The Seventh Link (Radio Shack Color Computer 3) : Part 1

yakumo9275's picture

Welcome to my play through of The Seventh Link, this is the first part of many.

Quote:

"A few hundred years hence, humanity's first space probes to neighboring stellar systems start returning data. One system in particular looks promising, and a ship containing a few hundred colonists is dispatched on a one-way trip. When the crew awaken from cryosleep, they discover a proto-system: just a spinning disk of gas and dust, and not the verdant planetary jewel they had expected.

The crew despairs: they cannot survive without a habitable planet. They attempt to extend their cryo-sleep technology, but the half-life of elements within the fluid they use to control ice crystallization limits their sleep to a billion years.

Computer models indicate 4 billion years would be needed in order for a habitable planet to coalesce from the proto-disk, if at all. Now, the ship's drive engineer has a good idea: the ship is powered by a quantum black hole.

The black hole is charged, and kept in place by titanic electromagnetic fields generated by currents in seven bands of superconducting wire. The engineer runs some simulations and figures that they should dump the black hole and its containment cage overboard- the ferocious gravity of the hole will accelerate the accretion process, and bring about a habitable planet in a mere .5 billion years! The crew execute this plan and indeed wake up to a habitable planet. 500 million years has been tough on their ship, and they crash-land, but mostly survive.

Of course, over just a few centuries and generations, the crew's descendents lose their grip on technology and devolve into a medieval society, constantly at war with the semi-intelligent indigenous creatures. Time has not been kind to the superconducting cage at the center of the planet, and the currents are running dangerously low.

If the black hole escapes, it will devour the planet in a few short years. Fortunately, the crew of the ship planned ahead, and buried seven re-charge stations around the planet. All you have to do, as player of the game, is find the missing seven energy packs and recharge all seven superconducting bands."

This is a classic CRPG for the Tandy COCO3 computer.

7L : Title Screen7L : Title Screen

It is freely available from its original author Jeff Noyle, see here http://www.distantsystems.com/personal/jeff/coco.htm

Seventh Link does not come with manuals, so we must puzzle things out for ourselves.

Lucky for us Jeff provides some information on the keyboard commands and we can find a synopsis online.

Quote:

Key assignments:

A Attack
B Board (a ship or other vehicle)
C Cast (magic spell)
E Enter (town, castle or dungeon)
F Fire Cannon (when on board a ship)
G Get
I Inventory. Very useful. Use this screen to equip your characters.
K Climb (up/down ladders in dungeons towns or castles)
L Look
M Modify party order
N Non-key command. After 'N' you can type a string. DRINK and JOIN (to invite another to join your party) are two useful ones.
O Open door
Q Quit/reload. Use this command when your back's against the wall.
It will load the situation from the last time you entered a town, castle or dungeon, or the last time you hit 'R'.
R Record current game (i.e. save game).
S Steal. Use this in shops. If you get caught, you're buggered.
T Transact with shopkeeper.
U Unlock door.
V Volume on/off.
X Exit a ship or other conveyance.
Z Set palettes (toggle between RGB and composite).

ESC/BRK Escape from combat. You'll probably lose something in your hurry to run away.

You can see from the command listing that its very Ultima ish.

This is probably the ultimate RPG for COCO3 enthusiasts, and it is obviously an Ultima clone in its parentage.. It has a classic 'demo' reel like Ultima III and Gates of Delirium

7L : Demo Reel7L : Demo Reel

You will notice right away, this game is using the power of the COCO 3, we have more colours on screen

Let us begin the game...

7L : Start

Grimjak the male ranger opon conquering the Gates of Delirium sojourned forth opon the land of Elira. Just north, I see my first destination a castle. Checking my provisions, 100 hitpoints and 350 food I start me trek to the castle.

7L : Castle7L : Castle

Thinking this game would have a lot of Ultima-isms, I scouted the edge of the castle, and sure enough around the back I find a lonely little man, who gave me a good clue, "The magic user's guild is below us."

7L : Hidden People7L : Hidden People

Talking to the guards gives me the typical "Move Along" wheres as everyone else that wanders around gives me nothing in response.

I meet a man in the middle of a river, and no way to get to him. Checking out the castle I find the usual stuff, armour, weapon shop, bakery and a temple.

I find a sign next to some salty water, 'DRINK at pools of earth-sprung water'.

7L : Free Gold7L : Free Gold

In the north east of the castle there is an unprotected room and within were several chests for the taking. I immediatly grabbed them, took some acid trap damage but made out like a bandit! Lots of elir for me.

With this extra money, my first priority was to get a weapon and armour.

7L : Shopping7L : Shopping

Underneath the south-western corner, is a healer who can heal, cure or resurrect.. Which is great but there is a free healing + curing pool juuuust around the corner! North of the healer I came across a locked cell, but me with no keys to open it. That is just one of many locked doors I'll have to come back and try.

Climbing down the ladder in the north-east, and going through a lot of round-about maze like passages, I came across a shop, which I guess is the mage guild only its more like a thieves guild since they are selling keys and torches.

Since I had found a few chests and got more Elir I bought a few keys

Unlocking some doors aroound the castle, I found a another way to the outside ring and found a man who gave me another clue, "Seek you the wise knight in the hidden islands of the far southwest."

Going back to the room with the locked door near the healer, I unlock and enter. The man says "My abilities are at your disposal." I ask him to JOIN me. Hagromil the human thief joins my party.

North of Hagromil's cell I find two locked doors... Thats always a sign! Lets check it out.

After a lot of exploring, I've come to learn, well so far, if an NPC is not stationary, they are not worth your time. Only if they are stationary do I follow up on them.

7L : Ship7L : Ship

After much faffing about with locked doors, I find a ship, mine for the taking! Yay

7L : Bug!7L : Bug!

Hmm I fired through the wall at the healer.. oops.. the cannon went through the wall and killed them. Lets hope I dont need some resaurection...

I found an NPC that told me "The thieves guild is in the south-west"

Sailing around I find an underground island, in the middle is a sign that reads "In the dungeon surrounded by water, klimb up one square behind the recharger - Peter Howell"

7L : Gates of Delirium7L : Gates of Delirium
OMG! I'm back in the Gates of Delirium!

Just north of the island is a whole room full of chests. JACKPOT! Lots of elir here.

I think I have found all I can find here, so I'm off to explore another town.

--

So far, I am enjoying it as its been about exploration and I've had no fights yet. I'm unsure if I have found everything I need to find in the start town or not. Time will tell. It is definitely a step up from GOD and its nice to see it using the range of COCO3 abilities.

I've only found one bug so far, that I know is a 'bug', which was the ship firing through the wall. The oddity I think is that some walls are marked as see-through, which is why you can see the healer on the other side to begin with. There are quite a few of these types of wall around, but most block your vision.

Comments

adamantyr
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Woot!

Awesome, looking forward to reading more!

I played it a bit myself, but you found a lot more stuff than I did in the first town. The graphics are definitely a big step up.... the CoCo3 was actually a very good machine, it just came out a few years too late.

I'd suggest that you take the initiative and name the towns and places yourself, if no names are provided, based on your experiences and general feel of the place.

Rowdy Rob
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Coco 3
adamantyr wrote:

Awesome, looking forward to reading more! The graphics are definitely a big step up.... the CoCo3 was actually a very good machine, it just came out a few years too late.

The screenshots were very useful; I've never (to my recollection) seen what the CoCo 3 was capable of, graphically! I'm impressed with its hi-res color graphics!

"Seventh Link" is clearly "Ultima," as evidenced by the screenshots. Still, that's a plus in my book, since the "Ultima" series is the only CRPG that grabbed me back in the day. First-person "dungeon" mazes always put me off, except for "Deathmaze 5000" on the TRS-80. :-)

This "slog" (slog?) is very fun! Keep going, yakumo! I feel as though I'm watching over your shoulder as you play!

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

adamantyr
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The CoCo3

FYI, Grimjak is Stu's chosen name in most CRPG's.

Yes, the Color Computer 3 was, in many ways, the penultimate machine-of-the-line in the TRS-80 set. It's still an 8-bit machine, but it's a faster one than the earlier systems. It has a much improved graphics chip capable of 16-color 320x200 graphics and 4-color 640x200 graphics. The software overclock (known as the "speed-up POKE") was faster and not actually overclocking the processor anymore. (A large number of Radio Shack repairs done on TRS-80's was replacing a melted processor because somebody left the speed-up poke going too long.)

Unfortunately, it didn't release until 1986. By then, the Nintendo had started to revive the console industry, and the 16-bit machines had started to arrive. I remember that Radio Shack carried CoCo software for another two years or so, a brief flourish, and then it started to wane. Rainbow magazine was canceled in 1995, and when it ended, so did the CoCo community, at least until the advent of the Internet.

Unfortunately the CoCo3 community had a few problems. One, in order to SEE the high-res graphics, you had to get an RGB monitor. Tandy made sure you couldn't hook up a generic one; a special plug was needed that was only available on their unit. The other problem was there were two disk-based operating systems for the CoCo, OS9 and Tandy Basic. The schism of the two divided the community and made software development a real pain and not worth pursuing.

Still, I'm really glad to see that old obscure games like this can see the light of day today. And kudos to the developers of old for making them available!

(Edit: Corrected date of Rainbow's cancellation)

Matt Barton
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What's up with "Grimjak?"

What's up with "Grimjak?" Isn't that a transformer? :)

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Bill Loguidice
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Another one - woo hoo!

Great! Hey, what year is this game from again?



Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
This and that
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Great! Hey, what year is this game from again?

It's author says that "The 3D system was pretty advanced for 1989".

@yakumo
I'm looking forward to your new "slog", too. Hopefully it'll be more fun for you than the last one! ;-)
I also agree that the emulator screenshots are nice and big. I hope that the tiles are worth it and I'm curious about the 3D dungeons.

@Seventh Link:
The game definitely looks a bit like Ultima IV with the EGA patch.
It appears that nearly everybody programmed an Ultima clone back then but thankfully only a few got published.
John Carmack ("Wraith") of id for example but the author of this game also seems to be quite successful:
http://www.distantsystems.com/personal/jeff/cv.htm

@CoCo3:
Another machine I've never seen in Germany. I'm sure that there were some but I think that couldn't have had a large market share. It's graphics are quite good for an 8-bit-machine - not quite comparable to the MSX2-stuff we discussed recently, but at about as good as the Atari ST. I like those clean frame buffer systems.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRS-80_Color_Computer#Color_Computer_3_.281...

The 6809 was more powerful than a 6502 and it got clocked faster than most. Sadly not many computers had one (Motorola never had "aggressive pricing" and with the 6502 and Z80 the mass market already had cheap, proven workhorses).
OS9 was also interesting as it was one of the first realtime-systems (used in Philips CD-I players and the legendary Fairlight sound samplers, for example) but it was never "well known".

What I find noteworthy is that Tandy apparently crippled the CoCo3 to push the Tandy 1000 (one of the first home PCs - competitor to the IBM PC jr.) just like Apple thwarted the IIgs (slower processor, lower resolution) so that it didn't steal the fame from the Macintosh which still had a black&white display at that time (the Mac II was launched the following year).
Officially these "lowly" machines had problems with custom chips or the CPUs couldn't yet run as fast (which may be true - initially) but when you look closely you see that the companies quickly cancelled their advertising, cut costs by reducing staff or killing peripheral & successor development. Different companies - yet both didn't really care for a large part of their customers.

take care,
Calibrator

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Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
Another thought

You guys were talking about a small-scale game project in different threads and you still seem to be in a very early stage.
Maybe the following is interesting for you:

I just saw a tool called "Adventure Creation Kit" - it's a spiritual successor of the classic "Adventure Construction Kit" (the venerable Electronic Arts RPG creator tool by Stuart Smith) and seems to be resurrected recently.

The newest version and infos can be found here:
http://www.mozomedia.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=26&It...

The 20 MB download includes DOSBox (yes, it's DOS based - meaning it should run on many platforms) and PDF-manual with many screenshots.

There's also a community but it isn't exactly bursting of activity. There are a few interesting projects, though:
http://www.joltcountry.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5177

(Sadly, I can't help you guys much with this as my platter is full ATM - and it would **cough**conflict**cough** with something ;-)

take care,
Calibrator

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Mark Vergeer
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Calibrator, aus Deutschland?

Calibrator, aus Deutschland? I thought indeed you were European somehow. Perhaps you could point me to some good German retro game shops? Did you also watch ComputerClub mit den beiden Wolgangs/Wolfgänge? Und ComputerZeit?

http://www.wolfgang-back.com/
http://www.cczwei.de/

Cheers, Mark



Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc.
www.markvergeer.nl

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Rowdy Rob
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Multiple languages????
Mark Vergeer wrote:

Calibrator, aus Deutschland? I thought indeed you were European somehow. Perhaps you could point me to some good German retro game shops? Did you also watch ComputerClub mit den beiden Wolgangs? Und ComputerZeit?

Doggone, do all you Scandinavians speak three (or more) languages? I had a Dutch friend back in the day (named "Mirjam"), and she also spoke at least three languages fluently (Dutch, English, and German, and I suspect the other Scandinavian languages). Your English, as evidenced by your "Spore" YouTube video, was impeccable, almost without accent (and more easily understood than the American "Southern" accent!)! Mucho respecto for you guys from a comparitively-ignorant American!

(P.S. I realize there is a common root to all these languages, which might make it easier to learn. Still, it's amazing!).

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Languages
Rowdy Rob wrote:

Doggone, do all you Scandinavians speak three (or more) languages? I had a Dutch friend back in the day (named "Mirjam"), and she also spoke at least three languages fluently (Dutch, English, and German, and I suspect the other Scandinavian languages). Your English, as evidenced by your "Spore" YouTube video, was impeccable, almost without accent (and more easily understood than the American "Southern" accent!)! Mucho respecto for you guys from a comparitively-ignorant American!

(P.S. I realize there is a common root to all these languages, which might make it easier to learn. Still, it's amazing!).

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

I agree, I'm quite jealous. It's just good old English for me, sadly. My wife is bilingual with German, though. Of course it helps that she was born in Germany and came here when she was like 4. Our daughters only know English.



Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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