A nice "find-it" game that provides hours of fun for kids
The GoodTroll's Tale
was created in the early Eighties by Sierra On-Line, a company that went on to create high-quality adventure games such as King's Quest
. The game mechanics are similar to Dragon's Keep
, in that the game was programmed using Graphics Magician
and, since it is designed for children, does not require people to type in commands at the prompt.
When the game starts, children explore the land while searching for 16 treasures that were stolen from King Mark, the dwarf king. They also need to keep on eye out for the troll. In each screen, children are presented with 2-3 choices. If the troll happens to appear on the same screen as the treasure they need to get, they have to go back and re-enter that screen until he goes away.
And that's what makes the game exciting. You never know when and where he appears. The way in which lets you get comfortable with the prompts you see before you start the game is a nice touch - Press [Space] to select a command, and then [Return] to execute it. You'll also see a list of treasures you need to collect. If you just jumped into the game, you can press [F7] to bring up that same list.
The game poses a challenge, especially if you only have one treasure left to find. I remember spending 10-15 minutes going around in circles, looking for that one treasure. I gave up only because, having played Dragon's Keep
previously, I knew the ending would be "Congratulations. You have completed Troll's Tale
" or something like that and nothing else.
Making a map of the locations you visit is essential if you don't want to get lost in the game, including all the treasures that are found in each location. That way you can remember what treasure lies in what screen if you decide to play the game a second time.
Each screen and character is designed well, and I always like that the game lets you watch as it draws each object. There is a bit of background music when some events, like the picking up of an object, are executed. You can press [F2] to turn the sound on or off, but I like the background music because it sounds cute.
The Commodore 64 version is the only one that lacks a proper title screen. It is just text only.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Troll's Tale
is designed for children in mind, but it can be played by adults as well. While they try to find treasures, they can also learn directions and the importance in map-making, and they can gaze in awe at the backdrops. All they have to do is get through the game is press two keys instead of entering commands like they would in future Sierra games. Part of the challenge is trying not to run into the troll. When I played this game myself, I managed to get through about ten screens without seeing it. If children manage to find all the treasures, they can play the game again if they want to complete it in a shorter time than they previously did.