Lost Treasure of Infocom II CDROM Version for PC/MAC
The Lost Treasures of Infocom II package is a collection of eleven
"interactive fiction" text adventures. It includes the following titles:
- A Mind forever voyaging
- Border Zone
- Hollywood Hijinx
- Nord and Bert couldn't make Head or Tail of it
- Plundered Hearts
- Sherlock - The Riddle of the Crown Jewels
The CDROM version includes three extra titles:
Address: P.O. Box 67001
Los Angeles, CA 90067
I got my copy for $49.00. This seems to be a "regular" price. I've
seen it advertised for DM 89.00 in Germany.
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
You'll need a CDROM drive as well as a suitable driver software to
access the "Lost Treasures II" (LTOI2) disc. If you don't own a Mac
or PC emulator, you'll need an Infocom interpreter capable of playing
Level 4 games, e.g. ZIP (which can be found of AmigaLibDisk 833).
Memory requirements aren't particular high: On the Amiga side, 1 MB
of RAM will suffice.
A basic PC emulation will suffice to run the games. For the special
pack-ins, a graphics adaptor of some kind is recommended.
I have not tested the games on a Mac/Mac emulation.
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
I am currently using LTOI-2 on an A2500/030 running OS 2.04, using
a GVP Series II host adapter, a NEC CDR 74 CD-ROM drive, and Asimware's
AsimCDFS. The machine features 1 MB of Chip, 4 MB of 32 and 2 MB of 16
Bit ram. I used the ZIP interpreter from AmigalibDisk 833, Version 1.0
(Amiga Version 2.2).
PC testing was done on the Commodore A2386 bridgeboard installed
in the same machine. The PC side is running DOS 5.0. It is equipped
with a 20 MB AT-Bus drive, a multi i/o card, and a 1 MB SVGA card.
I have not tested this disc on a CDTV.
I'm a long time fan of Infocom's brand of Interactive Fiction. Back
in the old days of the C= 64, I used to talk friendly clerks in our
local department store to let me play test their new releases, because
I could not afford to buy any but a few of those games. Before the time
when I could have affored those games, they had vanished from the
shelves. I the course of some rummage sales, I was able to acquire some
more titles for a reduced price. But for a long time, it just looked
like most of the Infocom collection would be lost to me forever. Until
recently, when marketing at Activision decided that they could as well
try and sell the complete collection again. Of course I'm talking of
the first "Lost Treasures of Infocom". This package included 20 of the
classic titles. However, still a lot more were missing, and it took
about another year for LTOI-2 to appear - for PC and Mac. To my best
knowledge, there's still no release date set for an Amiga version.
Being owner of both a CDROM drive and a PC board, I figured that i
might as well buy the LTOI-2 CD - instead of missing out again. The
availability of the ZIP interpreter was another powerful argument in
favour of it.
The layout of the CDROM disc is straightforward: There's a MAC and
a DOS directory, with subdirectories on the DOS side for each separate
game. Due to support for different graphics adaptors, the DOS directory
contains about 6.3 MB of data, while the Mac games sum up to only about
2.7 MB. There would have been more than ample space left to support
other systems as well.
I'll discuss differences in the packaging later on in the
Getting the games to run on the Bridgeboard was no problem at all:
Commodore's Janus package let me copy required files onto the PC side,
where they ran with no problems at all. Having a second SCSI adaptor
plugged in there would propably have facilitated it even more.
As mentioned above, I do not own a Mac emulation package, but I
guess that it should be possible to run the games there as well. A
sticker on the package claims System 7 compatibility.
Running the games on the Amiga side turned out to be a bit more
problematic: The documentation of the ZIP interpreter claimed that it
would run all Interactive Fiction Plus games. While I had no
difficulties with "Trinity" and "A Mind Forever Voyaging", it crashed
right at the start of "Bureaucracy", and refused to load "Sherlock"
and "Borderzone". I did not bother to check the three "extra" games,
since they wouldn't work for obvious reasons: They all include
graphics. All other games run just fine.
A cross test with my disk based Amiga version of "Bureaucracy"
proved that it would run this version just fine. However, the Amiga
version is release 86, while the LOTI-2 version is 116. I suspect that
the problems with "Sherlock" are caused by a lack in the support of
sound, while "Borderzone" is supposed to need a real time clock in the
LTOI-2 includes a large paperback manual containing reproductions
of the original documentation and "Invisiclues". Instructions for the
the extra games are in a separate booklet. The package includes also
separate printed maps and booklets as included in the original games
for Journey, Shogun, Arthur, Sherlock Holmes and Trinity.
While the packaging and presentation of LTOI-2 is really
professional, and the manual done better than in the first collection,
it is still no match for the original packages. Infocom Adventures came
in distinct grey boxes, and they used to contain all kinds of neat stuff
that was or wasn't necessary for the gameplay - you wouldn't know before
you completed the game. Those so-called "Invisiclues" were sometimes
some sort of copy protection by giving you a vital clue, but they were
mainly necessary for setting the special athmosphere of the game. They
distinguished Infocom games from "ordinary" text adventures.
At least some of the clues have been reproduced by photo in the
manual, but not nearly all. From my own experience I can tell you that
you can live without the "Lucky Palm Tree Swizzle Stick" from
"Hollywood Hijinx", but I don't know about that yellow biro from the
original "A Mind Forever Voyaging" package.
The manual reproduces parts of the "Introduction to Interactive
Fiction" from some other game. If you're new to text adventures, you
might feel it's a little bit too terse.
Loading instructions for PC and Mac are included on an extra leaflet.
LIKES AND DISLIKES
What irked me most about the LTOI-2 package is that Activision
didn't realise the potential of their CDROM release for real multi
platform support beyond PC and Mac. Most of the games included in this
package were available for Amiga, and they would have just run fine
on a CDTV with Keyboard, being produced for OS 1.2 and 1.3 Amigas. An
extra 5 MB or so wouldn't have cost anything more in production or
packaging, but it would have shown recognition of the Amiga market.
With things being as they are, users who want to stay 100% on the
legal side will have to resort to running the package on emulations,
since the Copyright notice forbids the use of the software on other
As mentioned above, "Bureaucracy" as supplied with LTOI-2 will not
work with the current release of the ZIP interpreter. I will be notifying
the author of ZIP of these shortcoming - maybe he will be able to
supply an upgraded version of ZIP.
As far as I can tell, the loading instructions for PC will not work,
as they miss an instruction to the user to type in "Infocom2" - to load
a selector program - before selecting a game by typing in it's name.
There's a special telephone line offering help for 95c per minute.
It's 1-900-680-Hint. I haven't called it, so I can't tell whether this
service is still in operation. You might also try Customer Support on
(310) 207-4500 during 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Pacific Time. Maybe you
should let them know that you want an Amiga'ized version of the disc.
90 days warranty on media. Need sales slip as proof of purchase.
Apart from rummage sales or buying used games, the "Lost Treasures
of Infocom II" are possibly the last legal way to get your hands on a
large number of very high quality text adventures. I consider the
inability of the average Amiga user to use 6 out of 14 games a major
drawback. Thus, I can only recommend this package to other addicts like
me. I'd rate it 3 stars out of five, with a black bandage as a sign of
Copyright 1993 Thomas Bätzler. All rights reserved.
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