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About the Story"The intepid Adventurer has escaped the caverns. Nought remains to block a successful escape but this troll here. Hmmm. A one-room adventure.
The author recommends this for people who grew up on Zork II and Advent, and begs people choosing their first piece of IF to play to look at other IF (preferably good IF!)."
[--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]
Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Individual NPC - 1998 XYZZY Awards
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
You've already overcome dozens of obstacles, collected lots of treasures, and scored 240 points out of 250; now there's just the little matter of getting past a canonical troll bridge and scurrying out of the caverns with your loot. But how? In the game's words:
If only you hadn't used your Frobozz Magic Napalm on that ice wall...
If only you hadn't used your TrolKil (*Tm) to map that maze...
If only you hadn't sold your Frobozz Magic Tinning Kit.
If only you hadn't cooked and eaten those three Billy Goats Gruff...
... or that bear ...
If ONLY you'd checked the bloody bridge on your way in.
This brief excerpt is representative of the writing in the game: it is both a very funny parody of the Zork tradition as well as an enthusiastic participation in that tradition. In fact, as you can see from the above quote, the game actually features some familiar parts of the Zork universe, such as Frobozz Magic products, rat-ants, and even certain slavering lurkers in dark corners... Sly allusions and in-jokes abound, but they're never what the game depends on, so if you don't catch them, you're not missing anything important. Of all the one-room games I've seen this year, Enlightenment is definitely the best-written.
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Jay Is Games
The most common drawback of these one-room works is a tendency to go overboard, offering so many layers of detail that the player is forced to examine every part of every object, and search an assortment of highly-detailed furniture—which becomes just as much a test of patience and memory as mapping a large area. Enlightenment avoids that excess, and manages to offer a lot of interaction depth without turning gameplay into a chore.
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[...] there is a certain unity to the puzzles that justifies the one-room framework, and they are difficult enough to tax the player's mental energy, even within the confines of the room.
-- Duncan Stevens
This game is well coded - I didn't find any errors - but too complex for my taste, and I suspect a lot of other people.
-- David Ledgard
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I found it a witty and enchanting game to play, until I reached the point where I had to dispose of the troll. Gulp. Call me faint-hearted, or burdened with too many scruples, but I found the sudden change from lighthearted problem-solving to a frankly brutal dispatch of the troll horribly jarring.
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
It certainly does have its strengths. The premise is that you are at the end of a much longer game, faced with solving the last few puzzles to escape a (if not The) great underground empire. This "ending of an (imaginary) longer game" riff is an idea that has been used several times since, to the point that it's become a bit cliched, but I can't hold that against this game. The writing is both technically proficient and generally clever, if unoriginal, being a rather slavish imitation of the "high Infocom" style. Technically, the game is also worthy of Infocom, being polished and bug-free.
But then we get to the puzzles. They're difficult. Very, very difficult, at least for me, and difficult in all the wrong ways. I don't see myself ever solving this without just trying random actions for the hell of it -- not really my kind of fun even then and certainly not now. When I give up on a game and go to the hints, I am guaranteed to react in one of two ways: either to be angry at myself for failing to think about THAT, or to be angry at the game for not playing fair. Suffice to say my reaction here was always the latter. Its worst sin is a failure to properly describe to me essential properties of objects that I need to be aware of to solve its puzzles: one object is sharp enough to be used for cutting, but I am never informed of this; a couple of others' sizes are of critical importance, but said sizes are never described; etc. It's a pity, as the central thing you are trying to achieve, and from which the game takes its name, IS clever and DOES give you a nice Ah-ha! moment when you figure it out. Unfortunately, solving the meta-puzzle just opens the door to lots of fiddly, under-clued frustration in trying to enact that solution.
I'm probably the wrong audience for this game in the end, which is why I'm not going to blast it too badly in scoring it. I'm just tired of puzzles that are an exercise in patience and frustration, and Infocom homages are not really what I'm looking for in my IF these days. If you do carry a hankering for the old-school days of Zork, though, and want to really be challenged, this may be right up your alley.
As in Zork, the game's terse replies are just encouraging enough to get you to continue for another few moves even when you feel stuck. Perhaps it's because this game emulates that iconic look-and-feel so well that I had the patience to keep trying after nearly an hour of play without a single point scored. Yes, there is that much non-essential material to keep you busy, with many jokes to discover, footnotes to unlock, and interesting-but-not-useful things you can do with the assortment of equipment you start with.
The game's title is well-chosen; once that first point is scored, they become easier and easier. For the last few turns of my game, everything fell into place, and I felt I truly had achieved enlightenment.
The game's end notes state that this piece is actually 19K larger than the original Zork I. I am surprised, but not too surprised. No course of action seems inherently off-limits or "wrong" for this game -- a difficult-to-achieve perceptual illusion that is no doubt the product of vast amounts of coding work and exceptionally careful playtesting on the author's part. Mr. Ogawa is to be congratulated for having pulled it off.
Enlightenment is a one-room game that you wish would go on to "feature length." Though Mr. Ogawa seems to have never produced another piece for public release, I sincerely hope to see more by him in the future.
Sounds great, right? Problem is that the puzzles have seemingly random solutions. I like games like this, but when I was forced to look at the hints and say "Um... what?" I knew the game had problems.
For example, you have to target pieces of items that are not adequetely described. The size of items is not described and is relevant. One puzzle didn't make sense even after I solved it. (It makes sense, but I still don't see how I was supposed to guess it.) And guessing is the key to solving the puzzles.
I like the concept, and the writing is solid, but keep in mind, you'll be finding yourself typing "put all in [x]" just to see what fits where. And don't be surprised if things that should work just don't.
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Recommended ListsEnlightenment appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Richly simulated worlds by Emily Short
IF in which the setting is especially deeply simulated, especially works that implement traditionally difficult systems (fire, liquid, ropes, recording devices, etc).
PollsThe following polls include votes for Enlightenment:
Fun single-room games by Jeff Sonas
My kids (9 and 12) like to play IF games on my phone during car drives so they are looking for something quick and fun that doesn't require much mapping. What single-room adventures are out there?
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