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Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (41146)
Written on  :  Dec 06, 2019
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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A classic game from Scott Adams receives an excellent remake

The Good

Scott Adams was the first person to create an adventure game for a microcomputer, and one of the first games that he created was Adventureland, which started life on the Tandy TRS-80. It was inspired by Will Crowther’s Colossal Cave Adventure. Both games used a text parser, so it was up to the game player to use their own imagination. Later, Adams version was remade, incorporating graphics and various other features, under his “Scott Adams' Graphic Adventures” label.

I am reviewing one of these remakes for the Commodore 64, and the first thing I noticed is that it gives you the ability to customize the colors. The default is white text on a gray background, but there is a variety of colors you can choose from, including three different shades. The game lets you preview color combinations, and you can always change your mind. Before this happens, information about adventure games is displayed in case that there are users who have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

The object of Adventureland is to collect 13 treasure scattered around the gameworld and return them to a specific place. To get through the adventure, the player is required to enter commands in the form of a “verb noun” sequence, and directions can be taken simply by entering its abbreviation (S for south, for instance). Gameplay defaults to graphic mode, where you see an well-designed illustration near the top-center of the screen, followed by a description of the scene and the prompt below it. Pressing [Enter] causes the game to switch to text-only mode where additional information is displayed. This is useful for those that already played Colossal Cave and want a bit of nostalgia.

The game offers a save feature, allowing you to record your progress on disk so that you can come back to it later. This is especially useful if you are not sure whether your next action within the game would lead to your death. The deaths themselves are both unexpected and unique. I wanted to find out what would happen if I rubbed the genie’s lamp one too many times. As a result, not only did he steal one of my treasures, accusing me of being greedy, but I was jettisoned into “limbo” where three doors were before me. Choosing the correct door would return me to the starting position but with my whole inventory, otherwise I met a demon and the game restarts.

With any adventure game, it is important to map where you go. The game world is quite big, and there can be a lot of traveling all at once. On my first try through the game, I kept going around in circles and I had to consult a walkthrough to get where I wanted to be.

The Bad

Like other early adventure games of its type, Adventureland is unwinnable if you do something without doing a critical task first unless you save your game first before trying. Case in point: you are supposed to get some African bees near the end of the game, but they suffocate and disappear if you don’t put them in an empty bottle first.

The Bottom Line

Adventureland is a good adventure game by Scott Adams in which the object is to collect 13 treasures scattered across the land and bring them back to a specific place. Each of his adventures he developed over the years received remakes, all of them boasting good graphics and other unique features. The highlight of this one is the ability to save your game before trying out the unique death scenes. Two thumbs up.