The Micro User1st October 1988
Published in The Micro User 6.08
The Taroda Scheme comes on disc in plain packaging with an extremely useful leaflet which gives background information and provides an atmospheric and amusing introduction to the adventure. Comprehensive Help sheets are also available.
It's set in the year 10340 AD, long after the destruction of Earth. Taroda is one of many planets to have been colonised by humans centuries previously. It is now an important source of methane gas and an ore known as Strykalite, which is exported as barbeque lighting fuel to the planet Sartravaag.
Your mission is fairly mundane. It is to make the five-yearly check on the system of Taroda to ensure that all is well - it isn't.
You begin your adventure on the bridge of your spacecraft on its journey to Taroda. A quick glance at the vide-screen shows that something large and ominous is on a collision course with your ship. This is akin to Robico's Enthar Seven or The Hunt, as you scramble together belongings and find a safe way to leave your doomed craft.
I suggest that you thoroughly SEARCH the desk in your quarters, take the shower operating unit from the bathroom and gain some sustenance before facilitating your escape.
On the planet you will soon discover the first of many corridors which could pose a really suffocating problem. In order to continue, you must find a plan and read it carefully! This is a variation of the Snark tunnel problem in Acornsoft's Kingdom Of Hamil.
Room descriptions and messages are length, well-written and you only have to EXAMine the items which are presented in magenta text - a bit difficult with a green screen monitor.
Everything about this adventure contains a refreshing smattering of wry comedy. The only time this sank to the depths of lavatorial humour was when I discovered a suction toilet in the bathroom "to avoid those low gravity accidents".
However, the following is a prime example of good response to correct input:'As the soup touches your tongue, it liquifies and trickles down your throat. Suddenly, something hard and angular sticks in your mouth and you spit it out, choking violently. A wave of deja-vu hits you, with an image of a cold stone room.'
I must admit that I loved the idea of the MentOp system which allows for ESP thought processes to operate equipment. I also chuckled at the kickerboots for which an intergalactic soccer thug would give his one remaining tooth. It is sobering to later find a compact disc as an item of antiquity.
The Taroda Scheme has over 230 locations, nearly 100 objects and 200 messages, and should provide a real challenge to any discerning adventurer.
Problem construction is excellent, although the parser seems rather limimted, especially regarding synonyms for the nouns. I did discover a few spelling mistakes, such as "hygene" and "liquify".
However, with a little more polish and development, Heyley could soon challenge Robico, Level 9 and Infocom as a serious producer of micro adventures.