Gremlins: The Adventure is a text-based adventure, with graphics, based on the successful comedy horror film from 1984. It was first released in 1985 by Adventure International and was programmed by Brian Howarth with artwork by Teoman Irmak.
It uses the same engine and parser as the classic Questprobe series (The Hulk, Spider-Man, and Human Torch and The Thing), and it plays similarly, with the Gremlins acting like a real-time menace that constantly try to thwart your plans.
Gremlins is a very difficult game to beat – unless, of course, you know exactly what to type. As is the case with all text adventures. The Adventure International games especially are an exercise in memorising typed commands, so if you’re playing this game blind then you’re probably going to have a few frustrations. To give you an example: in the very first scene you find yourself confronted by a gremlin in Billy’s bedroom, and you can see stairs going down. If you actually type “DOWN” then you’ll be immediately killed by the gremlin. If you type “D” instead of “DOWN”, then you’ll descend the stairs alive. Which is ridiculous, really, but that is what the game is like. You’ve got to know what NOT to type, as well as what works. The game is not one of those that likes to give you alternative commands. You must stick to the script or die.
One part of the game that is pretty funny, though, at least until it becomes tiresome, is the bit where you have to keep playing the film at the cinema, which distracts the Gremlins for long enough for you to actually move around and do stuff. If the Gremlins turn back up on the scene, you have to run back to the cinema and start the projector again. Just make sure you don’t take a wrong turn, though, because you only have a couple of turns to escape if the game says “Oh dear! I have company...”
Like the Questprobe games it is related to: Gremlins: The Adventure is a short game, with simple puzzles to solve. The graphics are excellent and are even animated in places. And for some strange reason Gremlins: The Adventure also manages to capture the Christmas atmosphere that the film exudes. Probably because of all the snow and Christmas trees.
So is Gremlins: The Adventure still worth playing today? If you love the films, then: maybe. If you’re going to play the game blind, then you’ll probably become frustrated quickly, but if you play with a walkthrough then it’ll be over quite quickly. Which is probably for the best, to be honest.
Gremlins: The Adventure was also released for Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, BBC Micro and Commodore 16/Plus4.
More: Gremlins: The Adventure on Wikipedia
More: Gremlins: The Adventure on World of Spectrum