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The Final Mission

by R. A. McCormack

Episode 3 of Ket trilogy
Fantasy
1984

(based on 2 ratings)
1 member review

About the Story

Deep within Vran's Temple you set forth on 'The Final Mission'... Can you outwit the wandering slime, the 5 Gate Guardians, or even Vran himself?

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Former commercial
Baf's Guide ID: 1321
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 28wprpx2agwqoc7u

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Number of Reviews: 1
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Truly One of the Worst, August 25, 2020
The first two Ket games were uneven but fun adventures, full of creative puzzles and charming imagery, two parts of a zany quest, leavened with a bit of Grimm macabre. This game has none of that. It is a soulless, clearly rushed, completely unsolvable bit of cynicism designed to stand between the aspiring contest winner and their prize. One might have hoped that after the tough but fair design of the second game, the third would be even better. Nope. All pretense of fun is thrown out the window as you stare blankly at the text-based companion to Hareraiser.

The problems are numerous. I will try my best to cover all of them. Hmm, let's see, where to begin...

Well, we have a new parser. It sucks. It's very slow and no longer lists exits, for no good reason. It's lacking in color as well. Were they trying to save space? This game doesn't appear to be much larger than the last. Who can tell?

The puzzles are atrocious. Not at first, actually. I got about a quarter of the way through, but after (Spoiler - click to show)zig-zagging to get the giant to break the trapdoor, it all goes to hell in a handbasket. You can only rarely examine anything and get a response. That was true of the last two games, and many other older titles, as well. But you could intuit and deduce item function in those; they took place in an actual world, and the items were used in ways that were plausible, at least most of the time. Here, every item has to be used in some completely illogical, non-intuitive, improbable, and highly-specific context. There are riddles to solve: you will never solve them. Even if you do, figuring out how to communicate the solutions is impossible.

It's absurd, honestly. Some of these could work in a modern game, with more opportunities to examine and experiment. Here, in this limited parser, you're expected to just look at the pieces and see how they would logically fit. That's fine in a game with a internally consistent world. That's how the Scott Adams puzzles worked. It's how they had to work, due to limited space. Here, though, we're doomed, because the author has also sacrificed the writing.

Yes indeed, the writing here is awful. This is a nightmare, and not just in the gameplay sense. It also has the messy, incoherent nature of a bad dream. None of the chunks of world you progress through fit together. This isn't supposed to be Alice in Wonderland, it's meant to be fairy tale fantasy. I've seen this surreal, looking-glass style done well, of course, but here, not only does it fail to match the style of the previous games, it's also written with no punch, no imagination. It's so rote, and the series of key punches you make to slog through it have no connection. The game fails to mention exits so often that you're forced to map a blind maze everywhere you go. It'll say you're in a passage going north and south, but then you go west and boom, there's a room. Vital information is just missing. This is not a finished, tested product.

Trying to get a perfect score is futile. There's so many ways to cheat yourself out of points, one of which is saving. Yup. The game will add further sabotage when you save. And in what is already a buggy game full of instant deaths, cheap hits, (speaking of hits, the combat is all but gone too) and unwinnable situations, that's the cherry on top. It shows you exactly how contemptuous (and contemptible) this whole project is. Why put in the work for the first two entries if for the third, the eponymous final mission, you plan on just throwing together an unsolvable middle finger of a program? What is the point? To avoid giving away the prize? I wonder who won. They earned it, that's for sure.

Even from an historical perspective, this is a truly wretched game, and a squandering of what could have been. I like hard games; that's why I play a lot of older titles. But they have to be fair, be solvable. What I don't like are unfair games, games full of impossible tasks. This all this tape has to offer, and it doesn't even have decent prose to offer as compensation. This is the worst commercial adventure game, of any era, that I've ever seen.

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Eq on 21 May 2013 at 4:20am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item