IFReviewed by Bob Davis on 2006-05-06 02:06
Reviewer’s Rating: 7
Difficulty Rating: 8
Extra Commands: Standard 6.0 commands – STEALTH, SEEK, WEAR, FILL
Special Features: None
Playing Time: 3-5 hours
Description: You are anticipating a few mugs of ale and a soft bed after returning from a difficult adventure. You sit down at your usual table and then become aware of the strange absence of conversation.
Most of the patrons, although seemingly immersed in their cups, are staring at you. The rest are looking at a small, wizened man half-hidden in a dim corner. The dark robe and high collar indicate that the man is a sorcerer and the single spiral worked in silver threat is the badge of apprenticeship. Eyes quickly turn away as the muffled figure approaches you and silently sits down. A hand, dark with age, rises and slowly pushes back the cowl. The wrinkled, bald head contains a pair of cold, black eyes and a near-lipless mouth.
“I am Kulath, apprentice to the magician Mevtrelek A’Haet. He has sent me here to engage the services of an experienced adventurer. I have had little success with those you see here. All say you would be the most appropriate choice.”
Though you silently curse the generous recommendations of the others, the name of one of Eamon’s most powerful mages excites your curiosity, and, of course, your well-known avarice. You nod at the wizard to continue.
“Recently, strange disturbances in the usual order of things have occurred. The most timid of animals attack those who come near. Fields are ravaged at night and dogs howl during the day. Lightning appears in cloudless skies and thunder is heard beneath the ground.
“Mevtrelek was attempting to determine the cause of this chaos when his life-orb disappeared in a flash of red light. He was able to trace its location before coming too weak to continue.”
“Now bedridden, he is losing strength day-by-day and will surely fail soon unless the orb is returned. My presence is needed here to care for Mevtrelek else I would go. We are prepared to pay the successful adventurer 5000 GP upon his return!”
Kulath leads you to his nearby rooms and carefully locks the door. He chants a short incantation and the air becomes hazy.
“Just a de-scrying spell to confuse the sight of any enemies. Now, take this amulet and wear it. Then quickly memorize the spells in this book.” The small thin book contains but two spells: STEALTH and SEEK. You have no trouble learning them but there is no explanation to their effects.
You lay the book down and turn to Kulath to ask him about the spells when he shouts, “Now!”, and his room disappears. A moment of disorientation and you reappear in the midst of a dark forest.
Starting in the middle of a forest with little information, the road to success starts slow. Putting together what information can be found is a bit tedious at first, but after an hour or so, the plot becomes intriguing. I have to admit it took me three tries to survive this adventure, even will Bill of Accounting who was armed to the teeth with an IRS long form and a pad of pink slips.
Life-Orb of Mevtrelek has good room descriptions, interesting situations, and kept me enthralled with the story. I was always asking myself how each item or new event fit into the plot and what could I deduce from the extra knowledge. I liked the special effects, but unfortunately cannot even hint at them lest I spoil the fun/surprise/etc.
The problems I had with the adventure consist of an unhealthy number of rats, all of which were described the same; the POWER routine is the same as the DDD base program; and the game wouldn’t restart once saved using the DOS on the original disk. We have changed the DOS and are fixing a bug concerning the light routines – the oil lamp never really goes out (See Bug Bytes, this issue).
I was also somewhat disappointed with the lack of 6.0 features that were used. However, the good points outweigh the bad points and I recommend this adventure to all, experienced and inexperienced alike. I believe with a cautious effort, a beginning character can complete this mission.