Crash1st April 1984
Published in Crash #3
Denis Through The Drinking Glass
One of the odder game's newly available at the 9th. ZX Microfair was this adventure offering from Applications. You take the part of the Prime Minister's husband, Denis Thatcher. The story starts off in a cosy den at Number 10, safe from Maggie's eye, where you can plan your getaway, and drink the cellar dry.
All the descriptions of locations are rendered in rhyming from like this, which makes for some very amusing and wry comments on political life in general. Your major problem is to find a drink, for this adventure is constructed so as to kill you off if you don't find one within ten moves, and reflects the general scenario that Denis must be got out of the house, avoid Maggie at all costs and finally reach the sanctuary of the Gravediggers Arms. If this sounds a little domestic, forget it. Denis Through The Drinking Glass is a tough assignment! Few adventurers will have encountered a monster as fearsome as the Iron Lady:
An icy blast, An icy stare, Abandon hope, Maggie 's there. Sit you down, Be a peach, Listen to The latest speech.
The game incorporates a number of features common to many 'modern' adventures, like the problem of ensuring that you are clothed. Exiting through the front door without having adjusted your clothing first will result in the friendly policeman handing you a copy of the SUN newspaper with your portrait fully nude on the front page - end of game! The HELP facility can be as capricious in its clues as any. At one point, when asked, it said, 'Get knotted'.
This turned out to be less than first thought when sheets were discovered under a bed, that could be knotted to act as a rope thrown through the window (mind you, that didn't work).
On another occasion it merely replied, 'Balls!'. Again, this turned out to be more helpful than one might suppose and seemed to tie in with the existence of plus-fours, golf clubs and the ever helpful policeman who has something for your leisure and pleasure - balls perhaps?
I must confess, at this point, that I have managed to explore some of Number 10 but not much more, it's going to take a lot longer! But Denis Through The Drinking Glass is a delightful game, so spending a great deal more time on it won't be any bother. The wit of the game and it's detective-like qualities combined with that damned 10 moves before a drink restriction make it thoroughly addictive and fun to play. If this is remotely near the truth then poor Denis must lead a miserable life. In search of that elusive gin bottle I noted the 'volume out of place' in the bookshelves very early on, but it only turned out to be Kropotkin's Memoirs (or is that a clue - I'll have to go back and try again)? Other points worth passing on are; don't try Jumping out of the window - it gives the SUN another headline picture, 'Denis pays a flying visit to the garden', the painting by Churchill looks interesting but the description wryly says, 'Nice canvas, pity about the paint', the cheese Is dangerous, what's a PURDY (?), and Maggie can be lured away from her den and out of the house. Once out of the political confines of Number 10 there are obviously a lot of other famous souls to meet and avoid.
The game has been written with Gilsoft's excellent QUILL utility, a fact which is stated at the very start. 'I also see - A PLUG' it says under the acknowledgement. I wasted precious time trying to do something with that wretched plug before I realised it was a joke. Very funny.
The response times are infinitesimal, in fact when you get into the rhythm of repeating moves you already know, it's possible to type in as fast and continuously as the keyboard will allow. Very worthwhile, entertaining and challenging. I can recommend Denis - even if Maggie can't.
Graphics: text only, uses full width and height of screen
Sound: entry clicks