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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky

Science Fiction/Humor/Literary
1984

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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 8
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Definitely not harmless, January 10, 2021
by End Master (The Outer Reaches Of Your Mind)
This was one of the first Infocom games I got along with Zork I. While I went back to each one about equally, the writing in this one is what kept drawing me back in. Good thing it was so funny because I never got very far in it until I finally bought the hint booklet a few years later.

Up until this point, I had only really been familiar with Hitchhiker’s thanks to a mini-series of it that was on PBS. I remember enjoying it with my parents when we watched it, so it made sense that they bought it for me at some point.

While this doesn’t have nearly the same issues as the IFs based on Dracula or Frankenstein, there is still a bit of a confined feeling since you’re essentially playing “the book.” In the game’s defense though, it does deviate quite a bit from the book in many ways even if still follows the general plot line of the first part of it. Generally the further you get in the game, the more it starts to deviate.

The feelies that originally came with the game were pretty fun. Ranging from an empty plastic bag (supposedly containing a microscopic invasion fleet.) to a pair of cardboard glasses (Peril Sensitive Sunglasses).

Funny writing aside and getting back to the puzzles, yeah this one was pretty unforgiving. The babble fish one is the most infamous, but that wasn’t really the only one. It’s just one of the “worst” since it comes pretty early in the game so you get stuck pretty quickly. In fact most of the beginning of the game until you get to the Heart of Gold is difficult mainly because of timers. You only have so many turns to escape before earth gets destroyed. You escape to the Vogon ship and you only have so many turns before they find you. So you really have to make sure you do everything necessary in those situations before moving on. Lots of times if you didn’t take a certain item, you won’t be able to get it again and without it, you won’t be able to win.

The game will outright lie to you in a few instances, there’s also at least one time you can end up in a literal walking dead situation via randomness. (The game will actually tell you, you'll die in a few turns, but you can still play up until then) Add the fact the game will often outright mock you when you die and it’s definitely a case of the game creator trolling the player.

Not that I’m against trolling the player of course. But given how much the game stacks the deck against you, I can’t imagine most completed the game without a guide. Which sort of defeats the purpose to some degree because it gets to the point where you’re not really “playing” so much as you’re just reading a book every once in awhile you type commands to move the story along. (Unless the point was all a cunning plan by Infocom to sell more hint booklets!)

Still, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the game, even if I was doing more reading than playing.