An Argument


for the

Commodore 64

Published by Adventure Soft, UK, 1987

Read the Walkstory!


  Game Title: Super Exciting!
  Graphics: Above average.
  Gameplay: Generally Fair.
  Concept: 80's Cartoon!
  Fun Time: 2 hours - 2
                    depending on how
                    long it takes you
                   to Google the



Playing text adventures in the mid-eighties, particularly text adventures with graphics, was very much like working on a puzzle and not knowing if you have all the pieces. This is why the main rule when attacking a text adventure is to first pick up everything and explore every location you're able to get in to. Once you've done this, you'll have mapped out a pretty good chunk of the initial landscape and even solved a few of the easier puzzles.

It's at this point when the trouble begins. After this initial exploration, you should have a good enough handle on the locations and items in the game to start trying to figure out the next tier of puzzles. But as you beat your head against each puzzle barring you from different areas of the map, you can never be quite sure that you have the right combination of items to solve the puzzle.

It's usually at this point, in the age of the internet, that people start Googling for Walkthroughs. And it's a real shame that they do. Some of my best memories of playing text adventures were those 'a-ha moments', those sudden breakthroughs that came to you out of nowhere while you were doing some other activity.

Masters of the Universe really brought me back to those days of racking my brain for some insight into how to get past the next obstacle. But the hardest part of all was knowing that I might be trying to get past certain obstacles and not even have the items needed to work it through.

By the way, in my Fun Time Rating, it really did take me around two weeks to complete this game. That doesn't mean it was two weeks of FUN TIME though! Stupid Red Herrings!


When writing the Story/Walkthrough, I like to get as much background detail as possible. I always search the internet for any manuals, documents, or covers that came with the retail game I'm playing. If you're familiar with Infocom's games, you know that their copy protection was always part of the 'Feelies' that came with the game. For instance, packaged in Bureaucracy was a small magazine for Paranoid People. When you're trying to get into the house owned by the paranoid guy, he'll ask you all kinds of crazy questions. And the only way you can answer any of them is if you've read the magazine that came with the game. Leather Goddesses of Phobos came with a 3-D comic book. Within the comic book, you learn how to safely traverse the Sewers on Mars by hopping, jumping or clapping at different intervals. In the game, when you're in the Sewers, this knowledge is essential to staying alive.

The Masters of the Universe game didn't have anything that cool. But in the manual, it did have a list of Verb Examples that clued you in to solving a number of puzzles. One of their examples was 'fit minus manacle on mirror' which is something you actually need to do in the game to beat it. What's more, the verb 'fit' comes in very handy throughout the game and it's not something I probably would have tried on my own. The examples also say 'Enlist Orko'. I doubt I'd ever have decided to use the verb 'enlist' if I hadn't read that in the documentation.

While searching for this documentation, I found a few comments on the game at One said he solved it with the help of a walkthrough. Another said some of the puzzles were infinitely obscure. While I found two puzzles dreadfully tough (one that ended my game just before defeating Skeletor by, I'm pretty sure, dropping the Hexagon one last time!), most of the game was well done and not too exasperating. But I only say this because I read the Documentation and it made a number of puzzles I never would have solved solvable. And I'm pretty sure that was intentional.


Now, while the game really was thoroughly enjoyable even though I was fighting a lot of She-Ra's enemies instead of my own, I should probably point out the biggest flaws in the game. In the first room, the first NPC you interact with, your own father (since you are Prince Adam), has his name misspelled. Okay. No big deal! Minor issue, minor character! I shouldn't harp too much on that.

Except that, well, you'd think that Evil-Lyn would always be Evil-Lyn and not, occasionally, Evil-Lynn. And maybe Mantenna shouldn't be called Mantanna when he's attacking you. And I realize I still know I'm fighting Two-Bad even if the room description says Two-Ba.

Every game I've played so far has had this kind of lazy editing. Way too many words are misspelled. And since Aztec Tomb Adventure was pretty lame, having the Bean Stalk never spelled correctly was absolutely entertaining. But when you base your game on a Classic of Literature like The Three Musketeers (I'm using Classic wrong here), you expect the writing to be coherent and correct. And while I don't need that kind of absolute correctness in a game about an 80's toy line that became a stupid cartoon, I'd at least like to think that you'd spell the characters' names right since they are the main reason I'm playing this game!

Another lousy thing about the game is the sparse descriptions of the various objects you find and the places you end up. This is to be expected from a Graphic Text Adventure of the time, so it's not that horribly detrimental to the game. But it would be handy if some of the strange items you find would be a little more descriptive. I think the writers didn't want to spell out any of the puzzles like when you examine the Moleculator and it basically tells you exactly what it's for. Although you still have to stumble on exactly how to utilize the stupid thing since it doesn't say it has a trigger or an on button or a pin to pull or anything!


Overall, this is a pretty good example of the Graphical Text Adventure fare to come out in the late-early to mid-late eighties. The map is a decent size and enough of it opens up to you with every few puzzles solved that you never feel too stuck.

The hardest part was that part I mentioned way back at the beginning. The part where you're never quite sure if you have all the pieces to solve the puzzle before you. But that's actually a really good way to extend the play time in a game like this. Masters of the Universe had no mazes to pad the play time. None of the puzzles were extremely unfair although I just thought of one which I'll give a small spoiler section at the end.

Most of the points where you couldn't go any further were because one of Skeletor's henchmen was blocking the way. So you knew what the puzzles were. But you couldn't know if you had what you needed to get past Beastman while Two-Bad, Evil-Lyn, Merman and Mantenna were also still blocking parts of the map! But even if that might seem frustrating, I implore anybody out there who still plays games like this, don't give in to Google when you come up against the wall.

There are so many games out there to download and play, new and old, emulated across so many systems, that you can play more than one at once. Don't feel like you need to finish the game you're playing before moving on to another one. If you feel really stuck, put the game up for a bit and play another one. Refresh your mind. Come back to the old game later. You'll be surprised at how many games you don't actually need a Walkthrough for.

And know this: after you read the walkthrough, you'll bang your head on the desk and think, "Ah, of course!" and you'll feel like you could have solved that had you given yourself more time. That feeling is what most players of text adventures now get when playing these games because of the internet. But once you feel the rush of solving that puzzle that stymied you for a week, you'll never go back to Googling for walkthroughs again.

Except mine! Also, the reverse, sadly, is too true as well. Too many games have puzzles that when you see the solution, you'll just scratch your head and go, "What? Fuck that game! How stupid!"

Did I say that Masters of the Universe was actually a pretty good graphical adventure? Well, I should have. It's pretty good. So there.


It's the part where you make the rope out of the reed. You actually do make a rope out of the reed. But you can't say, MAKE ROPE FROM REEDS, because that doesn't work. Why? I don't know! You have to MAKE NET FROM REEDS or MAKE SLING FROM REEDS. How did I figure this out? Well, I had a perfectly round stone and a whole bunch of people to defeat. So I thought I'd make a sling to bust some heads with my nice round stone. I also thought maybe a net would catch Merman. But, no. A Rope. So then I tried making a rope. Couldn't do it. DUMB.

Update: After finishing the game, I checked out two other Walkthroughs, one by Jacob Gunness and one by, one of my favorite internet ladies, Dorothy Irene. They both solve this puzzle by typing PLAIT REEDS. I have to say I'm glad now that they had the unfair solution I was complaining about because I assure you I never would have thought to 'PLAIT REEDS'!


A few locations in the game are decorated with the Sign of the Speculum. If you're paying attention, you'll realize that these are places where you can create openings with the mirror.

Are you gagging yet? I'm not sure what age group this game was intended for but I can make a guess being that it is based on He-Man. It's a good thing the internet did not exist back then because I can assure you that many kids playing this game would not have known what a speculum is primarily used for. And, for the newer kids reading this now, Analog Dictionaries do not supply the kinds of pictures that Google Image Search does. That is not a suggestion to Google Image Search 'Speculum'. That is a warning.

Copyright 2006 NA!P