THE GUILD OF THIEVES
by Magnetic Scrolls
P.O. Box 49
Ramsey, NJ 07446
Low resolution $44.95
by Bill Kunkel
The Guild of Thieves is the eagerly awaited followup to Magnetic Scroll's original ST adventure, the Pawn. The Pawn broke new ground in text and illustrated-text adventures with its state-of-the-art parser and beautifully rendered pull-down illustrations.
Guild of Thieves, though not a sequel, reprises the parser (so sophisticated it can comprehend one word used many times in a single sentence, as in: "Plant the plant in the planter."); the setting (Kerovnia) and those breathtaking color "plates."
Unfortunately, the game's pilot is even flimsier than its predecessor's. The player, it seems, is up for membership in the notorious Kerovnian Guild of Thieves. The Guild doesn't accept just any old Tom, Dick or Thrush-whacker into its larcenous bosom, so the player must prove himself in matters of skill, stealth and treachery.
As the game opens, the player is sitting in a rowboat on a quiet, mist-speckled lake alongside a taskmaster from the Guild. The taskmaster supplies the player with a series of challenges—looting a mansion, despoiling and robbing a grave, etc.—which must be met to be accepted into the Guild.
Guild of Thieves uses the kind of nonstory line common to role-playing adventures. But unlike such games, the user does not see his surrogate develop and enhance characteristics and skills (strength, experience, spells, etc.) In other words, for an adventure, it's unusually thin. The player goes somewhere, steals something and returns with it. The taskmaster then tells him to steal something else, and so on until the requisite number of items have been pilfered.
On the plus side, the puzzles are often delightful and the illustrations are absolutely eye-popping. The mansion is particularly impressive, with its old-fashioned drawbridge, moat and billiard room. Each detail is rendered with incredible delicacy, from the soft brush-velvet of the overhead lamps to the burnished leather of the elegant couch.
One can only hope that in future fames Magnetic Scrolls will lavish half as much care on the story line as it does on the artwork.