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- jfpbookworm (Hamburg, New York), February 25, 2008
- brattish (Canada), February 23, 2008
- J. Robinson Wheeler (Austin, TX), February 22, 2008
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful:Pitch-perfect Lovecraftian horror, February 19, 2008
by cklepac (Seattle, WA)If you're a fan of Lovecraft's stories, you'll be delighted at all the familiar tropes this game has on display, many of which directly or subtly reference his classics (the shopkeeper's violin is one small example). The text is moody and the locations evocative, and several parts are very chilling. Obviously a labor of love from a big fan of HPL and horror fiction in general.
The puzzles put you in the mindset of a Lovecraftian investigator, so if you enjoy researching dark histories and putting the pieces together, you'll be right at home. Taking notes on important names and dates is recommended.
The game gives you a lot of freedom early on, but it has clearly divided time segments, and you may find yourself having to restore in the late game because you didn't do some small thing you needed to when you needed to do it. In a few places I could see where someone new to IF could get frustrated, and I wasn't able to beat it without peeking at a solution once or twice, but overall the puzzles in Anchorhead are fair and don't unduly disrupt the creepy atmosphere of this well-told tale.
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- Michel Nizette (Brussels, Belgium), January 17, 2008
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful:Lovecraftian Horror at its Finest, January 4, 2008
by Matt Kimmel (Cambridge, MA)Anchorhead is most certainly a jewel in the crown of the Lovecraftian horror genre, up there with such favorites as The Lurking Horror and Theatre. First and foremost in this game comes the prose; the author has lovingly crafted a deep and memorable world, which is slowly revealed in paragraphs that give you, as a player, all the information you need, while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Additionally, the author knows well the principle behind Lovecraft's works: that nothing he writes on the page can possibly be as horrifying as what you can imagine. Hints, suggestions, and half-glimpses of the evil lurking in the town of Anchorhead are what you're treated to--not outright descriptions that inevitably fail to live up to your expectations.
There is also a depth of information about Anchorhead's world that's rarely found in interactive fiction. Details on every aspect of the town and its inhabitants can be found from a multitude of sources. This serves to immerse the player in the horrors that are unfolding, but it's not just window dressing; much of the background information is integral to the plot.
This is a primarily literary work, and although the puzzles are fun and require some thought, they're not tremendously difficult. My only complaint about the game is that not all of the puzzles are made obvious. The game progresses as you cause various events to take place, and there were a few points where I felt a bit lost because I didn't know what to do next, and therefore could not move forward in the plot. In retrospect, I could probably have figured out most of those situations by looking a bit harder, but there are one or two puzzles that require a bit of an intuitive leap--and you won't be continuing until you make that leap.
Still, this is a minor complaint about a beautifully written work of IF. I highly recommend this game to any serious player of interactive fiction, whether you're a fan of the horror genre or not.
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- oddgrue (California), December 30, 2007
- Tyrog, December 13, 2007
- Tom Hudson (Durham, North Carolina), December 10, 2007
- Quintin Stone (NC), December 5, 2007
- VK, November 26, 2007
- Naeradan, November 20, 2007
- Jonathan Harford, November 19, 2007
- Alan De Smet, November 11, 2007
- Wesley (Iowa City, Iowa), November 11, 2007
- protobob, November 8, 2007
- Maureen (California), November 2, 2007
- John Murphy (Lebanon, NH, USA), October 27, 2007
- Stephen Bond (Leuven, Belgium), October 26, 2007
- Shade (North Carolina), October 25, 2007
- zer, October 22, 2007
- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), October 21, 2007
- Michael R. Bacon (New Mexico), October 20, 2007
- Emily Short, October 19, 2007
Lovecraft-inspired gothic horror at its best: a small town full of secrets, a gruesomely deformed monstrosity, a vast uncaring force awaiting its day. Despite the overblown style typical of the genre, this game generally works, and can get quite unnerving at times (especially in some of the NPC interactions). Highly open and explorable environment (aside from an abundance of locked doors), puzzles well-integrated into the storyline (including many optional puzzles and alternate solutions), lots of backstory revealed in an impressive variety of ways. Gets a bit sticky towards the end, with many tight time limits. Has a Sierra-style time system: the day ends when a certain point in the plot is reached. Features a female protagonist, two small mazes (one optional), references to incest, and a certain amount of strong language, gore, and really bad things happening to people.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
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