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Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2003 XYZZY Awards
Warrior Needs Hint, Badly
Simply presenting a challenge is insufficient: it's the writer's job to motivate the player to want to take on that challenge. Usually, this means the promise of a reward: the reward of good prose. Funny responses to commands, interesting plot developments, that sort of thing. The Erudition Chamber falls short on these counts. In fact, the game is seriously hobbled by the prose that comprises it. The author repeatedly misuses commas, misspells words, and gets verb forms wrong. (Adam Cadre)
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I loved the way situations had multiple and logical solutions. It was compulsive in a self-assessing way because you just had to find out which sect fitted you best. I also loved the way doors disappeared behind you as new areas were entered. I was left in no doubt that I should go forward with the equipment in my current inventory. No fifty-move treks across the map to retrieve an essential object discarded earlier. (Virginia Gretton)
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Troubled prose... always weakens a game for me, and it's a pity, because this game is pretty strong in lots of other areas. I found no bugs, which always pleases me, especially in a comp game. It's certainly a quantum leap in quality over Freas' last work (Grayscale), and I feel encouraged that his next game may take the ingenuity shown by Erudition Chamber and combine it with the level of polish needed to make the gameplay experience as enjoyable as it should be.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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To this end, each chamber contains a puzzle with multiple solutions; each of the possible solutions is associated with a given personality trait. There's also some add-on effect, in that certain equipment can be lost or used up if you follow certain solutions. It's an experiment with the idea that the player is essentially defining a character through the way he chooses to act in the world. We see that in RPGs all the time (e.g. in games where you can earn melee experience points every time you swing your sword), but less frequently in IF.
All this said, I'm not sure how well the game actually works as an assessment of personal problem-solving skills. Some of the puzzle solution styles are much more obvious than others, and I found that rather than play through the puzzles as a personality test, I quickly started to try to game the system. Getting the Warrior sect point by bashing through something was usually the easiest option, but also therefore the least satisfying, and it was more fun to try for some other approach. Completist players will likely want to find all four solutions to every puzzle.
The writing is not as interesting. The story, such as it is, is all about being tested. It feels pretty artificial, both in the idea of setting up this test in the first place and in the lore that goes with the various puzzle-solving styles. There's a lot to read about, say, what it means to be a Seer, but very little sense of characters or of the broader setting that would make this kind of world possible.
Personally, I found this piece more interesting as a kind of essay about interactivity and the ways a game might detect and adapt to player preferences than as entertainment. But that's still definitely worth checking out for people who are interested in those questions.
You are given four puzzles, each of which can be solved in any of the four ways. At the end, you are given one of 6 possible endings, depending on which route you picked.
I enjoyed this game; I tried the seers route first, and got through all the puzzles without a walkthrough.
I then tried the warrior path, but had to use a walkthrough.
Overall, a fun short game. If you are interested in this kind of personality-test-via-choices, as I was, you will like this game.
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Recommended ListsThe Erudition Chamber appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Richly simulated worlds by Emily Short
IF in which the setting is especially deeply simulated, especially works that implement traditionally difficult systems (fire, liquid, ropes, recording devices, etc).
PollsThe following polls include votes for The Erudition Chamber:
Multiple solutions to puzzles and/or situations. by Hulk Handsome
Games that offer more than one solution to most of the puzzles and/or situations encountered. Bonus points if this means that items have multiple applications (unless they do something even more clever).
games where you can create your own character/aspects of character by Angharade
I'm curious if there are any IF games where you can create your own character. I'm more interested in parser games than point and click, but I'm open to exceptions if they merit a mention. Also games wherein your actions change...
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