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antstream
Written by  :  Patrick Smadbeck (4)
Written on  :  Jan 22, 2021
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars
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Summary

Well-written, but short with a terrible parser

The Good

Given the game is written by the author of many of the Bond books it is no surprise that it gives an authentic-feeling Bond adventure using the skeleton of the filming script from A View to a Kill. If you enjoyed the campy silliness of the later Moore films this is very much in line with that atmosphere.

A few decent text adventure puzzles as well, which I will not spoil here.

The Bad

The biggest issue with the game (and I have a feeling most of the Angelsoft text adventures, although I haven't played the others) is the parser. The parser is too rough to handle the sentences the game encourages you to type, obviously just picking out the first verb and noun and spitting out nonsense when those don't match expected results. The game also relies on conversations that would have been considered beyond even the excellent parser Zork provided, but then gives little feedback as to what might be going wrong. And finally, the game relies on a few specific verbs (EXAMINE ... CAREFULLY and FLIP being the two most important), which are only explained in the manual which is difficult to find online, and even then used somewhat incoherently. It is crucial you do not misspell things (especially names) because it won't inform you of the issue in any way.

A second minor issue is just how short the game is. If you have a handle on the parser it would only reasonably take 2-3 hours to finish the game at most. It compensates a bit by easily allowing the player to get to the endgame without several important items if you aren't careful, but then replaying the entire game only takes a matter of minutes.

The Bottom Line

If you just watched the movie it is a fun game that builds off of that experience in a way, but be prepared to be frustrated by the basic parser and odd gameplay quirks. Given it only takes a few hours though, it is an interesting contrast to the more robust Infocom games for experienced text adventure players. I would not recommend it as an introduction to the medium though.

antstream