Saturday, 23 December 2017

Grandad and the Quest for the Holey Vest - Atari ST - 1992

Grandad and the Quest for the Holey Vest is a graphical adventure game release exclusively for the Atari ST in 1992.  I thought this quite unusual as by this time the Commodore Amiga was the more popular home computer, but as it's shareware instead of a commercial release I guess it's not so strange.  I just don't have the mindset for adventure games and unless they are relatively easy I quickly lose interest.  Most of the puzzles in Grandad are pretty straightforward so it's just my cup of tea.

As you can tell from the title Grandad is a game that doesn't take itself too seriously....

The controls are simple - Grandad can be moved around in his electric wheelchair with a joystick or the cursor keys.  Fire button or the space bar brings up the command menu.  There are few commands but enough to solve the puzzles.  LOOK describes nearby objects or the room if no objects are close by.  GET puts objects in your inventory and INVENTORY lists them.  USE allows you to use any object you are carrying.  You can also SAVE and LOAD the game.

For the most part the puzzles are logical and not particularly difficult which is fine by me.  Unwinnable 'dead man walking' situations can mostly be avoided.  At the beginning of the game it is possible to give away an item that is needed to solve a puzzle.  If you take the option to keep the item you are rewarded with a 'ping' and some points.  If you give the item away points are deducted so you know where you went wrong.  The only place you can really get stuck is if your wheelchair runs out of power.  There is a spare battery that can be found.
I remember seeing this one on some film.
Grandad contains the obligatory maze.  All rooms look similar but it is mappable if rather large.  This was where I used the SAVE and LOAD commands most so the wheelchair didn't run out of juice.
The Basement

What really appeals to me is the mundane setting and the humour.  There can't be many adventures set in a fairly ordinary house with a grumpy old codger as the 'hero'.  The game really is laugh out loud funny in places although some of the humour can be near the knuckle.
Now, tell me who wouldn't have chosen that option first?

The graphics are good considering the 16-colour display of the Atari ST.  Sound is limited to a few pings and bleeps. The only real annoyance is the pause of a couple of seconds between screens - but that is very minor.

Grandad and the Quest for the Holey Vest may not appeal to die-hard fans of Sierra games, but for someone like me who doesn't like obscure puzzles, it's a pleasant way to while away a few hours.  I did have to look at hints twice which is good for my non-adventure gaming mind (if I have to look up clues more than four or five times I junk a game).
Thank you Google
As I said, the game is a shareware title and Ian Scott would send the code to access the whole game to those who registered.  I'm pretty sure he would have moved on from the address on the title screen but if he is still around I would gladly send him a fiver.

The End