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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful:Stunningly Awful, September 8, 2010
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)I have to admit that I didn't expect much from an adaption of a Stephen King work. The Mist, however, underwhelmed even those expectations.
The writing is over-the-top, cartoonish horror as you might have already expected given the source. A tentacled mist is sucking people out of a store. Ooh, scary! Important words are IN ALL CAPS, and of course you have stabs at Christianity. Yes, there's a crazy old lady and her mindless followers looking for blood. Wow, how original!
The parser's responses are cloying. Typing things it doesn't understand either produces pats on the head, displays a thought from the PC, or speeches from any NPCs around. The effect is disconcerting, as you're not sure if what you see is a response to your actions or the game ignoring your actions. In addition, each turn spits out an annoying set of dashes, as though you wouldn't be able to tell the response from your command without help. Worse, the parser requires you to confirm your responses to opening doors. These responses don't indicate that something awful is going to happen, oh no. They're just there to pat you on the head, yet again.
The NPCs exist just to move from place to place like unchanging pieces on a chessboard. Talking to them rarely produces useful information, and they don't respond to changes in their environment. (Spoiler - click to show)To see what I mean, go into the meat locker and wait for an NPC to show up.
While the parser isn't at all bad, especially given the era of the game, the plot more than makes up for it. You're required to do things that just don't make sense to advance the plot. (Spoiler - click to show)If I just saw a guy get sucked into the mist, what's the most logical thing to do? Follow him? Of course not, but that's what you have to do to get out of the supermarket. And random death awaits you wherever you go. I guess the idea is not to stay in one place too long, or to bother talking to anyone, because if you do, it's game over. Even that technique -- keeping the player on the run -- could have worked, had you a chance to escape once a bug shows up. But you don't, and the concept of being killed by dragonflies, bees, and two-feet-long bugs isn't horrific, just silly. That aside, you'll also need to map (could this game get any more annoying?) but not just because the game is large -- because it's filled with tons of empty rooms. But that's what The Mist is about, apparently: nonsensical actions, empty rooms, and silly deaths.
Finally, saving the game, at least using DOSBox, is not possible. Perhaps you need a better emulator or a DOS machine.
All things considered, The Mist is stunningly awful. It's worth noting that no-one is willing to claim authorship for this game. That makes sense, though. I suppose if I had cobbled together something this poor, I wouldn't want to affix my name (or even a pseudonym) to it either.
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mjhayes, September 16, 2015 - Reply
I think my greatest accomplishment in this game was finally getting it to work, after so many years. I had found an original copy at a garage sale many years ago, and never could get it to launch, even in a native DOS environment. When I finally did, I spent about two minutes on it before I gave up and put it away. There just isn't any reason to play this game, unless of course, you're such a huge fan of Stephen King that you'll play it anyway for that reason alone.
theqbasicwizard, October 16, 2013 - Reply
I do admit the not being able to save while using DosBox is a negative.
streever, October 15, 2013 - Reply
It is interesting that you assert King is anti-Christian: he is a Methodist, and a very devout Christian by all accounts. His writing shows a deep and incredible knowledge of theology.
The Stand reads like an adaptation of Revelations mixed with Exodus, and he is widely discussed by pastors and ministers as being a fiction writer with a heavy focus on acts of grace and faith.
I haven't played this game (I won't--it sounds bad!) but just wanted to clarify that if King features a negatively portrayed character who happens to be Christian, it isn't because King is anti-Christian. He has regularly talked about his faith life and his (evolving) views, which seem grounded on a firm and solid Christian theological basis.
Nikos Chantziaras, January 22, 2011 - Reply
The impression I get from this review is that you seem too biased against S. King and anti-Christian remarks and are therefore trashing this game because of that. With that kind of bias, you can only hate it, even if it didn't suck...
AmberShards, January 22, 2011 - Reply
Of course the loads of empty rooms, scads of meaningless death endings, and horrible, cloying parser had nothing to do with it. Don't insult me with your cheap accusations of "bias", especially when you didn't even bother to understand what I wrote.
Nikos Chantziaras, February 2, 2011 - Reply
It seems that you didn't bother to understand a two-line comment :-/ My not understanding of a whole review pales in comparison. Perhaps you should read those two lines again, especially the part that goes like "even if it didn't suck", a comment suggesting that the game is indeed very bad. But someone who didn't play it has to wonder whether it actually is that bad or it's just you trying to make it look bad. Maybe that was not your intention, but it sure looks that way. And that means the review is not helpful; the reader will never know for sure whether you hated the game because you hate King and anti-Christians, or because it just plain sucks.
Constructive criticism about your reviews should not be met with hostile remarks.
AmberShards, February 5, 2011 - Reply
I will not write a review for the purposes of placating your sensibilities, and your censorial intent I reject. To claim that your words were constructive is a self-justifying orgy; but do keep on insulting me and breaking your hand trying to pat yourself on the back! You have earned a place in my "plonk hall of fame". Congratulations.
Nikos Chantziaras, February 5, 2011 - Reply
I wonder what ticked you off that hard. It seems you hate me for some reason.
I suppose some people should just stay away from discussions with others that don't share their opinions. You don't know how to talk with people and lack basic social skills. Now I know that being biased in some irrelevant game review is the least of your problems.
Xervosh, September 8, 2010 - Reply
"The Dark Half" is quite probably his least interesting novel, so its difficult to imagine how any game based on that would be very good, whereas "The Mist" is a truly excellent novella so there was enormous potential, albeit significantly unrealized. Still, I don't think this game is that bad (although I never finished it, so its difficult to definitively say; I suspect I came close to the end, but since I'm pretty sure there's no scoring system, its rather difficult to be certain).
Xervosh, September 7, 2010 - Reply
In fairness, the original release (which I purchased in 1985 or '86) came with a map, so the contemporary need to draw your own map is not entirely the fault of the game designer. I suppose its just vaguely possible that a scan of that map might exist somewhere online, if it were searched for (which didn't occur to me to try, until just now).
AmberShards, September 7, 2010 - Reply
That would have helped, but having lots of empty rooms (which aren't even evocative!) is just bad design. Even Adventure and Zork I were more evocative than this game, and it's even worse because The Mist had an atmospheric setting, but did nothing with it. Sigh.
tggdan3, September 7, 2010 - Reply
Problem with this is it was adapted from a book, so the plot issues you mention (such as following the guy into the mist or the old christian woman looking for blood) were in the book and it seems like they had some concerns with staying true to the original work vs. making it into an interactive game.
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