Personal Computer News19th January 1985
Published in Personal Computer News #095
The amazing Spider-Man, like his comic strip colleague the Hulk, has entered the realm of advantage games. Bob Chappell marvels at Spidey's progress.
Spinning A Wacky Web
The amazing Spider-Man, like his comic strip colleague the Hulk, has entered the realm of adventure games. Bob Chappell marvels at Spidey's progress.
Tired of trudging through damp caves and endless forests? Do you find it difficult to stifle a jaw-cracking yawn as you bash your umpteenth Orc? Are you just that teensiest bit haded with the same old stock characters and situations being trotted out in adventures?
Well, just hurry on down to your nearest software store and take a long hard look up at the shelves: see the garish masked figure on the package? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it some twit who's got lost on his way to a fancy dress hall? That last guess was nearly right, for that lithe slab of muscle in the gorblimey garb is none other than Marvel Comics Superhero, Spider-Man, taking the starring role in Adventure International's follow up to the successful Hulk adventure, being the second by Scott Adams in the Questprobe series. As with Hulk, Spiderman combines text with attractive and instantaneous hi-res graphics of every location.
Spidey delivers a swift slice of knuckle pie to any idea you might have about meeting the standard set to wizards, goblins, and other overfamiliar foes. The wackiness of the adversaries in this adventure make your average troll seem as normal as Julie Andrews.
Take Sandman for instance - a neat variation on those old Charles Atlas ads if ever I saw one. Sandman has the mildly disconcerting property of being able to transform himself from a small portion of beach into a sandstone strongman. And there's more where those weirdoes came from. Hydro-Man is a big drip - literally: he's made of water. Electro is not the best of people to greet with a handshake, as his body contains 100,000 volts of grade A electricity.
Ringmaster looks and acts like he's just escaped from the big top and now craves a bit of privacy - he throws you out of his computer lab every time you enter. The Lizard is Doc Conners in one of his reptillian moods.
You are not completely without friends. Madame Web, though blind, is able to scan other people's thoughts and can sometimes predict the future. The Chief Examiner (remember him from Hulk? All the evidence points to the conclusion that the CE is none other than Scott Adams himself) may offer advice and a way of escape.
The basic plot is pretty much the same as in Hulk: find and store all the gems. Since you can bet your section-padded boots that some of the jewels are being protected by the oddballs above, the job is not going to be easy.
I began in a hall, way up in a high-rise building. Thinking to explore some of the other floors, I made my way to the very obvious lift and pressed the even more obvious call button. You're right, that was too obvious. Think again, Spidey. At one point in my perambulations, I began to think that either my computer had gone on the blink or I was suffering from double vision.
Turned out that I had encountered another fiendish foe, Mysterio. His speciality is hypnotism and special effects. Good job I didn't ring the TV repair man or optician.
It helps if you have read the comic that comes with the game, especially the potted biographies of the characters. The puzzles range on a scale from candy-from-a-baby to hurl-micro-through-window. The packaging describes the difficulty level as moderate - a fair assessment. I foolishly believed I was doing brilliantly by finding eight of the gems (you shouldn't have too much hardship in finding where to store them), but my score showed that I still had a long way to go.
There is a much improved command analyser, allowing you to move away from the normal verb/noun input. Now you can enter compound orders and use a more English-like structure. I still found myself using two-word input (old habits die hard), but I particularly liked being able to TAKE ALL objects in a room, instead of picking them up (or dropping them) one by one. Response to your input is, as ever, immediate.
Spider-Man is good, zany fun and provides as wild a collection of characters as you could wish to meet, together with the usual teasing puzzles of Scott Adams, and walking on the ceiling certainly makes a change from battling with dragons.
I do declare, an adventure for the Atari and a welcome rarity it is too. Cloak Of Death (by Mind Games) is a text and graphics romp through a haunted house where you've wagered to spend the might. I haven't made much progress yet, but what I've seen I've liked.
The game has a comprehensive vocabulary (67 verbs and 94 nouns), decent graphics for each location (you can turn them off), and a reasonable assortment of puzzles. It also displays a dry sense of humour (where I typed SCORE I was told to give myself ten out of ten if I got out alive!).
An enjoyable adventure - versions are also available for the Spectrum and Commodore 64.
Returning to Questprobe, some Hulk fans cannot find anything in the dome by the small holes. Just DAMT EG. If ants are your problem, why not SEYE ESOL C. (Dungeon Master at your service.)