Author: Keith Campbell
Publisher: Abstract Concepts
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Computer & Video Games #82


Mindfighter is based on a novel of the same name, by Anna Popkess. This full-length (150 page) paperback, has been published especially for inclusion with the game. It was originally written for publication as a standalone book, with no thought of an adventure game in mind.

The story centres on a group of youngsters studying parapsychology at Southampton University. Robin, the youngest, is an orphan, and only eleven years old. He rooms with Matthew, and manages to bring himself up on his own remarkably well for a lad of his age, as well as coping with the final year of his degree course. He has some remarkable powers (as might be expected for an eleven year old degree student) - and as the story opens, he has just successfully gone into a trance and managed to reduce the rate of radioactive decay of a lump of uranium.

Alison is nineteen, and a bag of nerves. In her childhood, her father treated her mother brutally, and she committed suicide after he raped her. However, after a long absence, he traces Alison, and re-appears to try to rape her, his own daughter, as well. This is prevented by another student, Harry, who is a tower of strength and support to Alison.


The students are currently planning their latest jolly wheeze - an attempt to metamorphasise themselves into the bodies of animals. They read up about the subject of werewolves to get a few hints and tips on how to set about the task. Well, I'd need a clue or two on that myself, wouldn't you? Their professor, not in the know, conveniently gives them a month off from their studies, as they seem to be too preoccupied to get down to any serious work.

Before long they have mastered it, although disappointed that they can only hold animal form for about fifteen minutes at a time. Meanwhile, Robin becomes withdrawn, and eventually goes into a trance, speaking to them as if from another world. It soon becomes apparent that he things he is in Southampton of the near future, after a nuclear war. The group, together with their professor, get together with him, to help him to find the key to prevent the war, thus saving mankind from the dreadful future Robin describes. In following his exploration, his friends are aided by Robin's somewhat unusual ability to project images of what he sees in the other world, through his eyes.

I found the book lacking in the slightest degree of credibility, written in a superficial style, describing morbid and depressing events with a level of detail which the author seemed to relish.


The adventure games were written by Fergus McNeill, using an entirely new system developed for Abstract Concepts, by Tim Gilberts (of The Quill fame) and his team. All versions have graphics, and the pictures change through a series of 'vertical shutters' giving a very smooth effect. The graphics themselves vary between versions. I played the Atari ST version, and found most of the pictures dismal but effective. But then the whole mood of the game is dismal.

Multiple complex commands are possible, such as GET THE NEWSPAPER AND READ IT. PUT THE NEWSPAPER INTO THE BOX. There is an OOPS command (retracts your last move) available on the bigger memory machines. Disk and ram save, text only, verbose/brief, sound on/off, and a printer option, are available from a set of icons, depending which computer you are using. Previous command editing is also supported on all versions. Although sentences entered may be complex, many simple ones are not supported, and give a poor message in response. Whilst it is possible to get information by EXAMINing some objects, quite often EXAMINE [object] replies that "...Robin could not examine that." What? Even if he found nothing, surely he could examine it!

At one time, Robin wanted to cover his face with some rag. COVER was not successful, so he tried to PUT RAG OVER FACE, and managed to drop it. When he decided he had been harrassed enough by a tall guard, he tried to HIT GUARD WITH WRENCH. Nope - he couldn't do that. But he did manage to hit him with the command KILL GUARD WITH WRENCH. Strange, that you must set out with the intention to kill, rather than to disable, to get someone off your back. But that does seem to be consistent with the general brutal approach throughout the game.

Keith Campbell

Other Spectrum 48K/128K Game Reviews By Keith Campbell

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  • The Beast Front Cover
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  • Mindshadow Front Cover
  • The Fourth Protocol Front Cover
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  • Dracula Front Cover
  • Cloud 99 Front Cover
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  • Zzzzz Front Cover