As well as all the 'professional' adventures released on the CPC, I will, where possible, be reviewing smaller companies' games. Most of these games are produced on The Graphic Adventure Creator. Some are actually much more enjoyable - and cheaper -than their commercial counterparts.
Unfortunately, The Unknown Treasure is not one of them. Actually, it's not so much that it's bad; it's just not one of those GAC games that stands out from the crowd. The game is well enough written, with an alternative character set as used by Sandra Sharkey in her Case Of The Mixed up Shymer, but the real test of a game is in the playing and this is The Unknown Treasure's failing.
Firstly, the plot is very poor and secondly, the description of objects is inadequate. A spade proves to be "a garden spade", and some objects have no description at all. If the EXAMINE command is used just to pad out the game by giving such short responses as it is in The Unknown Treasure then I have to agree with Brian Kerslake of Topologika in that the EXAMINE command should not be implemented at all.
The ability to examine objects is useful not just for learning their purpose - it also adds valuable atmosphere.
The room descriptions are scanty, there are a couple of spelling mistakes and, what most annoyed me was the overuse of the word 'big'. There is a big stair, big kitchen, big cave, big green road, big passage, etc. Another couple of very annoying features in the game include a location 'by a big cottage' - you can examine the cottage all you like as you trying to enter it - and opening doors - has no effect at all. In fact, you must "Jump through window", and there is no clue in the game relating to this!
But The Unknown Treasure does have a couple of redeeming features! First, there is a large number of locations (72 - which is, as the author would say, "big!" for a GAC game). This possibly explains the lack of decent text - all the memory has been used on the graphics and multiple room descriptions and not enough on parser and messages.
The author has also included a SKILL command for prolonging the life of the game. SKILL allows you to change the number of objects you can carry - thus skill eleven allows you to carry eleven objects. So after completing the game with skill eleven you can try again with a lower, and thus harder, value.
I don't know the age of the author but the co-writer is nine years old. If David is also this age then I'm very impressed with his effort, but feel that he has bitten off more than he can chew in creating his first game so large.
I do, however, look forward to seeing his future games.