The Golden Fleece logo

17 Bit Software, £2.50

While playing chess, the King of the Gods, Zeus, and his son, Hermes discuss the worthlessness or otherwise of mortals. Hermes suggests that men have valour, courage, and strength worthy of any god. Zeus doesn't agree and, amid claps of thunder and bolts of lightning, he sets Hermes the task of finding a champion among mortals to seek out and return the golden fleece to Olympus.

Hermes (sheepishly) accepts the challenge and is warned that his own fate now lies with the chosen mortal... does Zeus mean this, or is he merely pulling the wool over his son's eyes?

Although there's no mention of it in the game text, I assume you take the part of Jason (the guy associated with the Argonauts, not with Kylie) in your quest to find the fleece...

Beginning in a room with only a lamp for company, a quick reconnoitre of your surroundings not only proves that The Golden Fleece (TGF) doesn't actually have a lot to do with Greek mythology but also indicates that progress may take some time: I visited over seventy locations collecting objects along the way without scoring a single point.

Among the objects I found were a rope, a sword and a piano - typing in 'PLAY PIANO' received the message, 'You go through your entire repertoire, ending with a rendition of "The Entertainer."'. It was at this point that credibility went out the window. A letter opener and bar of soap found later also helped quash any belief in a mythological scenario.

TGF's play area is large and puzzles, if not tough, are entertaining. The parser is pretty extensive, featuring multi-sentence input, the use of AND and THEN, IF and GET ALL. Unfortunately the one option it doesn't include which, considering the game title, I thought a shame is RAMSAVE.

TGF's biggest flaw is its lack of credibility. If you're going to write an adventure around Greek mythology then you should stick to that scenario and not feature unlikely characters such as Goblins and Orcs or dubious objects such as pianos and Acme Indian Ropes.

However, as TGF is public domain and retails for a mere £2.50 it's not as if the author is trying to fleece adventurers. And although it has its share of oddities they're far outweighed by positive points (good parser, large play area, excellent value for money) and I recommend it to anyone who's forgotten what a text-only adventure is like and who fancies a quick quest with no intruding graphics.

The Golden Fleece is available from 17 Bit Software, PO Box 97, Wakefield, WF 1XX.