Infocom/Most computers/32K Disk
The first release in Infocom's "Tales of Adventure" series, Infidel is a fulltext adventure set in twentieth-century Egypt. Packaged with an attractive vellum map, a partial hieroglyphics translation key, a well-written instruction booklet, an Egyptian stamp and two humorously-written letters that explain the scenario so far, Infidel is a treat just to open.
Our hero is not exactly presented as the Indiana Jones type as he wakes from a drugged stupor to find himself alone in his once-bustling campsite, left to die by a mutinous digging crew. Here he must find all the equipment he'll need to survive the perilous journey even farther into the desert. The object of his quest? A long-buried ancient pyramid rumored to house vast, priceless treasures.
Overlooking even one item might cause the neophyte archaeologist to die in the desert - or be unable to enter the tomb, if and when he finds it.
Like all Infocom games, Infidel's Interlogic programming makes it capable of understanding a wide vocabulary of sentences and commands. The program is extremely user-friendly, even pointing out to the player any words or phrases it doesn't understand, and so eliminating the frustrating word-guessing games found in less developed adventure games.
The prose itself is colorful and well-written, its style far more serious than most other Infocom releases. Given the storyline, this adds flavor to the gritty, urgent mood of the scenario. Adventurers weary of "cutesy" touches will find the writing style a welcome change.
Infidel offers plenty of challenge, especially once the player has gained access to the lost tomb. (It's definitely easier if the player has the right mindset - Just don't let anything stand in your way!)
The game's ending is a definite surprise twist that will delight some gamers and infuriate others, but either way, it won't leave archaeological explorers cold.
Thanks to André St-Aubin for transcribing and donating this article.