Jewels of Darkness logo

Rainbird/Level 9 GrA
Commodore 64/128
Price: £14.95/cass or disk
Amiga: £19.95

Jewels of Darkness consists of three games from Level 9, originally known as the Middle Earth Trilogy.

Level 9's first game, Colossal Adventure, is the first of the three. It is a micro-based version of the first ever adventure, The Colossal Cave, written in Fortran on a mainframe in the USA by Crowther and Wood. As well as being a pretty faithful reproduction of the original, it has a completely new endgame added, which starts as the old game ends.

Adventure Quest and Dungeon Adventure are the other two games in this collection, and are very loosely tied to the end of Colossal by a short piece of fiction. They are both originally early Level 9 adventures, featuring the Demon Lord Agaliarept. In Quest, you must defeat him, and in the follow-on, Dungeon, having defeated him you go in search of the treasure that he has left behind him.

Since the games were originally written, Level 9 have considerably enhanced their adventure system, and are now able to cram in more text, as well as graphics, combined with a more complex parser. This new release uses the new system, which also offers RAM, SAVE, OOPS, and multi-tasking. The latter means that you can type ahead whilst the picture is still drawing, which will, if your command is to move, interrupt the picture currently drawing, and start a new one.

Of course, you can always turn the picture off altogether, and perhaps this may not be a bad idea, for the pictures are nothing much to write home about.

The packaging is in the high-quality standard Rainbird box, which includes not only a lenslok, but also full playing instructions and a 'novella', nicely produced on glossy paper, which runs into some 64 pages.

All this, at £5 a game (it comes as three cassettes) has got to be a good buy, if you haven't already played the adventures.