A long time ago (tea-time last Wednesday to be precise!) in a galaxy far, far away.."
Thus opens Yarkon Blues, the latest game from Joan Pancott of WoW Software and the first for new author Jason Davis. I saw this game first many months ago when Jason sent it in to be reviewed but it really wasn't up to standard - it hadn't been playtested and it showed! Since then Jason has, with the help of Lorna Patterson, polished this dull rock of a game into a little gem.
You play the part of Rik McQuick, hero and all round good guy. who is relaxing on his cargo ship. Odour Eater II sampling the ship's cargo (Altarian Old McSpewans Spirit) when a stray empty can, thrown by Rik, hits the autopilot and the ship veers towards a small blue-yellow planet (called Yarkon). Next thing poor Rik knows, the planet's old missile defence system, which has been dormant for years, launches against Odour Eater II and our fearless hero.
Luckily, Rik, not being that fearless, jumps into an escape pod and lands on the planet, soon to be followed by the smouldering wreckage of his ship crashing through the sky. As courageous, intelligent and mega-handsome (and not very modest!) Rik, you must somehow escape from the planet Yarkon. No problem for someone who is such a hero...
Enough of the scenario - what's the game like? 'Good' is the answer. 60 locations in size, it has strong (and sometimes quite difficult) puzzles. Yarkon is also ruthlessly filled with red herrings - one in particular threw me. During the game I came across a fish which was described as a red herring, however, thinking I knew the game's quirky humour I spent ages trying to find a use for the fish only later to find that it was indeed a red herring!
Yarkon Blues is a GACed game with average graphics and oodles of humour. The strong atmosphere and puzzles make the game - I hope to see Rik McQuick again and looksforward to seeing Smirking Horror and 2001: A Space Oddity - Jason Davis' next two games. Well worth buying.