Picks and Pans Review: Seastalker

updated 08/27/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/27/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

From the makers of the Zork adventure-game trilogy, Seastalker offers a first-class introduction to the world of interactive fiction. Infocom pioneered this brand of text-only computer fantasy, in which the operator becomes the hero of a story, questing through a labyrinthine plot by typing ordinary sentences on the keyboard. In Seastalker, you command the Scimitar, a top-secret—and untested—two-man submarine. As the tale unfolds word arrives that the Aquadome, an undersea research station, is under attack. If you don't come to the rescue soon...well, you take it from there. If you're told a sea monster looms ahead, for instance, do you say "Surface" or "Set speed to full. Attack"? The package includes nautical chart, logbook and coded infocards to give you clues. For the neophyte these aids can help because you won't have to juggle too much information in your head. Unlike games with flashy graphics but predictable action, interactive fiction will exercise both imagination and intellect for hours on end. Though pitched to the junior set (9 and up), Seastalker can just as easily enthrall an oldster. (Infocom, $39.95)

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