Commodore User


Temple Of Terror

Author: Keith Campbell
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Commodore 64

 
Published in Commodore User #46

Temple Of Terror

Temple Of Terror is a Fighting Fantasy adventure, based on the book of the same name by Ian Livingstone. It continues the series that has included Seas Of Blood and Rebel Planet. Your mission is to reach the lost city of Vatos, and destroy the five dragon artefacts sought by the evil Malbordus, before he can reach them himself.

The quest starts on the banks of the Catfish River, with an immediate problem concerning some local pirates. Once dealt with, your journey takes you across scrub and desert to the city. Danger abounds, for there are dark elves, a troll, a sand worm, and a basilisk to deal with on your way - unless, of course, you are prepared to risk not having the requisite adventurer's tools for the problems ahead of you in the city.

The fun doesn't really start until you get there, for within the city walls is a seemingly endless succession of fabulous monsters, and deadly traps. There are many corridors to roam, and who knows who or what you might find aorund the next corner? Perhaps Ratman, devouring a newly killed carcass? The beautiful giant glowing moth? Or the deadly mesmerising Eye Stinger?

Temple Of Terror

It is necessary to plunge headlong, with no prior warning, into a number of the traps, and thus discover yourself suddenly dead. Normally, this would call for a severe criticism of the game, for adventure is about solving the problems, not avoiding certain locations in a replay.

However, with the provision of a BOM command, the player can go Back One Move, so there is nothing lost. The player, thus forewarned in hindsight, as it were, can then contemplate the danger ahead, and bring his amazing adventurer's powers of logic to bear on it. In fact, BOM, together with QSAVE, gives this adventure, which is very much a hack and slay quest, a whole new playing technique, which is rather fun, and gives the player a certain feeling of invulnerability.

It is a big game, and there's plenty to explore, all illustrated with an instant-display picture for each location. On the other hand, for the text adventurer who would sooner have richer text than graphics, both disk and cassette copies have a non-graphic version included, with enhanced text. But don't expect too much from the enhancement - there are only minor extra phrases to be found here and there. Perhaps, if you're not too keen on pictures, the biggest gain from playing this version is a speeding up of the response.

Temple Of Terror

Unfortunately, Temple Of Terror has a few faults which rather spoil it. Apart from one or two very noticeable spelling or typing errors (and I think incendary was one of the former) some of the messages too have got mixed up. For example, when casting the shrinking spell, CAST SHRINKING AT TROLL results in "At what?" whereas other spells work perfectly well. This, I suspect, does not prevent the said spell from working, it merely stops it from being used in the wrong place in a misleading way. Sometimes too, there is no confirmatory OK message, leaving the player wondering if the command entered has been accepted and acted upon.

My other complaint concerns vocabulary. There are too few alternatives available, so that you must ENTER BOAT rather than BOARD it, GO BRIDGE instead of CROSSing it, and so on. Some objects, too, seem to be recognised by their adjectives. A particularly dangerous situation arises outside the city gate, where a Serpent Guard is on duty. You have just one move to do the right thing, or die. The trouble is GUARD is not recognised as the object of your attack - it has to be SERPENT. Perhaps this is due to memory constraints - if so, a few less 'empty' locations would have been preferable too.

In conclusion, what should have been another sparkling adventure from Adventure Soft, is tarnished just a little at the edges, for want of that final bit of polish. If you buy it (and I do not suggest that the faults I have described should put you off it if you otherwise like the sound of the game) I would recommend getting the cassette version. This is an in-memory game that can be played with the disk out of the drive. The £5 difference is well in excess of the extra cost of the medium.

Keith Campbell

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