Calixto Island

Calixto Island is an adventure game that involves high-tech chicanery, grizzled beachcombers, marshes and hills, spooky houses with strange rooms—basically the combination of about 10 kinds of action films. Sort of a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in machine language. You get to jump around collecting, using and dropping treasures in the quest for the rightful spot in which to return some mysterious treasure. For beginners in adventure games— don't lose heart. It is too easy to quit in Professor Lagarto's study feeling like you can't get anywhere. Here is a hint—sometimes it helps to examine things more than once. It also pays to fiddle with items more than once. You will be tempted to use the HELP command, and by all means try it. The command, indeed, does need help. It was so vague it became virtually useless—except for triggering some interesting situations. Calixto Island is the first adventure game I've seen in which the HELP command did something rather than just flashing the mandatory oblique message.

Another word for adventure players—make a detailed map, and catalog your moves, too. Old hands know this, but beginners will soon discover the necessity of this intricate job.

Watch out for the flashlight—the batteries are in bad shape. Make sure you know where everything is because you'll need to backtrack constantly to pick up items for later use.

l found the written instructions on the box and the screen instructions adequate but lacking in detail and needing more explanation about the story background, and, for beginners, a word about adventure games in general.

Calixto Island would have been less frustrating if a vocabulary had been included. It also seemed to do a bit of random jumping at times. For instance, trying to get out of the cellar and back to the study was perplexing. Sometimes one method worked and another time the game didn't understand my request. A Save feature lets you save the game in progress and pick up on it later. It saves the game to tape or disk.

I liked Calixto Island. As soon as l solved one puzzle, another situation presented itself. Do be careful in the dark, though: I must have cracked my head and died two dozen times. Now, I'm back at the pyramid and here's the crevice.

Editor's Note: This review is of the text-based version and not the hi-res graphics version.

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