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About the StoryThe Pawn is an adventure game set in the magical world of Kerovnia during a period of tremendous social upheaval.
Recently, King Erik, the present ruler of the land, has started to lose his hold on the Kerovnian peoples and can no longer rely on their loyalty and supreme devotion to support him through times of war, famine and personal bankruptcy.
Many political commentators have attributed this decline in popularity to Erik's steadfast refusal to reinstate the citizenship of the Roobikyoub dwarfs who were banished en masse soon after the assassination of the beloved Queen Jendah II and have never since returned.
The dwarfs were thought to be the sole instigators of the assassination plot but the real facts were kept well behind closed (and locked) doors.
Needless to say the dwarfs were of immense economic importance to Kerovnia with their relentless efforts to produce the smoothest, strongest malt whisky this side of the Obakanga valley and they are sorely missed in these days of economic gloom (not least for the quality of their whisky).
In the absence of the dwarfs, the drinks market has been dominated by the Farthington Real Ale Company (which has had some rather dodgy dealings with Boris Grunchkev O.K.B.) and by the Romni gnomes who produce a refreshing spring water. Neither of these two influential groups wish to see the dwarfs come back on the scene to take a large slice of the market but the people of Kerovnia, many of whom are beginning to suspect that the dwarfs were completely innocent of the assassination, vehemently disagree.
Standing in the middle of all this is King Erik who becomes more and more unpopular the longer he leaves his decision, and, to top it all, there is a general election on the horizon.
At this point, you arrive on the scene. You will be the principal player in the game and the story unfolds according to your decisions and actions.
"Getting quite a way into the adventure there are some areas which suggest some largess on the part of the instructions. I have already mentioned the occasional relapse by the program when it chooses to ignore the second part of a complex sentence. The examine command (where, like most words, EXAMINE must be spelled out fully, along with long words such as floorboards) can be helpful, as in EXAMINE GRAVEL, 'The gravel is small pieces of black stone', can miss entirely as with 'What black stones?', or give a reply which may or may not be comical, 'The arms are quite long for the time of year.' It's worth noting here that EXAMINE and LOOK IN are subtly different commands, bringing about fundamental changes in your fortunes should you learn how to use them properly. On another occasion you are told how you cannot see a tree when you are in a forest while, despite the instructions boasting many weird and wonderful adjective recognitions, the program does not comprehend LOOSE in the command EXAMINE LOOSE FLOORBOARD. Let's stay with this one to lead me into one or two misgivings I have with the plot. EXAMINE FLOORBOARD replies 'large and very solid' yet levering the board with the hoe achieves nothing but doing something a lot simpler gets the result. However, more worrying in terms of a credible plot is the pouch which doesn't seem to exist until you have fetched the guru his water, an act totally unconcerned with the appearance of the pouch. Such inconsistencies pull the plot into an ever tightening feel of linearity."
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The parser is quite good but has its niggles. Especially in reference to English and some objects. The most noticable bug is the "white" one: you have in your inventory "you are carriny a white" which turns out to be a white light. Kinda dodgy and should have been picked up in bug testing.
The puzzles are very crafty and logical. Hands up those of you who got stuck trying to move the boulder!
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Here is a text adventure of the highest order. Now don't switch off because I mentioned that awful word "text". Magnetic Scrolls adventures are well-presented with good graphics to accompany the words. And it is the words that raise their games above the others in the field. The quality of humour is not strained. I mean you don't get the forced humour of some other games I could think of. And there is plenty of drama and excitement thrown in.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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-you are wearing a shirt with a marijuana leaf;
-if you go to the southern edge of the world, there is a sign saying that this is the 'boundary of the adventure';
-one of the first people you meet won't stop laughing at how dumb you look.
I didn't really enjoy this game; it's about the size of Zork, with some pictures. It's pretty hard, and the parser claims to be advanced, but actually has major problems.
I don't really recommend this game at all.
The text itself is well written, with some irony and a small dose of British (black) humor. It tells a rather traditional fantasy story, which still manages to surprise once or twice and kept me entertained till the end. The parser is powerful and has a big vocabulary. I stumbled over a few oddities, but this might also be caused by English not being my maternal language.
The puzzles are interesting and well interweaved with the story. At least for a beginner like me some were quite difficult and I had to consult a walkthrough a few times. I did not encounter a single bug.
All in all a polished and entertaining experience.
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