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The Edge
1985
Adventure: Graphic
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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26
Chris Bourne

This is one of those games for which you should pack a case, ready for a journey of discovery. You know the sort, the instructions are so vague that you feel you may as well write some of your own.

Which keys to press and how, is well explained the confusion surrounds the why. The game is set in the future, in a time when the Governments of the World have taken leave of their senses. Crazy laws are in force: by law, to preserve World Unity, all cities are called New York. The World Government also has a bee in its bonnet about spirits. Not the alcoholic spirits that were subject to some equally confused statutes in America, no, this Government wants to impose prohibition on spooks. So, here you are in New York, setting out on your rounds as a sort of futuristic ghost hunter.

The Edge have kindly provided a keyboard overlay on the reverse of the instructions. (Well it will be an overlay if you have the rubber-keyed job and a sharp knife with which to cut a few holes). Twenty three commands can be invoked by a single key press, so even if you don't fancy cutting holes in your inlay, don't lose it! Glancing at the commands at your disposal will add to your initial confusion. Commands such as 'Eat', 'Take' and 'Examine' are fine. Coming to terms with some of the other commands: 'Connect ', 'Throw' or even 'Swear' for example, will take a little more time.

At the start of the game, the main display shows you as a little white character complete with baseball cap, against a backdrop of the New York skyline. Four indicators reside under this main screen. Two bar graphs show your fatigue and sanity levels. The occasional nap reduces fatigue, while avoiding stressful events, such as meetings with ghosts and unpleasant dogs helps preserve sanity. A ghost detector and score indicator are also provided, and an 'examine' facility allows you to take a closer look at objects you've collected.

Your character can move to the left or right, and as you do so the backdrop scrolls behind you. Occasionally you will come across doorways or entrances to subways it's up to you to find out which are of any value not all the buildings can be entered.

Trying to work out just what you need to pick up and what you can leave behind is an early problem. You can only carry six objects at once, and will have to face some tough decisions. The game requires a little more than you just having the correct object at the right place, however.

A lot of objects have obvious uses, a bone for an awkward dog for example. But there are more difficult connections to make (that was a clue). More often than not the objects themselves will give you an indication as to how they can be used.

Similarly, the subways can be used to great advantage once you have learnt how to make them work. You have got plenty of time to solve these problems, your only difficulty is keeping your sanity level out of the red ... so try not to tangle with the ghosts until you are suitably equipped, otherwise you may end up more ASHen than you already appear to be (that was another little clue). One further point for those who get well into the game, The Edge assure us that there IS a mouse. If you don't believe them, then you are looking in the wrong places.

CRITICISM

'I can't agree that the graphics are 3D as The Edge claim them to be, but having said that, they aren't too bad, except for the profusion of mucky colour clashes. That's The Spirit is an adventure, so the graphics are really a boon, as is the mode of play. Don't expect to finish this game is a couple of hours - even by adventure standards it takes some sussing out. All in all it's a very acceptable game, being witty and fairly easy to get into.'

'I was a little apprehensive about playing this game, with some thirty control keys staring up at me. Most of the time, though, you only need the move left and right keys - the others are only used occasionally for picking up, using or examining objects etc. In some ways, this game has the same feel as Dun Darach although the graphics are not nearly as good. The similarity lies in having this bloke ambling around some scenery trying to get on in life, and having to solve a number of problems in order to do so. To begin with, I thought this was going to be an uncompelling game, but after five hours of solid play my curiosity wins, I want to find out how to get further on.'

'This game is superb, I love the idea of the game and love playing it. An adventure that has full scale moving graphics with powerful yet easy to use input should not be missed. There are a lot of witty elements, the use of the 'swear' command induces panic for a while, and inputting 'C5 ' into the computer which appears in the game is also amusing. The keyboard overlay is very useful and makes the game a joy to play. I have a great deal of respect for adventure games but have always felt that their appeal was limited by the way they interacted with the player. The Edge have produced a game that adds to the trend of making adventures more accessible.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: as per overlay
Joystick: Protek and Kempston
Keyboard play: complex but a good aide memoir provided
Use of colour: lots used but plenty of clashes
Graphics: quite detailed and add much to the game
Sound: a good range of spot effects
Skill levels: one
Lives: one
Screens: N/A
General Rating: Well above average.

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Screenshot Text

What's that ghost doing by that lamp post? Is it a canine spook? While taking a close look at the key you've collected (lower half of the screen) you beat a hasty retreat, stage right in THAT'S THE SPIRIT.

With you pet QL in tow, it seems, you try to catch a train in THAT'S THE SPIRIT, a complex graphical adventure which requires you to use an overlay for your 'umble keyboard.