Derek Bewster’s Adventure Trail


There’s one review this month which stands proud of all the rest. It’s not that the games received this month are any better or worse than normal, it’s just that this release will have a bigger impact on the adventure scene than all of the rest put together. The program I refer to is The Professional Adventure Writer, or PAW, the familiar name by which it is already known. It may not have as interesting a name as the imaginatively titled Quill, the Gilsoft utility released three years ago, but it is an apt title nonetheless. The program is truly professional, as anyone who has ever attempted to write an adventure will realise the moment they delve into the manuals.

At first sight, £22.95 may seem a lot to ask for any Spectrum software, but the program benefits from the skills which Tim Gilberts’ team acquired while devising The Quill, The Patch, and The Illustrator.

This month’s games list consists of two full-priced products and two cheapies. Those near the tenner mark are Grange Hill from Argus Press Software, an exciting adventure featuring the after-hours antics of the Eastenders acting school, and The Sidney Affair, a more Anglicised name after L’Affaire Vera Cruz from the Gallic software house Infogrames — the new game is in every way a Vera Cruz II. At the cheap and cheerful end are Matt Lucas, a Players product (Players are an Interceptor Micros offshoot) and the mysteriously named Kobyashi Naru, not in fact an African wildlife reserve, but an icon-driven good-looker from the chaps who just kept awake long enough to see off ZZZZ. Although Kobyashi Naru may have some failings, it does introduce an interesting innovation, that of finding the noun to link up with the icon-selected verb by searching through the text description — a new idea which works very well.