Review by Sue Medley for Zero magazine
Review by Grimwold
“Howdy! My name is Jacaranda Jim. I was on a routine space-journey to Jupiter (Sol system, Mutters Spiral) when my cargo-ship was taken over by a crack squad of homicidal beechwood armchairs. Desperate to avoid one of those really silly adventure games with words like “flip-flops” and “placid” in them I crashlanded into the wacky world of Ibberspleen IV. (Where the most ridiculous word in circulation appears to be “plinth”).
“I was rescued from the burning wreckage by a smug little Gribbley called “Alan”. This was just too much and I decided it would be wise to call it a day and lose consciousness.
“At the moment I am still unconscious and this is all a dream – you’ve just interrupted a game of tennis I was having against a rhinoceros called “Hilda”.”
So the introduction to this PC adventure goes. Many of you will already have heard of this game, it’s been around for a while. As far as I can tell, it’s not been written by a ‘popular’ utility, I’ve heard that Graham uses his own utility for writing adventures and if this is so, he’s very talented in general programming, not to mention the adventure in question. Jacaranda Jim is a wild and frenzied trip through a variety of strange locations, not to mention some strange creatures and characters.
The humour is a bit restrained throughout, despite the introduction, but can afford a laugh on the odd occasion. I personally think this is a good thing, the humour taking second place to the puzzles. Some authors prefer to squeeze the puzzles in amongst the jokes – it works sometimes, but often doesn’t. With JJ, however, the whole humour-puzzle interaction works very well, each one complimenting the other.
Some of the puzzles are a little tricky, I would’ve preferred a few more hints, but perhaps that’s just me being dim. All in all, though, this is a worthy game and a definite addition for anyone’s adventure collection.
Grimwold’s rating: 8.5/10
Review by Alex Freeman, SPAG, 2001
Jacaranda Jim is another game by Graham Cluley. It was actually written before Humbug, but there are many similarities between the two games.
In Jacaranda Jim, you are… Jacaranda Jim. You have crash landed on the planet Ibberspleen IV. The game starts with you waking up from a dream. When you do wake up, you find that you are in a dark cave with Alan the Gribbley. In case you’re wondering what a gribbley is, it is some strange creature that is a cross between a neanderthal and the aftermath from a night with Malcolm Muggeridge. Alan has a rather disgusting beard also.
Anyhow, you don’t really know what to do, but you figure (no doubt correctly) that it would be at least a good idea to find some way of getting back to Earth. As you explore Ibberspleen IV, you find that it is a lot like Earth: There are a post office, a zoo, a grocery store, a church, and other Earth-like buildings. While you’re doing all this, Alan is constantly at your side even when you’re out in the rain, but he leaves when it becomes night (the game goes through the cycle of day and night).
The NPCs are generally not as well developed as they are in Humbug, but you get to know them better (or at least the well developed ones) by asking them questions. My favorite NPC is the thief. When you’re on the beach, you better beware because he may try to rob you. When he does, he says, “Har, har! Give us yer valuables!” If you ask him about the police he says, “They aren’t after me; are they?” Also, don’t think that running away from him will help you any because he’ll chase after you and smash your head with his mallet.
My favorite place in the game is the cave. It contains interesting areas and plenty of puzzles. It also contains one of my favorite puzzles: the wall of fruit. As you explore the cave, it becomes less and less like a cave (it contains stuff like a telephone booth and a safe).
Its parser is quite good. It is easy to use and understands fairly sophisticated commands. However, it can’t do really fancy stuff like recognizing multiple commands.
Like Humbug, it is humorous but not as much. It is still rather witty, and it sure adds to the game, though. My wildcard points are once again for the humour.
Its main flaw is its puzzles. Many of the puzzles were too hard, such as the colored buttons one. The hint system solves this problem partially, but it is no substitute for good puzzles. Don’t get me wrong, though. It has many good puzzles such as the wall of fruit that I mentioned earlier, but there should have been many more.
Overall, Jacaranda Jim is a good game and worth playing, but it could have been an excellent game if the puzzles had been better.
Alex Freeman, SPAG
Jacaranda Jim v4.03 – author Graham Cluley
Review by Rusty
It all starts in an under-lit (pitch black) room. You, Jacaranda Jim, have crash-landed on a planet which you do not wish to be on. Your aim is to escape unearthly monsters, a gorilla named Grog and a gin spitting pirate. As you make your way around the planet, with your unwanted accomplice, Alan, you come across problems which, in turn, end up getting you off the dreaded place. My first experience of this game was through the magazine PC Plus. I attempted playing the game and miserably failed. So I registered my copy in the hope that I would get some help. I did, in the form of a map. I also received the bonus game of Blox which, if you’re lucky, I will review.
Jacaranda Jim is your typical text game with a configuration system that allows you to choose the colours which light the text up (well, some of the text). Most of the colours blend in pretty well with the text, but I’ve never bothered to test any out. The text descriptions are as concise as they could be. Some are short where possible. Some are just a damn nuisance to read as they are long. Spelling, grammar etc was not noticeable, mind you I can’t say much as I am an Australian and the way English grammar is, I have some trouble defining words (dweezil is only one example). Inputs can be varied but have to be direct to a certain degree. You can use alternatives but, as I have mentioned, they have to be “to the point”.
All in all this game was worth the money, not to the extent of intriguing me but to the point where I want to go back and play the game many times over. To me Jacaranda Jim is one of these games where it can be turned into another adventure where Jim may be in another place in another time. Who knows, maybe one day Jacaranda Jim may pop up in Australia being chased by a Tasmanian Tiger or a Bunyip.
Overall Score 8/10