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[Great Britain]Level 9 Computing

They produced over a dozen adventure games, available for a wide variety of machines (Spectrum 48K, Commodore 64, Acorn BBC B, Enterprise 64, Memotech MTX-512, NASCOM, Nimbus, Oric 48K, Spectravideo 328, MSX, Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Amstrad).

At least for a while, they had the service of sending out clue sheets for their games for free. I know I had them for Colossal Adventure and Snowball and perhaps something more. They used their own system to create their games, one up to Knight Orc and another one from that and onwards. Level 9 was more or less a family business for the main authors.

Early games

Verb-noun, 200+ locations. These games used a 32K virtual machine and text compresstion and were able to squeeze in a lot of text in a small amount of memory.

These include the Middle-Earth Trilogy, The Silicon Dreams Trilogy, The Time and Makik Trilogy, Emerald Isle, Erik the Viking, The Archers, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 - The Computer Game.

Later Games

Written with a new game engine called KAOS, which, although more powerful, reduced the size of the games. From now on, all their adventures feature "intelligent characters".

These include the Ingrid series, Knight Orc, Lancelot, Scapeghost.

Much of the information on this page is a condensation of the Level9_Facts.txt file v1.1 1999-01-25 by Miron Schmidt and Manuel Schulz.

Apparently, Level 9 is still alive (as of 1997), at least as a cover for one of the Austins when doing freelance work.

Level9 nearly did an official Dr Who game but the restrictions "Dr can't die, Dr cant kill anyone, have to license the monsters from the authors of that show etc" killed the project.

There are inofficial sites about Level 9 Computing:

They are or have been distributed by Rainbird Software Ltd, Mosaic Publishing and Datasoft, Inc.

The Middle-Earth Trilogy / The Jewels of Darkness

The series was originally titled The Middle-Earth Trilogy but was later renamed The Jewels of Darkness. According to some reports, this was because of conflicts with the Tolkien estate.

A compilation of these three games was released in a single box in 1986 but the games had been available separately before that. At least for Commodore 64 and Spectrum, these games are available both in text versions and with graphics. I think the original separate versions were text only and the Jewels of Darkness versions with graphics.

At least the Amstrad version was distributed by Rainbird.

The Silicon Dreams Trilogy

The trilogy was released in 1986, although the games had been available separately before that. Early advertising calls the series "Silicon Dream" without the "s".

All the games in the series center arount Kim Kimberly, legendary secret agent and space navigator.

At least the Amstrad version was distributed by Rainbird.

The Time and Magik Trilogy

These games weren't originally planned as a trilogy, but they all center around "magik" and magical events.

  • Lords of Time

    Drawn graphics/Text only Written 1983 by Sue Gazzard and Ian Buxton [Additional expertise].
    Runs on:
    Notes: The first Level 9 game not designed by the Austins. It was initially to be published as "Timelords."

    Comments: Time-travelling through the distant past, you collect a number of items to defeat the evil Lords of Time.

    Package blurb:

    Travel through world history, seeking items to avert the evil future planned by the Timelords. Shed light on the Dark Ages, go romin' with Caesar's legions etc. etc. This massive, pure-text adventure has over 200 locations and lots of puzzles.

    Into the cauldron you must throw ---
    an olive branch, makes friendship grow.
    A dragon's wing, a sign of flight,
    An ivory tusk, a sign of might.
    Mix in the teardrop, a touch of sadness,
    and the evil eye, a sign of badness.
    Add a dinosaur egg, a sign of birth,
    with the jester's cap, a symbol of mirth,
    plus the silicon chip, a vital invention,
    and the golden buckle, a bone of contention.

    If you do this, before time runs out,
    a winner you'll be --- there is no doubt.
    But take care when you find the lords,
    or you'll not gain your just rewards,
    your quest will all have been in vain,
    and you will have to start again.

  • Red Moon

    Drawn graphics Written 1985 by David Williamson [design], Simon Aspinall [implementation], Pete Austin [design and implementation] and James Horsler [pictures].
    Runs on:

    Comments: The Red Moon crystal has to be retrieved.

  • The Price of Magik

    Drawn graphics Written 1986 by Pete Austin [design], Nick Austin [implementation], Mike Austin [implementation], David Williamson [original idea] and James Horsler [pictures].
    Runs on:
    Notes: There were three different versions available for the Spectrum: A text-only version, a graphic version with reduced text, and a Spectrum 128K version with full text and graphics.

    Package blurb:

    The House of the Red Moon is a weird place, haunted by arcane powers from the mythical past. It is the only place where one might rise from Sorcerer's Apprentice to powerful Wizard, yet cheat the Price of Magik.

Emerald Isle

Drawn graphics Written 1984 by Shaun D. Abbott [design] and James Horsler [pictures].
Runs on:
Notes: At some point, this game was meant to be the first in the same trilogy as Red Moon and The Price of Magik.

Comments: Stranded on an island, the protagonist finds a lost civilisation.

Package blurb:

Emerald Isle lies in the Bermuda Triangle, hidden by fogs and treacherous waters and peopled by the remnants of a strange civilisation. This is a massive adventure and, if you read the gold label, you'll probably find this version has over 200 pictures!

You play the part of an aircraft pilot, employed to ferry urgent 'documents' around the Carribean. Fierce winds seize the 'plane over the Bermuda Triangle and hurl it to destruction; you escape by parachute at the last moment.

As you float down towards an island below, you recognise the coastline from an old map. It is the lonely atoll, "Emerald Isle", which few people visit and from which none return.

It is said that only one person may leave -- the ruler of the land -- and that each visitor is tested. Success promotes you to King or Queen, failure promotes you to the next life.

Explore peculiar towns, meet peculiar people, learn the peculiar purpose of the 'letters' and travel on a railway which is simplicity itself compared to BR's peculiar fare system. Don't be too afraid of the dark, and watch out for the spider!

The Saga of Erik the Viking

Drawn graphics Written 1984 by Pete Austin [game design and programming] and Joan Lamb [graphics].
Runs on:
Notes: Based on the book of the same title by Terry Jones (from Monty Python). The book was later filmed by him. The game and the film have different stories, though.

This was distributed by Mosaic Publishing.

Package blurb:

Travel, as Erik the Viking, in search of the evil Dogfighters who have kidnapped your family. Explore authentic Viking settlements and seek help from Wizards, Dragons and Giants in strange lands. This exciting adventure game is fully illustrated with colourful graphics.
For more information, see Mosaic Publishing

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4

Drawn graphics/Multiple choice Written 1985 by Pete Austin [programming] and James Horsler [graphics].
Runs on:
Notes: Divided into four parts. Based on the children's book of the same title by Sue Townsend.

This was distributed by Mosaic Publishing.

Package blurb:

I learned today that I am to be the subject of a computer game. The object of the game is to make me popular with everyone, which sounds dead brilliant. Apparently they've written an enormous programme containing 200 kilos of text, which Branbox Henderson says is a lot. Now everyone else can have a go at coping with all the problems that beset me over an entire year of my life. It's an illustrated text game, which means you have artistic pictures to look at while you ponder about what to do next. So have a go, and see what it's like being a budding intellectual and poet who has to cope with my family, friends and the dog. Then you'll know what I have to put up with. Ha! Ha! Ha!
For more information, see Mosaic Publishing

The Archers

Graphics/Multiple choice Written 1986 by Pete Austin and Joan Lamb [pictures].
Runs on:
Notes: Based on the British soap opera of the same name. The dialog was scripted by the real Archers scriptwriters in collaboration with Level 9 Computing.

This was distributed by Mosaic Publishing.

Comments: Your goal is to write scripts to keep the audience ratings for the Archers soap opera up. For more information, see Mosaic Publishing

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

Drawn graphics/Multiple choice Written 1987 by Pete Austin and Joan Lamb [pictures].
Runs on:
Notes: Based on a children's book by Sue Townsend.

This was distributed by Mosaic Publishing.

Package blurb:

Welcome to the world of Adrian Mole, as seen through the pages of his diary. The aim of the game is to make Adrian as popular as possible with everyone. Adrian's life is a succession of decisions which you make on his behalf, by answering multiple choice questions. Adrian is already an intellectual (or so he tells us), but trying to make him popular as well is not as easy as it seems. So good luck!!!
For more information, see Mosaic Publishing

Ingrid series

Knight Orc

Bitmap graphics Written 1987 by Pete Austin.
Runs on:
Notes: Divided into three parts. A lot of what happens in this game is a send-up of British Telecom's online game MUD2.

Comments: As Grindleguts the orc, you are in an eternal battle with annoying NPCs killing each other on and off, as you try to discover what has happened to you. Medieval setting. In the third part, the player is in for a surprise.

Package blurb:

Knight Orc is Level 9's most innovative and fun-packed adventure to date. Set in three parts, it casts you as an oppressed orc in a magical world where all is not as it first seems. For generations humans have been persecuting orcs, and now it's time to get your own back.

Knight Orc is a challenging game which is truly interactive. Each character leads its own life in the game, and their actions can affect you and the outcome of the adventure. Communications with other characters, learning spells and solving puzzles are all a vital part of the game if you are to escape the mystical world and take revenge on humankind.

The graphics are marvellous -- bright, detailed, and a totally new style from that of previous adventures.


  • Character Interaction: The ability to communicate with and give commands to other characters. You will need to co-ordinate a band of five creatures to complete your quest.
  • The characters each lead independent lives, separately within the game, in search of their own goals.
  • High level commands, e.g. move straight to a named place or follow a named character.
  • Superb quality colour illustrations.
  • New improved language interpreter with multiple command sentences and huge 1000 word vocabulary.


Bitmap graphics Written 1988 by Christina Erskin [story and final game text], Joan Lamb [pictures], Neil Scrimgeour [pictures], Dicken Peeke [pictures], Nusarath Jahan [pictures], Mike Austin [system], Nick Austin [system], John Jones-Steele [system] and Mike Bryant [system].
Runs on:
Notes: Divided into three parts.

You, as the legendary Lancelot, are out on a quest for the Holy Grail, and must, along the way, save imprisoned knights and damsels in distress.


Bitmap graphics Written 1989 by Sandra Sharkey, Pete Gerrard and Pete Austin.
Runs on:
Notes: Divided into three parts. It was originally announced as "Spook".

Comments: A police man, killed by criminals, returns from beyond the grave as a ghost who has to overcome the troubles of ghost-dom together with his ghost friends, in order to solve his final case and revenge his own death.

Package blurb:

It's not easy being a ghost; betrayed to a criminal gang and falsely blamed for your own death when they escape with a hostage.

Reincarnated in your old haunts, you have just three nights to clear your name. But with your detective skills and new psychic powers, a spirited revenge is a dead cert. The gangsters haven't the ghost of a chance!

Spaceghost uses the full power of Level 9's adventure system, with its unique "racetracks" and:

  • hand-drawn pictures on disc;
  • advanced English parser, including go/run to, find, follow etc;
  • true multi-person puzzles, requiring cooperation.

Here is a review of Scapeghost

Adventureland was created by Hans Persson and is now maintained by Stefan Meier.

If you find any errors or have information that is missing, please let me know