IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski
on 2006-05-14 10:21
MAIN PGM Version: 7, HIGHLY modified
Extra Commands: CLOSE, CONNECT, CONSULT, EAT, ORDER, TALK, PANIC, SMELL, WAIT, HELP, SHORT, RESUME
Deleted Commands: BLAST, HEAL, POWER, SPEED, READY, LIGHT, FREE
Special Features: PRODOS ONLY; 40/80 display works with all Apple II's; standalone design does not use Main Hall
Playing Time: 2-3 hours and up
Reviewer Rating: 6.5
Description: "Several years ago a stranger named Ford Prefect appeared at the Main Hall, and you became friends with him. He seemed like a good chap, if a bit odd. He was known to stare at the sky for long periods of time, claiming to be looking for "flying saucers".
"Then one day a green shape appeared in the sky. A voice boomed out of it saying that planet Eamon was in the way of the new hyperspace bypass and was going to promptly be destroyed in two minutes.
"Ford suddenly pulled you aside. 'Another ship has appeared!' he said. 'I'm trying to hitch a ride. Don't worry, I'm bringing you with me!'
"'I've succeeded!' he suddenly yells with joy. 'Prepare to be transported...'" You feel a gut-wrenching sensation and black out. Somewhere off in the distance, you hear the world of Eamon being completely destroyed!"
Comment: If you don't recognize the above, this Eamon is based on Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books. Frank set out to purposely write a very difficult Eamon that is very much like an Infocom game. In other words, it has no combat and a series of small puzzles that must be done precisely in order and on a tight timeline.
Because the puzzles must be done in order and on time, there are many, many ways to get killed out, and you will almost certainly start over at least a dozen times before winning through to the end. In fact, the only thing that makes it solvable with only a dozen or so restarts is the detailed hints available via the HELP command. Without this command, the adventure would be nearly unsolvable for the vast majority of players. Even when using HELP, the difficulty falls near (8).
This Eamon only has about 15 rooms, making maps unnecessary, but takes a couple of hours to play even if you cheat and use the hints, which should give you a good idea of the number and difficulty of puzzles.
This is a technical masterpiece, which is only what we have come to expect from Frank. It gets its lukewarm rating for two reasons: because I got tired of starting over, and because I felt somewhat deflated because I had to use the hints at every turn to lower the difficulty to something I could handle.
One hint: don't SAVE too often. It's better to have to repeat a dozen or two actions than to discover that you have saved an unwinnable game.
I should mention that this Eamon stands alone without the Main Hall. You can launch it from the Main Hall, but the FRESH.MEAT file is not used, and it does not return to the Main Hall at the end.
This Eamon is PRODOS ONLY. Like Frank's previous work, it supports both 40 and 80-column display, works flawlessly on any Apple II in both modes, and has an all-caps option for II+ users.
Highly recommended for serious puzzle junkies, who may wish to try to solve it without use of the hints. Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.