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7 Stars IFReview Rating The Dragon of Aldaar

IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski on 2006-05-14 10:25 

Game Profile

Author
Glenn Gribble

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Eamon

Release Year
2000

IFR Overall Rating
7 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator

MAIN PGM Version: 1 (I think)

Extra Commands: THROW, GIVE, DRINK, READ, ENTER, UNLOCK, OPEN, ASK, EAT, REST, SAVE

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: stick-figure animations at beginning; “town visit” in introduction; food, drink, and rest required during play; has many version-6-like features

Playing Time: 1 hour

Reviewer Rating: 7.0

Description: The intro is a little vague in letting you know what your quest is while it runs you through quite a number of hoops. It appears that you have a dual quest: to rescue a royal relative named Caliban, and to destroy a dragon. Once you get started, escape will be of some interest, also.

As the introduction opens, you get the chance to buy a special potion that will help you with the dragon. Then you move on to a town where you can gather provisions, rest, enhance your magic abilities, and pick up some local folklore.

Shortly after you leave the town, a bridge collapses beneath you and leaves you stranded on a ledge high above a raging river.

And thus the adventure opens.

Comment: As noted in the front of this issue, this Eamon was recently discovered on the Internet in DSK form. As discovered, it had a badly damaged database. Tony used some disk tools to recover the database, but a dozen or so records were mangled in various ways. Some of the lost data could be inferred from related information, but some is just gone. In the end, the monsters and artifacts look pretty good. There are a couple of lost Effects; these were part of the folklore and there is no way to know what was contained in them.

Besides these items, you may find that there are as many as ten rooms or so that you can’t access during play. This is because there is an initialization section in the program that randomly opens or closes the passages to these sections. I guess that the author was trying to make his adventure different every time you play it, but the odds are set such that you are unlikely to ever see these rooms. I’ve never understood why an author would go to the trouble of designing in some rooms and specials and then hiding them so they will never be seen, but it’s happened before. I guess they lose sight of the fact that very few Eamonauts ever play an Eamon through more than once.

But the Eamon plays well enough, and there doesn’t appear to be anything in the “lost” rooms that is needed for anything. You will still see 80-odd rooms of adventuring, and might see a bit more.

Given that this is a version 1 Eamon, this is a very remarkable adventure. Not only are there a bunch of new commands, but also there is light, fog, canoeing, roping, wandering monsters, readable artifacts, magic spells, special events and more. The player needs to eat, drink, and rest as time passes during play. All in all, I was very impressed.

The original version had a few “features” that vastly increased the difficulty level as well as player aggravation, and that version rated no better than maybe a (4). I made three very minor program changes to up the rating to the (7) that I gave it.

This is a moderately difficult Eamon. There are a couple of no-warning “Gotchas” and several places to get yourself killed if you misread the warnings. I think that the difficulty might set in at about (8) because of the no-warning problems. Still, if you use the save command regularly, you shouldn’t get too annoyed when you find yourself in a terminal way.

Here are the inevitable hints, and this Eamon needs them:

Do not ever use the command GET ALL while on water. You will “get” your canoe and drown.

Anything lying on the ground in the room will disappear when you invoke the dragon-weapon spell. That includes your canoe!

Buy lots of food and water. I mean like 300 GP worth or more of each. And eat and drink what you find on the road, too. Try to occasionally catch a bit of rest when you think you are in a safe place.

The spell requires EYE OF CYCLOPS. That’s what it is called. You’ll need to say that exactly when you try to get it. (That is what the hag called it the intro, so it really counts as a pretty good clue for a word-hunt puzzle, but we all hate word-hunt puzzles.)

Hang out on that first ledge until you hook up with the eagle. Likewise, hang out in bat country until you are able to pick up a dead one. Don’t be too quick to kill rats and orcs; they have a random friendliness, and if you get a friendly one, that stops the procession of unfriendly ones.

Be sure to learn the local language when you get the chance. It’s a bit of work but worth it. (If you decide that it’s too much work, you can cheat around it by setting LAN=1 once the main adventure starts.)

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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