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Hunter, in Darkness

by Andrew Plotkin profile


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Number of Reviews: 6
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1-6 of 6

A claustrophobic thriller game with great pacing., February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours
Hunter, in Darkness has some of the best pacing of any IF game out there. You are hunting, in the darkness, and you must follow your prey through a cave. Things quickly go from bad to worse, and your injuries and fears come to the front.

In this game, you usually know exactly what you need to do, but may not know how to do it. The final big puzzle in particular took me a long time to get, but the writing was good enough that the game didn't feel stagnant while I was experimenting to solve it.

If you enjoyed Gun Mute or even Attack of the Robot Yeti Zombies, but wanted a more serious experience, this game is for you.

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Play this game., September 9, 2011
by calindreams (Birmingham, England)
I've been pot-holing and had a horrendous time. Thankyou Andrew Plotkin for helping relive my nightmare from the safety of my own home.

And he really does describe the claustrophobic surroundings masterfully. It is essentially a cave-crawl, but this time the cave is a cave you really could imagine. It seems like either he's done his research or has had first-hand experience of caving.

There are no compass directions. The player navigates by 'going forward', 'entering left tunnel', etc... I thought I wouldn't like this aspect of the game but it is implemented very well and suits the scenario perfectly, lending the atmosphere a sense of disorientation.

I enjoy puzzles in my games, but I'm often impatient and resort to hints. As soon as I've looked at my first hint I lose interest. I'm pleased to say I only needed to look at a walkthrough after completion, just to check that I had in fact been successful (I had). It gave me a real sense of achievement. The puzzles were fair, but not too easy and well thought out. I would personally recommend this to beginner players and IF veterans.

You will die often, so save often. Dying itself is fun and can help point you towards an eventual solution. The game is well implemented so there are often lots of opportunities to examine your surroundings, not just to complete the game but to enjoy the rich descriptive environments. So don't give up too easily if you get stuck (literally and metaphorically).

There are some great set pieces and surprises round the corners. Yet it is the consistent desperate atmosphere throughout that gives the game 5 stars from me.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Prey., August 2, 2011
**Plotkin - Hunter, in Darkness**

(Spoiler - click to show)I'm old enough for "Hunt the Wumpus" to have more personal resonance for me than for many, but young enough that all I have is resonance— any memories of having played the original game provide only a faded backdrop to my sharp, clear impressions of this thematic, multisensory heir.

This is a short, simple game— almost tiny, with only a few puzzles. The prose is well-written, and both environment and puzzles are traditional in inspiration, but mockingly, fiendishly original in execution. As a once-again newcomer to this genre, I required guidance from the walkthrough to proceed on more than one occasion... and again, when I replayed the game. Simple does not imply easy.

My choice for a single word to describe this creation: subversive. Immersive as well, of course, but subversive— in construction, climax, and resolution.

Highly recommended.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
damp, dark, dank, and dangerous..., November 28, 2010
by The Year Is Yesterday (California)
I died more times than I can count playing Hunter, in Darkness, but I loved every second of it. In a masochistic sort of way, perhaps. This is one of the most claustrophobic, terror-inducing titles I've encountered - an achievement, considering it's based on (Spoiler - click to show)Hunt The Wumpus. The puzzles all come logically, and even better, the various deaths arrive with a brutal, no-nonsense finality that encourages you to try a different tack, rather than frustrating you with that feeling of being so close and so far. This is a serious story, not of adventure, but of survival, unsympathetic and unadulterated.

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Eerie and Satisfying, January 25, 2009
by Rose (New Zealand)
Woah. This game takes me back to the first time I played Adventure; I was so terrified when I reached the dark section that I rushed out immediately and refused to explore further until the next day. This game has a similar feel: you don't want to progress for fear of what you might find, but feel compelled to progress nonetheless.

The writing really makes the game; crisp, succinct, vivid and chilling. An interesting touch was the total lack of compass directions; you navigate with commands such as left, right, forward etc. This defiance of genre traditions actually works surprisingly well, adding to the feeling of realism.

The structure of the game is not so much defined by puzzles as by learn-by-dying. Save often and expect to die often. In fact, if you play from a walkthrough and never die, you'll miss some of the best writing in the game. If you really really really need a walkthrough, I'd recommend saving often and trying different ways to die anyway.

Overall, in terms of craft and writing, this is an excellent game. I'm rating it only four stars, however, because of its small scope. Regardless of the small size, Hunter, in Darkness is definitely worth a play.

4 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Immersive, but frustrating., October 25, 2007
by isd (Tokyo)
Related reviews: dictatorial, immersive, detailed
I didn't like the beginning of Spider&Web(and gave up rapidly), but I can say I liked "Hunter, in Darkness" right from the start...
Even if my first play was not really interactive and very short (going to the left, falling, then crawling slowly towards my death a few turns later) it was a great experience.
I don't like the games in which you have to die a lot to make your way through the traps but I can say it was very immersive and fun to "play" (the theme itself is not really fun, rather claustrophobic, and reminded me of some spelunking I did. While playing I swore myself I won't do spelunking again, ever).

Nevertheless, my second play didn't last more than 2 turns. great.
So I tried the third, and last, direction and... stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no clue, no way to go back or forth, having to guess the right verb without which I'm stuck here for eternity.
Then, after a few attempts to get out I manage to almost survive then die.
I guess the author has created this trap with some sadistic pleasure.

Oh well, the 4th attempt let me resolve this "welcome puzzle"... just to stuck me again with another "there is nothing" room.
Another "guess what the author had in mind" game.

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