Jinxter

CPC version, Amstrad Computer User, November 1988 issue, p.34-35 - reviewed by Bill Brock

DO you feel that your luck has been running a little thin lately? Have too many things been getting you down? Has the scarcity of top notch adventures for your Amstrad been worrying the hell out of you? If the answer to all three is yes and if your Amstrad is a 6128, then Magnetic Scrolls' Jinxter is the solution to your problems.

Jinxter is all about luck, or rather the diminishing quantity of it. On a world not far away, there are people just like us. They have the same modern conveniences as we do, many of the same everyday problems, and a race of immortal guardians to watch over them and save them from their own stupidity. They also have a number of green witches who strive to reverse the good done by the guardians. The balance had always been precarious until a master magician, Turani, created a magic bracelet that inhibited the evil magic of the witches. Although the bracelet has a power of its own, the real strength of its magic lies in the small charms attached to it. The witches have finally developed a spell that can destroy the bracelet but not the charms. By persuasion or bribery, the witches have managed to get several nameless persons to remove and hide the magic charms. The decrease in the bracelet's power has caused an increase in the bad luck the witches can dispense. This in turn has overloaded the guardians, who have to turn for help to you. Having just been saved by a guardian from a near lethal bit of bad luck, you are recruited to find the charms and restore the bracelet to its full powers. Shortly afterwards, you get a telephone call for help from an old friend, Xam. It turns out that he has stumbled on what is happening and has already rescued one of the magic charms. The green witches find out and kidnap him, so along with your other little problems, you must find and rescue Xam.

Excellent puzzles
THERE are some excellent graphics in Jinxter, but it is the puzzles that make it a gem to play. They are not all easy to solve but a set of encoded clues are included for those that need a little help. Initially you are on your way home on a bus. The first puzzle is to get off the bus at the right place. Check your inventory, look around, remain calm and all should work out OK. After leaving the bus you will be met by the guardian mentioned above. He has an obsession, as do all his race, with cheese sandwiches and is nattily dressed in the latest of herring bone suits. You may not have guessed it from the plot, but there is plenty of humour amid the serious business of saving the world. Once inside your house, look around carefully and EXAMINE everything. Do not forget that Magnetic Scrolls is renowned for the adaptability of its parser. It can handle all sorts of commands that involve looking in and under things.

You are permitted to carry quite a few items around with you, so take advantage of this, you never know what might come in handy. For a good deal of the time you can move backwards and forwards freely through the locations. There is no penalty on the number of moves that you take - other than to your ego. First you must find your way to Xam's house. This involves getting past a ferocious looking bull. What don't you usually do to bulls? Alternatively you could try and solve the problem of the barbed wire. At Xam's there are several puzzles to solve, one of which is getting a parcel out of his locked mail box. You may have to approach the solution to this one twice before you solve it. From here you can look forward to a leisurely paddle on the lake - once you have repaired the canoe. After a few interesting visits to unexpected places you can cross the lake to the village. Here you may find a couple more of those cute little charms. The order in which the hints are listed will give you a clue as to what to do next, so visit the clockmaker last. You may find something soft to sit on before the pace hots up, but be prepared to run if you have to. Once in the green witches' castle you are nearly there, but stay clear of the chief witch, Jannedor, who is not a friendly soul.

Dumb parser
THE descriptive text in Jinxter is good and maintains the pace and atmosphere of this most amusing game. The parser has always been Magnetic Scrolls' trump card, but sometimes it can appear to be a little dumb and needs commands spelled out in full. A command like WATER PLANT may not be accepted, whereas WATER PLANT WITH WATER will. I also think if I own a bunch of keys I should know which key to use without having to spell out that I want to open the front door with the front door key rather than the shed key.

Jinxter is a fun adventure, and will be enjoyed by anyone with the slightest hint of a sense of humour. With its sensible clues you do not have to be a red hot solver of puzzles to enjoy it to the full. Finally, let us make a plea to the patron saint of all adventurers, Saint Wowo Chorder, to intercede on our behalf to Ms Sinclair of Magnetic Scrolls: Let there be expanded CPC464 versions in the future, don't restrict this heavenly manna to the brethren of the CPC6128.

Plot 75
Atmosphere 73
Addiction 77
Difficulty 65
Overall 75