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Gnome Adventure - Review

Review by PJ-1978


Last edited:

'Gnome Adventure' is a fun and slightly unusual text adventure that first appeared on Issue 8 of the sadly short-lived 'Model B Computing' cassette magazine. Despite its release as part of a magazine, it is surprisingly well written and well presented, standing above many of the other bog-standard adventures that came as giveaways, type-ins or magazine releases.

The plot sees the Chief Gnome nabbing you to retrieve a thousand little gnome rods that have recently been stolen by an evil Ogre.

With its quirky setting and the era and platform is was released for, the whole thing feels wonderfully 'British' in its droll sense of humour. The environment can sometimes feel quite surreal with its many odd settings and characters, and the game can often address you quite harshly and be quite rude (but in a tongue-in-cheek, family friendly manner).

Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 7/10)

Although fairly rudimentary, the parser system is implemented well enough. Most (just about all) items can be abbreviated to three letters, and although basic input, I had no real problems trying to make what I wished to do understood to the computer.

Only at one location, with a large metal pole, did I struggle to make myself understood as I attempted to deal with aforementioned pole, but [VERY MILD SPOILER] in fairness it turned out that I didn't have to do anything with it anyway!

Atmosphere (Rating: 0/10)

Although Gnome Adventure isn't overly atmospheric per se, it's quirky and unusual setting, it's characters and the rather short-tempered way in which you are often addressed within the game, does give it a certain feel.

Cruelty (Rating: Tough)

Although not a tough-as-nails adventure, there are a few locations and puzzles in which you will only work out how to get around... no correction, which you will only even deduct are things that need to be dealt with... via pure and simple trial and error.
Sometimes deaths, or at very least actions taken against you, can come very unexpectedly. However, these are implemented where you can generally learn from these 'mistakes' and begin to deduct how to get around them fairly quickly.

Puzzles (Rating: 7/10)

The puzzles in the adventure are middling.

Overall (Rating: 8/10)

Overall, a fun adventure and one that, considering it came as part of a monthly cassette magazine, feels surprisingly plush, being laid out well, colourful, varied, fun to play and overall actually quite polished compared to some other cheap or giveaway adventures. In fact, I'd say that 'Gnome Adventure' could have merited it's own budget release!

After hacking away at this game when I was young, it stuck in my memory for years until I recently decided to finally complete it via BeebEm (I finally tracked it down after coming across several other 'Gnome' text adventures... I never realised it was an actual sub-genre of text adventures!)

I recall the game could have memory issues when running on my original B+, and the online version caused fun and games when it eventually transpired that it was glitchy and impossible to complete (an 'infinite room loop' bug rendering the game impossible to complete). A fixed version soon appeared (thanks Lurkio!) and I was finally able to complete it.

Its unusual setting and its amusing, quite harsh sense of humour gives the game some merit, and it is actually a very decent BBC adventure. Having only appeared as part of an issue of 'Model B Computing', it is certainly a far less recognised adventure for the Beeb, but is worth a go if you enjoy quirky and slightly different text adventures.