me explain. I have just spent the last seven days in
the very back of my cave, isolated from the rest of
the world, doing nothing other than to play the latest
release from the wonder programmers at Infocom, Hitch
Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. My verdict? Absolutely
feel I have no choice but to tell you about it at length,
even though it is vastly expensive and not yet widely
available in these isles. My hope is that someone will
soon rectify this situation.
the other Infocom games, Hitch Hiker's has no
graphics. Yet it must rate as perhaps the most witty
and ingenious adventure ever. For a start, it includes
one of the largest vocabularies yet seen by me. Indeed,
its handling of words is so convincing you often feel
you are engaged in genuine conversation with it. The
most improbable entries you can come up with are often
greeted with appropriate and sometimes hilarious responses.
Type 'Kiss Ford' and it responds 'This is family entertainment,
not a video nasty.' Type a command after you've died
and it responds 'You keep out of this, you're dead.'
descriptions of the locations and of events which take
place are also brilliantly witty and perfectly capture
the feel of the book on which the game is based.
great feature is the Hitch Hiker's Guide itself, which
once found can be used to obtain useful or at least
humourous information on almost any of the large number
of objects and characters mentioned in the game. Even
on the rare occasions when it has nothing to offer,
it comes up with a suitable response such as 'That section
of data was destroyed during an office party last night.'
is the case with all Infocom adventures, the packaging
of Hitch Hiker's is absolutely superb. Included
in its price, amongst other things, are peril-sensitive
sunglasses and pocket fluff(!).
did not look too becoming in the peril-sensitive sunglasses,
which are supposed to protect your eyes from any sort
of horror by turning completely opaque at the first
sign of danger . . . not the sort of thing a keen and
fearless adventurer like me should wear. Mind you, throughout
the game you could well do with a pair of these zany
start the adventure playing the role of Arthur Dent
who wakes up on the worst day of his life with a tremendous
hangover, a condition the White Wizard is not unfamiliar
with after a heavy night on the Pipistrelle '56.
aspirin and a few more moments of exploration later
and you discover that you are in the same situation
as in the start of the Douglas Adams book -- a bulldozer
is about to knock down your house, and, more importantly,
a fleet of Vogon ships are about to destroy the earth
to clear the way for an interplanetary highway.
problems include how to avoid being killed by a flying
brick as your home is crashed, and how to escape earth's
destruction with your friend Ford Prefect. A basic knowledge
of the book is helpful at this stage, but before long
the adventure takes some highly original turns and offers
a series of difficult and brilliantly conceived puzzles.
One of the best involves trying to secure a Babel fish
from a dispenser in the hold of one of the Vogon craft.
You won't believe the deviousness of it. I don't believe
the deviousness of it. Later still, by discovering and
activating an improbability drive, you even find yourself
taking the roles of other characters in the game in
completely different time periods, and encountering
such beings as the Bugblatter beast of Traal, which
is so stupid it thinks that if you can't see it, it
can't see you.
to say, the number of locations is vast, and the game
also features a useful scoring system which often gives
clues as to whether you've made a giant step forward
or a massive blunder.
this game's humour, size, and attention to detail, it
can only be said that it is destined to become one of
the all-time classics. All I wish is that someone would
get a move-on and start importing it pronto, preferably
at a slightly lower price!