After one year of development, Wintersoft are proud to present the most sophisticated game ever created for the Dragon 32. Written 100% in machine code, RETURN OF THE RING is an astounding multi program blend of superb high resolution colour graphics and advanced routines that allow you to communicated with your computer in complete sentences. You will face challenges and excitement as you and your Ringworld companions travel a mysterious planet and brave the dangers of an amazing three-dimensional forest moon. An epic adventure unrivalled for its wealth of detail and diversity.
Congratulations! You are about to play the most sophisticated game program yet written for the Dragon 32.
In RETURN OF THE RING, you become Ringbearer, wielder of the Four Bright Rings, who has rested the awesome Ring of Darkness from its guardian Gron, servant of the Evil Sage. You will be able to roam freely through a dangerous and exciting world unrivalled for its wealth of detail and diversity. You will meet friends and enemies both old and new, and face challenges that only your personal wit and ingenuity may overcome.
Charged with returning the Dark Ring to its creators, the Masters of Ringworld, you find yourself transported to a mysterious city on a decaying planet, the last vestiage of a once great civilisation. Communiation with planet Ringworld has been broken. You do not know why the Masters have abandoned you here, but you sense that the forces of the Evil Sage are at work...
Further details about the Saga of the Ring are found in THE RING OF DARKNESS, but you need not have played this game to enjoy RETURN OF THE RING.
The Game Cassette
Since RETURN OF THE RING is too large to fit into just one program it has been written in several, all 100% machine code files. Consequently the two sides of the cassette are different and have been labelled Start Side and Game Side. At times during play, usually when entering or returning from the forest moon, the computer will need to load another program. Leave the Game Cassette in your cassette player unless asked otherwise. Clear instructions will be given on the screen, and all programs load and run automatically.
Starting The Game
Each time you start play, whether to continue a game that you have saved on a blank cassette or to begin a new character, you must first load the Start Side with the command CLOADM, the follow the instructions given by the computer. If you have been using your computer, switch it off then on again before loading.
Like THE RING OF DARKNESS, RETURN OF THE RING allows you to set up your own character by attributing points to various personality traits, and by selecting from a choice of character types and skills. The choices you make will greatly affect the course of your environment.
Communicating With The Computer
The computer provides your view of the world in pictures, moving graphics and words, whilst the sophisticated "WordTel" system incorporated in the program allows you to tell the computer what to do in complete sentences, unlike the traditional "verb noun" format found in most adventures. For example, the program will understand instructions such as: GIVE THE SACK OF MAGIC GRAIN TO MERAK THE ELF
Punctuation and adjectives such as A, THE, THIS and THAT can be used freely.
Whilst the computer will normally understand abbreviated words, it is recommended that you type in the whole word, or at least the first four letters, to be sure of the desired response. For instance, would the command TAKE THE DA mean to take the DARK RING or the DAGGER? The computer will make a choice - but it may not be the one you had in mind!
Each sentence must have a verb: e.g. GIVE, TAKE, SAY and so on. A complete list of the verbs recognised by the computer is given at the end of these instructions. Some special verbs, such as EAT, SAVE and ACTIVATE, are single word commands.
The main limitation imposed is that each sentence may only contain one instruction. To maintain the flow of the game the use of conjunctions such as AND is not allowed. You will have just one move between each move made by all the other computer-controlled creatures.
The question mark prompt means the program is awaiting your input. If the computer does not understand your sentence it will respond with an appropriate message.
The Screen Display
All displays appear in high resolution colour, even the words, which are printed in upper and lower case by Wintersoft's high-speed text generator. You will encounter several different types of screen display, according to the stage of the game you are playing. Most of these are comprised of two independent 'windows'. The upper half of the screen is normally a 'graphics window' in which you see displays of your surroundings in pictures and scrolling graphics. The bottom half of the screen is the 'text window' in which all messages, descriptions and input will appear.
Sometimes your actions may cause more text to be printed than can fit into the text window, so to give you time to read it there is a measured pause after each paragraph. The length of this pause may be adjusted by the command LAG. Enter a number between 0 and 15; the larger the number the longer the 'lag time'.
Many locations will be accompanied by a special picture, which will be drawn each time you enter the location. To speed things up, you can 'switch off' the picture generator with the command NOVIEW (use VIEW to switch it on again), but don't miss any good pictures!
Finding Your Way Around
There are two methods of moving yourself around, dependent on the game stage:
The arrow keys will move your character north, south, east and west whenever you are in a moving graphics style locaation such as the scrolling planet map or the three-dimensional forest.
The GO Command
In the text-style locations where your choice of exit is described in words (e.g. EXITS LEAD NORTH, SOUTH, WEST) you must enter the desired direction as a sentence. The sentences GO NORTH, NORTH, or simply N, would all suffice to take you on the north exit.
In the course of your travels you will come across strange machines called Transportals. These remnants of a past civilisation are matter transmitters leading to new locations. To use a transportal enter the command ACTIVATE. If you use a pass to enter a location via a Transportal, be sure to bring that pass out with you.
Dealing With Other Characters
The planet and its moon are inhabited by a great many strange creatures, all of which possess their own independent characteristics; some friendly, and some definitely hostile.
To deal with most characters you will use the command TRANSACT. In a shop, for instance, the sentence TRANSACT WITH THE SHOPKEEPER, will tell the shopkeeper that you wish to buy or sell something.
Not all of the mutant creatures you meet on your travels will be aggressive (unless you are!), and can also be TRANSACTed with. On the scrolling planet map, your character appears in the centre of the display and mutants will appear to the north, south, east and west of your position. Since you may encounter more than one mutant at once you must always tell the computer the compass position of the mutant you wish to transact with. For example:
TRANSACT WITH THE MUTANT TO THE SOUTH
The same rule appplies to attacking mutants on the planet map:
ATTACK THE MUTANT TO THE EAST
On the forest moon you can only TRANSACT or ATTACK creatures that are directly in front of you, in your line of vision, so you will not need to specify a direction.
You will also meet a number of very special computer-controlled characters who, using a sophisticated program called 'Actel', are able to do almost anything you can, often of their own free will. Several of these Actel Characters will join you as companions in your quest.
To communicate with Actel Characters the command SAY is used. For example, if you had a companion called Merak The Elk, you could:
SAY TO MERAK "GET THE LASER LANCE"
SAY TO THE ELF "GIVE THE LASER TO THE GREY DWARF"
SAY TO MERAK "ATTACK NORTH"
In fact, most of the commands you can use on yourself can be given to an Actel Character, providing it is willing to co-operate.
The Objects In The Game
Most of the many objects found in RETURN OF THE RING may be picked up or put down with the commands GET, TAKE and DROP. Objects dropped on the scrolling map will appear as boxes. After positioning your character over a box you may pick it up with the single command TAKE. The command EXAMINE will print the contents of a box.
You may obtain a list of all the items you are carrying at any time with the single word command INVENTORY.
Actel characters may also carry objects. To list the items carried by a character you must include that character's name in the sentence. For example:
INVENTORY MERAK THE ELF
If you wish to use an object in your possession you must tell the computer so:
USE THE DAGGER
The command READY serves the same purpose, so you could have said
READY THE DAGGER
The USE command will not always have an immediate result. For instance, whenever you USE or READY a weapon you are in fact making that weapon ready for your future ATTACK commands.
Many items require a power source before they will function, and the USE command has the effect of switching them on. To save power it is important to switch off the energy items you no longer wish to use with the command STOP USING. For example:
STOP USING THE LASER LANCE
It is essential to keep your stamina points as high as possible, which you do by eating food units. After entering the single word command EAT, the computer will ask how many units you wish to eat. Each food unit eaten given you stamina points, but as in the real world, there is a maximum to the amount of stamina you can gain by eating, which is shown as Maximum Stamina in your status listing. Food eaten whilst stamina is at maximum is actually wasted.
If your stamina falls to zero you will die, and one of your valuable Regenerations will be used up. If ever you use all your regenerations you will have to start a new character.
To make real progress in RETURN OF THE RING it is important to build up Experience Points. The more Experience you have, the higher your Gestalt Level will rise.
@: This very useful command has the effect of repeating the last sentence entered.
STATUS: This command will give a complete listing of your current status, including amounts of Experience Points, Stamina Points and Food Units. It is not possible to list the status of an Actel character.
BOARD: Allows you to board an item of transport on the map. First position yourself over the item.
EXIT: This command allows you to stop using an item of transport.
SAVE: It is very unlikely that you will complete RETURN OF THE RING in a single sitting. The command SAVE allows you to record the current state of your adventure onto your own blank tape. This is also useful to save a well progressed game in case you are killed.
LOAD: This command allows you to reload a previously-saved character during play. Both the LOAD and the SAVE command can only be used whilst you are on the planet map.
LOOK: In the text style locations this command will give a description of your surroundings, including exits and visible objects, and a picture if there is one (providing the VIEW is on).
HOLD: Suspends the game until you press any key.
RETURN OF THE RING is played in real time, which means the computer will not wait forever for you to give it a command. If, after twenty seconds, you have done nothing, you will see the message:
and all the other creatures will have their turn.
Pressing ENTER without typing a sentence will force time to pass.
NORTH (N), SOUTH (S), EAST (E), WEST (W)
The arrow keys move your character in moving graphics locations.
ACTIVATE, ATTACK (A), BOARD, DROP, EXAMINE, EAT, EXIT, GET, GIVE, GO, READY, SAY, STOP, TAKE (T), TRANSACT, UNREADY, USE