Thursday, April 29, 2021

Game 62: Shultz's Treasure

Name:Shultz's Treasure
Publisher:Verisoft Works
Developer:Verisoft Works
Time:1 hour

Its very rare that you get to see two distinct takes on a simple concept, I.E., 3D Monster Maze with a gun. We had Illegus Episode IV, which goes for a minimalistic approach, with some added interesting elements, simple controls. Now we have Shultz's Treasure, a game which is impossible for me to spell, even compared to Illegus. Items are far more important than Illegus, but you get the option as to whether or not you want to start with them. You're probably not going to want to do that.

The game is presented as the player trying to find treasure within the mythical Lost Dutchman's Mine. In this maze, and the player's way, are several kinds of vermin. So we get a gun to kill them. How is that accomplished, you might ask? Press F9, using Ins/Del to go from side-to-side and F8/F10 up and down. F7 fires. Now, I'm sure most of you, upon reading that, thought that was the worst possible control scheme. I can't argue with that, and even in the wild west of the early '80s, where arrow keys might be similarly broken up, this solution strikes me as particularly obtuse. This aiming, in addition to be unintuitive, is just hard to aim. Press the opposite direction to stop, again to go in that direction. No stop movement button, because my crosshair is over the enemy.
But make no mistake, the controls here are AWFUL. When you're moving, you move non-stop until you hit a wall. Then you turn, with Ins/Del, hopefully not followed the vision of a monster. If you're lucky, you can turn away from them before they hit you. Enemies are typical vermin, rats, bats and spiders. The bats are interesting, because they steal items, something usually objectionable in a typical shooter, but in here its a bit of a problem. Eventually I decided to just power through them, in the vain hope of actually finding the treasure.
I'm giving it 1 point, for graphics. Despite being basically unplayable, the scrolling effect is nice. The monsters look pretty good for...CGA? I don't actually know what it is I'm looking at. It doesn't seem like one of the fancy CGA modes either. Maybe Tandy. The rest, well, its minor problems compared to the controls. Its just an endless maze, yeah, that's not something easily noticed when you can't do anything right. I thought about trying to force myself to beat it, but this is just dreadful.

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