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The Cavern of the Morlocks/La caverne des Morlocks

by François Coulon

Horror
1985

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- Arrowhead12 (Edmonton, Alberta), June 11, 2020

Early Multiple Ending Adventure, September 7, 2014

by jgerrie (Cape Breton Island, Canada)
Related reviews: Basic Text Adventuring
This text adventure in the 8-bit Basic program category is unique in several ways. First, its design permits multiple narrative pathways to the completion of the adventure (despite the limits imposed on these possibilities by the 8-bit machine hardware it was developed on--the Matra-Hachette 'Alice' computer). Second, its single key entry decision and navigation system is a refreshing departure from the much more standard two word parser system, and is very appropriate for its multiple attempt variable ending play format. Third, it is based (very roughly) on a classic work of fiction. Although its single keystroke system is somewhat similar to other extremely simple early Basic text adventures, the number of rooms, the multiplicity of narrative arches (in which randomness, decisions and the objects and paths selected make a substantial difference), and the playful and well crafted scenarios make for quite an enjoyable hour or so of distraction. Although a game like this will be of no interest to hard core modern players of interactive fiction, it certainly will be of interest to those curious about early 8-bit computer systems and the Basic programming efforts of coders grappling with the inherent limitations of such systems.

The Alice was a French introductory computer system somewhat akin to the Sinclair ZX-81 or even the Spectrum, which shared some hardware elements with the TRS-80 Micro Color Computer from Tandy, upon which it was based. The version of the game I played was ported and translated by me from the Alice original program by François Coulon.


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