An Argument


for the

Spectrum/Commodore 64

Published by Interplay Productions and/or Activision, 1984.

Read the Walkstory!


  Game Title: Nonsensical!
  Puzzles: Can you Punch,
                Take, Think, and
  Graphics: Pretty good.
  Concept: Cliché.
  Fun Time: 3-5 Hours,
                    depending on how
                    quickly you read.


Written in 1984 by Interplay Productions and released by Activision, Mindshadow may or may not have made a splash on the text adventure with graphics scene of the time. For 1984, it may or may not have graphics that were ahead of its time. Comparing it to the one other game I've played so far, Emerald Isle, from 1982, the graphics were literally light years ahead of its time. Did I use literally right there? Or was I using literally the way most people use literally to mean 'exaggerated beyond belief but I'll stick literal in there to make it seem even more exaggerated by pretending that the exaggeration is pretty close to the mark'?

If you compare Mindshadow to an Infocom game, it's really, really, really sub-par. The game relies on the tried and true amnesia plot device that works well with second person perspective because they don't have to clue you in on your entire past. It's easier to write a game when the protagonist doesn't have any bothersome memories to muddy up the story line or to add extra bytes to the memory of the game by having him recount memories of his own. So that seemed kind of lazy. Did that sentence seem kind of lazy for a game review? Maybe I should liven it up like a sports announcer! This GAME was like a crack addict who OD'd! LAZY!

By the way, Mindshadow is a Text Adventure with Graphics, if I didn't make that clear. What that means is that you traverse a world by reading text and then by typing in actions for the main character to do. Most of these actions end up being compass directions or take and drop. The graphics have been added to make people with short attention spans feel like they're actually playing a game instead of just reading a stupid book. I don't think the graphics in Mindshadow ever helped me actually solve a puzzle.

Speaking of puzzles, not very many exist in Mindshadow. The majority of the game is spent finding objects and usually dropping or using them in the right place at the right time or using force to get what you want. You won't need any real knowledge of the world to solve any of these problems except maybe how to make fire but most people learn that when they watch Survivor. I'm not sure how the people of 1984 knew how to solve that problem though.

[SPOILER] The toughest part of the game was realizing that you had to think about things to win it. After progressing through the main storyline, I wandered around Luxembourg and London trying to figure out what was left to be done. I eventually stumbled upon THINK LUXEMBOURG and it all sort of came together. [END SPOILER] I imagine that part of the adventure created all of the extra playing hours to make people feel like they got their $40 out of this game back in 1984. And it probably really cost $40. Which is why I recommend all kids today play this game. Play it and realize that your parents were paying nearly the same amount of money you paid to play Halo Reach and all they got for their cash was a bunch of crappily drawn locations and poorly thought out puzzles to solve.

Overall Puzzle Review

I shouldn't even call this section a Puzzle Review since none of the puzzles in this game were particularly puzzlish. Most of the game revolved around finding new locations (never difficult) and figuring out what objects can be taken from the new area. So there is a ship. The puzzle is you need to take some steel from it. There is a hut where you need to take some straw. There is a cave where you need to take a rock. There is a mess hall where you need to take a cleaver. There is a life raft where you need to take some canvas.

I don't think it actually qualifies as a puzzle if you pick up an object that wasn't easily identifiable and then use it later to get past an obstacle you couldn't get past until you had the right object.

The main puzzles in London really would only be unsolvable if you decided your no-memory character wasn't a big jerky thief! Once you steal the hat and the money from the sleeping guy, you can just buy everything else you need. Except for the hat puzzle which the game basically walks you through anyway. Hmm, I have a hat. What should I do with it? Oh hey! A hat check! Duh!

The puzzle in Rick's Cafe where you have to follow the little man might stall some people if they've never seen a spy movie. That bathroom must be the hardest bathroom to find in any restaurant ever since no compass direction leads to it. The only way to find it is to follow the little man in!

But my favorite moment is when you get to shoot Jared while he's trying to sleep. How is that a defendable action? Oh, well, sure! He shoots you in a different time-line if you don't kill him first. But in the time-line where you kill him first, you aren't justified! It's not like he ever pulls the gun on you. Or threatens you in any way! It's pretty cool that when you recover your memory, you realize you're a big shot rich guy whose money can keep him out of prison for all of the horrible things he's done! 

Copyright 2006 NA!P