Uninvited logo

Dave Eriksson answers a sterling call to arms, saving worlds, tackling a graphic interface and offering hints for the toughest games

A GOOD adventure is either written in such a way so as to not encourage you to look too carefully at certain items, or simply tells you that the table is "just a table".
Should you wish to pursue the more thorough approach of examining everything, I can recommend Uninvited by Mindscape, distributed by Mirrorsoft.

This has a similar operating system to Shadowgate (reviewed in Amiga Computing, September 1988). It is mouse controlled with only 10 commands - Examine, Open, Close, Speak, Operate, Go, Hit, Consume, Save and Load.
Operate is the key word. This enables a large variety of actions. For the normal get, drop and move, position the pointer over an object and drag it.

The graphics are very good, and although the picture showing your location is not that large, there is a surprising amount of detail.
The sound effects are well thought out: Thunder and lightning, creaking doors, cackles of bubbling maniacal laughter, screams and growling dogs... all ideal for a story of ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night.

Driving along a deserted country road with your younger brother during a storm, you suddenly have to swerve to avoid running over a shadowy figure that appears out of the dark. You lose control and crash.
Waking up, you discover that your brother is no longer in the car, presumably he has gone to call a tow truck. As you fully regain your senses, you realise that there is a strong smell of petrol. If you are quick, you may be able to get out before the car blows up. The need for a tow truck has suddenly become irrelevant.

Only one house, an old Gothic mansion, is in sight. Your brother must surely have gone there for help. The front door is unlocked and as you enter it slams shut behind you. And so the adventure begins.

The kitchen is an investigative adventurer's paradise. Each utensil can be examined, even the racks holding them are separate items. Open a cupboard or container and an additional window will appear showing what is inside. Most contain nothing.

As you explore you will find it is extremely easy to die. Try and visit any of the rooms off the hall and what seems to be a beautiful woman appears. Ignore her and she turns out to be a fiendish killer.

In a storage closet on the first floor you'll find several useful items, one of which will deal with the unwelcome woman in the hall. Just make sure it is ready for use before she appears.
Having mastered this puzzle, you are free to explore the house and gardens. Every location has plenty to check out. There is almost too much: it is far from easy to spot what is useful.

A most enjoyable adventure but do make notes of what you find. With so many objects lying around it is easy to forget exactly where you saw them.

Uninvited logo

Mirrorsoft/Icom Simulations
64 (Coming soon)
Amiga Price: £24.99

It is a stormy night, and you are out for a drive with your kid brother. Suddenly a strange figure appears in the middle of the road, vanishing again just as swiftly. But already you have reacted, and your car swerves out of control, and wraps itself round a handy tree.

Clambering from the wreckage, you find yourself outside a forbidding mansion, with lightning and thunder crashing above. Of your brother, there is no sign. Assuming he has taken shelter from the storm, you open the front door to a loud creaking sound, and enter the mansion. The door slams shut behind you - you are locked in.

The atmosphere inside the house is disturbing, and so you lose no time, and head off towards the corridor in search of your brother. There are four doors and a staircase leading off, and you are just deciding which route to try first, when suddenly...

Here is a tale of ghosties and demons. The rambling house holds many bizarre secrets, and the ground outside seem just as strange. In the garden is a chapel guarded by fierce dogs, and a Magisterium, entry into which seems to be something to do with a pentagram. Now who would want to guard a chapel? Meanwhile, back indoors there is something pretty nasty going on up in the attic.

Each room is illustrated with a picture that occupies about one quarter of the screen area, but the detail is so fine that its size does not detract from the game. The pictures reflect the state of play, so, for example, when a door is opened it is shown open. In addition, there is a certain amount of animation, and the sound effects of the storm, the baying of killer dogs, and various other chilling noises in the mansion combine with the graphics to make a very atmospheric game.

Although there is a text commentary on the action, and text replies to actions such as EXAMINE, the player is not able to type a single word from the keyboard, except following the command SPEAK, and for SAVE GAME filenames. The commands are issued through a mere eight verb icons: EXAMINE, OPEN, CLOSE, SPEAK, OPERATE, GO, HIT and CONSUME. To play the game, you just sit back and operate the mouse. Select OPEN and point at a door in the picture, and providing it is not locked, the door will open.

Taking and dropping objects is carried out literally. The mouse button is held down when the arrow is on the object, which is simply dragged out of the Picture window into the Inventory window, when releasing the button deposits the object. More complex actions not covered by the verb icons, are achieved with an OPERATE, a key in the Inventory window, and a door in the picture. It is surprising how many different commands can be built up in this way, although of course, it is a far cry from the subtlety that comes with a sophisticated parser.

Opening containers causes Contents windows to open on the screen, and these, like Inventory and Text windows, can be moved around, sized, and scrolled. I went mad in the kitchen and opened all the cabinets and the cooker, ending up with about ten extra windows layed over each other on the screen.

If you want a change from hacking away at a keyboard, then sit back with a mouse, and try this highly atmospheric and suspenseful adventure. There is a lot packed into Uninvited, but it costs a pretty sum, too. At £25, I would have expected at least a free hint-sheet service, instead of a $5 charge. I feel £15 for the package would have been a more realistic price - and the price level at which I would have given this adventure a top Value rating.