Fed up at text adventure "guess the verb" puzzles, the author has followed up the earlier Fantasia and concocted what he describes as "boolean interactive fiction" -- a game consisting of purely textual input and output occasionally prompting the player for confirmation of likely, valid actions in the style of many a BBS door game ("you may (S)teal food, (T)ake from trunk, or (L)eave"), mostly in answering Yes/No questions ("You come up to a hollow tree with a door. Enter?") or plugging in numbers for inventory management of a sort ("2 male and 8 female slaves have come down with: Turkey Pox. How many males to cure?")
Really the game chugs along pretty much on its own -- combat, for instance, being a do-or-die affair of pressing any key to proceed to the next round, the computer taking care of both parties' tactics and strategies (or, uh, lack thereof: it will quite happily run you straight into the ground against a stronger opponent). It dishes up a varied but randomized assortment of standard adventure environments (sylvan glades, abandoned shacks, villages, inclement weather, Gypsy gambling dens, the Dark Castle of the Mad King) to be explored at your discretion, though it's up to the player and tough lessons learned in their past experience with the game to determine for themselves if they're tough enough to deal with (or desperate enough to risk dealing with) what they're likely to find in each area, which is sometimes beneficial ("the gnome greets you and gives you 3 food"), sometimes negative ("You release a Rune Guardian which comes out and burns you"), and sometimes neither ("As you enter, a centurion says to you: 'Have you driven a Ford lately?'").
Yes, as with Legend of the Red Dragon and Kingdom of Loathing, the stock fantasy tropes of fighting orcs and ogres with swords are mixed with jarring glimpses of surreal preoccupations -- here with giant hamburgers, Duncin' [sic] Doughnuts, and Hellen Reddy [sic]. The absurdity is compounded upon when answering multiple choice questions from a statue of Pan in the woods:
You find a Statue of Pan. Approach the Statue? (Y/N)
The statue suddenly animates, & asks you the following riddle.
Who invented the first Hamburger?
1 - Cleavon Little
2 - Ernest Borgnine
3 - Howdy Duty
Choose (1, 2, 3):
...but these exchanges are necessary in order to have "the prime command" revealed to you -- a string of gibberish needed in order to activate the Staff of Aviatar, a prerequisite for penetrating the Mad Overlord's mystical fortifications.
Once the player has achieved the 20th level or beyond and accumulated both the Staff and the prime command, it is possible to enter the endgame, in which your total assets (largely, perhaps in a nod to Gor, consisting of male and female slaves) are converted into an army, one which automatically engages the Overlord's legions... their conflict depicted as two Progress Questian bars in a chart diminishing each other. Overwhelming forces will be needed to make even a dent in his waves of cannon fodder, but should you triumph over them, you then get to engage the Overlord in single combat. (An unsubstantiated rumour in the documentation suggests that in the unlikely eventuality of your ultimate victory, the game will automatically try to print you out certification of game completion.)
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