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Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

With a name like Spoof you might guess this piece of software represents a lampoon on the software scene. On playing, it reveals a sometimes biting satire on the fantasy world in general and the text adventure in particular. Unfortunately, much of the humour will be lost on all but the most experienced, and literally die-hard, adventures as this adventure proved most difficult without some guidance. As in most comedies there is a fall guy. You help Yaw Ning (The Tired One) to find Spoof the Magic Dragon, despite the whole world being set against him.

You begin in the village square and enter the store to collect your adventure kit and sword to find that the shopkeeper is really a doctor. Who can this doctor be? We learn he is stranded on this tiny planet because he has lost a vital component from his Time Machine. Thus start the Chronicles of Yaw, Part 5387, with the first quest of many to find and return the part.

Moving south past a Keep Out sign you find a green slimy frog sitting amongst the folds of a beautiful dress. Once you've kissed the frog you have nine moves to get back to Grimy Gerty's which lies nine moves somewhere to the north. This may now seem straightforward but what might you have done had you not read what you must do in this column? Luckily my hair is firmly attached to my scalp and I managed to contact Runesoft.

A little further on you find some wart remover but don 't drink it - it's one of the items needed to fulfil the quest from the three headed vulture; others are the dress of a princess, a magic rope and the ring from a pig's nose. This last is wonderfully and amusingly set up since no sooner do you learn of your need for a pig's ring than you see a conspicuous sign pointing to a pig's cave. These ever-so easy occasions comically contrast with the utter lack of mercy shown should you make a wrong move with any of the puzzles. To this extent not only is the vocabulary unfriendly but so is the program as a whole, One slip or inappropriate input and you're dead! And it is no use matching satire with silliness. On requesting HELP I was told to panic. I input PANIC to meet IN A BLIND PANIC I THRASH ABOUT, LOPPING MY HEAD OFF WITH A SWORD AS I DO SO with the inevitable result I AM DEAD.

One very cute point is you can panic to your heart's content - but only before you find the sword.

At the Bogg Inn you find yourself with yet another quest - the place is riddled with them - this time to get Lancelot's armour. It may show how pedantic this adventure can be to say that you can only enter the inn once (so wandering around aimlessly is not a good idea) and you TALK to the locals in the bar but don't SAY anything, this last being the more usual entry for communication.

One of the few places you can examine anything is within the fairy ring and the only thing you can examine here is the goblet whereupon you drop it. If you stick the pieces back together again you have, in the vernacular of another source of satire, something completely different. This may be the time to mention that you' ll need the Holy Grail before you can embark on the barge.

Humour necessarily pervades each and every place 1 name with the Obligatory Mountains, Lake Necessary and Necessary Forest. In the Lake I Necessary monster's lair you are told THERE'S A FUZZY PHOTOGRAPH OF WHAT MAY, OR MAY NOT BE, A HUMAN BEING ON THE WALL. The monster busies himself eating half a cat and your left arm and if you try to swim away the monster kills and devours you. The last thing you see are half a cat, a bit of owl and your left arm swilling around the contents of the monster's stomach.

Spoof is a Quilled adventure and therefore has an almost instantaneous response time. As a satirical piece it is often amusing and would suit a jaded and very experienced adventurer.


Difficulty: Very difficult
Graphics: Occasional, things like signs
Presentation: White text on blue. Good
Input facility: Verb/noun
Response: Very fast
Overall: Good.