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Corona di Pietra, La - Review

Review by Zuperfaust


Last edited:

This adventure game was published in the weekly magazine Paper soft (issues 28 and 29, July 1985) as a two-part BASIC listing for an expanded Commodore VIC-20.

The article told about a disloyal counsellor who stole the stone crown from you, the prince. As owner of that symbol of power, the counsellor has now become a blood-thirsty tyrant. Of course, he wants to avoid you restoring your role, and he hid the crown in a secret and well-guarded place.

Yet, you take the challenge in the name of your oppressed people, and carry out this quest to be able to sit on the throne again and free your subjects.

You start from your castle, and after having collected all the necessary items to cross the sea, you will land on the island with the Counsellor’s enchanted castle, where the crown, probably, is located.

Having taken the crown, you must return safely to your castle for the game to end successfully.

Little is known about the author. There is a certain Enrico Ceppi who coded an Othello game and some routines in MC Microcomputer (one of the most influential computer magazines of that era), but I don’t know if he is the same person or not.

Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 2/10)

The parser accepts 32 verbs (including synonyms), 38 objects, and 6 directions. You must type the verb in the 2nd singular person, and article/preposition is mandatory.

There is a limit of 5 carriable objects, but it isn’t a problem because some objects are totally useless while some others are replaceable. As an example, any cutting tool (there are three of them) can be used to escape from the trap.

It is not possible to save/load, and although the verb “aiuto” (help) is provided, it gives always an unhelpful and demotivational answer.

The parser is not smart at all. For example, to read the manuscript you must take it beforehand; if you try to read it without taking it, you get a no-friendly “what manuscript?” message, which is upsetting because it doesn’t add anything, it doesn’t hint the player to take it in order to read it, and the manuscript is indeed in that room.

Atmosphere (Rating: 2/10)

This text-only adventure has 33 rooms which represent two lands separated by a sea. Rooms along the border loop on themselves, giving the illusion that the land is vaster.

About the map, it is logical and without mazes; directions are always shown, whereas descriptions are minimal, and most objects don’t have their own description either. The text is simple and without irony or humor.

The story is not developed at all, you never meet the evil Consellor, for example. And there is no explanation about the witch and the ghost you do meet. Therefore, you have characters that appear and disappear without adding to the environment, just causing a puzzle for you.

Cruelty (Rating: Polite)

You always die for a reason, but in at least two cases you don’t get any warning. You’ll learn your lesson and fix the problem on the next occasion, hopefully.

Puzzles (Rating: 5/10)

A peculiarity of this game is that for some puzzles you can choose between multiple solutions. Without spoiling anything, the player can decide whether to be kind or rude to the dog, or how to escape from the trap. You need different objects, but once the puzzle is solved, you have no repercussions later in the game regardless of your previous decision.

Puzzles vary from very simple to difficult. Sometimes the difficulty is given by the inflexible syntax verb+article/preposition+object. However, the vocabulary used includes very common verbs.

To me, the nastier puzzle is the last one: being able to cross the bridge again. Since descriptions and the examine verb don’t say much, it is not immediate to think that the solution may lie in the forest.

Overall (Rating: 5/10)

If I were to define an adventure such as this, I’d use the word "naïve." The feeling I had while playing is that it was childish, or that I was a child rather than a bold prince.

The final message of congratulations is too short and succinct to reward the player for all their efforts.

I appreciated the freedom to choose between two different solutions, and I think it is the only strong point this game has. Considering the rest, I can suggest to play it with someone new to the genre, and use the game as a training ground.