for Atari VCS
Game Play: 4
Like most “storyline” games, Adventure leads you through a multi-room treasure hunt. laced with an assortment of deadly enemies. However, the biggest challenge of this complex game is figuring out what’s going on.
Your objective is to locate a golden chalice, hidden in a maze patrolled by three Dragons and a large black Bat, and return it to the golden castle. Fortunately, however, you will also find a number of objects with which to fight back — swords, keys, bridges, and magnets. Our main complaint is that most of these game elements are too unpredictable — especially the Bat. Sometimes it will fly by and leave you a key to unlock a castle door and take nothing in return. Other times it will deposit a live Dragon at your feet and swipe your sword — leaving you defenseless.
Our suggestion, should you choose to accept this illogical mission, is to set aside a great deal of time for joystick experimentation. But even devoted strategists may soon tire of Adventure’s excessive trial and error.
for Atari VCS
$26.95/$20 .00-23. 00
Game Play: 6
Haunted House is another in Atari’s series of “storyline” games, such as Adventure and Superman, whereby you are the hero sent on a do-or-die mission. This time, however, your mission takes place in a creaky old haunted mansion, complete with spooky sound effects and eery animation.
Only your eyes can be seen as you make your way through the darkness of the four-story mansion. Each floor has six rooms, plus a host of ghosts, tarantulas, and swooping bats. Naturally, these critters must all be avoided. Your goal is to find a key to the mansion’s locked rooms and track down the hidden pieces of a golden urn. You may use matches to light your way through the darkness, but use them sparingly to rack up more points. And like a cat, you are given nine lives.
While Haunted House is a little too complicated to pick up and enjoy the first time through, we think that storyline fans of all ages will like this game after a reasonable amount of study time.
QUEST FOR THE RINGS
N.A.P. Consumer Electronics
1 to 3 players
Game Play: 9
Inspired in no small way by Tolkien’s “Rings” trilogy, Quest for the Rings mixes the action of a video maze adventure with the strategies of an intricate board game.
Ideally played with three players, this game involves four heroes — each with special powers — on a multiple screen quest for ten lost Power Rings. Two players must each choose to represent one of these heroes, and then determine how many turns they will require to take possession of the Rings. The third player must act as the evil Ringmaster who hides the Rings and controls the deadly monsters that battle the heroes. The actual game action takes place on your TV screen, but strategy is planned and recorded on the elaborate game board included with the cartridge.
Quest for the Rings is not what we would call a high action game — strategy is the key to success. Even accomplished strategists should stay in the practice mode for at least an hour before actually playing.
for Mattel Intellivision
1 to 2 players
Game Play: 9
We found Utopia to be just the strategy game for those who are convinced that they could do a better job of running the country. It’s the ultimate game of “put up or shut up.”
The two-player variation is most competitive. Each player has control over his or her own island kingdom, and a treasury of gold bars. Your goal is to gain more points than your opponent by improving the living conditions on your island.
Monitor your population and spend your money wisely to provide adequate food, housing, education, and protection for your people. You may also spend money on items like rebel soldiers and P.T. boats for acts of aggression that will hinder the growth of your opponent’s country. And keep an eye on such variables as the climate. Don’t build a school on a hurricane-plagued coastline.
Like most games of strategy, Utopia requires time to study and practice, but we think potential politicians of all ages will enjoy the challenge.