Eric the Unready. (Legend Entertainment computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Scott A. May
Fantasy role-players get a healthy kick in the pants from Eric the Unready, a delightfully twisted text-and-graphic adventure. Packed with thrills, spills, and outrageous humor, the game is without a doubt Legend Entertainment's best effort yet.
Step inside the tarnished armor of young Eric, a fledgling Knight of the Rhomboid Table. Your task is to find Princess Lorealle, abducted by her wicked stepmother, Queen Morgana, and her lover, Sir Pectoral. Outwardly, the story follows the standard fantasy formula, replete with magic, puzzles, monsters, and miniquests. Hack away the slick veneer, however, and you'll enter a role-playing realm turned upside down and tickled till it begs for mercy. From movies and television to classic computer games, few pop culture icons escape the swath of playful ribbing.
Designer Bob Bates and programmer Duane Beck have fashioned one of the slickest system architectures in the genre. Everything needed to communicate, manipulate, and monitor your progress is within easy reach on the high-resolution windowed interface. You can either type full sentences into the story window or use the mouse to assemble commands from the scrolling verb, preposition, and object menus. Other features include one-touch command buttons to display your inventory, status, and score; call up online help; run automapping; and toggle the graphics window.
Bates's text parser is intelligent, intuitive, and excruciatingly funny. Puzzles are of average difficulty, but they're varied enough to sustain long-term interest. Graphics are handsomely drawn and feature an exciting mix of windowed and full-screen animated art. Almost all pictures are interactive, inviting realtime participation in a wide range of settings and activities. Tastefully understated music and sound effects lend a rich air of elegance to the overall silliness of the game.
If you have a CD-ROM drive, check out the new CD version of Eric the Unready, which takes the same hilarious story and adds cinematic animation, stunning hi-res Super VGA graphics, and an awesome soundtrack. Princess Lorealle the Worthy has never looked so good. Also, the CD-ROM version uses only 3MB on your hard drive, a welcome benefit in the world of huge games.
Perfectly realized from concept to execution, Eric the Unready is a rare treat that's not to be missed.