Commodore User1st January 1987
Published in Commodore User #40
Wimpy, Kevin Oliver stands outside the gates of the mansion belonging to the strange Dr. Lee.
Armed with his trusty tape recorder and press play he's on the trail of a big story. Rumours of lights and strange disappearances fill the surrounding area and Kevin's determined his paper is going to get the full story.
He approaches the gate and shows his pass to the security camera and gets in to talk to Dr. Lee. But then things go badly wrong and he's gassed only to wake up, bound and gagged in a padded cell!
Surely this is the end of the road for poor feeble Kevin. But no! By simply shouting "KWAH!" diminuitive Kevin turns into crime fighting Superhero, Redhawk! How you manage to say KWAH when you're bound and gagged is just one of the problems facing players tackling this sequel to Melbourne House's Redhawk.
The action takes place using the unique comic-book style with your English adventure style commands being reported in comic frames. As you enter a new room, examine things or say "KWAH" a new frame appears as the others scroll off to the left.
Underneath the frames is a clock to keep track of them, an indicator showing possible exits, a command window for entering your instructions and a Redhawk strength meter.
Being a Superhero is tiring work so Redhawk's energy is gradually lost. When it hits zero, you're automatically turned back into Kevin as Redhawk's energy slowly recovers.
This balancing act between the weak but stable Kevin and strong but temporary Redhawk adds tremendously to the game particularly since Kevin and Redhawk aren't sure of each other's existence.
Trying to solve a mystery with a schizophrenic superhero isn't easy and requires careful juggling of important objects as you have to remember to leave them around (for example as Kevin) for Redhawk to find.
The game itself is challenging, frustrating and great fun to play. The parser is sufficiently intelligent to recognise most things you want to say, leaving you to worry about the problems. These quite honestly drive you up the wall but, luckily up to now, I've always had a flash of inspiration just in time before I hurl the C64 out of the window!
The program sensibly includes some added features to make your adventuring as painless as possible such as a selection of ten often used words that can be chosen from the number keys and a game store and recall function to allow a quick save of the game position in memory in case your demise lies around the next corner.
All these features and a percentage score so you can tell how well you're doing make this a most enjoyable game that might even tempt a hardened joystick junkie into a taste of adventure.