Sunday, 20 September 2015

Interactive fiction review #8 - The Streets of London

The Streets of London by Allen Webb and Grant Privett (1982)

Sorry I don't follow your banter? Sorry I can't beat the authors up!

The Streets of London, originally released on the Commodore 64, seems to be a great grand uncle of the 2002 disasterpiece Underground Compound, because it is equally unplayable and disgustingly bad.

In this "game" your protagonist, named Marvin K Molestrangler, is on a quest to find the Holy Grail of all things! The Streets of London's Wikipedia article (!) claims that the game's humour was based on Monty Python, which is more than an insult to the legendary comedy troupe. I could spot only one or two references during the time I wasted on this garbage, the main one of course being the Holy Grail.

Nothing in this game makes the slightest sense. The map is confusing, rooms completely undetailed. The player is moved around randomly. You are given no indication of what to do. The parser... don't even ask. Interactive fiction sure has come a long way, but this parser is atrocious even for 1982. Your enemies in this game (there is a real-time fighting minigame that is impenetrable and probably completely broken) consist of "nasty old ladies" and "antepodians" (misspelt). The game's complete lack of any coherence and reason was maybe be intended to be amusing, but in reality it only manages to annoy and induce anger.

The Streets of London is a remnant of the dark age of interactive fiction, and even in this category failed to produce any legacy other than being one of the frustratingly worst disgraces to videogaming ever produced. Truly, it baffles my mind what the authors ever intended to accomplish with this... but then again you would have to share their insanity to be able to enjoy The Streets of London...


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