Atari User

By Infocom
Atari 400/800/600XL/800XL/130XE

Published in Atari User #5


Once upon a time there was a nasty Queen who, as the law governing fairy stories dictates, had a beautiful and virtuous stepdaughter.

Now the Queen, being the crabby, cantankerous and malicious monarch that she was, decreed that no-one should marry the fair Princess Morning Star until they first proved themselves worthy.

Naturally Queenie devised tests that would ensure that none of the macho knights that sought the Princess's hand would live to tell the tale. One besotted wretch was even sent deep into the Mines of Mendon, there to slay a Grue and drag the carcass up where all might see it.


Now any Infocom adventurer worth his or her salt could ahve told the poor sucker that he'd have been better off staying at home reading a good magazine like Atari User but no - off he went. Darkness soon overcame the hapless knight who, lost without a lamp, was soon devoured by a lurking Grue.

Since nobody ever survived the ordeals, the Princess was condemned to a life of loneliness and died without ever seeing a single knight make it to the finals.

Many kingdoms later, a scholar happened to be rummaging through the ruined tombs of monarchs and chanced across a glowing object amid the dust and decrepitude. It was the Princess' heart, now long since turned to stone but shining brightly with the unfulfilled wishes of a lifetime. And that, dear reader, was how the Magick Stone of Dreams was discovered.


In Wishbringer, from Infocom, you begin nost as a knight in shining armour but as a humble Post Office worker. The game begins atop a hillside in the coastal town of Festeron.

You may wish to explore the town before or after going to the post office - the cinema, cemetery, police station, lighthouse, pleasure wharf, park, library and church are well worth a visit.

Your boss, Mr. Crisp, is not the most pleasant of postmasters - when you first meet him, he's reading other people's postcards - and will tell you in no uncertain terms what he thinks of you.


Your first job is to deliver a letter to the proprietor of Ye Olde Magick Shoppe, way up on a cliff top on the other side of town. You can't afford to hang about too long - the Magick Shoppe shuts at 5pm and the game starts at 3pm.

Getting there can present a problem. The bane of all messengers in the shape of a vicious poodle blocks the main route, and even if you do manage to pacify it the Pooch doesn't stay tranquil for long.

Once at the Magick Shoppe, an old lady who is as fragile-looking and pale "as a faded signature in an antique book" receives your delivered letter.


She is clearly upset when she sees the writing on the envelope: "It has been a long, long time since I last say this handwriting. Hoped I never would again."

The letter turns out to be a ransom note. Somebody signing themself as The Evil One has kidnapped the old lady's cat and wants the Magick Stone in return. The lady is evidently distressed. In a voice breaking with emotion, she whispers: "Many seek to gain the Stone of Dreams yet few can imagine the price. For years I have fought to conceal it from the Evil One and others like her.

"My youth, my home and family... all were forfeited for its protection. And now, now it claims my only companion".


Guess who's about to be entrusted with the Stone and the task of rescuing Chaos the cat? Right first time!

Before you know it, you're thrust out of the shop and into thick fog. When you peer through it, all you can see if the summit of Post Office hill. Only trouble is, there's now a massive tower where the Post Office used to be.

If you make it through the fog without falling to your death off the cliff, you'll find the whole scene has changed. Where birds once sang, vultures now croak. Trolls lurk. Your beloved town now seems to be in the grip of decay and despair.


And if you thought a nip on the trouser seat from a poodle was bad enough, what are you going to think about being chewed up by the enormous hellhound which has usurped the poodle's position?

Fortunately, the Magick Stone - Wishbringer - can help. With it, you can wish for advice, darkness, flight, freedom, luck, foresight and rain. You can only wish once for each, so much choose the occasion with care.

You must also have certain objects in order to make the wish effective. For example, and most appropriately, to wish for darkness you must first have drunk some Grue's milk.


Wishbringer is ranked as an introductory level adventure - the other Infocom gradings in order of difficulty are standard, advanced and expert - which means it is more suitable for the apprentice adventurer. Nevertheless, even seasoned adventurers will find it a joy to play.

The package comes handsomely boxed with glossy manual, map and your very own Wishbringer stone.

Wishbringer is not intended as the sequel to the marvellous Sorcerer and Enchanter as some people thought it might be - that pleasure is still yet to come. Yet, once again, Infocom has come up trumps. Wishbringer is filled with humour, excitement, detail and atmosphere.

It maintains its high standards and keeps Infocom in pole position as the best adventure publishers in the world. Definitely not to be missed.

Bob Chappell

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