Terraquake
for C64

terraquake.jpg
Mr Creosote:
Company: Adventuresoft UK / U.S. Gold
Year: 1985
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Based on Other Media / Cartoon & Comic / Sword & Sorcery / Text-based
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 16945
Review by Mr Creosote (2002-04-10)
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By the power of Grayskull.... All the children in the 80s knew this catchphrase. They watched the adventures of He-Man and his friends (and foes) on TV, bought the action figures, read the comics. And of course there were several computer games for the most common systems of the time.

Terraquake is the only 'non-arcade' one of those. Infocom had its biggest era at the same time, so Interactive Fiction was 'in'. Many other companies tried their luck, but only very few reached the same quality as their big idol. So didn't this team (which includes Mike Woodroffe, who later became lead designer of the Simon the Sorcerer series).

So why isn't this game all that great? Because it satisfies nobody really. The logical target audience would have been the fans of the toy series. But the central points of the cartoon (characterizations, humor, morals) are completely lacking. A few toy characters turn up, but they're little more than just another name. The designers didn't give a damn about how they're acting normally, what they are and so on. Since when does Man-at-Arms run a pub? And they even spelled King Randor's name wrong - 'Radnor'!

But that's not everything. The whole feeling is different. To solve the game, He-Man has to kill one of the foes he encounters. Ahem!

More violent, less kids-stuff? So a more mature target audience? No, certainly not. For that, the whole story (Skeletor threatening Eternia with an earthquake-machine and He-Man kicking his ass) is way too uninteresting. That's more like the cartoon again.

The last chance would be to be a good game. But even as that, Terraquake fails! The puzzles are simply lacking any creativity, in most situations it's just 'you have three turns in this screen or you'll die'. And the solution is mostly just 'knock out xxx'.

So what does this game actually have? A very simple parser, some neat graphics and some known characters. That already makes a difference for fans, yes. And that is why I'm presenting this game here. But non-fans should think twice if they really need it...

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