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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful:Lovecraftian Horror at its Finest, January 4, 2008
by Matt Kimmel (Cambridge, MA)Anchorhead is most certainly a jewel in the crown of the Lovecraftian horror genre, up there with such favorites as The Lurking Horror and Theatre. First and foremost in this game comes the prose; the author has lovingly crafted a deep and memorable world, which is slowly revealed in paragraphs that give you, as a player, all the information you need, while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Additionally, the author knows well the principle behind Lovecraft's works: that nothing he writes on the page can possibly be as horrifying as what you can imagine. Hints, suggestions, and half-glimpses of the evil lurking in the town of Anchorhead are what you're treated to--not outright descriptions that inevitably fail to live up to your expectations.
There is also a depth of information about Anchorhead's world that's rarely found in interactive fiction. Details on every aspect of the town and its inhabitants can be found from a multitude of sources. This serves to immerse the player in the horrors that are unfolding, but it's not just window dressing; much of the background information is integral to the plot.
This is a primarily literary work, and although the puzzles are fun and require some thought, they're not tremendously difficult. My only complaint about the game is that not all of the puzzles are made obvious. The game progresses as you cause various events to take place, and there were a few points where I felt a bit lost because I didn't know what to do next, and therefore could not move forward in the plot. In retrospect, I could probably have figured out most of those situations by looking a bit harder, but there are one or two puzzles that require a bit of an intuitive leap--and you won't be continuing until you make that leap.
Still, this is a minor complaint about a beautifully written work of IF. I highly recommend this game to any serious player of interactive fiction, whether you're a fan of the horror genre or not.
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