Return To Eden
By Level 9 Computing
BBC Model B

Published in Computer & Video Games #39

Return To Eden

Well, I'm glad I'm not really Kim Kimberley! After all, that trouble saving the Snowball from certain doom, what thanks does it get? I say "it" because Kim is a bit of a unisex type, designed, presumably, so that everybody can identify with her. Could be that very few will - know what I mean?

But I digress. After all that trouble saving the Snowball, overcoming waldroids, nightingales and the rest, the colonists aboard repay her by finding her guilty of murder! So there she is, on Eden, having escaped in a Stratoglider and no means of protecting herself against the wrath of the ungrateful colonists! Snowball will take its revenge, by blasting its engines towards the "it-type" Kim.

That, of course, is your first problem. Then you must save the planet Eden from the robots who have made it habitable and are now doing their own thing!

Return To Eden

This is the first Level 9 game under their own label that has graphics. I wish it wasn't, for on the Spectrum version that I played, they did nothing to enhance the game. They certainly didn't reach the standard of the graphics in Erik The Viking, although they are just as fast in displaying.

I was soon typing "words" - the command that turns them off. I wasn't altogether impressed with the text either - not the content, but the appearance. Level 9 has created their own character set in the image of those computer-readable characters you see at the bottom of cheques. I found them rather painful to read.

So it was with relief that I turned to the Commodore version. In this, the graphics are quicker to display, more attractive and have a "wide screen" look in contrast with the Spectrum's "square screen" pictures. In addition, the text hasn't been messed around and was far more readable!

Return To Eden

Once out of danger from the Snowball, your journey takes you through the countryside, with its alien flora and fauna, to save Eden from its robots who have gone slightly bananas. From that, you will probably guess that I haven't yet got very far into the game - you are right! But would you have wanted to wait another couple of months to read about the game??

Return From Eden is littered with new trendy words from Level 9's imaginative but self-explanatory sci-fi vocabulary, such as Tradclads, the (unisex?) costume you find yourself wearing. There are also a number of random messages that tend to get a bit tedious at times, such as "a helicopter gunship clatters overhead". Predictably, perhaps, I would have preferred no graphics and more variety of text, as even the Commodore graphics do little to enhance the game.

For some reason, nearly everyone has gone off the idea of releasing text-only adventures any more. This is a pity in the case of Level 9, for they built their excellent reputation on text adventures. So it seems we purist text adventurers must suffer to accommodate the sales-intensive casual buyer who is to be lured by pretty pictures.

Nevertheless, Return To Eden is of a high standard and will, I think, turn out to have the same depth as its forerunner, Snowball.

Return To Eden is available for a wide range of machines and is published by Level 9 Computing at £9.95.

Keith Campbell

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