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Horror of Horrors! Mistress of the Dark Is in Distress : ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK. Rating: . IBM and compatibles, Tandy, Amiga; 640K--hard drive required. List: $59.95. Computer games are rated on a five-star system, from one star for poor to five for excellent.

January 05, 1991|JEANE deCOSTER and DAVID CROOK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Let's face it, with Accolade/Horror Soft's new "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" you pretty much know before you start what you're in for: every horror movie convention since Igor first hooked up the electricity, plus the wise-cracking midnight movie madame. Art, as Elvira might say, this ain't. But what do you want for 60 bucks? Stephen King?

If only for its self-mocking tone, "Elvira" is a canine tooth ahead of plenty of other role-playing fantasy games. But, like Elvira herself, this British-produced fright night has a couple of worth while points. The story is no weaker than most fantasies, and the game can be technically impressive. There is a lot going on here.

The plot revolves around the reanimation of Elvira's long dead great-great-grandmother, Lady Emelda, and her minions of ghosts, ghouls and other assorted zombie types. They have imprisoned Elvira in Killbragant castle, which our heroine had hoped to turn into a B&B.

You get the drift. Dispatch the bad guys, find the secret scroll, zap the old lady back to hell and win Elvira's undulating devotion.

The graphics are terrific; action is conducted by a simple, flawless mouse "point-and-click" program. The manual, however, needs work, and the absolutely necessary book of spells (which doubles as the game's off-disk copy protection) is hard to read. And because the game takes a full 640K of RAM, you may have some trouble loading it if you use a menu program or any other handy RAM resident program (a "TSR" to cognoscenti).

Also, be warned: There is plenty of armed gore; you will be hacked up like ground round. "Elvira" is not for the faint of heart, or stomach.

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