Silversoft has recently released a game that it claims combines language tuition and an adventure format. It does not quite manage it!
The gist of the plot is that you are a British wartime pilot, shot down over occupied France. You have enough credentials to pass as a Frenchman and the only thing that can possibly let you down is your knowledge of France, and use of the French language.
So far, so good. You have to make your escape and there are a number of different routes that you can take. The narrative is unfolded letter by letter across the screen, a rather unnecessary piece of dramatisation that slows the whole thing down. Each piece of narrative ends with the player having to provide an answer in French, usually to a question posed in French.
Yes, it's a multiple choice game. For example, when you encounter a Nazi patrol and the interpreter asks you how you got to the area, you answer:
- un viel autobus
- un autobus vieux
- une autobus vielle
- une vieille autobus
You are clearly being tested, rather than playing an adventure by typing in plain language commands in French. The program tests vocabulary, grammar and knowledge of France, but I am not qualified to comment on its educational value, so I won't.
I do feel qualified to comment on its quality as an adventure and without hesitation I would say zero. That is not to dismiss it as a program though for I found it quite fun, especially when I got one question right.
French On The Run is from Silversoft, for the BBC B on disc, priced £9.95.