Reviews by LipaView this member's profile
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Scavenger, by Quintin Stone
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:Solid entertainment, March 30, 2011
by Lipa (Slovenia)I often compare playing IF to watching a movie. Itís an activity that will occupy me for a few hours in the evening and hopefully provide for some entertainment. Of course, if it also offers something deeper to let me think about, a sort of "opening the mind" experience, the more the better. However, Iím not always in the mood for complex movies. Indeed, sometimes after a long and tiring day, instead of watching a "Schindlerís List", Iíd just like to make myself comfortable, crack open a can of beer, plug in a good old "Die Hard" or something, and just let my mind have fun on its ownÖ And the same goes for interactive fiction. Although I highly appreciate complex IF masterpieces, sometimes all I want is a short, fun piece with a solid story and puzzles that wonít get me bogged down too late in the night.
In this respect, "Scavenger" truly delivers! Set in the (rather typical) post-apocalyptic world, the goal is to explore an abandoned underground base, learn a thing or two about its history and secrets, and safely return to the surface with something to show and a story to tellÖ Although the plot as such is obviously not something that weíve never seen before, there are two aspects in which this piece truly shines: the first is the atmosphere, which lets you easily immerse in the experience, and the second is the perfectly smooth "flow" of the story. The plot unfolds at just the right pace, with very few obstructions. There are a number of "instant death" situations, but the prior warnings and the ability to undo afterwards makes them more of an interesting "detour" than a true dead end. The puzzles are brutally logical and straightforward, sometimes to the point of being almost too obvious, and most of the time the player has a very clear idea of what to do next (or even what to look for in order to solve a particular puzzle). This all makes for an exceptionally smooth, enjoyable ride through the story. The option at the beginning to choose from a few items which will make certain puzzles easier to solve (although none is necessary) is also a nice addition, which together with the multiple ending approach and the secondary quest of "how to get the full score" provides for some extra replay value.
I highly recommend "Scavenger" to all who are looking for good IF entertainment with a solid story, logical puzzles and great atmosphere. The rating is only shy of five starts due to the fact that itís not particularly "deep". But hey, on a grey and rainy evening Ė does it really matter?
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Anchorhead, by Michael Gentry
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful:A truly engaging and satisfying experience!, November 10, 2010
by Lipa (Slovenia)It took me quite some time to pick up this title, despite its high ratings and numerous recommendations. In fact, I think that the reviews sort of scared me away. I read about situations in the game where you can lock yourself out of a winnable position (which I generally donít like at all), and also about some very tight time limits. However, there was also talk about great story and superb atmosphere, and I think this (combined with the sheer popularity and almost cult-like status of Anchorhead) finally convinced me to dive in.
And this was probably one of the best decisions of the year! Anchorhead, indeed, is more than a game. Itís another reality, a second life, just waiting to be explored, with all its secrets and dark history. It is truly easy to get immersed in the experience, and by the end of day two I felt like Iíve been a part of this town forever. The story is fascinating and unfolds at an exactly the right pace, letting you slowly amount more and more knowledge about the past events and whatís going on. I must admit that I had little knowledge of the Cthulu Mythos prior to playing the game (though I vaguely remember the premise of the adventure game ďThe Shadow of the CometĒ which I played ages ago), and maybe this is also the reason why I was even more drawn to the story, hungry for more information. In the end, everything fell into place, the story masterfully unfolded, and all the loose ends were tied.
And what about the difficulty which I feared? It is true that there are some tight time limits and unwinnable situations, however I realized in the end that their importance seems to be a bit exaggerated in the reviews. If playing sensibly, keeping track of the story and trying to hold on to your belongings, unwinnable situations can be avoided almost completely. As to the few time limits, they turned out to be so brief that itís fairly simple to undo and try another approach, and the solutions are usually quite logical too. All in all, I only got stuck once at the end of day two, and I could probably solve even this puzzle without consulting the walkthrough, if only I werenít as impatient to see the rest of the story unfold.
I truly recommend this game to everyone looking for a good story-driven IF with excellent atmosphere, relatively large world to explore, and logical puzzles to solve. I think the memory of this game, the town of Anchorhead and its troubled populace will stick with me for a long time to come, and the overall experience definitely ranks at top three of my gaming history. Thumbs up, way up!
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