Amstrad Action


Author: The Balrog
Publisher: Topologika
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #51


I loaded Topologika's latest game with trepidation. As dedicated readers will know, I've never really liked any Topologika game due mainly to the absence of the "EXAMINE" command - would I like Avon or not?

Avon is a light-hearted look at the world of Shakespeare's plays (perhaps the real Bard's Tale?). You are a typical American tourist visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, but all is not as it seems... an asp in a pet shop tries to bite you, you could swear that a nearby pine tree groaned at you when you walked past and the three old ladies in the shop acted very peculiarly when you tried to buy their cauldron!

Perhaps your suspicions can be attributed to your own paranoia... but before you know what's happening you find yourself standing in a place unlike Stratford-upon-Avon in one way, yet like it in another. Like the world of Shakespeare's plays, in other words.

As in all good adventures you must discover the route back to the real world - in this instance to save yourself from being held forever in Avon.

Avon is well-written, with many objects, locations and characters taken from Shakespearean plays. Thus there are daggers, eyes of newts, witches and many other weird and wonderful creations - including, of course, blood on hands!

At this point I would like to stress that knowledge of Shakespeare is not needed to complete Avon. Although all the various objects and locations are derived from the Bard's plays, the actual puzzles are the same as in any adventure. In short, you don't need an English A-Level to play the game!

The puzzles are difficult in places and quite original, and although the parser is not as powerful as, say, a Level 9 game, it is still very comprehensive.

As with all of Topologika's games, Avon is text and disk-only with on-line help, lots of descriptive text and atmospheric locations.

My criticisms of Avon? Well, the absence of the "EXAMINE" command *is* annoying. A properly used "EXAMINE" command can add to a game but, having said that, I soon got used to playing the game without examining objects and didn't feel that this reduced my enjoyment. The only other criticism with the game is that it takes about two minutes to load, as the instructions are printed on the screen every time you play. It's a shame that a short cut could not be found to avoid this wait.

Not one of the most technically accomplished games, but very amusing and enjoyable. A good all-round adventure (with an enhanced version of Monsters Of Murdac - AA rating 75% - on side 2) that deserves to do well.

The Balrog

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