Trick or Treat
Release date: 07/1995
Developer: ACA Soft Team
Publisher: Junkyard ( Merit Studios Europe)
ELSPA: 11 years and up
USK: 6 years and up
A review by slydos 15th July 2002
This time I write a review about an adventure game, even though I havn't succeed so far in playing it to the end, because it alway crashed at the same point just at the beginning of part 2. Since the game is so rare however that you can get hardly any information over the net about it, I decided to publish this review, even if only a part of the game can be judged here. It's the English-language version of "Trick or Treat" by Publisher Junkyard (= Merit Studios Europe), developed by the Spanish ACA Soft Team from the year 1995. Junkyard, an English daughter of the US-American Merit Studios (Wolfsbane, Bud Tucker, Harvester...) operates today under the name Eutechnyx.
A CDROM, a manual in German, English, French and Italian and a sheet with information about the copy protection can be found in the box ("Trick or Treat" was also released on 3,5"-disks.) The DOS game can be installed under Windows 95 without problems. The Install program must be started from the CD and copies the program files (approx. 12 MB) completely into a fixed directory on hard disk C:. From this directory you have to start the program start file. Through the start menu, where we have also access to a Bud Tucker-demo, you reach the main menu, if we decided for "Trick or Treat". There are 6 menu options: New game, Restore game, Exit to DOS, Continue game, Credits, Introduction.
We begin with a new game, must enter our name and have to watch the intro movie: Our leading actor has just lost his work at the Henry Fjord Motor Group. But at the same time he gets a letter offering a new employment, as a handyman in a home for the elderly in Devilsville. And right away our young man drives to this house at the other side of town. When he wants to enter the house, his predecessor appears, who is extraordinary glad that he could leave the home. Our hero has forgotten his keys in the car - stupid of him! Because his predecessor disappears with the car! We look after him disbelieving and could only enter the house for the moment. Here the adventure begins and we can now personally intervene in the game.
Most of the game is mouse-controlled, you reach the main menu by ESC-key and Save and Load will run with F2. If you press F1, you can adjust music and sound. "Trick or Treat" is a 3rd-person-adventure and changes from time to time between an isometric perspective to a normal side view. With a left-click we can send our hero into every corner of the house. If we drive with the mouse over the screen, then we recognize that actually ALL objects have got a text description and therefore can also be examined. With one right-click we can look at an selected object and find a text comment on the screen. (in this game there is no speech). We can select further verbs through icons at the bottom of the screen, where you can also find the inventory. Talk to, Take, Look at, Use, Open, Close: we form sentences, which are indicated at the screen too, by a left-click on the verb and then on the object.
The inventory is always visible, as well as the verb icon list. If you click on "Look at" and an object in the inventory you get a rotating zoom of the item with an additional text comment. Interactions succeed with "Use" or "Open". So far one could try to combine inventory objects, it wasn't yet successful in the first part and also not necessary.
The puzzles are all of the sort "find object and use it in the correct place". Sounds simple - but it isn't! The "sadistic" - no it isn't really sooo bad - developers really came up with a great deal. A great deal of homogeneous looking objects! Within the approx. 15 locations of the house hundreds of cans, jars and boxes can be found! One really can click at each object, is it only a wall or one of the many jars, and gets surprisingly in 80% of the attempts a new comment. Although sometimes the comments lure you on the wrong track, it's really possible to take up and use one of these multiple objects - here and there. You should particularly pay attention to what is said in the comments with pieces of furniture which can be opened. Whether one of this as furniture labeled cabinets can be opened and then actually hold something important, one must simply try out. Although some of the puzzles can be solved quite logically and simply, you will try a lot - if you havn't given up before - until you find the correct item. In addition you must endure some scoffs of the developers, because our character simply refuses touching things sometimes and then threatens you personally - thus I had to enter my name at the beginning!
The fact that really each object, even if it is not used, produces a comment first, reminds of the first Sierra adventures, perhaps particularly of "Larry". In addition the objects lie together very near, so that one can easily overlook something. Therefore one should search an area several times with not too fast mouse movements - often you'll find something in the end.
The graphics quality of this comic style adventure game also reminds me a bit of the first Sierra games. But compared the colors are however not as painty and most of the time we watch our hero from an isometric perspective. All surrounding walls and supporting columns are always drawn into the scenery, at least as fragments, which can sometimes lead to confusion, if you believe that you have found an important object and it then turns out as a simple dum. The character movements are economical. From time to time there you can watch a film sequence, if our "elderly care nurse" manages to catch the cock e.g.. We can send our hero to nearly each accessible place, so you can save the "Goto"-command, since he goes always where he is looking at.
Some repeating music pieces, reminding a little bit of silent movie backgroundmusic, must take comfort over a missing speech. The noises and sounds are well selected and set: there is the alway coughing wheelchair user, creaking doors, the noise of the not functioning television (which one can switch off however), a dripping tap and some more.
In apparently irregular intervals a number keyboard appears on the screen. As protection against pirate copies one must enter here a 5-digit code, randomly taken from the extra copy protection sheet, divided into columns and rows.
"Trick and Treat" - here explained to those, who don't know much about Halloween customs - takes place on the last October day, when particularly children with frightening masks and costumes disguise themselves and visit the neighbours to "press" some gifts. It is the 31st of October in our game and our hero has to get the old people a lot of items from two lists, the'd given him, to serve the Halloween party in the evening - so he thinks. First one believes that the game will be over after finding all the objects and we can leave the house. But the story changes completely: The pensioners emerge as henchmen of a dangerous sect, only looking for a victim to accomplish a bloody, magic ritual. Their leader Jakob disappeared in the "Eternal Caves" and they want to get him back by the ritual and with the assistance of their victim. And the unbelievable happens - they kill him! He can return however to the realm of the living, if he finds and brings back Jakob. Unfortunately the game crashes here in both of my copies with an error message. Too bad - straight when it became exciting. (Possibly somebody knows this game and was able at this point to play on - please tell me!)
An adventure game, in structure and handling reminding of older Sierra games. The puzzles would be simple in principle, however by the large number of homogeneous objects to examine and use, perseverance and patience are required from the gamer. If there wouldn't be such really funny comments, the boredom would have overcome surely and after some hours you would be ready to capitulate. However the beginning of the second part already promised an increase of suspense. Unfortunately here a bug seems to make it impossible to go on with the game. Only something for fans and collectors, not a game for everyone.Rating of the playable part: 45%
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for Hardcore-Adventure-Freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- 486 SX 25 Mhz
- 4 MB RAM
- 2x CDROM or 3,5" floppy-drive
- VGA graphic card
- Soundblaster and compatible sound cards
- Microsoft compatible mouse
- DOS 6.22
- 486 DX 40 Mhz
- 8 MB
- VGA colour graphic card
- 2x CDROM-drive
Also played on:
- Windows 95
- PII 233 MHz
- 64 MB RAM
- 4 MB graphic card
- 16bit sound card
- 24x CDROM-drive