Inherit The Earth: Quest For The Orb For IBM-PC and compatibles FROM the packaging and the manual cover, Inherit The Earth: Quest For The Orb (ITE ) promised to be a game along the lines of fantasy novels such as J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings, with a fox, a boar and an elk on a quest to find a stolen orb. But packaging is about all there is to this game. Games such as Out Of This World and Alone In The Dark have spoiled players for other less refined games. For times when technology is racing full-speed ahead, the graphics for ITE are unusually rough and it is hard to distinguish smaller features on the screen. Movement of the characters is awkward and for some reason, most have to 'walk' diagonally across the screen in order to go forward. And all the characters do is move their shoulders up and down and walk funny. The game starts with digitised voices - and not very good ones at that - but evolves into just background music once the introduction is over. But they have managed to get quite a mouthful in because the intro takes you through the history of mankind up to the time when Humans have disappeared from Earth which is now ruled by animals. The opening of the game itself comprises about 10 minutes of inane conversation. The scene opens at the Puzzle Faire, in which Rif, our foxy hero, wins the silver medallion only to be accused of stealing the Storm Orb, which can predict when rains will come. In order to clear his name - and save his girlfriend, who has been held captive - Rif has to find the Orb within a given time. The game takes Rif, and his two companions Okk and Eeah, to the Sanctuary where the Orb was placed, the forest, the nearby village and some caves - all of which can be pretty hostile and confusing, especially when there is no map to guide your direction. At the fair itself, you can take hours finding your way out of the grounds because some paths lead to dead ends and you can't tell until you reach the end. Lack of a compass also makes it difficult for you to find your way back to your original position. The game uses a point-and-click interface which can be simple enough. All you have to do is to choose from the panel of things you want to do, such as 'walk to', 'talk to' or 'use' and 'pick up'. Unfortunately, you have to do things one step at a time. For example, if you want to enter a house, you first have to 'walk to' the door, 'open' the door and 'walk [inside]' the house. And when a character you want to talk to is wandering around, you have to 'walk to' him before you can 'talk to' him - all of which makes for frantic clicking on the mouse, which never quite works anyway! Like most quest games, ITE is certainly a game for those who have plenty of time to spare. Just going through the motions and clicking on all the questions and waiting for the answers could take seemingly forever. It can get even more frustrating when the answers turn out to be not worth your time. If the designers had come up with a more user-friendly interface and perhaps more sophisticated graphics, ITE could have turned out to be quite a nice adventure game. As it is, there isn't even enough interesting sound effects and background music to keep one hooked. The diskette version needs nine megabytes of hard disk space, 960,000 bytes of EMS, and 589,000 bytes of conventional memory. MEGAHINT: Look over each scene carefully. Sometimes there are objects lying around which are easily missed. Some of them are useful, although many are placed there just to waste more of your time. MEGAHINT: Keep an eye on Okk and Eeah when Rif is walking around. Sometimes they disappear into doorways on their own. And it would be smart to check out these places yourself.