Islets Of Langehans (Amazing Games) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

Islets Of Langehans
By Amazing Games
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in ZX Computing #16

Islets Of Langehans

This is one of the many recently released programs written using Gilsoft's The Quill. The adventure makes a most welcome change from battling through the usual coves or rooms, killing endless goblins, animals, etc. Your quest is to journey through the human body to locate the 'Islets of Langehans' (look it up on a medical dictionary!) and return with them to the outside world.

Due to the use of The Quill, the program is in 100% machine code, hence quick to respond and accepts the usual commands. There are mainly verb-object combinations, which can be shortened to four letter strings. For example: THROW KNIFE (Not a clue!).

No comprehensive document comes with the tape - unlike other "Amazing Games" - so part of the game is to discover a vocabulary that works.

This lack of knowledge, plus the biological nature of the text, may cause a few problems for people without 'O' Level Biology. However, the problems are not too difficult, and the format does make a pleasant change.

I believe a version of this program is available for the ZX81 entitled Fantastic Voyage. The idea for the program comes from the excellent Isaac Asimov novel Fantastic Voyage, which was made into a superb film with Raquel Welch in 1966. If you have either read the book or seen the film you will have a headstart here.

Amazing Games also claim that the program can be used as a revision aid for students taking 'O' Level Biology exams. As an ex-Biochemist I would say that this is partially true. A knowledge of physiology/biochemistry is certainly an advantage. If you get stuck, you can always look the terms up.

The text is not entirely clinical; there are references to books (E.T.), telephones, record players, emeralds, etc. So previous adventurers shouldn't have too many problems. A couple of humorous touches can be seen, e.g. If you ask for HELP all you get is: "This isn't a Scott Adams adventure!"

On your journey you will visit such locations as: the liver, kidneys, brain, heart (take care here, as once you pass there is no return) and many others. Problems can be conquered (and so increase your % score) include: gangs of starch molecules, bacteria and proteins, etc.

The only criticism I have of the game is that objects may be used more than once, so you could try them all until you get the right one, requiring no specialised knowledge. Otherwise, I enjoyed playing this most interesting and unusual adventure. It is a pity that no graphics could be included.

Hopefully widespread use of The Quill will allow writers to come up with many more such games, and other unexpected formats. This will prevent the adventure field from becoming stale. I look forward to playing further Amazing Games programs: "Thriller" and "The Last Jedi". Watch this column for future reviews.