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About the StoryIn the 17th century, the seas are as wild as the untamed heart of a young woman. But when you set out on the schooner Lafond Deux, bound for the West Indies, your thoughts are only of your ailing father who awaits your care. Little do you know that your innocent journey will soon turn to dangerous adventure.
You barely survive an encounter with pirates, whose plans for you include a fate worse than death. The explosives, the rocky reefs, the vicious crocodile - all these are obstacles which you must overcome with cunning and agility. True, it's not easy; but at least you can control your fate. What you cannot control is much more dangerous: your passion for Nicholas Jamison, the handsome pirate captain.
Tall and lean, with azure eyes that penetrate deep into your soul, he makes your blood quicken despite his unsavory past. When you're in his arms, swirling around the dance floor or secluded in the flowered depths of the gazebo, you are apt to forget your mission.
But don't dally too long with Nick. For your father is waiting, and on his rescue lies the fate of more than one man. Prepare for adventure on the high seas, lass. You'll need every bit of pluck you can muster.
In Plundered Hearts, Infocom brings your wildest fantasies to life. You'll throll to spine-tingling peril, heart-pounding romance, and challenging predicaments. To create this exotic adventure, author Amy Briggs read hundreds of romance novels, researched 17th century costumes and ships, and was wooed by a dashing pirate.
The game's strongest point though is in its characterization. Not in the other characters; Crulley, Jamison, Lafonde and the others are rather standard, thus my character rating of 1.2. Rather, this game characterizes you, the player, more than any other of Infocom's offerings.
In most Infocom games, who YOU are is either unimportant or doesn't affect the plot much. [...] Plundered Hearts, more than any other game gave me the feeling of really being inside someone ELSE'S head.
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Amy Briggs's extensive research into the period shows in the wonderful descriptions of people and places and this has the effect of making the story thoroughly believable. The attention to detail throughout is up to the very high standard you expect from Infocom. The responses to many of your actions differ depending on what clothes you are wearing, what items you are carrying and where you happen to be at the time. Also, a number of the puzzles have more than one solution so, should you not have a particular object with you, something else may work equally as well.
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Even setting aside my guilty fondness for the pirates-and-ballrooms setting, Plundered Hearts has plenty else to make it a real favorite. A few of the puzzles are difficult or unfair by modern standards; especially at the beginning, it can be hard to beat the timing of the game. But many of the rest are not only fair and intuitive but dramatically powerful: the moments where your character uses her pluck and ingenuity to overcome the villain are especially gratifying.
Plundered Hearts also has a lot more plot than most other Infocom games, and often feels surprisingly modern, more like the product of late 90s design than of the late 80s. The landscape is not mysteriously empty, but crowded with characters, many of whom have lively personalities. And some flexibility about the ending is available, as well.
PH is a remarkable bit of interactive storytelling for its time, and there are still some techniques worth our reviewing and learning from now. And if, like me, you read a lot of Georgette Heyer, Baroness Orczy, and Rafael Sabatini at an impressionable age, you'll probably love it.
The game has two main areas: a ship, and a house. Events are tightly scripted and well-thought-out to keep the action flowing. The tight pacing may require frequent saving.
I found the game slightly easier than usual for Infocom; however, I was stumped twice in the middle (around points 16-19). It took about a week or a bit less of playing on and off to finish it (total time around 4-5 hours).
Be warned that this game uses Infocom's piracy protection, so you need access to the 'feelies' to solve key puzzles in the game. I used the Lost Treasures of Infocom app, which has the feelies included as images.
The romance novel aspects were infrequent, mostly resorting to ardent glasses, although right around the 16-19 point range where I got stuck, things got a bit heated as I was losing, but the game avoids anything explicit.
Overall, one of my favorite Infocom games, probably due to the great writing and simpler (but rewarding) puzzles.
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