FACE it, reader-san, ever since you read the book, saw the TV series (again) and decapitated next door's cat with the sword, you've been wondering what it was really like to be an Englishman abroad in the newly-
Wonder no more, for now Infocom has provided you with a ticket back to the 12th century as a pilot aboard a Dutch trader, the Erasmus. Times are hard - there is a religious war brewing in Europe and on the sea no one can hear you sink.
Spanish and Portuguese and English and Dutch men have been blowing each other out of the water for years now, each protecting the valuable trade routes. Until now the Portuguese have had the Japanese sewn up by controlling the seas to the west of them, the way east being miles of uncharted ocean which only a madman would cross. Enter one madman.
Pilot of the last ship from a fleet of five, you struggle across wide seas with a pitiful crew, most of them dead, the rest dying. As you brave a fierce storm you suddenly sight land. This is where your adventure begins.
Unless you are a complete land
As a stranger in a strange land you must learn quickly or die. Your future depends on how quickly you grasp the Japanese way of things, their brutality, their strange code of honour, their odd bathing habits, and their funny curvy swords.
Progress is hampered by your total inability to speak anything even slightly approaching Japanese. A translator is on hand, but he is a Portuguese priest - your sworn enemy on both counts.
Trying to get your point of view across can be a bit difficult when your interpreter thinks you're a heretic pirate. Your overall objective may be fame and riches, but just staying alive would be all right for now.
The text of the game is surrounded by a pretty Japanese-
Pictures occupy the same part of the screen as the text, and scroll away as the text wraps around them and fill the screen. This gives the impression that you are reading a book or parchment and adds considerably to the atmosphere.
The adventure is split up into different sections or events, like scenes in a play, which must be completed before going on to the next.
At the end of each section you will be told how many points you got out of the number available for that section and your running total before being given various options - whether to continue, whether to get a hint, and so on. You've heard of modular programming? Well this is modular adventuring.
Shogun is an adventure unlike most others in that it is orientated towards solving situations rather than puzzles. That is, it is more important to think and to do than to collect lots of objects and manipulate them in some way. In this respect Shogun is, dare I say, more intellectually challenging than many of the popular adventures.
As one of the last efforts from the team that showed the world what adventures are all about, this is one to be proud of.