Dream Zone logo


Everyone has nightmares at one time or another, but few people wake up to find themselves still in them. That's what you've done and if you don't find a way to escape you'll be stuck forever.

Your messy bedroom provides the scene for the game. Your first task is to wander around upstairs exploring the landscape. This gives you the chance to locate objects useful later on in the adventure. When you're satisfied with what you've found then the next step is to go back to your room and sleep. The digitised black and white pictures which make up the waking part of the game are then replaced with less impressive animated colour sequences.

Whilst you're in the colourful world of dreams you come across some strange things: simian bouncers, porcine informers and savage toilets. The gameplay occasionally features frustrating bureaucracy obviously designed to give you are foretaste of poll tax forms.

A trip to the DOI can find you spending all day shunted from one room to another in your search for an elusive form. This can become extremely annoying and more imaginative problems are definitely needed to maintain your interest.

Dream Zone is a graphical adventure featuring digitised pictures of your location. Objects are show as small pictures but these are not digitised. The graphics are functional allowing you to click on portions of the picture and find out what they are; double clicking provide more information.

There are two methods of interacting with the game: either via a row of icons consisting of the more commonly used options or by making use of a simple command line interpreter. Apart from the graphics it's a standard adventure with the usual interaction between characters and objects.

All in all it's not a bad game with some good graphics and even a tune, but the problems are just too annoying to keep you interested. Character interaction can be limiting with offending characters only assisting you if you first help them - no place for the wicked at heart.

Dream Zone logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Amiga: £24.99

There are monsters in your dreams, and each night you awake in a sweat, unable to recall what had terrorised you. Your brother complains your screams are ruining his sleep. So you seek the help of a psychiatrist, who gives you a glass of something to drink, and tells you to go home and sleep it off.

The game starts in your bedroom, and at first sight, the graphics disappoint. The picture you see is a drab black and white digitised photo, enlivened only by a poster of a scantily clad female adorning the wall. Your house, as you wander around, is equally drab.

You eventually decide to follow the advice you were given, and sleep. Suddenly, your bedroom is transformed, the misty grey pictures crystallising with colour, and now, the way out leads not to the landing, but to a weaving blue pathway suspended in space...

Entering the gate at the far end of the path, takes you into the square of a strange and fantastic city. Fancying a drink, you try to pop into the Rigor Mortis Bar ("Come inside and get stiff!" is its slogan) but before you can embark on this part of your dream, you must have an ID card.

A foxy-looking tout has a jacket lined with ID cards, and here is where all the bureaucracy you encountered if you played Infocom's Stationfall will stand you in good stead - he needs a form 69C-12B before he will sell you one!

Over the road, then, to the Department Of Information building, to get hold of the appropriate form. But don't think it will be that easy! "Ask officer S3R-D in room N4R-E", suggests the clerk on the reception desk, starting you off on a merry chase through the building, being referred from one officer to another.

So the dream continues, taking you to an oriental palace, a castle in the clouds, and an amusement park, among other places. But should you decide you have had enough, and you want to go back to bed, you will find a huge, ugly monster blocking the pathway to your door.

Dream Zone is an icon driven adventure, with direction icons to the right of the picture, and command verbs in a bar directly under the picture. Clicking on a direction will move you, whilst clicking on a verb followed by a moveable object or part of the picture area, will build a text command in the input area, which will be executed with a click on the text message area directly above it. Commands can also be typed in via the keyboard.

The menu bar at the top offers pull down menus for facilities to save and load game positions, turn sound on and off (there is suitably moody music throughout the game), quit, new game, and text coloration.

Certainly at the beginning of the game the problems are not particularly obvious. You can get to sleep easily enough, only to discover shortly afterwards that there must be essential objects that you have left behind in the house.

Before long I realised that I had to go to the bathroom, but I could not find it anywhere! It turned out that it was not off the landing, where I had spent half an hour searching for it, but was en-suite to my bedroom. Here, then, is my biggest, and possibly only criticism of the game - no exits are listed on the screen, and even the hint map that comes in the package did not show it!

However, once you get used to the command system, and familiar with the way the game plays, it is brilliant!

Dream Zone logo

Baudville, Amiga £24.99

You always did look a bit of a berk (you're not even green for a start) so when some suspiciously greasy, namby pamby roadsweeper passing for a doctor tells you that all your problems will be solved if you dream them away, you're stupid enough to believe him. Ha! What a prawn!

Ok, so you're thick but you've got yourself into this dreamzone so how are you going to get yourself out? And no waking up either because a big bad beast (bit like a troll, really) is gonna keep on messing you around until you make it to paradise. Serves you right!

So where are you exactly, smart-ass? Er... in the middle of a pretty badly illustrated maze of city locations, emperor's palaces, sleazy bars and stinking alleyways, actually. This is a dream, remember, so none of the people who live here are well... normal. There's an office-block full of bureaucratic pigs, a bar - full of girls with spray-on jeans and a whole bunch of crooks, forgers, loan sharks, groupies and girlies. Your average teenager subconscious really. Your average teenage troll's dismembered party is a whole lot more fun.

Oh yeah, the puzzles. If you've solved every Infocom adventure going and can't wait to get your hand on the next Magnetic Scrolls, forget Dream Zone and go and do something a lot less boring instead. Ok, so this is a dream and the obvious solutions to puzzles don't always work. But there isn't a Lizard's earlobe of an excuse for using up memory space with incredibly repetitive, pointless and totally uninteresting puzzles. In fact, the first half hour of the game involves walking round a network of different passages collecting forms - big deal.

Some attempt has been made to exploit the dream idea - your toy water pistol actually kills (oo-er, pass me another gnome-chip) - but it's about as much fun as watching your toenails grow.

You take charge of this rollicking riot of roistering action using a combination of icon and traditional type-in controls. Ok, so the puzzles aren't too hot, but for £24.99 the parser must be great. No way, José - just average really. Generally, there's more than one alternative to a response but every now and then (usually when it's about as obvious as a worm at the bottom of a glass of snot) you have to get it right or else. Not my idea of fun.

If I had dreams as peculiar as this, I'd drink a bucket of fermented slime and bash myself over the head to sleep it off. Unless you're really into paying £25 to bore yourself stiff (in which case cover yourself with tabasco sauce first, it's tastier that way), I'd advise you to do something a lot more interesting - like eating your toenails - instead. With so many good adventure releases around at the moment, something as mediocre and uninteresting as this, just isn't worth the time of day.