An Argument


for the


Published by Zenobi Software, 1989.

Read the Walkstory!


  Game Title: Homeworkish
  Graphics: Very well done.
                  With animations!
  Gameplay: Typical IF.
  Concept: Space Madness!
  Fun Time: 2 Hours
  Death Tally: 5. Matter
                   Disrupted myself.
                   Freeze Beast hugs
                   me! Drowned in
                   pool! Wraith zaps
                   me! Garganadon
                   dismembers me!



Finding information on this game on the internet was somewhat difficult since searching for "A.R.C." got many varied hits and none of them were adventure games. The only information I had to go on was the game rom's listed name, arc, and the name of one of the people who worked on it, Sean M. As you can see from this title shot (which my Spectrum Emulator never shows), Sean's name is actually Shaun. I eventually stumbled upon the title Alien Research Centre on Baf's Guide to Interactive Fiction. And the name Shaun McClure matched up close enough to what I had. I'd found it!

The game was published in 1989. This may make it the newest game I've played although I really haven't been very good at listing the dates the games were published. I should probably fix that. But the graphics look nice! This is no Cloud 9 project!

An interesting note before I get rambling: this game cost 2.99 Pounds in 1989. The last game I played, The Very Big Cave Adventure, cost about 8 Pounds in 1986. It may be because the Cave Adventure was two sided. Or it was published by a smaller company. Or maybe prices dropped as better and more varied games came out. I'm sure it was one of those reasons and if I'd put any research into at all, I'd discover something I just said. So why research it, right?


The game takes place on the Alien Research Centre where apparently some crewmen went mad and released all of the aliens that were being researched. Your job is to board the ship (which happens just before you start playing. So you don't actually have to do that part), make your way to the bridge, and start the Emergency Homing Device which will return you and the ship to Earth. And you will earn the 500,000 dollars placed in your account to encourage you to accept this mission.

The game is fairly linear with a lot of running back and forth from one end of the ship to the other as you find a puzzle and must return to the other side of the ship to find the solution. Head back to solve the puzzle and find, just past it, the solution to the puzzle that stopped you from going further in the other direction.

The ship itself makes no logical sense. From the docking bay, you can enter the doctor's office and the biolab. Okay, weird, but maybe not too weird. Maybe aliens need to be checked out right after boarding the ship. But later you find a storage room that is only accessible by the vents. Okay, maybe the door in the picture of that room is the real door and you just don't have the ability to open it. Or notice it. But then there is an airlock that can only be accessed from inside an Alien Containment Room. So the Alien can throw itself into deep space when it gets depressed? Who knows?! Also, you'll understand why the entire crew died when you realize the Medi-Centre is entirely inaccessible!

So the ship doesn't really work very well. You also start with this great Decimator Cannon that is sure to blow all of your foes to bits and steaming alien chunks! Except for the fact that they all seem to be able to dodge it! Stupid cannon! The game should at least let you use the Cannon a certain amount of times and it should kill anything you shoot with it! Maybe give it six charges and each creature would need a certain amount of shots. That would have worked nicely as you still need the cannon at one point in the game. So if you used it too much early on to solve puzzles, you'd have to rethink things to save some charges.

Overall, the game did not take very long. Just a few hours and most of that was because I was building the map as I played and writing the Walkstory and this review. It's not overly difficult although it does do one thing which is obviously the games one thing to extend the life of the game. Putting in a ridiculous guess the verb and guess which room and guess the action sort of thing to make you run around for an hour or so trying everything in every room. The game does provide some hints but the action you need to make comes out of left field. It is something I tried early on when trying to get past the grill though. So it is possible to figure it out quickly if you get lucky.

If you want a few hints to the game without any major spoilers, you can take a look at the MAP. The MAP does provide the answer to the one unfair puzzle though. So if you don't mind knowing about that in advance so you're not running around trying silly and needless things for an hour, check out the MAP. Or not. But it is there!


There really aren't any tremendous puzzles here. Most of the game is just fetch the right item and you can get past the next obstacle. No items are red herrings and no puzzles are either. The game gives you items as you need them so you just have to keep running back and forth to use the item on the puzzle that just blocked your progress. It's all really fairly simple.


The one place that isn't obvious that you can enter is the partly corroded floor in the first Alien Containment Center. It's a bit of a hint that it's partly corroded. Another hint that I noticed but failed to associate with this room was that if you try to do things to the Floor, the game will respond that "It isn't here!" So I went about the whole ship typing "SHOOT FLOOR" but received the "It isn't here" response in every room. The problem is that the Cannon only works on organic matter. I should have been paying closer attention!

The verb you need is KICK! Yes, KICK! It's one of those verbs that you probably won't use although, once again, I did use the verb to try to KICK GRILL to get past the air grill before I found the Axe. Whenever you kick anything, you get an OOUCH response. So you may end up quickly thinking KICK is useless.

It's possible to figure this room out but it's not probable and it's certainly not probable that you're going to figure it out in a timely fashion. You could get very lucky and manage it straight away. But if that doesn't happen, you're looking at wandering around for a long time and possibly putting the game back on the shelf.

It's the one place in the game that I finally went online and got the hint from Dorothy Irene who has already managed to solve and write a Walkthrough for just about every text and graphic adventure game out there. Just Google her! But keep coming back and reading my pages!

I don't like finding hints to solve games when I'm supposed to be solving them myself. But I also refuse to wander around a game's map more than a dozen times without finding anything new and not having anything left to do. That usually indicates a secret location or a maze that has been employed to falsely extend the game's play time.

Copyright 2006 NA!P