Classic Computer Magazine Archive PROGRAM LISTING: 90-04/GOLDMINE.DOC

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William A. Austin                  About 2,869 words
1396 West Troy                     First Serial Rights
Ferndale, Michigan,  48020         c 1987 William A. Austin
(313) 547-1581

The Gold Mine and the Princess
William A. Austin


You are a lowly native in the impoverished village of Ferndalia.  From the first moment you saw her, you have been madly, hopelessly, eternally in love with the king's daughter.  Now, you have but one goal in life, and that is to wed this beautiful princess.
The king is agreeable to the wedding, but only if an adequate dowry is paid for his only daughters hand in marriage.
But, you are penniless...poor...poverty-stricken!
In Ferndalia, the medium of exchange is cattle, so you must acquire a herd large enough to satisfy the kings greed.  The only way you can amass a herd a cattle is by purchasing them at the cattle sale.  But, how do you obtain the gold necessary to do this?
There is but one source of wealth adequate enough to win the princess.  The ancient, abandoned gold mine not far from the village.  There is still gold in those shafts, just waiting for the intrepid miner to dig it out.
However, there is a very good reason why the mine was abandoned while there was still ore to be dug.  Years ago, a fearsome beast suddenly appeared in the deeps of the tunnels, and began terrorizing the hapless miners until none would return.
No one is certain if the Beast of the Deep is still in the mine, but it is known that the years of abandonment have resulted in dangerous disrepair and other deadly denizens have taken up residence, including the fearsome shaft wolves who have moved in and now live in the desolate shafts and dark tunnels.
And, what of the princess?  Her feelings are well known.  She has said she would wed any man that would demonstrate profound love for her.  How to do this?  In an undeniable demonstration of bravery, sincerity and chutzpah by tolling the Bell of Wondrous Things!
This legendary Bell is rumoured to be located somewhere deep, deep within the network of caves beneath the mine itself.
Oh, yes...  There is one other thing!  She wants a diamond ring!  How could you afford such a costly bauble?  You could hope for magical means to gain one, but the wait for the vagaries of sorcery could take forever.  She points out to you that one is reportedly hidden in a canvas bag deep within the mine.  You could go there and get it, couldn't you?
No matter how large your herd, the king will refuse to give you an audience until you have met the demands of the princess!  You must first toll the bell, and give her the diamond ring before he will give consideration to your proposal of marriage.
Few foolhardy souls venture into the mine now, and even fewer return.
But, you love the Princess, and there is no other route to her nuptial bower...

To enter the Gold Mine, you must have an 8-bit Atari computer with BASIC installed, at least 48K capacity, a disk drive and a sincere willingness to risk all to win the princess.
Of course, it wouldn't hurt to have a deep and abiding love of cows in large numbers.

The game is divided into two playing arenas, the village and the interior of the mine.  When in the village, there is an on-screen menu to guide you.  Beneath the surface, the action is command driven.  The commands are initialized and easy to remember after a few games.  Enter an "H" at any time that you are in the mine to get the HELP screen to assist you in your decisions.
Only a single key stroke is necessary to trigger the action, and there is no need for depressing the ����� key.  The only exception to this is when you are at the cattle auction.  After deciding upon how many you wish to buy or sell, use the ����� key to submit your bid.  To exit the sale, if you decide the current prices are not to your liking, simply offer a bid of zero.  When cattle prices are high, you may elect to not purchase any, but instead take advantage of inflated prices by selling some of your herd.  If you decline to purchase, buyers may offer to buy some of your herd.  If used judiciously, this type of speculation may help you build your fortune a little quicker.
The village also offers you the opportunity to rest.  This will result injuries being healed, and the effects of poisoning to be lessened, although usually one rest period will not cure you completely.  It will also reduce the effects of rat-bite fever, although it will not cure it.
You may also inspect your herd if you choose to.  You'll find that many things can occur, ranging from births adding to the number of cows you own, to rustlers plying their thieving trade.  It will also calculate the current market value of your herd.
You will have the chance to stash away in a secure hiding place any coins that you may still have after the cattle sale.  It is wise to do this before returning to the mine.  Not everyone in the village is a nice guy, and marauding thieves along the path to the mine delight in sharing your wealth if you are careless enough to carry gold with you when head back to search for more.
The game offers a rich variety of options, be certain you are selecting the wisest course of action with your final decision!!

There are many possible encounters within the mines interior.
There are quite a number of different creatures living within these dark halls and byways.  Some are benign, others rather malevolent.  Some can be both, dependent upon circumstances.  It is up to you to determine which is which.  Among others, there are the feared Shaft Wolves.  They are huge, jet-black canines with eyes like pools of glittering ink and teeth honed to razor sharpness.  There are rats and bats and spiders and snakes and nameless slimy things.  All of the lovable types of beasties most likely to be encountered in dark, damp, musty places.
And...possibly still alive...the Beast of the Deep.
There are many legendary treasures believed to exist within the mine's passages.  Village folklore says that there was once a marvelous wizard held captive in the mine and forced to create wondrous tools and artifacts;   Golden pick-axes, magical rings and many others.  There also is a disturbing tale that says this wizard is still alive, but driven mad by his long confinement, and prone to cast chaotic spells upon anyone he may now encounter.
The early miners feared the Shaft Wolves so much that they set many traps for them.  These traps, and the general disrepair of the mine create other rather interesting risks...
Even in days when the ore was being mined heavily, leaking turbulent gases were a major health hazard.  There is no reason to believe these gases have dissipated.
All in all, an interesting place to spend your work day...
The beginning character is quite weak, but every action taken adds to his strength.  At the game's inception, you will not be able to remain very long in the cave before you begin to experience breathing problems.  You'll also find that you will not be able to carry very much gold ore.  However, as you toughen and get into better condition, these will no longer be problems.
Your chances of finding gold, and the amount you may uncover, depends upon how deep you are.  The further you penetrate into the mine's shaft, the more likely you are to find ore, and the larger the amount that will be gained.  If you look for gold at a given level, and do not find any, this does not mean that none is there.  Repeated searching may result in success.
There are a variety of monsters you may encounter, and a dazzling array of treasures you may acquire.  Be conscious of the game changes as a result of these variables, for the consequences can seriously effect your chance of success in your romantic mission.
As an example, it is possible to contract the dreaded Rat-Bite Fever from the attack of some, but not all, rodents.  Although the disease seems to hang on forever, and seriously curtails your ability to mine ore, it can be cured in several different ways.  It is up to your miner to discover these methods.
There are a number of different fungal growths and leaking gases in the mine.  These, also, can have a profound effect upon your life-span.  One of the gases will cause you to stagger in a daze until your mind clears.  If you wander in the wrong direction while under the influence of the gas, it can prove embarrassing.  The fungus growth, if eaten, can cause several effects, including a mind-bending instant trip to the cave bottom!
The magic items will take effect immediately upon possession.  Their abilities include, among other things, protection against falling into traps and old shafts.
The fabled Bell of Wondrous Things was cast by the Wizard, and, when rung will cause any number of things to occur.  The magic of the bell is so powerful that it needs time to recharge between peals, and can not be immediately rerung.
Be cautious in your meeting with the beasts of the mine.  While most will nibble upon you, others will protect you, or even sniff out gold for you!
Keep in mind that, when offering your herd to the king, he will consider the current market value of the collection, and not just how many head are there.  It makes sense to buy when cows are cheap, but wait to make your offer until the prices are high!  Remember, if you bother the king with repeated pleas to accept your cows, or insult him with a small offering, he can became rather irritable.
Many of these activities can result in some bodily damage.  It is wise to periodically check your physical condition (input the letter "C") and not work if you're severely wounded or feeling the effects of poison in your system.  Regular rest in the village will solve these problems and permit recuperation.
In short, the world of the Gold mine is a complex one, with many shadings and subtleties as well as dangers.  Enjoy it, and "Go further down, Digger, further down!"

Your may go (U)p or (D)own, climb out of a (T)rap, search for (G)old, (R)ing a bell, (O)pen a chest, (E)mpty a sack, search your (P)ack, see how heavy your gold (L)oad is, (C)heck your physical condition or decide (Y)es or (N)o.D:GOLDMINE.D02

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