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Robots of Dawn

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs




Copyright 1986, Epyx

Robots of Dawn is a great text adventure based very closely on Isaac Asimov’s celebrated sci-fi novel of the same name. If you have never read the book (and you definitely should, if you like sci-fi novels), here’s a synopsis of the story: you play detective Elijah Baley, who is called to the Spacer world Aurora to solve a bizarre case of roboticide. The prime suspect is a gifted roboticist who had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to commit the crime. There’s only one catch: you and your robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, must prove the man innocent. For in a case of political intrigue and love between woman and robot gone tragically wrong, there’s more at stake than simple justice.

Robots of Dawn plays like classic Infocom text adventures you are familiar with. Or, more appropriately, like classic Telarium game Perry Mason. You interact with the game by typing in commands such as HELP, I (short for INVENTORY), GET, EXAMINE, and dozens more. If you have read the book, the game is easier to understand and puzzles are easier to solve, since you won’t need as many clues as to what you must do next. But even so, Robots of Dawn is a lot of fun to play and finish – mostly because the writing is very faithful to the spirit of Asimov’s novel, and the puzzles are logical and not farfetched. Like all good detective games, your success hinges on good observation and interrogation skills: you must show appropriate objects to NPCs and tell them about suspects and events to elicit more clues, and you must figure out the culprit’s motive, means, and opportunity to put him or her behind bars.

The game is not very long, and it is not as sophisticated as Perry Mason or Infocom’s Deadline, but it is absorbing and fun while it lasts. Asimov’s fans will be delighted to find a game that does justice to his brilliance, and IF fans will enjoy another solid and highly underrated sci-fi game. Too bad this gem was never released for the PC. Two thumbs up!

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