Lost Tribe, The

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RAM Requirement: 1 meg RAM

Other Requirements: 2 meg RAM recommended

Control: Mouse

Release Status: Abandonware

Year: 1992

Publisher: Lawrence Productions, Inc.

Developers: Steve Vance, Frank Andrews & Todd Harris

System 6 Compatible: Yes

Hard Drive Installable: Yes

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The Lost Tribe was released by Lawrence Productions, who had become well regarded for the software series McGee, aimed at preschoolers. I still get a quick kick out of playing McGee!

The Lost Tribe is a strategy game designed for students 8 years and up, in the field of social studies. For this reason I was deliberating to include it as a straight strategy game or educational program, but I've had many fun hours playing this very entertaining piece of software. Does that say anything about this 30 something year old's intellectual abilities?

After your Tribe's home, based at the foot of volcano, is destroyed by the volcano no less, the only course of action is to find your ancestral seat, a place rumoured to be many weeks away and a paradise on Earth. After the Tribe's leader was killed, you are elected to lead the tribe to the Promised Land.

Choosing a new game from the File menu, you can choose between six different routes to lead your tribe to safety, each successive route more difficult than the last. The game sustains the same interface throughout, and it doesn't take too long to understand what each icon represents. In the middle of the screen is the map, hexagonally laid out in tiles similar to other turn based strategy games. The hexagon icon marked with two tribesmen marks your position and the yellow areas are the places you can travel to (you can only travel one square at a time).

To the left of the map is your status; from the top, how many days you have left until winter, the contentment (or otherwise) of the tribe, the numbers of the tribe, food supplies, number of spears and spear/hunting ability. To the right of the map are your button selections. Normally, from the top, are hunting, spear practice and spear making, rest, idol worship and below that to the left, the game's survival guide (which is totally jam packed with information regarding everything you'll need to know including the profiles of the tribe, information on hunting and the landscape and its conditions). These buttons change according to certain actions you make, for instance if you decide to travel (by clicking on one of the yellow hexagons) the buttons will change to give you options to travel slowly or quickly or send a scout party ahead. Also, resting can also include options for feasting.

Other selections are made inside the map area, which turns into a cave wall presenting other options such as which animals to hunt for, how many tribesmen will practice spearing or make spears and which idols to make. You will also be faced with random events, which require you to make a decision from several possibilities.

The bottom line is being able to keep your tribe happy, well fed and find your ancestors' home before winter sets in. Otherwise your tribe will simply revolt against you and leave you to your own fate outside of the tribe.

The presentation of this game is nothing short of amazing. Frank Andrews was the programmer, who coded the McGee series. I do remember that he once wrote to comp.sys.apple2 some time ago and mentioned that the Lost Tribe was the last IIGS project he worked on. Either way, he fully utilised the potential of the IIGS for this game. The photographic images appearing in the centre of the screen are some of the best graphics I've ever seen on the IIGS, incredibly well done. The style makes them appear better than most 3200 colour graphics the IIGS was also capable of. The animation is absolutely terrific too, when hunting animals, spear practise, feasting, or making idols. Equally humorous as the animation are the characters in the tribe. An intensely entertaining game - loads of fun!