Atari User

Lapis Philosophorum

Author: Bob Chappell
Publisher: Ariolasoft
Machine: Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE

Published in Atari User #17

Lapis Philosophorum

If you have trouble with the unusual name of this text and graphics adventure let me help you out by mentioning the subtitle - the Philosopher's Stone. Sibilant stuff, eh?

The plot concerns a kindly kind who has remarried after the death of his first wife. The remarriage has given him an heir, a stepson who is a right nasty piece of work - funny how often there's a royal rotter in adventures.

He can't wait to get his grasping digits on the old orb and sceptre, so is poisoning the king.

Out to all the headers goes an SOS - save our sovereign - but unbeknown to kingy, the aforesaid rotter has bribed all the quacks to keep well clear.

As death begins to shout "Come in number one, your time is up" in the king's ears, a single hope remains. Only you, a former alchemist who has long since hung up the pestle and mortar, can now save him.

The game opens with a nice little tune and impressive title screen - skull and dripping candle on an ancient tome.

However the rest of the graphics are only average - simple trees, streets and houses - you know the sort of thing.

Each of the 83 locations has a largish picture with text underneath. The descriptions are fairly brief and presented in gothic-type manuscript.

You start in your house - one room and a loft, no wonder you gave up alchemy - and must try to leave the walled and exit-guarded town.

Originating in Germany, the game appears to have been competently translated for the UK market.

However the parser can only handle simple verb-noun commands the vocabulary seems to have omitted some of the more usual and accepted words.

On the plus side the pictures are drawn very swiftly and there is an immediate response to input. Occasionally, you're even given a hint when you ask for help.

Bob Chappell

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