Oldorf’s Revenge (1980)   Leave a comment

From the November 1980 issue of Micro magazine.

We’ve seen the name Highlands Computer Services (the duo of Butch Greathouse and Garry Rheinhardt) before; they published the graphical version of Goblins in 1981.

Oldorf’s Revenge was their first game (and unlike Goblins, they wrote this one themselves). It was originally called “Wizard” (and there’s a disk image floating around named that) but they changed the name to avoid clashing with On-Line Systems over Wizard and the Princess. Like Goblins, it’s for Apple II and has full graphics (“over 100 Hi-Res pictures”). Unlike pretty much any other adventure game I’ve seen, you play not a single protagonist but a full party of seven adventurers, each with their own special commands:

Via the Gallery of Undiscovered Entities. I’m not clear yet what the difference between a magician and a wizard is.

The gimmick is that you can change which character is active at any time with the command “C” (although you get a limit of five changes per character) and various obstacles can only be resolved via a particular party member; most obviously by their skills, but the manual does say “Sometimes the right person saying a clue word is all that is needed” so I assume it’s not always a simple correspondence between specialty and puzzle. The manual also says the WIZARD is the most powerful character and may “try and cast a spell at any time, but if the situation did not warrant it, he may not be allowed to or it may cost you considerable strength.”

Regarding strength, you start with a pool of 100 shared amongst all the characters, and while I haven’t thwacked it down to 0 yet, I assume that means YOUR QUEST IS OVER.

The “5” to the next of each character indicates how many times left you can switch to that charcter. I’m ok with a shared strength pool, but I don’t see any plausible in-universe explanation for the restriction to how often each character is used; I think the authors might have feared a “lawnmower” approach to puzzle solving but it still strikes me as clunky.

The first puzzle is a good illustration of the party system:

The door is locked, but you can either

a.) UNLOCK DOOR with the Thief, which uses 2 strength points
or
b.) CAST with the Wizard, which uses 12 strength points

BREAK with the Strongman seems plausible but it doesn’t work.

I think the downside of all this flexibility is that there might not be much object interaction outside of the skills, but I’ve only played for a short while so I don’t know yet. Onward!

Posted August 26, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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