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4 Stars IFReview Rating The Domain of Zenoqq

IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski on 2006-05-14 10:14 

Game Profile

Author
Robert Claney

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Eamon

Release Year
1995

IFR Overall Rating
4 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator

MAIN PGM Version: 4 (heavily modified!)

Extra Commands:FREE, UNLOCK, modified WAVE

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: 80-column ONLY, ProDOS ONLY, on-the-fly text case conversion

Playing Time: 1-3 hours

Reviewer Rating: 4.0

Description: An evil wizard named Zenoqq has taken control of the kingdom, and made a prisoner of the previous ruler, the good wizard Maryex.

You are hired to destroy Zenoqq and rescue Maryex. You are given a magic staff that can turn foe into friend, and promised a reward for a successful Quest. You are also intrigued by rumor that Zenoqq's slayer will find a powerful magic weapon.

Comment: Bob includes some Author's Notes that tell of this Eamon's history and recent modification. In short, it is a very old version 4 Eamon that has been updated to modern ProDOS-Eamon standards. It requires ProDOS and 80-column display, and it does work on an 80-column-capable II+. The most remarkable thing you will notice while playing is that all commands are automatically converted into nice-looking lower case. Like any Eamon, you must type in all-caps, but when you type "ATTACK MONSTER", "Attack Monster" appears on the screen. Very nice.

But while Bob did a wonderful job with that feature and regular ProDOS-Eamon capabilities, he neglected to fully uprate the command parser to version 6. Thus, while you can abbreviate the command, the object name must be fully typed. Also, he added a very crude screen-pause line counter that throws in a "Hit any key to continue" after every 20 lines or so. This screen pause appeared every one to three commands and drove me nuts with its pseudo-random appearance.

A couple of things really knocked down its rating for me. The first is a wealth of spelling typos which are beyond easy repair, because Bob uses a special machine-language method for loading the descriptions that is not compatible with the Dungeon Editor.

The second problem is that the descriptions make the dungeon feel uninteresting with a studied effort to sound sarcastic and jaded. Here's a typical example: "Guess what! You're in a north/south corridor, and you can even go through a doorway to the east. Now, isn't that fascinating?"

The Wave command is a major enhancement over the normal WAVE/SMILE in that you have a magical staff that can turn foe into friend when you wave it. But while this is a nifty gizmo, it only works about three times, and it does not work on Zenoqq. You won't really need it to battle the typical enemy you encounter, but I suggest that you use it in encounters with multiple foes so that you will have more companions when you finally meet Zenoqq. Zenoqq himself is a very tough customer who can kill you with about three hits, and I could not beat him without cheating to preserve my health.

The main mapping gimmick is an overuse of secret doors. I counted no fewer than 17 secret doors in 97 rooms of mapping. It's easy to get lost while backtracking old ground as the haphazard screen pauses readily eat movement commands when you miss them.

I am upping the difficulty rating to (7). You will need a good magic weapon, and even so may well have to cheat to restore the HEAL command and to survive Zenoqq.

Finally, even though this is not a great Eamon, it's well worth a play just to see and experience the good stuff it has. One last comment you are forced at the end to keep the Key of Zenoqq, but it's a 6D4 weapon, so that's not so bad.

"Gimme that ring, ya hairy-footed varmint! Gimme that ring or I'll blast ya!"

--Yosemite Nazgul

Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.

    Tom Zuchowski Profile

    Name Tom Zuchowski
    Gender Male

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