Logic and the inexplicable

Jinxter logo

Travel through the mists of adventure with Dave Eriksson.

PLAYING an adventure takes time. Do you want to be glued to your Amiga, unable to take a coffee break in case you lose the thread of what you are doing? You do? Then you will not go far wrong if you play Jinxter, written by Magnetic scrolls and distributed by Rainbird.

Jinxter has been around for a short while, but it is only by spending many hours at the keyboard that I can judge it. Previous games from the same source, The Pawn and Guild of Thieves, had an enormous amount of hype and publicity applied to them. Good games they were, but somewhat overrated by all the talk of wonderful parsers and great graphics.

Jinxter has some great pictures to see along the way, but also secretes some solid classic puzzles for you to solve. It is not a terribly difficult game, but will keep you guessing for a time, even if you decipher all the clues in the smart package.

The action takes place in Aquitania, on a world not so very different from ours. There are buses to run you over and telephones to ring at the most inappropriate moments. There are fairground roundabouts and trains to miss. Magicians, Green Witches and immortal Guardians.

The Guardians generally watch out for people's safety and well being. They seem to have a penchant for herringbone suits and live on cheese sandwiches. The Green Witches have been a thorn in the side of the Guardians for as long as anyone can remember. Their aim is to cause as much bad luck to all as possible.

Many years ago a magician called Turani created a magic charm bracelet which would inhibit the powers of the witches. Although they cannot destroy the bracelet while it is whole, the witches have managed to bribe certain members of the public to remove its individual charms. It is now so devoid of protection that the chief witch, Jannedor, is almost ina position to destroy its powers entirely.

The less charms the bracelet has, the more bad luck the witches have to spread around and the more work there is for the Guardians. They are now very short of manpower so have selected you to be their agent. You must find the missing charms to the bracelet and re-assemble it to restore its magical power.

Moments after you have had this explained to you, you get a telephone call for help from an old friend, Xam. It later turns out that Xam has realised what is happening and has already tried to rescue the magic charms from their new owners. The Green Witches found out and have kidnapped him. While you are saving the world, you may as well rescue Xam as well.

The game starts with you travelling home by bus. Check your inventory, look around and just retain your wits and you will shortly be walking through your front door. Check out your house thoroughly and collect anything you think will be useful. You can carry quite a lot with you, and there is no point in having to come back unless you have to. In this game you can look under things.

During the first half of Jinxter you travel by reasonably conventional means and can move freely backwards and forwards between locations, so don't panic if you realise you have left something vital behind. Into the second half it may be quicker to start again.

Your first task is to get to Xam's house. The farmer has put a ferocious-looking bull in the field you usually cross on your way there. What don't you usually do to bulls? Xam's house is a mess, he is not the neatest of people. Perhaps you can find some clues or useful items to help on your quest.

From here there are a few side trips before you finally cross the lak to the village. By this time you will have found a number of useful things, think carefully of what you want to carry on frm here, and visit the Clockmaster last.

You are now into the second half of the game and the pace hots up: be prepared to run if you have to. Once in the Green Witches' castle you are nearly there. With a bit of luck you may find Xam and finish what you came to do. Just stay clear of Jannedor - she's decidedly lethal.

Jinxter is well thought out and has reams of atmospheric text. The graphics are excellent and well sprinkled throughout the game. The parser is Magnetic Scrolls' specialty and is very good, even though it is sometimes frustrating trying to be clever enough to match up.

You may have some oil with you and want to oil some rusty door runners. OIL RUNNERS is not good enough, you have to be very explicit: OIL RUNNERS WIH OIL, is what it expects from you. There are a number of occasions where such dumb loyalty to its cause can cause similar frustration.

This is only a minor irritation. The only real problem with clever parsers is that sometimes they allow you to be too clever for your own boots. One example is the mousetrap. If you don't want to use it, just drop it; don't try to place it somewhere special. I tried to be clever and it took me ages to realise that the direct approach was all that was needed.

Magnetic Scrolls does not yet have an OOPS command, so SAVE your game position often, not because you may die suddenly but simply so that you can return in time to get something you may have forgotten.

Jinxter is good fun and is suitable for adventurers whatever their experience. A number of coded clues are provided, that offer help - but do not tell all - to those in need of a helping hand.

Jinxter logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Rainbird/ Magnetic Wossnames
Price: £24.95

Hold one while I tether me unicorn, and I will tell you about this wossaname wot I been playing. Jinxter. Narwhamean? Right, that's fixed the blighter, so here goes.

One minnit I was getting orf this bus, and the next, this Grudiana feller appears from nowhere and tells me I am a gonner. My fault, I s'pose - should never have bothered to pick up me keyring. Me Dad warned me when I was a kid about bending over in public. Dangerous. Narwahmean?

This Grudiana feller hands me a watchercallit. "Here, read this", he says, "so's I can get back to the trouble and strife". And bugger me if it don't turn out I been given the job of collecting all them charms from orf the Green Witch's bracelet - something to do with breaking their power so as Len Crikey and 'is lot can get 'old of a cheese sarnie with a bit a flavour to it.

Lucky I am an adventure wossaname, 'cos in no time flat I was through me country cottage like a dose of salts. Pity I missed the old sock, might have helped with the sarnies, nar wha mean? But when I crash out I chuck me clothes all over the place. Never can find 'alf of them again!

Getting over the Xam's place was dead simple. Honest - no bull! Now where was I? Oh yuss, I soon got the boat, but then this cheese-mad gardener runs orft in 'elluvurry. Pound to a pinch of salt there was some dodgy goods in that sack of 'is. Still, ne'mind, other things are happening.

Up staggers this postman - Lebling I thinks 'is name is. 'E was a-puffin and a-pantin' all the way up the drive. Stuffs the wossaname in the bleedin' oojimy, narmean? Then é only goes and SHUTS it, don't 'e? Silly bunt. Spent hours and hours over that one, didn't I? Huh, Wind, indeed!

Any road up, soon I find myself dropping through the sky like a stone. Flippin' Granudia pulls up alongside, muchin' a cheese sarnie. "Hullo, in some sort of trouble then, are we squire?" he asks, a bit nonchalant, narmean? "Sell you a parachute, can I?" Saucy sod!

"Naff orf!" I exclaim. Not stupid, am I? Got a saved game, 'ain't I, only 'e 'asn't cort on! 'Ad a lont of fun at the bakers, I did - not 'arf! Blew meself AND 'is flippin' oven up more than once (felt a bit unlucky at the time) until I tried things a different way.

Tell you what though. That village postmistress is a canny old bird, no messing. Vigilant? I should say so! But ugly? Cor, strike a light! Even if I 'ad a few chances to lay my hands on her handles, I'd turn 'em down, narmean?

Anyway, it never rains but wot it pours, and I soon lost count of how many times I sat through the weather forecast, constantly 'aving to go back for a bit of soothing music. The further forward I went, the further back I'ad to go to get anywhere. And then I got to the point where I thought I'ad it all roped up.

And guess wot? I 'and't bothered to doodah the bleedin' watchercallit, and all the wossaname had gone! Crikey! Saved game? I might as well start orl over again!

Wanta get onto a good doofer then? Find a mate, and pirate his Jinxter wossaname. Har har! Hope you read a half decent paper!

We apologise for this review being late and all that but that bleeda Campbell's gone and lost 'is marbles. Just in case any of the above review does not sound totally kosher or make any more sense than yer Dutch aunt here are a few notes so's you an make out what the silly arse is on abart. We hope this makes it all much clearer.
1. Any words containing the letters DUGNAIRA should read GUARDIAN.
2. For DOODAH read RAIN.
3. The game comes contains clues to the puzzles.
4. The clues to the puzzles in the Independent Guardian are puzzles.
5. When it is not thingy, take care not to get oojimy.
6. There is no connection between the postman who appears in Jinxter, and any other person, whether living, dead or employed by Infocom.
7. During solution, some of the puzzles give the appearance of being vocabulary problems - which they are not. They are puzzles, and this confusion leads to the ever so slightly lower playability rating than might otherwise have been the case. OK, your Anitaship? (Grovel, slurp).
8. Some of the funny text, most of which is so incredibly funny that most people in the office became extremely doofered, is a bit overdone. Shades of Bureaucracy. Narmean, Michael