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Anchorhead

by Michael Gentry profile

Horror
1998

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Number of Reviews: 23
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
Just get to the part where I go insane already, March 9, 2011
by spinnerin (Portland, OR)
I really wanted to like this, because I’m a Lovecraft fan and it's highly rated on IFDB. Alas, I had multiple “throw the book across the room” moments within the first hour. The game map is wide open at the start, so if you’re not clear on what it expects you to do, you can wander off and completely screw up your ability to continue.

On round 2 (after restarting), I wandered until I found the PC’s husband, attempted to talk to him to figure out what I should be doing, and wound up so frustrated I wanted to punch him (the game insisted that was out of character). The parser interaction is not very polished--I kept having to try different approaches for what seemed like basic actions.

Eventually I consulted the walkthrough, which told me my first move was to do something that seemed entirely out of character for someone who is dressed in “a tasteful ensemble from Ann Taylor”. So I yelled at the game for a few more minutes, then quit.

Comments on this review

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diddlescatter, March 8, 2011 - Reply
Although I personally give the game 5-stars, it is certainly true that the game can be VERY frustrating at times. It's worth playing through to the end, but it's not an entirely smooth ride. Thanks for the honest review.
Markoff23, March 10, 2011 - Reply
frustrating? I lost because after 95% of the game I was short of ONE match

this ain't no 5 star game
Jim Kaplan, March 27, 2012 - Reply
"frustrating? I lost because after 95% of the game I was short of ONE match"

Didn't you think that a) the fact that the box had only six matches and b) the fact that(Spoiler - click to show) the flashlight has limited batter power were sufficient clues that you needed to conserve them?
chairbender, November 30, 2015 - Reply
It's a perfectly valid criticism that Markoff23 brings up. It doesn't matter whether it's hinted at or not, if somebody doesn't enjoy the game, they didn't enjoy the game.

You seem to be coming from the perspective that there's one "correct" experience you can have when playing through the game. You're basically saying "You can't be frustrated because didn't you notice this one detail?". But, obviously, they are frustrated, so it's invalidating to suggest they oughtn't be. Guess what, people have different responses to the same stimuli. Some of the best games are mindful of that and design themselves in a way that tries to minimize the number of people that have a frustrating experience. This game is lacking in this department.
Jim Kaplan, March 27, 2012 - Reply
"The game map is wide open at the start, so if you’re not clear on what it expects you to do, you can wander off and completely screw up your ability to continue."

This is only a problem if players have difficulty reading the text in front of them. Your initial objective is to get your house keys. Sounds clear to me.

"On round 2 (after restarting), I wandered until I found the PC’s husband, attempted to talk to him to figure out what I should be doing...The parser interaction is not very polished--I kept having to try different approaches for what seemed like basic actions."

The game tells you even before you find Mike that you need to get the house keys. (Spoiler - click to show)And are "show keys to mike" or "give keys to mike" not sufficiently intuitive for, y'know, telling Mike you got the keys?

"Eventually I consulted the walkthrough, which told me my first move was to do something that seemed entirely out of character for someone who is dressed in “a tasteful ensemble from Ann Taylor”. So I yelled at the game for a few more minutes, then quit."

Had you taken the time to experience the rest of the game, you might not have written a review that is so limited in scope.
chairbender, November 30, 2015 - Reply
It's true that you need to read the text, but there's always a chance you're going to miss something accidentally, and, if it's not something you can scroll back to or remind yourself about, you're going to have a bad time. And that's why some games have ways of reminding you what your current task is, something this game lacks but would've improved the experience for this reviewer and probably for me as well. It's a valid criticism if it made the experience playing the game less than enjoyable.
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