The Gold Mine and the Princess
Strategic text adventure with sound cues
By William Austin
Dig for gold, buy a few cows and maybe win a princess in this sound-enhanced text adventure and strategy game.
For this issue's second Super Disk Bonus, Antic presents the Gold Mine and the Princess, a complex game of magic, mine exploration, cows -- and strategy. Reminiscent of the old city-planning game, Hammurabi, this Gold Mine requires you to find gold, buy cows and make a fortune so you can wed the princess you love. Magic items and deadly creatures add complexity to the basic strategy of "buy low, sell high." More, author William Austin (a full-time freelance writer from Ferndale, Michigan) makes witty use of the 8-bit's sound-effects capabilities to add atmosphere to the text descriptions of the mine. Here, you don't just see words telling you that you hear a canary -- you actually hear it.
The game will run automatically from the back side of your Antic Monthly disk. Turn your computer off, put the disk in drive 1 with side B up, and turn the computer on with the BASIC cartridge installed. (XL/XE owners don't hold down [OPTION].) You'll find detailed instructions for the game in the HELP file on side A of the disk.
Our Story So Far...
You've been hopelessly, madly, eternally in love with the king's daughter ever since you first saw her. Unfortunately, you're only a lowly native in the impoverished village of Ferndalia. The wily king has agreed to let you wed the princess - but only if you pay an adequate dowry.
Ferndalians use cattle as the medium of exchange, so you must somehow acquire a herd large enough to satisfy the greedy king. You can buy cattle at the regular auctions, but you'll need gold. Fortunately, there's an ancient, abandoned gold mine not far from the village, with gold still waiting for the miner intrepid enough to dig it out. Unfortunately, the mine was abandoned for a very good reason -- the Beast of the Deep.
No one knows if the Beast is still in the mine, but the mine is definitely dangerous, with crumbing shafts, forgotten traps and the fearsome shaft wolves living in the dark-tunnels. Still, you have to go-not only do you need the gold, but the princess has declared that she will only wed the man who has the bravery, sincerity and chutzpah to toll the Bell of Wondrous Things, rumoured to be hidden within the network of caves beneath the mine itself. She also wants the diamond ring reportedly hidden in a canvas bag deep in the mine -- as long as you're down there anyway you could get it, couldn't you?
To win the princess you'll need lots of luck and determination. It also wouldn't hurt to have a deep and abiding love of cows.
Gold Mine Hints
You start the game in the village, where you are presented with a menu of choices -- places to go, things to do. Press the number next to the option you want. You won't need to press [RETURN] except to purchase cattle at the auction. Of course, since you're starting out with no monoy, no cattle, and nothing to offer the princess, you're pretty much limited to going to the mine. Once at the mine, just press [H] at any time to see a HELP screen with a list of possible commands.
You're essentially limited to traveling up and down through the shaft, searching for gold and picking up the various magic items you'll encounter. You'll find some objects that are particularly useful. The Gold Beetle and Golden Pickaxe help you find gold. The Emerald Cow affects the size of your herd. A Ruby Amulet protects you from the spells of the mad Wizard, the Cat's Eye Necklace helps you avoid accidents and traps, and the Bone Ring protects you from oxygen deprivation.
You'll also find that fungi are your friends. Red fungus cures rat-bite fever - as does the lick of the (rare) friendly rat. Green fungus neutralizes poison. Eating black fungus will instantly transport you to the bottom of the caves. White fungus takes you back to the village.
Gas clouds, on the other hand, can be deadly. Green gas is poisonous, yellow gas dissolves your gold, red gas eats your oxygen, and purple gas will send you wandering aimlessly through the maze. Only if the canary perches on your shoulder will you be safe from the mysterious gas clouds.
At the beginning of the game, you'll find yourself relatively weak, unable to carry much gold, or to stay long in the airless depths of the mine. The longer you play, the stronger you'll get -- as long as you avoid harmful encounters. The deeper you go, the more likely you are to encounter diseased rats, bats or poisonous snakes and insects. Once you're wounded, you'll have to hurry back to the village to recuperate.
Once you find some gold, it's time to head for home. In the village you can exchange your ore for coins and then go to the auction. There you can buy or sell as many cattle your riches will allow at the going price. If you buy low and sell high, you can add to your fortune through cattle as well as in the mine.
The village also offers you opportunity to rest, healing some injuries and lessening the effects of any poisons. Rest also reduces the effects of rat-bite fever, though it can't cure it completely. You may also inspect your herd, and determine its current market value. You'll find that while you're away your herd can multiply from births, or disappear because of rustlers or wolves.
You'll probably want to stash some of your coins in a safe place before returning to the mine. Not everyone in the village is a nice guy. Marauding thieves along the path to the mine delight in sharing your wealth, if you're careless enough to carry gold with you when you head back for more.
No matter how large your herd, the king will refuse to give you an audience until you have met the demands of the princess. Even if you have met her demands, you'll never know just how many head of cattle the king wants until you try -- and the amount varies with every game you play. When you offer him your herd, he considers the current market value of the collection, not just how many head there are. It makes sense to buy cheap, but wait to make your offer until the prices are high. If you bother the king with repeated pleas to accept your cows, or insult him with too small an offering, he can become irritable.
Your Antic Disk - featuring the Gold Mine and the Princess plus Antic Tournament Checkers as well as every type-in program in this issue - will be shipped to you within 24 hours after receiving your order. Just phone Toll-Free to the Antic Disk Desk at (800) 234-7001. The Antic Disk is only $5.95 (plus $2 for shipping and handling) on your Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Or mail a check for $7.95 (includes the shipping and handling) to Antic Disk Desk, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.