IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski
on 2006-05-13 09:57
MAIN PGM Version: 6.2 (heavily modified)
Extra Commands: USE, ARM, ENTER, RELOAD, CLEAR, WAIT
Deleted Commands: TAKE, BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, SMILE, WAVE, SAY, LIGHT, OPEN, DRINK, FREE
Special Features: 3-disk adventure, 183 rooms, lower-case intro available, automatic weapons
Playing Time: 3-10 hours
Reviewer's Rating: 9
Description: The war with the Breakers is bogged down on the Eastern Front, though they are advancing on the South Front. Word is received that the Breakers have deployed a long-range missile, equipped with a nuclear warhead, and have installed it in a mountain fortress that is impervious to air bombardment. They are waiting until their southern forces cross the river before using it. Fortunately, they only have enough weapons-grade plutonium for the one missile, but one will be enough to smash our industrial base. There is only one option: to send in a Special-Forces Team to blow it up.
Priority 1...the mission must be accomplished at any cost. Operatives may take steps to assure their escape only if there is no interference with the mission. Once the mission is accomplished, operatives must find their own means to assure their survival.
Comment: The above is only a small fraction of the wealth of background offered in the intro program, which is a little 5-act playlet in itself. The MAIN PGM continues this intense detail, having a great deal to see and do. The detail is even carried into parts of the Breaker installation that a successful mission will never see. These extra rooms give a added dimension of realism when you realize that you really are trying to sneak through an enemy base, and randomly opening doors to see what you can find will promote neither the mission nor your life expectancy.
Sam has done some great things with modern weapons. The automatic weapon fire is well done, and the player must occasionally reload at most inconvenient moments. Knives are carried for the silent dispatching of sentries, and your team carries a variety of lethal hardware for use in any situation. There is an array of special equipment such as climbing gear, mine detectors, remote detonators, medi-kits, and more, that must be properly utilized to succeed AND survive. Your teammates will occasionally offer opinions and can take a small amount of independent action. (For example, they will use their medi-kits on themselves when badly wounded.) They also can do anything you can do if you GIVE them orders to do so.
This is a very subtle and a very dangerous adventure. It is virtually certain that you will die a number of times before you finally work out the right moves. It may sometimes feel like Sam has blindsided you with a no-warning deathtrap, but when you regain that spot, a careful reading of the descriptions will always show that the clues WERE there, after all. And always easonable, once you think about it. For example, if you leave a dead sentry out in the open where he will be seen, it should come as no surprise when the base goes on alert and you are found and killed. Just the same, the SAVE command gets a workout here. SAVE has been modified so that you can perform a save and continue playing. This speeds things up a lot when you miss a clue and go down, for all you have to do is insert disk 1 and type RUN to resume from the saved location.
This adventure is loaded with scores of special effects and other Good Stuff. One of them is that the Intro program is in lower-case text but is automatically converted to all-upper-case for old II's by a small machine-code program. (Note-this is one of two M-C programs available for LC-to-UC conversion on the 7.0DDD.)
When I first played this adventure, I was appalled by how easily I was wiped out. But as I learned the capabilities of my Special-Forces Team, I got better, and I learned to watch for subtle clues and to choose the correct course BEFORE I got nailed. And when I finally pulled off a successful mission and escaped with most of my team, the satisfaction was tremendous! This is one of a very small number of Eamons that I have replayed once I had successfully completed the quest, and it seems to get better with each replay.
This is a very advanced Eamon and is one of the most difficult. It is very sophisticated, and you will see clues that may not be needed for hours. There is a fairly high frustration factor at first, but the rewards when you get the pieces together are correspondingly high. Highly recommended to advanced Eamonauts. Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.