Plundered Hearts logo

Amiga 64/128
Disk: £24.99
Amiga Disk: £29.99

"Time stops as you and Nicholas gaze at one another, adoring and amazed. Slowly he bows and offers you his hand.". "Chestnut hair, tousled by the wind, frames the tanned oval of his face. His eyes, twin seas of blue, devour you with a love deep and thre-hearted, and you are pulled into his embrace, your mouth on his lips parted, thirsting, arching into this kiss..."

Yuk! So ends Plundered Hearts, a tale of adventure and romance on the high seas. You play the heroine, voyaging to meet your father, who is reported ill on the Isle of Sinistra. In reality imprisoned by the tyrant ruler Lafond. Dadsy has managed to commission Captain Nicolas Jamison, better known as the infamous pirate The Falcon, to intercept your schooner and warn you that it is a trap, and the to rescue him.

The game starts with a good few screenfuls of preliminaries, in which you can do little except watch the game playing itself. Soon Jamison leaves for the island, little suspecting that Crulley, one of his crew, is following not far behind, and about to warn Lafond of the rescue attempt.

But you have troubles of your own - the ship is drifting onto the coral, and there's a fire down in the ammunition store.

All this is left to you to sort out, whilst the remaining crew are obvious of the danger. Not to worry, it's a doddle, and before long you are yourself on the island, having scored at least half of the 25 available points.

Here a ball is in progress, and dressing suitably for the occasion, you soon discover the whereabouts of your father by operating a secret mechanism whose combination can be hit upon by pure luck, without even realising quite what you have done right. Seems Papa has a soft spot for Lucy the kitchen maid, (wink, wink nudge, nudge!) and once rescued, he deserts you to fend for yourself and collect the intrepid Jamison, whilst he goes in search of his fancy piece.

Inevitably you end up in the clutches of the dastard Lafond (yes, it begins with a 'd' - this is far too genteel a game for stronger words) and, if you're lacking in cunning, you're likely to suffer a fate worse than death. I tried to lie back and enjoy it ("...brings your wildest fantasies to life..." says the blub on the package) but all I got was a warning of what my mummy would think. Suffice to say that Plundered Hearts is the antithesis of Leather Goddesses.

Most of the 25 points give themselves up with little effort, but there are a couple of sticking points where a degree of openness in the plot combines with an inconsistency in the actions, and makes things rather frustrating. For example, at about the time you are likely to start taking an interest in the chandelier, it is on the cards you will get killed whilst experimenting. However, when the same action presents itself more obviously towards the end of the game, you score a huge success.

One other feature can cause difficulties - if you leave the ship without finding or taking certain essential objects. Although this is down to you, there is no hint in the later puzzles that you are missing something. A saved game here will give you plenty of re-tries, (with no chance of success, if you only knew it).

Plundered Hearts is now probably Infocom's easiest title. There's no harm in that, but it's a pity that some of the more sugary text was not put to making the plot a bit more intricate, and the play more consistent.

If you're an experienced adventurer, you can reckon on completing it in time to get a pint or two at the Skull and Crossbones before closing time! So just tell me - is that worth £25?