With the death of Uncle Cheez, Carfax Abbey, the seat of the Burger Family, passed into the hands of Ham. That's you. And now, as you stand in front of the eerie and dilapidated building you start wondering about 'the incident' that befell your uncle.
The abbey is apparently deserted, save for a red translucent figure standing on the stairway. It hurls a ball of fire at you as you enter, and promptly disappears. Cobwebs adorn the ceilings, and dust covers the furnishings, undisturbed by the inhabitants - a handful of friendly ghosts!
There's Ludus, Lacelot, Zom Bee, and Marie Entoilet, to name but a few. They all live in dread of the Master Of Evil, Ooze, who has claimed a large part of the old building for himself. And if Ooze discovers there is a human on the premises, both you and the ghosts will suffer. You decide to help the ghosts and put paid to Ooze forever...
Ooze is a text adventure, with graphics and sound, from German software house Dragonware. A lively title tune introduces the game, and suitable sound effects are provided for ghostly laughter, creaking doors, and the suchlike.
As for the graphics, (it had to happen sooner or later) the system is identical to that pioneered by Magnetic Scrolls, with the roller blind effect. That is not to say that the pictures are a patch on the magnificent Scrolls' artwork, but they are not too bad. They slide up and down as you move from one location to another, and can be left 'parked' in any position during play by use of the right mouse button.
The screen boasts no pull-down menus at the top, often used in modern systems as short cuts for special commands such as SAVE and LOAD, although most of the common system commands, such as PRINTER, are available when typed as text input. Notably absent is a TEXTSIZE option, a major omission, for reading 80 column white on black text is a fairly eye-straining affair if you're using a TV set.
The rooms are described in great detail, but the descriptions tend to be badly organised, making it difficult to determine the exits and objects at a glance, which is particularly frustrating when returning to a location. Mixed up in these descriptions is an occasional piece of action commentary. I often found myself having to type L immediately, to clarify the room details.
Commentary is in the first person, and although somewhat reminiscent of Rod Pike's adventures, it fails to convey the same depth of atmosphere and feeling. In contrast to this, messages in response to invalid commands are humorous and slightly insulting. With a quirky parser such as this (one which tends to misinterpret the verb and instead display a description of the noun or the room) a smart-arse message to invalid commands is never very welcome.
What is welcome is a text adventure from a new source, and after what I've said, it is not a bad game. You'll certainly enjoy it if a light-hearted haunted house thriller appeals to you.