Commodore User

By Infocom
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #35


It's a sunny afternoon, and on the last day of your package tour of England, you stroll around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Ducks and swans share the waters of the Round Pond with toy boats launched by small boys. You wander around under the shade of the trees. There is an air of quiet in a little clearing - a brass sundial attracts your attention, and you stroll over to have a closer look at the inscription on its base. Strange - there is something odd about it.

Out in the sunshine, Nannies (or most of them) are pushing their prams, a small boy is plugged into his personal stereo, intent on little else whan the soapy bubbles he is blowing.

An occasional gust of wind disturbs the calm of the afternoon. You look at your watch, and suddenly everything clicks into place in your mind. You panic, running blindly towards Hyde Park.


Time freezes, and as if in slow motion, you look up to see the unimaginable, a nuclear missile, descending as if in slow motion, in exorably towards the park... Yes, it's the Big One. How will you escape its deadly embrace?

You suddenly realise you are in a fictional world, and wipe the sweat from your brow. If this is a story then read on - the author will get you out OK. But wait a minute - this is interactive fiction. In a sense, you are the author, so what will you do? Switch off the computer, break the nightmare by taking a stroll in the park? The Park? No, you will have to live this one out, get yourself and the world out of this mess.

Before the blinding flash, and the inevitable mushroom cloud, you see the shimmering image of a mushroom. In its stem is an open door, and creatures of all sorts are pouring into it. You follow.


Through the mushroom door is a world of toadstools, a flat fantasy of dark, burnt-out images, a no-hope existence where dank odours and dark images depress the mind. In the cemetary you study the inscription on a grave - and realise it's your own.

Within the toadstool world are the gateways to all previous explosions of nuclear bombs. The means to find them, and enter them, is all locked into a puzzle involving the sundial you came across back in Kensington Gardens (remember), and a giant replica you discover in the fantasy world.

Thoroughly researched, this is the first game from Infocom to feature real places, accurately reproduced in Adventure format. These are the locations behind each of the doors. The fantasy world, however, is fictitious, and it is essential to drawn an accurate map before you can hope to use the advantage gained by solving the first major puzzle. When you achieve this, a voice intones: "The Gnomon Conquest", and the game starts to open up.


The puzzles are all very logical, and the Gnomon puzzle in particular is cleverly implemented. You know what you want to do, but it's the mechanism for doing it that calls for some hard thinking. Score is out of 100, and points are awarded for completing certain actions, and obtaining key objects.

Trinity is the game that author, Brian Moriarty, wanted to write when he first became an Infocom storyteller. He started out with something less ambitious and a whole lot funnier - Wishbringer, Trinity is an entirely different kind of game. Although not lacking in humour, which is handled lightly, Trinity is basically a serious and philosophical game.

Using the experience he gained writing Wishbringer, Brian went on to produce this truly complex work. Taken together, the two games represent a versatility in style that demonstrates the remarkable talents of the author.

Written in the Interactive Fiction Plus format, (the only other title in the range is A Mind Forever Voyaging) to play Trinity you must have a computer with a minimum of 128K of memory, so as far as Commodore machines are concerned, the C128 (in 128 mode) is the lowest in the range.

The game gets its title from the codename for the world's first atomic test in the Nevada Desert. It is here, at Los Alamos, where you eventually find yourself, half an hour before the test is due to begin.

Keith Campbell

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