ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM MAGAZINE ISSUE 8 — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1984 / PAGE 50


Shortcut Through
Reviewed by Gabe Torok

    Psst! Yes, you there! Tired of trying to get the key out of the crevasse without knowing that the only way is with a magnet? Want to know where to find the magnet? How badly do you want to know how to get into Hades, or perhaps the shortcut to the Treasury of Zork? Do you know what to do when you get into the Control Bubble in Starcross? How long have you puzzled over the helicopter in Planetfall?
    For all Infocom adventures you can purchase Inforcom's InvisiClues that selectively help you to solve the puzzle, or you can selectively cheat (depending on whether you have enough will power to stop reading) by reading the clues to the solving of each adventure in "A Shortcut Through Adventureland Vol. II."
    If you ever cheated on school exams, or wish to add years to your life, I know which you'd choose. You would be one of many to join the ranks of those who may not have cheated on exams, but got so frustrated when they got hung up at a given point in a game, that they're still trying to iron out the teethmarks on the disk. (This process is not recommended)
    Map making is an art lost to very few gamesters. It's only natural! We've mapped the face of this Earth, the ocean bottoms, and any other transient place that stood still long enough to be mapped. But this book already provides the map! It was hard to accept a map to the land of Zork! Why? Because once it's mapped by someone else, it's no longer a land of imagination, it is tangible, almost as real as California. (Any resemblance between the land of Zork and California is purely accidental.) I have, to date, seen four different maps of Zork I, showing all the same rooms, passages, etc., yet none resembled the other.
    I recommend that you make your own maps, fight you own way through the adventures, save your game frequently, and if you REALLY get stuck and are about to disfigure your disk in sheer frustration, pick up your copy of "A Shortcut Through Adventureland", close the curtains, and cheat!
    There are two volumes, both are intended to cut down the need for Vallium;

Volume I covers: Death in the Caribbean by MicroFun, Transylvania by Penguin Software, Inc., Sierra On-Line's Mission Asteroid, Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess, Cranston Manor, Ulysses and the Golden Fleece, Time Zone, and The Dark Crystal, Sirius' Blade of Blackpoole and Escape From Rungistan, Softoon's Sherwood Forest, and Ultrasoft's The Mask of the Sun and Serpent's Star.

Volume II will take you by the hand through to the completion of the following Infocom adventures; Zork I, Zork II, Zork III, Enchanter, Starcross, Suspended, Planetfall, Deadline, The Witness, and Infidel ...

The Book of ATARI
Reviewed by Peter Ellison

    This book, reviewing programs up to 1984, is a good reference book for software. It reviews nineteen different categories from Fantasy & Role Playing Games to Business related software for the Atari computer, 5200 and 2600 game systems.
    All programs that are reviewed must go through a series of checks such as difficulty or ease of use, value for money, graphics quality, etc. They are rated by a letter grade, where A + means superior and F means unacceptable. This all makes sense until you analyze the grading. I must admit there are many poor programs but I believe this book grades many good ones badly. There is an inconsistency that I think happens because of the large number of reviewers working on staff. There are 43 in total, not count ing numerous Editors. Some of their ratings were right on, but others did not correspond to the nature or quality of the games being rated.
    There has to be more consistency to make a book like this effective. It is good if you just want to see what type of software is available and what the programs are like, but "Don't take the ratings too seriously. "