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Gnome Ranger has improved on Knight Orc
in the puzzle stake (more logical and enjoyable), the atmosphere (more enjoyable and less confusing), the plot (more comprehensible), and the characters (more interesting). You can't ask for much more than that, except that perhaps Level 9's next game could give us more of the same. It would be good to see a slightly bigger game, in terms of location and puzzles, but for the time being this will do gnicely.
It's not the best thing Level 9's ever done. It's not any major step forward for adventure game technology, either.
But it's great to have them back!
The first part of Gnome Ranger is meant to be a fairly easy introduction to the game and the adventure system, before things hot up later on, but I'm still finding my way round and slowly building up my score... and enjoying every minute of it. Speccy owners are lucky, as Gnome Ranger's a better game than Knight Orc, and gives you a chance to at last sample Level 9's new open-plan adventures. For 48K owners who've been deprived of The Pawn, it should be an essential purchase as it gives you the flavour of the size and scope of disk-based games.