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Reviews by Denk

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View this member's reviews by tag: ADRIFT 4 ADRIFT 5 Eamon inform Telarium
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Amazon, by Michael Crichton

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Good game despite its age, April 16, 2019
by Denk
Related reviews: Telarium
This game was written by best-selling novelist Michael Crichton in 1983 and published by Telarium in 1984. Luckily the quality of this very old game is high. It is a two-word parser but I never felt that I had to guess-the-verb. However, the manual, which can be found online, contains a verb list which shows what verbs are accepted. It is recommended to read the manual before playing. More over, the game comes with a so-called N.S.R.T.Field map which is required to complete the game. This map can also be found online.

Since there are no modern interpreters for Telariums games, you will need to download an emulator. The game is available for Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS. I chose to play with a commodore 64 emulator. The other machines are probably faster but I just ran the emulator at approximately 5 times normal speed and so, the game ran at a decent speed.

As the title implies, you are going to the Amazon jungle. The purpose is to find treasure within the lost city of Chak. All puzzles were fair and you quickly stumble upon a humorous sidekick NPC, which helps you on your way. The game has some primitive but still atmospheric graphics and sound effects. Some people may find the game too easy. There are however 3 difficulty levels. I am not the strongest player so I took the easiest difficulty level (novice). As a consequence, I only needed to consult a walkthrough once and I completed the game in about 5-6 hours.

This is the first Telarium game I have played and it was a very positive experience so I am looking forward to try the other seven Telarium games.

Founder's Mercy, by Thomas Insel

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Nice Sci-Fi Adventure, April 9, 2019
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform
In this sci-fi parser adventure you are the last person aboard an abandoned space station. Your objective is to get away from the space station. The game comes with 3 feelies: A map, an antenna calibration guide and a Getting Started manual for an utility scanner.

The map is very convenient and so there is no need to draw a map yourself. The space station is spinning and so the directions Spinward and Antispinward are introduced in addition to port, starboard, up, down, in and out.

The game is very well implemented. There was a single puzzle that required a bit of guessing the verb, but besides that everything worked well. The puzzles were all fair, mostly easy and a few ones harder. Some of the puzzles are a bit technical but none of them requires special knowledge.

Some people might find the minimalistic descriptions too short. I personally found them sufficient to create a good atmosphere and to describe what's going on. This is definitely a game more than a story and so, too much text would disturb the playing experience. However, I would have liked the ending to be more verbose and interesting.

To sum up, the game is atmospheric with some nice puzzles and solid implementation. The ending could have been more interesting but still it was great fun. Try it.

Junior Arithmancer, by Mike Spivey

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Original math puzzle game, November 16, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform
This was my favorite 2018 Ifcomp game. I can imagine that this game is not for everyone, since it is basically a logic/math game. However, it does not require a lot of mathematical knowledge. I would say that you can complete the game using basic math, though to get a perfect score, you should have heard about complex numbers.

In this game you are given the role of a candidate in something called Arithmancy, which is some sort of magic concerning numbers. You need to pass the exam in Arithmancy. To do this, you have to cast spells in the right order, to produce the digits of pi, e, etc. I don't know if this sound like a lot of fun, but it is, if you like logic and math puzzles. In addition, you can get extra points. Some points require that you produce the digits with very few spells, while other points can be gained by finding the numbers with a given color. Yes, in this game all the numbers have a color, though some numbers have the same color. Figuring out the color system, at least to some extent, is needed to obtain a perfect score. I didn't understand the color system completely, but still I managed to get a perfect score, though not within the two hour limit of IFcomp. Thus there are several hours of entertainment in this game.

The game starts out easy but slowly gets harder. Whenever you achieve something in the game, you overhear conversations from the examining committee, which are quite fun. The real fun for me was however figuring out the puzzles.

So if you are into logic puzzles involving math, I can highly recommend this game.

The Fortress of Fear, by Larry Horsfield
Quality oldschool game, July 24, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: ADRIFT 5
The Fortress of Fear (FoF) is the 4th episode of The Adventures of Alaric Blacmoon. On the other hand, it was the first Alaric Blackmoon game to be written with ADRIFT, so I was quite curious if it had the same quality as the previous episodes. I think it has and overall FoF is a very fine game.

Without going into too much detail, Alaric must get to the bell tower of a big fortress, which is under siege of an evil sorcerer. The sorcerer has slaughtered most of the good staff of the fortress so there are ghosts everywhere requiring objects to let you pass. In addition, they might help you, if you help them. You will also meet a few people who are still alive, and in the end, you will of course face the evil sorcerer.

The game has the same appearance and feel as previous episodes, which is good. As usual, it is necessary to search, look under and look behind objects whenever it makes sense, to ensure you do not miss an object. The puzzles range from easy to difficult but always logical.

The player should be aware of the command "timeoff" though. This is a command used to turn off real time elements. I don't like real time elements in IF-games but since they can be turned off it is not a problem at all.

If you become stuck, the first place to look for inspiration is the VOCAB command, which gives you a list of verbs understood by the game. Typing help gives you the e-mail address of the author, which I did use more than once since the game is very big and I believe most people will become stuck at some point. I encourage everyone playing Larry Horsfield's games to ask for help in this way instead of just giving up, since his games have a lot to offer.This game is no exception.

Trick or Treat, by David Whyld

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Nice comeback, June 3, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: ADRIFT 4
It has been 5 years since David Whyld last made an ADRIFT game. But it was worth the wait. Trick or Treat was made with ADRIFT 4, which means that it is playable with Fabularium, Gargoyle etc. It starts out with you and your friends trying to "trick or treat" at an old man's house. Unfortunately the old man is crazy, lopping off your friend's head and capturing you and your other friend Emmie.

The game is filled with crazy humor and puzzles as you try to rescue yourself and Emmie and there are more than one ending, depending on how well you do inside the crazy old man's house.

The initial puzzles are quite easy but the game gradually gets harder.

Fun try it out!

Shadowpeak, by Kevin Bailey

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Has potential but flawed design, June 3, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: ADRIFT 4
In this game you play the role as Loralang, a famed knight, which has to travel back in time and retrieve the golden sceptre and kill the undead lord, Morac.

So much for the story. The game is oldschool and is a combination of puzzles, a bit of random combat and unfortunately also random deaths. I haven't completed the game, but from what I have seen so far, there are some decent puzzles. The random combat I have seen was far too easy, so it was quite pointless.

Even though I like oldschool games, random combat and don't care too much about the Player's Bill of Rights, I feel this game could have been a lot better if it weren't for the very common random deaths caused by the dragon. It is practically impossible to avoid it for long and according to the built-in hints, the only thing you can do is to avoid the dragon. So even though I came across some decent puzzles, I find it hard to recommend this game.

Risorgimento Represso, by Michael J. Coyne

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Enjoyable puzzler, April 15, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform
In this parser game, you play the role of a student, who is by accident sucked into another world of magic where you become a wizard's apprentice. The wizard quickly gets in trouble and you have to help him out.

The writing is full of humor and there are many fine puzzles, though a few of them were a bit unfair to my liking. Luckily there are built-in hints so you can get through the game with some help. I doubt many will solve the game completely without hints. The implementation is very good though.

I prefer the sequel Illuminismo Iniziato over this one, since I regard the puzzles as better in the sequel. Still this was an entertaining game with a good story. I can certainly recommend this to anyone who can accept the need to consult the hints once in a while.

Illuminismo Iniziato, by Michael J. Coyne

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
English game with italian title, April 12, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform
This game is the sequel to Risorgimento Represso. Though I have never played Risorgimento Represso, I enjoyed this game immensely.

In this game you play the role of a wizard's apprentice who has been given an apparently simple task by the wizard. Without spoiling the story, lets just say that the plot will develop as you play.

This is a rather long game with an impressive amount of detail and excellent implementation. The game contains an auto-mapping feature and a newspaper, where you can click to turn the pages.

There are a lot of ingenious puzzles in the game, some easy, others more tricky, but except from one puzzle ((Spoiler - click to show)how to use the hoop) I was able to solve them all without the use of the built-in hint system, where you can ask NPCs for help. So I regard the puzzles as very fair and well clued.

The writing is good and witty, and did a great job in communicating the surroundings. There are several references to Risorgimento Represso, but they are all understandable to those who haven't played it.

This is the best game I have played this year so far, so I highly recommend it.

Leadlight, by Wade Clarke

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Easy to install, fun to play, April 9, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: Eamon
This is a horror game with rpg elements including random combat. And it is a good one. There are lots of puzzles but they are all sensible, and the atmosphere is scary. The game comes with a very detailed user manual and hint sheet so you should be able to get through. Regarding combat, the game was fair, though I had to die a lot before choosing the right strategy. I did have some trouble near the end though, where multiple enemies were present at the same time. As a result I ended up with very few hitpoints left for the final battle, and so I had to save and restore a lot during that final battle. Despite that, it was a very good game with scary horror sequences.

About running the game:(Spoiler - click to show) I had feared that I would have to play around with emulator settings etc. to get the game working, but all I had to do was to download the windows version and double-click on an icon. Then the game was up and running. I can imagine that the mac-version is just as easy to run.

Certainly recommended.

Curse of the Hellsblade, by John Nelson and Tom Zuchowski
Classic RPG online, March 20, 2018
by Denk
Related reviews: Eamon
I played this game online at Eamon Remastered where you can either play with your own character or a demo character.

This RPG is quite original in the sense that you are cursed with the sword Hellsblade, so that you attack all beings on your path with the sword, whether they are friends or foes. First you need to find a way to control the blade and later get rid of it, so that the world will be a safe place once again.

The game is a classic Eamon adventure, so there will be lots of interesting treasures and weapons to pick up, which you can then sell or use in other Eamon adventures. The game is very much about combat and exploring, finding keys, secret rooms and tunnels but there are also a few real puzzles included. Hints are included in case you get stuck.

The writing is good and the game is well designed. I have played a lot of Eamon games lately and this is one of the best I have tried so far. I can certainly recommend this.


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