Reviewed by Les Ellingham



Issue 15

May/Jun 85

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Screenplay Inc. 
48k disk/ cass.

Asylum is set in the place that most Adventurers eventually end up! Your task is simply to escape. The Asylum is basically one massive maze of corridors with numerous doors which you must try to unlock using different items. Many of the doors reveal empty rooms but others have objects in them or are occupied by the inmates or keepers of the Asylum. Collecting various objects you go about the adventure in the normal way.

The game allows multiple sentences to be used such as OPEN THE DOOR THEN GET BOX or UNLOCK THE DOOR WITH KEY. OPEN IT. ENTER DOOR. Generally using multiple commands will save you a lot of time especially when going in and out of rooms. The instruction manual gives very little help regarding the game other than to explain the use of the vocabulary. If you wish you can press the OPTION button to view all of the words recognised by the program and as some of these are pretty obscure you may be forced into using this facility. There are four full screens of recognised words, each three columns across.

The maze is fully animated and is very reminiscent of WAY OUT. Your progress through the maze is controlled by using the four arrow keys which control all movement. As you turn to left or right or face about the maze scrolls across the screen giving a very impressive sense of direction. In the corridors the graphics are just grey walls with occasional objects in boxes on the floor but high resolution pictures are revealed whenever you enter a room. Text occupies a few lines at the bottom of the screen although the graphics can be switched out for more text If you want a sneak preview of the graphics there is a `slide show' which gives you a preview of some of the rooms you will find in your travels. Although this may seem to some too much like cheating it does give you a good incentive to go on and there are many more rooms.

Initially I was not particularly interested in Asylum as most animated graphics adventures tend to offer graphics at the expense of the plot but I quickly became hooked. It represents one of the the very best forms of graphics adventure and contains plenty of puzzles to solve in the classic style. The slide show is an excellent feature giving a few hints about what you need to find to leave the Asylum and overall it uses the Atari's capabilities to excellent effect with good scrolling action in the corridors and high-res pictures in the rooms. Add to that text adventure style puzzles and the Asylum is a place you may well wish to visit!