Commodore User


Author: Keith Campbell
Publisher: Smart Egg/CRL
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #54


Federation is a space adventure in which your ship has crashed into another, the Quann Tulla, whilst attempting to dock with here. The designer of the ship, Erra Quann, has hijacked it, and plans to take it out to an enemy empire to sell the secrets of its engines. Your quest is to recover the engine manuals from the Quann Tulla, destroy the ship to prevent it from falling into enemy hands, and then teleport to the surface of a nearby planet, where a means of escape awaits you.

If the ship's name is familiar to you, then it may come as no surprise to learn that Federation is a completely re-written version of Eight Day Software's original text adventure Quann Tulla, one of the early Spectrum Quilled adventures, subsequently converted for the Amstrad CPC and C64.

When I say 're-written', I mean completely rewritten. The original storyline is there, and well recognisable, but the text has been substantially improved, and some of the objects and puzzles shifted around a bit.

The original was text only, but now graphics have been added, in the form of a box about two-thirds the width and one third the height of the screen, and they are very quick to display. To the right of this is a scoreboard, showing the current score and number of turns taken. The score is out of a staggering 10,000 (so far I have only seen zeroes in the two rightmost positions) with some points awarded for displaying extra initiative. Thus it is possible to complete the game with less than a full score.

Right at the start you are pitched into a problem - you can't breathe. Your ship is leaking, and smoke and sparks are all around from the crash. Only a few moves are allowed for you to find and put on the Natuflow Airmask. This is the first of a series of objects, like the sulphurtab, and a tube of permaglue, that combines with the tight opening to make Federation somewhat reminiscent of Kayleth.

Multi-word sentences are supported, together with a RAMSAVE and RAMLOAD facility.

The game is spoiled only by one or two minor points. Because the message given when an unrecognised word is entered conceals the fact that it is invalid, confusion can set in where the vocab is not too obvious. For example, trying to take the airmask gave me "That is not possible" - I should have used MASK instead of AIRMASK. Another small point was the description of a tube dangling in space failing to change after I had successfully contacted it to the Quann Tulla.

Otherwise, an excellent adventure. Pity about the price!

Keith Campbell

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