Text adventures and I go way back. From classics like Zork to The Hobbit to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I have enjoyed text adventures for almost three decades now. Then came the graphical text adventure which The Hobbit could be viewed as an early precursor of, and it was only getting better in my eyes. One of the best, well for me at least, graphical text adventures was Déjà vu and UnInvited (I played both on the Nintendo Entertainment System). Sam Mallard – The Case of the Missing Swan falls into this category along with another classic- Snatcher. What is cool about Sam Mallard is it is a new ZX Spectrum game and it is available for free.
The story behind Sam Mallard – The Case of the Missing Swan is pretty much in line for this genre. You are in your office where not a lot is going on and it is midnight. As you are preparing to leave there is a knock on the door. This time of day challenged visitor is your newest client, Mr. Swan and he has a problem- his wife is missing. Since you are hurting for money (and he is offering $1,000 right now) you take the case and have to abide by one simple requirement. You can’t ask him any questions outside of what he offers to get you started. Sounds legit.
First things first. The graphics in Sam Mallard – The Case of the Missing Swan are black and white, mostly wireframe. This works for the style of Sam Mallard- old school, classic gumshoe detective (kind of like Déjà Vu). Sometimes less is more.
Moving around the game world in Sam Mallard is just like it is in most graphical text adventures. There is a menu on the left, the action window on the right half of the screen and below those is the text window.
The only real problem I have with Sam Mallard – The Case of the Missing Swan for the ZX Spectrum is that the menu system is a little clunky. At least it seemed so while I was playing, maybe it has been a few months too long since I took one of these games for a spin?
If you are hankering for a fun, short, graphical text adventure with a nice film noire feel to it give Sam Mallard – The Case of the Missing Swan a spin. It is free, has great atmospheric graphics and the story is a fun romp that will have you scratching your head a few times.
Grab Sam Mallard – The Case of the Missing Swan for the ZX Spectrum over on World of Spectrum (they also have a few emulator suggestions if you don’t have the hardware). If you need a ZX Spectrum and want to experience this game the authentic way, hit up Ebay and get to gaming.