IFComp 2007: Adventure XT

And here we are at the third Panks game this year. Spoilers follow the break.

You know, it’s a funny thing. The comp rules allow authors to enter games under pseudonyms, or anonymously. You might think that an author with a bad reputation would take advantage of this to avoid prejudice. But no, it’s always the authors with good reputations, like Graham Nelson and Andrew Plotkin, who want their works to compete on their own merits. But perhaps Panks welcomes the prejudice; perhaps it lets him blame his poor reviews on personal hatred rather than admit that his games are bad.

Not that he could possibly have hidden his authorship of Adventure XT. It’s got his fingerprints all over it. Again we start with the village with its tavern, church, and this-time-it’s-a-fountain-rather-than-a-well. I immediately know what to expect. My mission is to kill an evil wizard. And you know something? This time around, it runs under Windows without the inconvenience of an emulator, and there’s full BASIC source code included, so I’m willing to make a try of actually winning it.

So: forest, monsters, boring noninteractive random combat, yadda yadda, hey some of the monsters actually block my way and attack me this time! Not most of them, though. There’s a couple of locations where the game suggests that you rest, but there’s no “rest” command or anything. There’s one bit where it tells you that there’s a tight passage and you’ll need to drop things to squeeze through, but you dont. There are actions included in room descriptions. There are smurfs. Not just a brief reference to smurfs, but several rooms containing individual smurfs acting out their schticks from the cartoon without significant alteration. This is pushing it as far as the comp goes — there’s a rule against entering games “based upon works currently under copyright unless permission is obtained from the copyright holder”.

I’ve managed to reach the end of the game with all the available equipment and chop the end-boss Mordimar from 800 hit points to roughly 400 before dying. There’s a book in the game indicating that I should use the broadsword to kill him, but its most powerful feature, an occasional instant-kill, also instantly kills me during this fight. I’d really like to use the “Slayer” sword mentioned in the source code, because it does more damage, but apparently it’s impossible to get. There’s a bug that prevents item drops from killing monsters; since there’s no experience system in this game, that means that fighting any monster you don’t have to is basically pointless. The key line is:
287 for x=7 to 35:if lo(x)=1000+x then ?"You found ";no$(x);" on it!":lo(x)=rm
I think the idea here is that each takable item — takable items have ID numbers ranging from 7 to 35 — has a location number, and items hidden on monsters have a location number 1000 greater than the monster’s ID number. But instead of checking the object’s location against the monster’s ID, it’s checking it against the object’s ID, which never matches.

It may be a little unfair for me to pick on a bug that would have been invisible to me if I didn’t have the source code. But I honestly don’t think it makes a great deal of difference to my rating.

Rating: 1

[ADDENDUM] This game has been disqualified for its smurf content.

2 Comments so far

  1. Jason Dyer on 28 Oct 2007

    Huh, interesting. I thought fighting was meant to be pointless, I didn’t think there might be a bug there.

    I completed the game with the spellbook, which has its own instant-kill trigger.

  2. Merk on 14 Nov 2007

    Well, having the source code was what allowed me to change the color scheme and redo “examine” as “x”. So I liked that. I recompiled in QB 4.5 (Paul is using PowerBASIC) which fixed stdout and actually let me redirect to a log file (I used a windows Tail -F util to monitor it in real time). So, I kind of like having the source code, although it was more fun tinkering with it than actually playing the game.

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