FSF Adventures, £3.00 (48K & 128K versions)
You’re Alaric Blackmoon, a down-and-out mercenary and swordsman. The dreaded Xixons, a nasty bunch of lizards, have returned to attack Hecate after a 200 year leave of absence. You must find the Axe of Kolt and deliver it to King Kelson (a relative of Kolt) as only the Kolt line of heirs can trigger the special powers the axe contains. Thus will Hecate be saved.
The upper window displays the location description. It never scrolls off the top of the screen, so you never have to enter a ‘redescribe’ command just to get the location description back. The lower window is the active area featuring text input, messages and so on. Colours are used intelligently and choice of font is good: Kolt’s text is very readable. There’s a ‘vocab’ command which brings up a screen full of useful words and an ‘info’ command which lists some of Kolt’s useful facilities.
Direct commands are very friendly. ‘Examine’ can be abbreviated to ‘X’, while ‘Get’ can be input as ‘G’. Another nifty feature cuts in if you die: the program asks you if you wish to be re-incarnated — say ’yes’ and the game restarts at the time of your last Ramsave. You can Examine All ‘carried’, ‘worn’ or ‘here’ and there’s an Examine Me command which, unlike many adventures which utilise this option as a gimmick, proves very useful, especially during the later stages.
The imagination and thought that’s gone into the puzzles makes the game enjoyably frustrating — if you know what I mean. You’ll need lateral thinking by the bucketful. Even objects you may think have served their use may be needed for a completely different purpose later on. Axe of Kolt is a little gem — the best adventure I’ve played this year.