more advanced version, you must keep in mind that it uses a very early version of the Eamon MAIN PGM, with some twists. EXAMINE is not exactly the same command as LOOK. The adventure usually accepts truncated commands, but some clue triggers are looking for full commands and won't reveal the clue for truncated commands; EXAMINE DRESSER may reveal a clue that EXA DRESS will not. The USE and OPEN commands are uneven in spots also.
This adventure gets an (8) difficulty rating because of these uneven spots. But if you bear the above pointers in mind, you should find the going to be rather easier.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, UNLOCK, DRINK, EAT Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 4.9/6
Description: "The Senator has been in politics for along time, and has thereby amassed a small fortune. His chambers are quite well guarded, though he does not really believe anyone would ever invade his stronghold.
"Rumor has it that the senator has kidnapped a number of his political rivals (of which there were once many; now there are few). It is now thought that the person most likely to still be in the senator's foul clutches is the good Sir Charles of Aknor, former counselor to the king.
"You stand before the senator's house, a lonely edifice far from other buildings or people. It is almost midnight, and the house is still, though a few lights burn. It is time to begin."
Comment: This is a short and simple foray. The map is that of a large house. There is very little in the way of special stuff to see or do. There are about 15 guards named GUARD #.
Still, I found it to be a solidly-crafted member of the "hack'n'slash" genre and a pleasant play. I give it a (3) for difficulty.
Note the FLASH bug-fix in this issue. Any time you see garbage MouseText while playing Eamon, this is usually the cause.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: OPEN, READ, UNLOCK Deleted Commands: None, no SAVE Special Features: Wandering monsters Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 7.2/4
Description: "There is an old ruin of a small citadel on a cliff overlooking a rarely used pass. The road through the pass has become increasingly hazardous in recent years. Now, only rash and desperate travellers -- or those travelling in very large parties -dare to use it. Those who have survived the crossing tell dark tales of fearsome beasts and strange happenings; in all these tales the citadel is the eye of the storm.
It is rumored that the evil priests of Ngurct have occupied the citadel. Their foul creed worships the black demon of the same name. Ngurct is the patron demon of exotic monsters -- and he requires the regular sacrifice of human unbelievers.
You have been hired by your king to eradicate this scourge, and make the pass safe for travel and commerce once again. The power of Ngurct is locked into a gold medallion. If you return the medallion to the king, the power of Ngurct will be broken. For your efforts, you will be paid 5,000 GP upon the return of the medallion.
Comment: The Plamondons did a really good job with this adventure, given the early state of the Eamon gaming system at the time they wrote it. The game has all the unrefined characteristics that you would expect from a number this low, such as requiring full words in commands and having no screen pausing at all. But screen pausing, at least, is handled nicely by pacing text speed at different rates for different events.
Some interesting things have been done with the POWER command. There are several interesting side-tracks in the dungeon that are not required for a successful quest. In fact, there is evidence that they originally had a much more complex quest in mind but scaled it back for unknown reasons. You will attain a fully successful quest if you do nothing more than recover the medallion. Anything else you do is for your own interest in fully exploring the dungeon. Warning: best to bring your tactical nukes if you plan to awaken Ngurct himself!
This one is a bit tough to grade for difficulty. It depends a lot on what companions you gather along the way and whether you manage to avoid causing inadvertent trouble for yourself. The average difficulty might be (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: USE, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-directions Playing Time: 1-4 hr. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 7.0/4
Description: The dastardly Black Bark has escaped and has rejoined his henchmen at his hideout. They have been up to no good, and you have been selected to enter their lair and fulfill the mission that you have selected.
Comment: This adventure is rather unique in that it offers the player a half-dozen different missions to fulfill. The dungeon appears to set up a bit differently each time it is played. In theory you could play this several times and play a "different game" each time.
The plot and play is pretty good, and I enjoyed those aspects for the most part. It falls down on a couple of points. Rather than using the standard secret passages that are found with the LOOK command, it simply doesn't list those exits in the room name or description. This means that the player must try all twelve directions in all 88 rooms in order to be sure that he didn't miss anything. Second, I found several of the puzzles to be so obscure that I couldn't solve them. I wasn't able to complete my quest (return Black Bark) because I couldn't find him. I discovered the hard way that the Taser only works one time and then is useless. There are a number of blocked passages that I could not discover how to unblock (this was moot, because I also discovered that you could walk right through the barriers as if they weren't there). I could find no way to escape from the trap doors. There's at least one death trap that will nail you if you don't happen to be carrying something found in the dungeon.
If all this wasn't enough, the icing on the cake was that there were several really tough opponents who quickly killed all of my companions, and I could only defeat them by cheating. When you play this one, bring your tactical nukes-- you'll need them! Perhaps John intends for the player to FLEE here and there until he gets around them; it would be possible to do that but could take hours of mindless fleeing until the insidious RNG gives you the results you desire.
To be sure, this was a landmark adventure for its day with many advanced features and some interesting special effects. But by today's standards, its intolerant puzzles cause it to pale considerably. I give it an (8) for difficulty, but it almost deserves a (9).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: PRESS, READ, OPEN Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.8/4
Description: "You are about to investigate a rumor about a powerful new weapon that had been built by a local mad scientist. A technician in his employ tells you that the scientist and a colleague plan to blow up the entire kingdom. When everything is settled, they will come out and take over.
"It all sounds pretty fishy to you, but the man does use long words and sounds very sincere. He offers to go with you and help."
Comment: There is more to the intro, but that is the gist of it. While it doesn't really give you a Quest to fulfill, it's always more fun to have one. There is no end-of-game programming to tell you how you did, so I will tell you that you can consider it a successful mission if you kill both scientists and also melt the bomb down to slag.
For such a large Eamon, there is surprisingly little content. You wander mostly empty halls and run into an occasional guard for the most part. A couple of locked gates and a couple of combination locks make up the bulk of the puzzling. This can be a somewhat frustrating play, but I found no death traps or similar gotchas.
This Eamon does some things with hidden artifacts that are fairly unusual. Here are two hints that will make the game less difficult for you: first, dead people have pockets. Second, button colors do matter.
The difficulty of (7) may be eased by the above hints.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: PUSH, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 6.0/3
Description: "You decided to investigate some strange rumblings in the Marewood Forest. You found some tracks and started following them, and soon found yourself lost. Just as you were about to give up hope, you felt a hand grab you around the ankle and pull you into a pit. You were caught by surprise and had no chance to fight back. You lost consciousness when you got below ground level."
Comment: This is one of the many "just for fun" Eamons that John is rightly famous for. To give you an idea of the seriousness of this dungeon, the companions you acquire are none other than the Fantastic Four!
You'll find no quest other than simple escape. There isn't too much to figure out, apart from finding and pushing a bunch of buttons. The monsters are fairly mundane and usually not very interesting. There is one no-warning death trap in the form of a 1,000-man army.
Because of the army, and a couple of the button puzzles are a bit obscure, this otherwise easy romp gets a (7) for difficulty. One hint: a console is likely to have buttons on it.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: READ, OPEN, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 Hours Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.0/4
Description: "You learn about a mysterious disappearance. Not your typical everyday disappearance, but a disappearance on a grand scale. An entire village has disappeared! Where the village once stood there is a gaping hole in the ground.
You suspect only the villainous Mole Man could have perpetrated such a thing, but you do not know how to reach the villain so you go about it the only way you can.
You set off for the Marewood Forest to find the same quicksand that you found once before (by accident, actually). Well, you've succeeded in locating the same spot as before and you were dragged into the bog."
Comment: This sequel to Eamon #26 is perhaps a bit more serious, but not a lot, with companions who are named Eddie, Neddie, and Freddie!
This time there is a quest, sort of: to rescue the village, though this is not specifically outlined anywhere. With the exception of one device that you have to figure out how to use, this is pretty much a straight hack'n'slash outing. There is another dumb army to defeat, and this time you do have to do something with it, since the room is significant.
Between the army and the device, this otherwise simple foray gets bumped up to a difficulty rating of (7). Be sure to remember to use full names when checking stuff out!
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: BUY, READ, DIG, OPEN, UNLOCK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 5.5/3
Description: "Past and Present often meet in the old historic streets of London. However, people still stare at you strangely. You clank as you walk and the weapons you carry are centuries out of date!
"Because you've heard rumours of an impending attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London, you decide to go there...
"To prevent the theft? "Or to steal them for yourself!!"
Comment: This is decidedly what you would call an "educational" Eamon. It is a tour of the Tower of London. And I do mean "tour". I had the strong feeling that it closely paralleled an actual trip that the Smiths had taken.
It's well written, with lots of detail. I found it easy to visualize the things they described. So why the poor rating? First, it is loaded with other tourists and ghosts who decide to tag along with you. By the time you've explored 50 rooms, you literally have a screenful of companions. This being a very old Eamon with no screen pauses, it was a pain to catch the room descriptions before they scrolled off the top.
Second, it is aimless. There was no plot to steal jewels that I saw anywhere. Nobody cared who I attacked or what I took. The READ and DIG commands don't do anything at all.
Still, it was a pretty good play, and I must point out that the other people who rated it gave it a (6) or better. I just wasn't very entertained. I give it (3) for difficulty.
Be sure to check the Bug Fixes in this issue for an important playability enhancer for this game!
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: OPEN, SWALLOW Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Hi-Res navigation, food Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "You are trapped on an island. There is a wizard here who can teleport you home, but your gold and weapons cannot go with you. There is a castle to the north that supposedly has a passage home, but there are obstacles.
"As you explore the island, notice the large harbor to the east, and the mountains to the north-west. Beware of monsters and evil men, but know that there are also men good and true.
"A final word of warning--be sure that you are kept well supplied with food. Every day, you and your friends must eat three meals or they will slowly starve."
Comment: This Adventure is totally unique in the world of Eamon. It combines a high-res "overhead view" interface with four small standard Eamon-type dungeons. The hi-res interface was fairly common in the early days of the Apple II; one commercial game that used something very similar was the commercial game "Odyssey".
Make no mistake; this is not a great Eamon, and Bob Davis had good reason to give it a (2) rating when it was originally reviewed. But I like unusual Eamons and Eamons that push the envelope, and this is definitely one such. Thus I gave it a higher rating than it would otherwise deserve, because it truly is a unique Eamon gaming experience.
There are two major flaws. One is content so low that it is rather tedious to play, and becomes quite boring after a while. The other is that there is no way to exit with your weapons and gold except through use of the POWER spell, and that method will result in your death by drowning in 9 out of 10 tries. I am guessing that Don was working on this Eamon when he decided to go commercial, and that it was never fully completed as a result. Another indicator that it is unfinished is a cryptic hint from a wandering hermit that makes no sense to me and that I never found a use for, even after perusing the programs.
Here are the usual hints: you and each of your companions consume one unit of food for each turn taken in the hi-res mode. There are four entrances to be found on the hi-res map: the temple, the castle, and two unmarked ones. The only way to find the two unmarked entrances is by walking across every single point on the map until you stumble into them. This consumes a LOT of food, and thus I suggest that you start out with 3000 units of food. It really doesn't matter if you spend all of your money, because you don't want to return to the Main Hall from this game, unless you are happy to lose your weapons and gold!
Difficulty is hard to define. There is only a 1-in-10 shot at getting back to the Main Hall with your weapons and gold, so it earns and retains its (9) rating, even though actual play is simple and rates no more than a (3).
MAIN PGM Version: 4.0 Extra Commands: INSERT, PUSH, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "A short, chubby man approaches you. In a heavy French accent, he says, I hear zat you are looking for ze adventure. I have juz ze zing for you. Zer ez a crack in ze earth many miles from here. Zer ez zed to be much treasure zer, but alzo much danger."
Comment: This was a nicely conceived adventure that fell down somewhat on execution. It consists of aimless wandering about an abandoned underground city in search of an exit.
The setting has a strong SF orientation, with androids and such wandering about. Many of the room descriptions are clever and engaging, but the city has been abandoned and has a large number of empty and uninteresting rooms to wade through as well.
In short, this is a typical "Kill'n'Loot' example of an early-era Eamon. I found the map interesting to explore, but little else rose above the mundane.
Though the intro warns that it is for powerful players only, the combat was pretty easy going. I give it a (7) for difficulty, for a large maze that must be negotiated to escape.
MAIN PGM Version: 5.0 Extra Commands: READ, PRESS Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.0/2
Description: "You had heard of a new and strange place that sounded intriguing. There are rumors that some kind of god lived there as well as other very powerful creatures.
"It was said that one had gone in and returned with twice his former strength and agility.
"After searching a week you finally stumble upon a place that matches the descriptions. The air seems charged with magic here."
Comment: This Eamon is basically a "Monty Haul" outing for character stats. If you are already using a very powerful character, then the specials here might actually diminish your stats, but if you are using a newbie character with low numbers, then this is a way to pump things up quickly.
It is a classic John Nelson Eamon, with umpteen signs to read and other specials that are fun to get involved with. Though the map is small, there are a lot of things to discover here, and your playing time could easily exceed my estimate if you get wrapped up in finding and solving every little thing.
The difficulty is a bit hard to judge, depending on the character you use and how many of the specials you discover, but a (6) is close.
Two hints for this one: what goes around comes around, and the bird can be given directions.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: Yes (see below) Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20 min. Reviewer Rating: 2.0 Average Rating: 1.7/3
Description: This Eamon is very gross and probably pornographic by most people's standards. It has no redeeming value, no quest, and not much to do except "interact" with the House's prostitutes.
I don't know where it came from originally, but it's obviously been around a long time. One bit of strangeness is that it has a HELP command for chatting with a Sysop, suggesting that it was originally designed to be played on a BBS.
Comment: My traditional stance has been to sort of ignore that this Eamon and #196 exist, but I recently realized that I should let everyone know what this Eamon is all about so that they would not be rudely surprised by it. So here it is: if you are offended by gross sexual content, stay away from this Eamon!
Parents, you'll want to play this Eamon yourself before you let your children see it.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: WEAR, READ Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Effects of cold Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0 Average Rating: 6.2/4
Description: "A warlock needs assistance in obtaining a magical orb of great power and consequence. The orb must not fall into the wrong hands, or it could mean great disaster. The warlock says that he cannot go after the orb himself because mystical defenses of unknown nature have been set up to guard the orb from him. He must thus send some brave adventurer in his stead.
"'Find the orb and return it to me, and I will give you the greatest reward you'll ever imagine.'"
Comment: This Eamon takes place in a very cold cavern. In fact, it is so cold that your first order of business is to find something warm to wear before you literally freeze to death. John does some clever things with the cold that you will probably find novel. For example, you might slip on the ice as you take a swing with your weapon in combat!
There are several mildly amusing bits of the sort often found in early Eamons. Your companions are chosen as much for laughs as for their fighting ability. The tone here is an incongruous mix of deadly seriousness and silliness.
The other downer is that things are not what they seem, and the adventure will not turn out well for you if you don't twig to it. The clues to put you on the right track are there, but poorly founded and therefore easy to ignore. I came very close to giving it a (5) rating for this, but in the end the good stuff won the higher number.
Luck weighs heavily on the difficulty, but (7) seems about right. You may need to play more than once if you don't get the stuff and info that you need before you need it. Here are your hints: you need a special weapon found somewhere in the cavern, and you need your spell abilities. Finally, I want you to know that there is a way to resurrect Frosty if he should melt on you.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: USE, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 6.5
Description: The local blacksmith has disappeared. You search his shop for clues and find an obscure reference to some gates, and a map. After following the map, you come upon a destroyed castle. Searching the ruins, you discover the blacksmith's body, and a spiral staircase that leads down into the ground.
Just then you see a fellow adventurer who you know fleeing from the ruins. He has been stripped of all his possessions, and does not stop to talk.
You descend the stair...
Comment: This is in many ways a mundane version 4 adventure. You must type the full command and the full name, and passages are not well marked at all. On the other hand, there are a lot of interesting effects and puzzles that are often pretty funny. There are two or three no-warning 'Gotcha!' death traps, so it would be a good idea for you to save the game fairly often.
The basic 'quest' of this adventure is simply to escape, as you will find yourself trapped once you enter the dungeon. The theme of the adventure is to win your way past a number of gates, each of which requires its own solution (only one gate requires a key).
This is a puzzler's adventure. While there is quite a bit of combat, the opponents aren't that tough and can be handled easily enough. I give it a difficulty rating of (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DESTROY, WORSHIP Deleted Commands: none, no Save Special Features: Magical Amulet Playing Time: 60-90 min. Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: Five mutant brothers have created a huge underground lair in which they are preparing an enormous mutant army. A wizard hires you to go in and kill the brothers and destroy their equipment. You are his last hope; many others have disappeared in the lair before you. His only help for you is in the form of a magic amulet that you may use in times of need. If you make it out alive, you will be heartily rewarded for your accomplishments.
Comment: This adventure is quite long and tough, with few friends and much combat. Only a highly advanced warrior will live through it; FRESH SAM will work fine. I give it a 9 for difficulty.
Although the combat is grueling, it is gratifying to see the mutant brothers' empire collapse slowly as the result of your actions. The mutant brothers are skillfully painted in a hideously evil light; overall, The Lair of Mutants gives the appearance of a high-quality adventure, while still supplying bouts of tough, exciting combat.
I would recommend this to a warmonger with a free evening, because it has no save command. But don't be scared away from it, as it is one of the better adventures written with the old version 4 DDD.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: DRINK, OPEN, SAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 6.0/4
Description: "You heard interesting stories and rumors of the Citadel of Blood-- tales of giant creatures and armored beings that patrolled the castle, and of fabulous wealth. You were especially interested to learn of the 'Serpent Eyes' rubies, a solid platinum sundial, and the Lost Stone of Seeking--all said to be in the Citadel.
You have also heard tales of the great sword wielded long ago by the king who dwelt in the Citadel, and you wonder... You gather up your courage and decide to find out just how much of the stories you heard were true...especially the tales about wealth beyond belief!"
Comment: Here we have a basic "Kill'n'Loot" scenario with no quest and really no puzzles. You can make your own quest by seeking out the items named in the introduction. It would be classed as a Fantasy Eamon but for a gaggle of Sentry Robots that were apparently lifted from Epyx's "Rescue at Rigel" game.
This is a nicely done example of an early Eamon. It has a well-done gimmick that preserves the state of the dungeon if you return to the Main Hall, but this feature was largely nulled by the later addition of the usual Eamon SAVE command.
It is a bit aggravating to have to type full names, but the map and the descriptions are competently done, and the play has many special events that help keep the interest up.
Among those specials are some apparently random trap doors that complicate mapping by dumping you out of where you were exploring into pits in the dungeon, but not unfairly nor dangerously. But the added mapping complication, plus some pretty tough bad guys, gives this Eamon a (7) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: TAKE-OFF, DESTROY, KISS, SHIELD, INVOKE, MEDICATE Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, WAVE, SAY, no Save Special Features: ray-gun and light saber sound effects during battle, several good effects Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.5 Average Rating: 6.8
Description: EPISODE V- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK After destroying the Death Star, Han Solo and a group of key rebel personnel have come to the city in the clouds seeking refuge and repairs for the Millenium Falcon. But the Empire had been awaiting them and they have walked into a deadly trap...
You, while leaving the Main Hall, have been caught in an inversion of reality and now you are a fledgling Jedi Knight. Your weapons are gone but now you have a light saber. Your spells don't work, but you are able to invoke the force, a powerful ally in battle.
While flying there, a vision showed that the Falcon has been disabled, and in any event Imperial patrols would destroy the ship, which is being held fast by tractor beams. And you see that, unless Princess Leia is rescued, the rebellion will collapse. So you have come to meet your destiny in the city. All you know is that somewhere in it is your way back home...
Comment: This is a good adaptation of 'The Empire Strikes Back'. Besides the 'City' segment, a lot was borrowed from the first 'Battle Star' segment from 'Star Wars'. It was skillfully blended into a quest with a half-dozen pieces that must all be successfully completed to escape alive.
The sound effects add a lot of fun to the battles. The encounter with Darth Vader is full of special stuff and is pretty exciting. The only serious drawback to the adventure is the lack of a Save. Vader is no lightweight and this encounter is very difficult to survive. (See Bugs'n'Fixes, this issue.) If you like SF Eamon, you will definitely enjoy this one. Hack'n'Slashers will love the fighting. The only puzzling is figuring out when and how to use the new commands. I give it a difficulty rating of (7).
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: UNLOCK, OPEN, USE, ASSEMBLE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 6.0
Description: You are approached by Professor Larkspur, a physicist who is in need of the services of a free adventurer. He tells you that the plans to his Interdimensional Translocator were stolen a few months back. Just this morning, the Eamon Museum of Natural History disappeared! The professor's assistant, Yrn Zandro, is also gone.
The Professor believes that Zandro had stolen the plans, built his own translocator, and warped the Museum into another dimension for evil purposes. He wants you to travel to this dimension and recover the Museum for a fee of 5,000 GP. He warns you that this other dimension may have other natural laws, which would have unpredictable effects on the contents of the Museum.
Comment: The map of this adventure is well-organized and well thought out. Basically, the objective is explore a museum until you find and destroy Zandro's translocator. Where the adventure falls down is that text descriptions of the insides of museums are not necessarily all that fascinating to read. However, the monsters were generally interesting enough.
This is basically a hack'n'slash offering with a couple of puzzles thrown in. One of them is extremely obscure, so I will give a hint here: you will need a bomb, and you ignite the bomb by saying a certain word that has to do with fire. Knowing this much, the clues that you discover should carry you through.
If not for this one puzzle it would have a difficulty rating of (4), but I give the adventure an overall difficulty rating of (7).
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: a few that duplicate normal cmds Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.7/3
Description: "You are on your way home after a strenuous day at the Main Hall. You pass by a park and see some children playing in a sand pile. You step closer and see that tiny buildings are connected by roads of dried mud and sticks serve as vegetation.
"Just then a huge daemon materializes and trains a strange rod on the frightened children. You gallantly fling your body in front of the rod and a bright red light engulfs you!
"Your last sight is of the children escaping and the daemon grinning evilly!"
Comment: This is a fairly simple "hack'n'slash' foray. You just wander around, killing everyone you meet and gather up four unhidden keys needed to pass four gates to escape.
I expected to be placed in the children's play village, but the place seemed normal (by Eamon standards), with full-size monsters.
This is a quick, easy play, suitable for young Eamonauts. All of the monsters were easily beaten in two rounds of combat with my magic weapons, so if you enjoy combat, you'll want to use weapons from Marcos for the outing.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: GIVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: 10-direction Playing Time: 1 hour Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: The noted archaeologist, Dr. Andrew Whitehead, approaches you in the Main Hall. He says, "You have been well recommended as an experienced Adventurer and I would like to hire you as a guide. I plan to explore the caverns of Lanst in search of artifacts of the fabled Lanstians. My research indicates that the caverns were inhabited many centuries ago by a civilization of great capabilities!
"I've prepared a standard contract." He passes over a legal-looking paper:
1. I will guide Dr. Whitehead through the caverns of Lanst. 2. I will give all artifacts of indicated archaeological value to Dr. Whitehead. 3. All non-archaeological artifacts are mine to keep or sell. 4. Dr. Whitehead's suggestions will be considered in all decisions. 5. I will receive 5000 gold pieces when the party returns to the Main Hall.
You sign, and together you set out. After many days of following old maps and weary searching, you find the caverns of Lanst!
Comment: This is a very large adventure for its time, with 97 rooms and an adequate number of artifacts. The ten-direction map is quite complex, but holds no nasty surprises. I came across a few traps that triggered a "narrow escape" special effect rather than actual death, which was a nice touch. There are several possible endings, depending on how well you fulfill your contract obligations.
The scenario takes place in an ancient, abandoned location which doesn't have much to offer in the way of opponents for combat. Rick compensates for this by sprinkling looters throughout the complex. They felt somewhat contrived and in my opinion added very little to the adventure, but there would have been no combat at all without them.
While the adventure was well written, it lacked a plot or any puzzles to solve. The "quest" consisted of wandering about, picking up artifacts and fighting off looters. If there had been more content or variety, it could easily have garnered a higher rating. With no puzzles nor difficult encounters but with a challenging map, it gets a (5) for difficulty.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 5.0 Average Rating: 5.0/6
Description: There is no introduction text. You wander about a different Beginners Cave.
Comment: This is a very adequate adventure for beginners and young Eamonauts. It has 46 rooms, one secret passage, one hidden treasure, one container, one magic potion, and one maiden to rescue. I encountered no death traps. The monsters were pushovers with my magic sword. There were a couple of nice special effects with monsters appearing in the room. Overall, a good job, considering the target audience.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: EXIT, PRAY, UNLOCK, BUY, SAVE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 5.7/3
Description: "Welcome to the Priests of Xim! As you travel through the tomb, you will encounter many powerful enemies. However, the rewards will far outweigh the costs. Because of the large amount of time required to complete the full adventure, it is possible to leave, if decide you cannot go any farther. However, if you wish to enter the tomb again, you will have to pay hommage again, and start over. Please wait 1 minute."
Comment: The above is an exact copy of the entire introduction. I think that it serves fairly well to give you a taste of the flavor of this offering. This adventure didn't originally have SAVE and made special provision for exiting at any time via the EXIT command, but SAVE was added by the NEUC.
This is straight kill'n'loot with a handful of locked doors to open. Contrary to the intro, the bad guys are medium-to-lightweight and sometimes decide to ignore you after first presenting a very hostile description.
The "hommage" that you must pay to enter is 70% of all your gold. I managed to scrounge together less than 4,000 GP of loot, or about 32,000 GP short of what I was charged to enter the tomb.
I found this to be a mediocre offering largely because the authors threw whatever popped into their heads into the dungeon map, which makes very little sense and has lots of incongruities. It is painfully obvious that they were running out of ideas and patience in the last quarter of the dungeon, which is decidedly poorer in quality than the first half, which is pretty darned good.
If the entire dungeon was up to the standards of the beginning, this would be a real keeper. But instead it winds down to what I felt was a disappointing ending. Still, you should note that the average rating is quite a bit higher than mine, indicating that several people enjoyed it more than I did.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 20-30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.8/4
Description: "Boy do you feel good as you go looking for new adventure! Striding down a nearby dark alley, you feel so energetic that you almost don't feel it when you are clubbed in the head by a group of orcs.
"You wake up some time later and, groggy as you are you hear part of one of their conversations.
Voice #1: 'It won't be long before we have enough captives!'
Voice #2: 'I just hope we make enough ransom money, or I will have your head, Grishnakh!
"Unfortunately, you lapse into unconsciousness again, but you realize without much difficulty that it is your duty to escape and warn the Guild, before it meets certain ruin!"
Comment: This adventure is a Hack'n'Slasher's delight. There are 2 potential allies and 60 bad guys. There are only a half-dozen artifacts that aren't monster weapons!
This is a smallish, 48-room dungeon. You'll want to LOOK in every room for unhinted secret exits. There are no puzzles nor complex actions to complete. Simply hack your way through the bad guys and exit the dungeon.
The bad guys aren't all that tough, and this is a walk-through for anyone with decent stats and weapons. I give it a difficulty of (3); probably a good choice for the Young Eamonaut.
But this adventure has more than lots of combat. It has good descriptions, a logical layout, good puzzles, some new and interesting magic, and lots of action. I wasn’t bored for a second. You won’t be either.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: None Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 30 min. Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 3.0/2
Description: "The king's daughter has come down with a rare and possibly deadly fever. There is only one known cure, the leaves of a certain tree in the fabled Paradise, whose medicinal properties are legend. You will be very well rewarded if you succeed!"
Comment: Actually, you don't get any reward except your loot, but that's OK, because the promised reward was an estate and a half-million in gold. But you'll know if you succeeded.
This is a rather strange Eamon. It's a mixture of industrial-type warning signs and corridor markings mixed with Old Testament Biblical stuff like angels and such. Yep, we're talking about the real, original Paradise here. You even visit the throne room of the Almighty, although he has seemingly stepped out for a moment. The flavor is such that you almost expect to meet Saints wearing hardhats in the hallways.
I had some real mixed feelings about it. It's OK, but weird. Bob Davis didn't like it much at all. Ardent Bible students may enjoy it more.
This Eamon had a difficulty rating of (9), but I don't understand why Bob set it so high. You'll have to stay on your toes to stay alive, and you'll need your magic weapons, but otherwise it isn't so bad, so I'm downrating the difficulty to a (6).
MAIN PGM Version: 6 Extra Commands: ACTIVATE Deleted Commands: None Special Features: None Playing Time: 1 hr. Reviewer Rating: 7.0 Average Rating: 6.2/4
Description: You finally managed to get a date with Heather, that cute girl in the Main Hall you'd been watching. She wanted a picnic in Paradise Park just a short way down the road. You remember the place: a nice quiet park with lots of trees, birds, and flowers.
You soon reach the park and find a nice spot a few yards from the cliff. The journey has worn you out more than you expected and you decide to take a short nap prior to eating. While asleep, you dream of a horrible abduction and it scares you enough that you wake up with a start. You look around, and your date is gone, without a single trace.
You don't know what happened to the girl; she must've gone home. You must now find your own way home, too.
Comment: Well, as you probably guessed, she didn't go home but was kidnapped; and if you go home without her you wind up regretting it. There's a couple of levels of questing here: of course your main goal is to rescue Heather, but there is a second bonus rescue to fulfill if you can figure out the clues.
This was the very first version 6.0 Eamon, and John made his usual excellent utilization of the then-new features. There's a couple of interesting twists on room lighting, several locked doors, and lots of embedded artifacts to find. John also programmed the game to recognize the character's sex and modify the text to accommodate it. For example, if the player is female, the date is with Marcus, not Heather.
The dungeon is medium-sized, with 50 rooms. The map is interesting, with something to see or do every couple of rooms. I give it a (7) for difficulty, for its heavy use of embedded artifacts that require the full name to find and for a mildly inconsistent implementation of some commands. I enjoyed it.
MAIN PGM Version: 5 Extra Commands: WEAR, REMOVE, DRINK Deleted Commands: None Special Features: Special artifacts Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 7.0
Description: "The Castle Kophinos, once one of the most splendid houses in the land, has fallen upon hard times. Five years ago, it is said the wealthy and reclusive Nikos Kophinos (owner of the castle) made an unheard-of trip into town. Furthermore, he was on foot, and was in a state of utter hysteria about 'the devils' having taken over his castle. No one has visited the castle since-- least of all Nikos, who is still 'resting' at an insane asylum.
"Naturally, this has hurt the Kophinos family reputation. Distant relatives have offered a reward to anyone who can 'clean out' the castle completely. No one has collected.
"The reward is more valuable than gold. The Kophinos family has commissioned the forging of a magical sword, a sword of awesome power and breathtaking beauty.
"But the family is very insistent that the castle be completely cleared of malevolent beings. If even one remains, you forfeit the reward."
Comment: I found this adventure to be a pleasant play; not especially difficult, yet complex enough to keep my interest. Right at the beginning, it gets interesting as you encounter a wizard-merchant who wants to sell you such things as healing potions, invisibility rings and Holy Hand Grenades.
Even though it was kinda fun to play with this new magical hardware, I didn't find any genuine need for any of it. Buy the extras if you want to play with them, but don't worry overmuch about when or where to use them.
One of the more interesting features of this adventure is a couple of adventurer's journals that offer pointers and warnings about the castle. While it did add to the overall interest, the journals gave very little useful aid and were actually counterproductive in several places.
The usual, proper way to play this Eamon is to touch all the bases, trying LOOK, READ RED BOOK, READ BLUE BOOK, and all the directions in every single room. There are 80 rooms, and if you do this you will be playing for many hours. Here's a couple of tips to save some time. LOOK finds nothing extra. The books give about as much bad advice as good advice; they're fun to use but you can safely ignore them if you want to pick up the pace.
There is an unmarked secret passage that can only be found by trying to go in that direction. Unfortunately, you can't ignore it because one of the bad guys is back there. Look in the bed rooms for this passage.
There are a couple of death traps. Be sure to do a save every so often. I think I'll put the difficulty at about (7), for the unmarked secret passage and the death traps, though the bad guys aren't all that difficult and there are no puzzles to solve.
MAIN PGM Version: 4 Extra Commands: ENTER, UNLOCK, OPEN, PICK Deleted Commands: None, no Save Special Features: None Playing Time: 1-2 hours Reviewer Rating: 4.0 Average Rating: 4.7/3
Description: "Hearing legends about a huge city, filled with strange, powerful weapons and priceless treasures, you make your way to a little used path going east."
You make your way to the city. But once you enter, a great door closes behind you. It is sealed, and you cannot get out!
Comment: Like Tim's other Eamons, this one has a strong theme that evokes interesting images in your mind's eye. The gimmick here is a series of "crystal barriers" and mirrors that can mess up your map if you're not careful. There is a gizmo that can break the barriers, but until you find it, many paths will be closed in front or behind you. Once you begin passing the barriers, it can get confusing in this 90-plus-room dungeon.
All in all, there wasn't a lot of content beyond the barriers. All of the monsters except one were one-hit pushovers for my magic sword. That one was so strong that I elected to FLEE until I lost him. There are quite a number of spelling errors; if that tends to bother you a lot, you might want to pass this one by.
But for tricky mapping and the tough guy, this was a walk-through, and gets (3) for difficulty. However, even though it's easy, the map may make this a poor choice for young Eamonauts.
This page last updated on 01/29/2005.