Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island logo

ENIGMA VARIATIONS * £24.99 Keyboard

Gosh! There's something jolly suspicious going on at Kirrin Island. There are some nasty foreign-looking men hanging around the village and Julian thinks that something rather peculiar is about to happen.

George is being her usual strange self. Anne is whimpering like proper girls do in times of danger and Dick has eaten absolutely heaps of fresh tomatoes and tinned peaches. Timmy barks and plays, because he knows they are about to have another absolutely smashing adventure.

Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin have invited the Famous Five down to Kirrin Cottage for the hols. The Famous Five arrive just in time because it's a glorious summer day and just perfect for a swim. First, though they all have to get to the house for tea, but everyone is just dying to explore the mysterious Kirrin Island.

The Famous Five is a text adventure, relying on graphics purely as a decorative measure. It follows the plot of the Enid Blyton book, Five on a Treasure Island, and so those of you lucky enough to have read that 'classic' piece of literature will have a holly big advantage to begin with.

The Famous Five can all be controlled independently, but generally follow each other around. Like the books, most things can only be accomplished as a team (with the exception of Anne because she's such a silly cry-baby) and each member has their own abilities and attributes.

Cry-babies and transvetites!
Julian for example is strong and brave. Dick isn't quite so strong, but he can eat like an absolute pig. George dresses in mens clothes, but she is an absolutely brilliant swimmer. Anne cries a lot and wets herself in times of moderate to extreme danger. Timmy the dog is a scruffy sort of pooch, but he absolutely adores the Famous Five. Apparently he likes chasing rabbits, but he never catches them!

What fun it is to be the Famous Five. After setting in at the cottage, they head off for a swim and what do they find? A boat! Wouldn't it be absolutely super if they could row to Kirrin Island? After all it's a simply glorious day. Ginger beer might be refreshing, but nothing beats a nice dip in the sea!

The plot, as it unfolds, reveals a sunken wreck, a treasure map and a group of very suspicious looking chaps. Treasure seeking is the order of the day, but a storm is brewing, and getting to the island is harder than it seems. Are the Famous Five strong, brave and clever enough to save the day? Only you can decide.

The game relies almost entirely on text. The graphics as and when they appear tart things up a bit, but give no clues which aren't included in the text.

Dick and Fanny
A distinct sense of humour pervades the game, although this is mostly due to the very nature of the Famous Five books. It's all tongue in cheek, and pathetic though it sounds, it's hard to avoid chuckling when Dick and Fanny have a conversation.

The manual claims the game has a "very sophisticated parser". This is a somewhat dubious claim. The text often suggests actions which you cannot perform and a painful and confusing system is used to move the Five around. You cannot, for example, simply leave the house. You have to first go to the door and open it. It may be logical, but it's not very friendly. Even eating sandwiches is a chore - remember to remove the paper. Still, that bit of paper might come in handy later...

It's a reasonable adventure. There are lots of things for the Five to do, and getting those suspicious looking gentlemen in the clink will take some doing. A little easy for the hardened adventurer, but absolutely smashing fun for Famous Five fans.

Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island logo

Walt Disney's lustige Taschenbücher, Pippi Langstrumpf und Enid Blytons Geschichten von den "Fünf Freunden" - das sind Bücher, die wirklich jeder kennt! Es sei denn, man hätte seine frühe Jugend ausschließlich vor der Glotze verbracht...

Jetzt können also auch lesemuffel ihren Nachholbedarf stillen, denn die Story dieses Abenteuerspielchens köntne kaum typischersein: Die Ferien sind angebrochen, und die Fünf fahren zu ihren Verwandten, um dort die lehrerlose Zeit zu verbringen. Der Onkel ist da, Tantchen ist da, George ist da - und eine geheimnisvolle Insel, die man eigentlich mal erkunden könnte, ist auch noch da...

Spieltechnisch haben wir es hier mit einem schlichten Text/Grafik-Adventure der etwas hausbackenen Sorte zu tun. Der obere Screenteil ist für die kunterbunte Grafik reserviert, wobei allerdings nur jede dritte bis vierte Örtlichkeit mit einem eigenen Bild vorgestellt wird.

Die Kommandos müssen Wort für Wort eigegeben werden, zudem ist der Parser recht heikel: er will (aus erzieherischen Gründen?) vollständige englische Sätze sehen und versteht relativ wenig.

Außerdem gibt es vier Pulldown-Menüs mit erstaunlich vielen Optionen, wie Savedisk formatieren, verschiedene Schriften für die Bildschirmausgabe oder einer Verbenliste.

Erwähnenswert ist vielleicht noch, daß man es sich aussuchen darf, mit welchem der Fünf Freunde man gerne abenteuern würde, zeitweise kann man sogar den Hund begleiten.

Alles in allem ein sehr konventionelles Adventure ohne nennenswerte Highlights, aber wer gerne in einem Kinderbuch herumrennt, kann ja mal einen Blick riskieren - es gibt Schlechteres. (mm)

Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island logo

A bizarre choice of licence gives their Famous Five their very own adventure game. Lashings of ginger beer all round, we'd say.

For those reared on 'Commando' comics and Action Men the antics of Noddy, the Secret Seven and the Famous Five will probably mean little. But those who, like myself, modelled their childhoods and, indeed, philosophical outlook on the wholesome world of Enid Blyton's characters, will no doubt feel their hearts palpitate when they catch a glimpse of Five On A Treasure Island, the Famous Five's first computer outing.

The Five themselves consist of Julian (the tough, mature one), Anne (a bit of a girlie), Dick (rather weedy), George (reputedly a girl) and Timmy (the dog). The packaging shows them all kitted out in 501s, Nikes and sleeveless t-shirts, but there's no hiding the fact that, given the choice, they'd go for shorts, sensible shoes and v-neck jumpers every time. And roll hoops along by hitting them with sticks.

Now, as with most of these types, they're heavily into healthy outdoor activities - 'adventures' as they like to refer to them. To this end Julian, Dick and Anne have gone to spend their 'hols' with George's mother, who's called Aunt Fanny. (Oh dear). She lives in a 'gay' cottage by the sea in a village called Kirrin where there are bound to be heaps and heaps of mysteries for the gang to solve.

What you've got to do is tell them what to do, adventure gamestyle. That means typing in things like 'N', 'E', 'GET ROPE', and getting back answers like 'I don't understand', 'You can't do that' or 'Anne slaps you in the face' - that sort of thing.

By making sure you've got the right objects in the right places at the right times and doing the right things with them you should have the mystery wrapped up and everyone home in time for tea (with plenty of bread and jam). You can take control of any of the Five, and swap between them at all, while anyone you're not controlling goes off and does their own 'thang'.

There are plenty of nice pictures to look at, some fairly predictable but very Blytonesque puzzles to solve and everything proceeds at a cracking pace. Unless you've got an insurmountable aversion to Enid Blyton or adventure games (which, come to think of it, probably accounts for quite a few people), I strongly suggest you pack some sandwiches into your satchel, cry 'Tally ho!' and jump right in there.

Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island logo

Enid Blyton's wizard Famous Five books have sold simply squillions of copies world-wide and have been translated into dozens of languages> Now you get the chance to play the super Five as they embark on a spiffing adventure to a mysterious treasure island.

Based on the book Five On A Treasure Island, we find our courageous heroes Julian, Anne, Dick, George and Timmy the dog holidaying with their Aunt Fanny in the town of Kirrin. Nearby is the mysterious Kirrin island and its hidden treasure...

The game is a run of the mill adventure with some natty pictures. The puzzles are usually quite straightforward, though some really do need some brainwork. None of the five can get hurt, though they seem to be good at getting lost or trapped.

The parser is jolly whizzo. It understands lots and lots of commands. Jullian was really surprised when he attempted to kick uncle Quentin and was sent home!

Our five heroes are full of jolly banter which is reflected in the text. Phrases such as 'Laks!' That hole looks frightfully deep. I do hope no one falls into it' and 'lashings of ginger beer' are all true to the book's style.

You can play any of the five and switch between them during the game, although Timmy is far more interested in chasing rabbits and sniffing trees! The rest of the five usually follow your character around, but don't be surprised if they go off on their own for even more jolly japes.

Five On A Treasure Island is a very risky licence which has been produced in an absolutely super way. It's a faithful reproduction of a book that has thrilled many children over the years. Fans of the book will adore this; anyone else might just throw up.