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About the StoryMore ghosts haunt the misty sea-coast and stone ramparts of Cornwall than anyplace else on earth. One such soul roams Tresyllian Castle: a pale phantom with flaxen hair and a luminous, flowing gown. It seems like a fanciful legend... until the spectral "White Lady" threatens the life of your friend Tamara!
Arriving at the fog-shrouded castle, you meet a cast of eccentric characters ranging from a blue-blood debutante to an overly helpful butler. Has one of them donned the ghostly guise of the White Lady? Or has the drowned lover of Lord Jack, Tamara's fiancé, returned to haunt her successor? Perhaps the spectre is seeking the valuable treasure hidden somewhere in the lavish rooms and secret passageways of the castle. The solution to the mystery, as well as the location of the treasure, changes in each of the four variations of Moonmist.
Get ready to spend the night in a haunted castle. But don't sleep too soundly. The next victim might be you.
The writing tries to convey a sense of the castle, but fails. Much of the description is left to the tour booklet included in the packaging, so the game itself neglects to add those touches necessary to make the locations spring to life. There are four variations possible in the game, but they did not add replayability as much as they made the plot feel random.
-- Stephen Granade
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Number of Reviews: 3
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This is not to say that Moonmist's plot and characterisation are deep: this is standard stuff. We are in an old castle. The previous lover of the young local lord has died or been killed; his new lover, a female friend of ours, has been threatened. In addition, a ghost haunts the castle. And finally, the previous lord has hidden a fabled treasure somewhere on the premises and uses hidden clues and audio-taped messages to direct us towards it. The eight guests, all of whom might be somehow implicated in the plot, are quite stereotypical: the older female artist, the grumpy doctor, the young débutante, and so on. Nevertheless: stuff is going on, the characterisations are miles beyond those of Seastalker, the British setting is British, there is atmosphere, the descriptions are almost lush, and we even get Edgar Allen Poe quotes.
After an introductory sequence, gameplay mostly consists of searching the castle for clues. There are of course secret passages, cryptic clues (including wordplay and riddles), and lots of hidden objects. You will be spending a lot of your time walking through the castle, which is large, and although you will unfortunately need to read some of the room descriptions from the feelies (hello, copy protection scheme!) this is generally enjoyable. Plus, you can instantly go to any room, person or object you have previously seen. With several different tasks to perform (follow the clues to the treasure, find out who the ghost is, find out what really happened to the dead woman) you won't quickly run out of ideas, especially since the difficulty isn't high. One tip: if you successfully "search" something, do it again, because there can be more than one object hidden.
At the beginning of the game, you are asked to state your favourite colour. This seems an innocuous question, but it is actually very important: choosing red, blue, green or yellow starts one of four completely different scenarios. (Choosing another colour will randomly select one.) The treasure will be different, hidden in a different place, and different clues will lead to it. The ghost will be someone else, and the real story behind the death will be different too. Thus, Moonmist is really four games in one; and although solving one will help you solve the others, it will far from make it automatic.
All in all, then, very enjoyable. It's not in the end truly memorable, but as a relaxed gothic detective romp, there is nothing wrong with it either. Three-and-a-half stars.
A weaker Infocom title; a mystery for kids with four modes (UPDATED), February 3, 2016
The room descriptions are in the feelies!
This explains why the game felt so lame. Random objects seemed to appear out of nowhere, and major rooms seemed to have no description at all. But the feelies seemed rich and interesting. I didn't realize that you were supposed to constantly refer to the feelies as you go.
I wonder if this was a way to make the game fit on a smaller disk with four variants.
This makes the game SO much better. Thanks for the tip, Victor!
For those who have access to the feelies (such as in the iPad Lost Treasures of Infocom app), the backstories in the manual for this game were very enjoyable, much more than the game itself. I thought I should throw that out there.
This game is similar to An Act of Murder, where there are numerous possible suspects, multiple clues, and a variety of possible variations determined at the beginning of the game.
Both games were weaker, I feel, because they had to be adapted to work with multiple endings. For instance, in Moonmist, you find 'clues' that are just called 'clues'. Not scraps of paper, shreds of fabric, cards, etc. Just 'clues'. I assume they are different in each of the variations when you examine them (I only felt like playing through the 'green' version).
Moonmist is a kids game. This makes the game a bit harder at time; for instance, the room descriptions and directions get annoying at times.
The game is on a tight schedule, so you may have to restart before some characters leave.
The game has a cute idea where it calls you by your first name, and also by your title and last name when appropriate.
You play in a large castle with seven guests, investigating a supposed ghost that haunts the castle. Several mysterious deaths have occurred recently, and your friend is marrying the new Lord of the castle.
I don't recommend this game. I do recommend the manual.
Not Much of a Mystery, But Fun, March 7, 2014
The problem, for this mystery buff, is that the actual mystery wasn't much of one. This is actually a treasure hunt where collecting all the treasures ("evidence") earns you the ending. The motives and their reveals just aren't tied that well into the environment or the story (on my first play through, the first evidence I found was a signed notebook detailing the villain's plans), which is understandable given the multiple potential story lines, but really took away from the game itself.
There's also no emotional involvement from the protagonist; when you unmask the killer, you're given the opportunity to read some of the why as an author's afterword, but it's sketchy and leaves out little things like "what happens to the person I just arrested" and "how does the protagonist feel about this". Even endings where the hero could be expected to have emotional involvement never discuss it or the ramifications of the hero's success.
I think, in large part, that the professionalism and just plain inviting writing -- these are authors who know their stuff -- really set up narrative expectations that that games of that era weren't usually designed to meet. It's not fair to ding a game based on my expectations, but damn, this was fun and could have been so much more so if there had just been a little more story and a little more resolution.
The puzzles unfold easily and smoothly, with most being clued so boldly even I couldn't miss them. I did find it a little tedious to wander around the castle looking for rooms that fit the clues. I'll admit it; I'm spoiled by modern convenience and whenever I get a "go to" command I use it excessively and often have no mental layout of the game. I liked that if I ran into someone along the way the command would stop so I could chat with them.
As a treasure hunt, and as a bit of history, and even as a fun game for someone who isn't expecting much of a mystery (or who is new to the IF format), this is one to play. Just be aware that you'll have to fill in the blanks on the emotional aspects yourself.
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