Budget software is here to stay, and here Atlantis offer a cheap way of enjoying adventuring. The game is basic and straightforward, but eminently playable and would be especially interesting to a novice adventurer.
Archie the explorer is trying to save his daughter, whose life is in danger from an incurable disease. She has been given a month to live, but there is a glimmer of hope. One day he reads of a newly found temple where a legendary elixir of healing is said to lie. Two previous explorers who tried to uncover the secrets of the tomb were never seen again, and Archie soon discovers their fate as he sets out on his quest in the temple.
The layout and feel of this adventure are very traditional. Objects are scattered about in sensible places, and the solutions to the problems are logical and go down nicely as play proceeds. Some of the problems are clichéd, like how to get rid of the vampire (yes, that one again!), but most are novel or at least fun. The vocabulary is notable for its insistence on full word entry, though T for TAKE is useful. The effort of the verbose entry system is compensated by its intelligence when EXAM CANDLE gives a different response to EXAMINE CANDLESTICK. Perhaps the system is a touch pernickety when EXAM MURAL elicits 'You see the mural', while EXAM MURALS gives 'You see a picture of the fabled elixir in its special room'! Although EXAMINE is not error checked (EXAM NONESENSE gives 'You see the nonesense') it is very powerful and atmosphere enhancing, with every important item or place in the adventure eliciting some response to the command.
It's not just the EXAMINE command which gives intelligent responses. CLIMB TREE near the start elicits 'The trees start swaying in the breeze so you decide not to', and even the SAVE option very kindly guides with a reminder that the game saves in three parts very polite. LIGHT CANDLE in an inappropriate location and you get Why do you want to light a candle in a lighted room?', which is helpful; the response 'I'm sorry I don't understand' when you try to illuminate a dark room because you don't have the matches is less helpful. The problems are often solved by having the appropriate object to get through the corresponding difficulty, in the simplest case for example key for a door passage is automatic on possession of the correct item.
Although the game only uses the Spectrum capitals for its print it is neatly presented, with occasional inverse printing and colours to pick out reports and the inventory. There are no mid-compass directions like NE, SW and so on.
Temple Terror is as straightforward and as traditional an adventure as you can get. To a novice the game has much to offer, and at its low price many will no doubt discover the secrets of the temple without too much loss of sleep.