Nemesis (Alchemist) Review | Sinclair User - Everygamegoing

Sinclair User


Nemesis
By Alchemist
Sinclair QL

 
Published in Sinclair User #50

Nemesis

It was a bumpy landing but you expected no less. The ship was built for space travel, not for rigorous descents onto rock-hard planets.

You're here on the orders of the Council of Elders in the Inner Sanctum of the Federation of the Seven Galaxies - yes, that one left me wondering about the sanity of the programmers as well. You've got to track down and capture "Nemesis", the most dangerous man in the universe - with a name like Nemesis, it's no wonder he's so sought after.

The game is supplied on two cartridges, both of which should be cloned by the SuperBasic copy instruction. You must have both cartridges in the microdrives before you can load the game, and each of the game parts take some files from both cartridges.

Once loaded, the only graphics in the game - a full screen picture of your spacecraft flying through starry skies - disappear. You are told to wait and the first text location description appears.

You are sitting at the helm of your spacecraft, a host of limited options before you. Going north brings you to a wrecked city, branching to the west takes you to a river beyond which lies a forest, and treking off to the easy brings you to a bridge which is guarded by a sleek metal robot.

The robot is a killer and will not let you cross the bridge at any cost - a bit like some trolls I know. Despite throwing a knife and shooting at him with a laser gun I was unable to destroy the beast.

The city is a killer and will not let you cross the bridge at any cost - a bit like some trolls I know. Despite throwing a knife and shooting at him with a laser gun I was unable to destroy the beast.

The city is just as deadly an environment as the bridge and no place for a rank beginner. When you get to the outskirts the shadows start to move. As you walk down the alleywatys red eyes peer out of the darkness and nameless creatures attack you. Now is the time to take one of the two avenues of escape.

You can either dash into an allery - but that is a dead end - or sneak through a door into a dark and dingy room. The room contains some rather uninteresting objects such as a ball of string, a pair of scales, a torch and a spade. All very useful if you can escape from the city alive.

I was almost prepared to forgive the authors for the standard awfulness of the plot until I saw how the text interpreter handled my commands. It scans the text of an input and takes out the parts it can understand. It then replies to the best of its ability - a feat which is disspiriting to watch. For instance, I tried "Beat up the robot", and the machine answered "There is nothing to eat here". That sort of reply takes me back to the days when The Hobbit was king of adventures.

Alchemist, the company which put this paltry effort together, to trying to mimic ace adventure manufacturer Infocom, but is not having much success.

If it wants to produce games like The Hitch Hikers' Guide To The Galaxy from Infocom, or The Pawn from Magnetic Scrolls, it will have to attend to several major aspects of its games. The plots will need to be more original, and the puzzles easier at the start of a game, so that beginners will want to continue - there could even be a Help system available.

Alchemist will also need to produce longer textual descriptions atmosphere within a game. I found the text descriptions of locations too short, and the authors should learn the difference between commas and apostrophes when putting text on the screen.

Nemesis is a product with unrealised potential. It could have been as good as The Pawn if the authors had taken more care over the presentation.

I do believe, however, that Alchemist is a company to watch. Its first product is weak, but at least it has had the guts to plan and execute a fairly complex game.