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About the Story14 AD. Agrippa Postumus, grandson of the recently-deceased Augustus, tries to avoid death at the hands of the next emperor, Tiberius. At his disposal: a couple of old manuscripts, a lamp, and a recalcitrant slave. And a powerful knowledge of the Art of Venus Genetrix, of course -- the magic eventually known as the Lavori d'Aracne.
I liked the game. Really. I did. It was short, so it didn't get boring. Actually, when I reached the ending for the first time I thought: Hey,this is it? I want more. Also, it was easier than most of her other games. By easier, I mean the interaction was easier. For example, in Savoir Faire the non-standard verbs drove me crazy. [...] But in this case, I liked the story (I love the Romans) and I could take the time to learn how the special commands worked, because the learning gave almost immediate results. Also, I think it is Emily's best written game.
-- José Manuel García-Patos
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Related reviews: emily short, fantasy, short
Don't play the game if: you wished this was comparable in scale to Savoir-Faire, or if you're looking for a story that is emotionally gripping.
Damnatio Memoriae is a flawless game, by which I mean that it hits all the marks it's aiming for. It adapts the magic system from Savoir-Faire into a novel setting and a more constrained story, the premise here being that you have to find a way of effecting a room escape and the destruction of certain objects at the same time.
The difficulty level on this one is quite low, which is understandable given the constrained environment that allows for brute-force solutions; it is, however, tricky to get the most desirable ending on a first attempt, though not impossible. Even without prior knowledge of how linking, reverse linking and enslaving work, it shouldn't take more than a few playthroughs to get the hang of things. A minor flaw here is that the help file is perhaps a tad bit too vague for the newcomer as to the magic system: I hadn't played Savoir-Faire when I first tried this one out, and as a result my initial attempts were perhaps more clumsy than they needed to be. In the event of an updated version or future installments in the series, I'd recommend an inclusion of some basic example scenarios to get across the points - as certain help files will so often do for the basic command system.
The setting is a rather cool mix of ideas - Imperial Roman political intrigue mixed with a crime story mixed with fantasy. The environment was given sufficient detail and verisimilitude that I wouldn't be averse to a future game exploring some side of Agrippa's family history. In some ways, though, that's the great gift and curse of complete short stories: they can stir up such curiosity about the world, rather than making it feel mundane by actually showing it.
Although I can't really fault the story for anything, it gets a four-star rating from me just because, apart from being entertaining and interesting, it won't occupy much of a place in my memory next to more complex or emotionally engaging works, many of which were authored by Ms Short herself. Sometimes perfection and inspiration just aren't the same thing.
(But there are worse things than a perfect game!)
There are several ways to solve most of the puzzles, and a number of possible endings. Some endings are acceptable (you survive) and some unacceptable (you don't), but some "acceptable" endings are better than others. It's worth noting that the end message doesn't differentiate between the different acceptable endings; so if you felt dissatisfied with the way things turned out, it's worth having another go even if the game tells you you've won. (Replay is quite rewarding in general.)
I thought that the optimal way of dealing with the book seemed a little unfair and slightly implausible, but in general I thought the puzzles were quite fair.
I did like the way that even though the game is timed, things like looking and examining didn't take up time; a nice way of making the player hurry up without penalising exploration.
Ok so it's a one roomer ( well, technically 2) but the storyline is really well done and there are so many endings to choose from that I spent at least half an hour.
The 'magic' (Spoiler - click to show) link un link and enslave ( for those who don't want to know, but the commands are also accessible in help), was to me very puzzling at first, but once I finally understood how everything worked, it came easily. Once you get the hang of the format, the time limit is more than enough time. It's really entertaining to see how many endings you can come up with through the differant magic strategies you use. There was something wrong though... I would really love to see a much longer game of this
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This is version 9 of this page, edited by Emily Short on 1 December 2013 at 11:37am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item