Bob Bates' last game for Infocom before he founded Legend Entertainment is interactive fiction at its best. As Infocom's last IF, the game also featured their best parser ever (too bad it was never to see the light of day again). One mode shows you a graphic of your area. Another gives you an onscreen map, a third shows you your character's development, another constantly shows you a description of your area, and another gives you a constant report on your inventory. And best of all, you can change modes without expending a turn.
The plot is familiar but well executed. As future king of England, you as young Arthur must prove your worth for the magical sword Excalibur. There are many innovative puzzles that involve transforming yourself into various animals, and guidance from Merlin is always close at hand.
One of the best things about the game is the incredible atmosphere it creates – Bates went through great pains (or joy, as he definitely enjoyed making this game) to make you feel as if you are truly in Arthurian England: the "Ole English" writing is top notch, and characters well-defined and believable. With dozens of locations, a good mix of traditional puzzles and "timed" ones (i.e. you must solve it in a number of moves), and strong Arthurian atmosphere that reflects a lot of research, Arthur is an underrated masterpiece. Be sure to download the beautiful "Book of Hours" which was originally included in the game box-- you'll need that for your adventure.Reviewed by: Underdogs