IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski on 2006-05-13 08:18
MAIN PGM Version: 6
Extra Commands: DIG, COUNT, WAIT
Deleted Commands: None
Special Features: Special Dwarf handling
Playing Time: 1-3 hours
Reviewer Rating: 6.0
Description: "Ages ago, there was Moria, the Dwarven home. But darkness came, and we were forced to leave. It was then that Thror went to Erebor, the Lonely Mountain of the East. There he built the kingdom in exile, and became King under the Mountain. The Dwarves prospered and traded with the Northmen of Dale and Esgaroth.
"Smaug the Terrible he was, a dragon from the Withered Heath. He destroyed Dale and entered the main gate of Erebor. Once inside he killed all the Dwarves, sealed the passages, and gathered the treasure. For two hundred years he has sat there. Now it is time for us to regain our gold and kingdom. Our journey itself will be perilous, for we must go through the north of the Forest of Fear, Mirkwood. Then we must reach Erebor and face the dragon.
"There must be a secret entrance. Our map does not show where it is, but there are words that prove that one is there, somewhere."
Comment: The above paraphrases Sam's intro, which is somewhat longer. In short, this adventure is based on J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit". You will accompany Bilbo Baggins and the fifteen Dwarves on their Quest to slay Smaug and regain the Lonely Mountain. You will play all the parts that Bilbo played in the book.
I give this adventure an (8) for difficulty. There are parts that may not be simple to figure out unless you have read "The Hobbit". If you have read the book, then the adventure will be easier as you will know what the correct course of action is, and will only have to figure out how to do it in the context of Eamon play.
As you might expect, having 16 to 18 companions would make a real mess out of the play, but Sam has thoughtfully made modifications so that instead of seeing 15 different Dwarf names each turn, you only see "The Dwarves are here." And the COUNT command enables you to list them to see who may be missing.
This is a clever adventure that captures much of the feel of "The Hobbit", without the fairy-tale touches that pervade the book. Sam added lots of special stuff to make many of the book's events come to pass in a very readable and entertaining fashion. But here is where the rating suffers: the special programming isn't very flexible and sometimes does a poor job of handling the events if you don't make exactly the moves that Sam envisioned.
It is for this reason that I revised my ratings of the adventure. When I originally played it years ago, I must have had less trouble than I encountered for this review playthrough. I had sufficient difficulty that I lowered my overall rating by one number and bumped the difficulty up by one number.
One last thing: this adventure is pretty well stuffed with bad guys. Hack'n'slash fans will likely enjoy this adventure a lot. There are plenty of unfriendly spots, so be sure to save early and often. Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.