From The Space Gamer Magazine, December 1982, Number 58
TELENGARD (Avalon Hill/Microcomputer Games); $28. Designed by Orion Software. Boxed computer game for 48K Apple II, TRS-80 Models I and III. Comes with rulebook, disk, and conversion instructions for TRS-80. One player; playing time ten minutes to several hours. Published 1982.
TELENGARD is a hack, slash, or spell game with flat graphics in "real time" (actually timed delay). The computer generates a standard D&D-type character, with armor, shield, and spells. One then names the character and either saves it on disk or sends it out into the dungeon. In the dungeon, the character either fights, evades, casts spells, or is dealt with by the various monsters. The goal is to rise in level, gathering treasure and magical items along the way.
TELENGARD is curiously addictive, and I spent many hours with it. However, it is severely flawed in its design and program execution. The graphics are flat, with the character represented by "x," monsters by "#," and treasure/refuse by "$." The map is redrawn each time the character moves, and the drawing is maddeningly slow. The commands, while apparently logical, in practice cause many errors: I kept hitting E for east instead of D, and S for south instead of X. The information is presented so slowly that one hits the key for the next instruction too soon (and bypasses treasures) or too late (getting killed by monsters). One has to keep one's eye on the screen, and there is no pause control. The matching of monsters with character abilities is uneven: When a carefully-nurtured fourth-level fighter was ambushed at the bottom of the stairs from the beginner's tavern by a high-level dragon and instantly killed, I quit and began to look for ways to break into the program. There is also very little variety. The monsters on the 45th level are just meaner versions of those on the first.
TELENGARD could have been a good game, but is marred by poor programming and lack of polish. If you don't want to rewrite it yourself, wait for the second edition.
- Norman Banduch