"Anybody can win, unless there happens to be a second entry."
ST SOFTWARE REVIEW: GRANDAD AND THE QUEST FOR THE HOLEY VEST
by Richard Karsmakers
I don't play adventures. I would would probably not have played
this one if it hadn't been for the fact that I didn't want to
seem ungrateful to the person who sent it to me, Mr. Colin
Maunton (who sent it as sortof a "thank you" because apparently
he was satisfied using my "Ultimate Virus Killer"). Perhaps the
fact that it was a shareware adventure helped as well - I am a
sucker for shareware and I think this principle is the best thing
since sliced bread.
Colin had made me a registered user as he reckoned I'd like it.
He had completed the game himself, too, and had thoroughly
enjoyed doing so.
As I had three weeks of major exams right ahead of me I sat down
to play the game.
The story is about Grandad. He's basically a poor sod who
forgets just about everything - including where he put certain
things. In this case he seems to have mislaid his string vest
(i.e. the holey vest the quest sets out to find). It's your task
to help him finding it.
The adventure has a pretty basic user interface that is slightly
reminiscent of Sierra games. You can move Grandad around in his
wheelchair using either the cursor keys or the joystick. Pressing
space (or fire on the joystick) causes a small menu to pop up,
which contains "look", "get", "use", "inventory", "save game" and
"load game". This is pretty basic, actually, but it's enough to
solve the adventure with. I guess I've hearby given a fair
indication of the target audience as well - non-seasoned
adventure players who like to have some fun and who don't have
the energy or the time to spent weeks on end trying to solve
puzzles the likes of which you find in Magnetic Scrolls
Interaction with the environment principally depends on where
Grandad is located. If you're standing nowhere in particular,
"look" will give you a basic room description; if you're standing
in front of a picture it will describe the picture and, possibly,
tell you there's a key lying on top of it. That sort of thing.
For someone as absent-minded as Grandad, he surely seems to have
gone through lenghts to lock all the doors and meticulously hide
all the keys. In the end it turns out he even left true treasure-
hunt-ish clues for you to find the last key that opens the chest
where the string vest is in (which is, of course, in a secret
The thing that makes "Grandad" appealing is its down-to-earth
humour. There are a few naughty comments here and there, and
language use is witty and just about verbose enough.
The game is written in "STOS" and personally I find it one of
the better "STOS" programming bits I've ever seen. Your average
"STOS" game is a tad (if not very) slow, and "Grandad" never is.
The main figure can be moved in front of and behind other objects
and the graphics look good. Once you get used to the user
interface (and its rather irritating beep sound) it's quite
The 26 rooms and 15 or so keys pose no serious threat. Puzzles
are logical, possibly with the exception of the key that's in a
locked door but on the other side that I would never have figured
out if I hadn't seen James Bond doing it in a film once. The
downstairs cellar (you can actually call it a dungeon) is rather
large and mapping it is a prerequisite to make it out of there
without using up too much wheelchair battery power - for when
that battery runs out of power it's hasta la vista baby, and
there's only one spare battery hidden in the game!
So how does the shareware thing work with this game?
Once you've figured out how to get to the cellar (which is quite
an ingenious puzzle) you have to cause a grate to go up in order
to enter the maze behind it. A security lock makes sure you
can't, unless you enter a six-digit security code. To get this
code, now there's the knack, you have to send a fiver (i.e. five
pound sterling) to the author, Ian Scott. By return mail he will
send you the code, so you can continue playing the rest of this
very nice adventure and he will be slightly happier.
Ian has already made it known that there will probably be a
"Grandad II" game, as interest in the original adventure was more
than he had expected (and, hopefully, this will increase to
heights resembling astronomy after this article!). If the sequel
will be anything like the original, I surely hope I'll be able to
get my hands on it soon. I do hope he will build in a possibility
to save more than one save-game per disk. Also, I think he should
build in a "sorry, please use low resolution" error message when
booting in monochrome.
Concluding, I would like to advise everybody to check out this
adventure, possible with an exception for the die-hard adventure
playing fraternity. It's plain fun to play, quite witty and, to
top it off, it's shareware! Even if you're not into adventures
normally, it's very much worth while. It is guarenteed to give
you a couple of evenings of fun!
I suppose you can get the game from Ian Scott directly, but
ideally you should try to get it through your PD library.
Alternatively you can send me a disk (Looplantsoen 50, NL-3523
GV, Utrecht, the Netherlands) and 2 International Reply Coupons
(3 of 'em if you live outside Europe) and I'll send it to you. If
you're convinced it's a brilliant game already without having
played it yet, I guess sending a fiver to Ian directly (plus disk
and IRCs) will make sure you get it, too.
99 Mill Lane
Norfolk NR31 8HR
Thanks to Colin Maunton for sending me the game!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.