Tuesday 19 February 2013

The Dragon's Eye (Commodore 64, 1984), II (†)

Thanks to one of the readers, I'm able to publish a new relevant document about the Dragon's Eye C64 conversion. As you can read from the previous article here, this game has an existent C64 conversion which doesn't have any correspondence in any official Epyx catalogue.

Thanks to Trypticon, I can publish the scans of a German book which has a relevant Dragon's Eye mentionRombachs C64-Spieleführer (1984) contains some infos about the C64 version and as far as Trypticon told me, the book confirms that the C64 seems to be merely a rough PET conversion. 

Book references: Rombachs C64-Spieleführer, 1984, ISBN: 3-7930-0486-4

Here's a translation of the Dragon's Eye review from German. 

Game idea: Dragon's Eye belongs to the Fantasy and Roleplay games. You choose a name and a sword and get a number of spells assigned by the program. Then one goes on it's way to find the Eye of the Dragon. During this, a number of monsters are encountered, which need to be killed with a lot of skill. This task needs to be completed during 20 days. At the end of the game, the program judges the skill of the player.
Design: The location and vitality status of the player is represented with an overview and a map. Only the colours blue and white and the block graphics of the C64 are used. The same is true for the display in battle mode. Sound effects are not used in the game.
Rating: This Basic program written for older Commodore hardware does not reach the standard of the fantasy games written for the C64. Insofar it is only suitable for outright fans of fantasy games or collectors.
Rating: 4/5*

On the third page there is a mention of the fact that the game was programmed originally on the PET.

So this document proves something really important from an historical point of view: the conversion of Dragon's Eye has been done before the 1984. 

The next step dictates me to find an original version in its own original support or at least a proof of its existence as official release.  

Thanks again to Trypticon for his submission and translation from German. 

* 1 = Best.

Friday 8 February 2013

ZorkQuest: First Interactive Comic ever?

I really never noticed the existence of the ZorkQuest series. My fault.

This morning while I was browsing the internet during my breakfast, a version of ZorkQuest: Assault on Egreth Castle for C64 just popped up in front of me. I have been probably too much caught into the main series to miss this minor spin off of the main Zork Saga. 

Apparently, during the 1988, Infocom managed to produce two chapters of this series, which were completely different from the main and more popular Zork text adventures:

Zork Quest: Assault on Egreth Castle (1988, Infocom, interactive computer comic book)

ZorkQuest: Assault on Egreth Castle Cover, 1988

Zork Quest: The Crystal of Doom (1989, Infocom, interactive computer comic book)

ZorkQuest: The Crystal of Doom Cover, 1989

What is really particular about them is that they are not even games; they pretended to be a sort of interactive books where your role is less then minimal. From a CRPG point of view, they would be better described as an anti-role playing games, where you are neither actor nor narrator but a Über spectator, with a really limited range of choices. 
ZorkQuest: Assault on Egreth Castle can be called an interactive comic book. The game consists of text accompanied by pictures, somewhat similar in visual style to comic books; the interaction is restricted to the player's choices that affect the storyline. The player is able to experience the story from the points of view of the several main heroes, witnessing their personal stories intertwining. Several playthroughs are necessary to experience the story in its entirety.
Source: Moby Games 

Despite the enthusiasm of the guys on the advertising, ZorkQuest is more a  first attempt to create a bland fantasy game illustrated comic on a computer. I was initially expecting a Fantasy Fighting Game Book structure, but both experiments don't comprehended a magic/health or combat system at all. The unique aspect is they probably are the two official interactive comic ever made on the c64. 

However all this awkwardness, both titles will go straight in my wishlist. 

Images sourced from Moby Games