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Reviews by Walter Sandsquish

Adventure

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TimeQuest, by Bob Bates

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Sprawling, February 16, 2020
TimeQuest provides plenty of fun and clever puzzles through a light-hearted time-travel theme. The writing is clear and lean, with a bit of whimsy and irony, and the implementation is excellent, creating no game-play problems.

But, the game provides very little direction to the player, resulting in too many save-and-restore puzzles and a lot of aimless wandering at the beginning of the game.

If you make a log of where everything is, for every location and every time frame, before you begin actual game-play, you'll likely enjoy this large, puzzle-heavy text adventure.

The Tower of the Elephant, by Tor Andersson

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Vivid, but Under-Implemented, April 26, 2015
This short adaptation of one of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories features engaging prose and good characterization, which is odd, because I remember Howard's prose and characterization as clunky and overblown. I suppose all Howard needed was a good editor.

The game itself, however, is under-implemented. Nouns, plurals, and synonyms are missing, making it tough for the player to communicate with the parser. There's even a guess-the-preposition puzzle here, which forced me to consult the walk-through. And, instead of providing clues in the descriptions, the author makes suggestions directly to the player.

Still, this game has interesting stuff in it. One of the game's branches creates a small role-reversal for the player-character. Instead of an NPC following the PC, you follow another character. Fun, but taking this path bypasses the game's best puzzle. There's also a vivid, and effective, action sequence here, a rarity in IF.

I'd say it's worth fighting the parser a bit for a few good puzzles and the excellent writing this game offers.

Arthur, by Bob Bates

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Enchanting, February 2, 2011
"Arthur" is a clever synthesis of a few of the earlier, usually neglected, legends surrounding the legendary King Arthur's youth. Arthur must prove to Merlin that he is ready to accept the responsibilities of a monarch. Empowered by Merlin's ability to transform himself into different animals, he slithers, burrows, and flies through the wilderness surrounding Glastonbury.

Despite the fact that it's set in the wilderness, "Arthur" teems with characters. Bob Bates quickly and cleverly etches the kind, but stern, Merlin with just a shade of menace; each of the variously-colored knights that stand in Arthur's way has a distinctive personality (my favorite is the Blue Knight, who must have just wandered over the hill from the filming of Monty Python's "Holy Grail"); and the evil King Lot is, well ... evil. The protagonist is, as usual, missing, but "Arthur" sports another dozen delightful personalities that I won't spoil for you. I will, however, tell you that Mr. Bates found room to pay homage to that first memorable IF character, Floyd!

"Arthur's" only weakness lies in its structure. After following Merlin's lead, the player could find himself wandering aimlessly through more than half of this sizable game. It's a problem that could have been easily fixed, and, as a matter of fact, I'll take care of it right now: (Spoiler - click to show) After you deal with the injustice Merlin mentions, walk as far southeast as you can. Listen to what the nice man in red says, and try to be agreeable.


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