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About the StoryYour father is dead and you’re sure your uncle is responsible. You tried to tell your mother so. Instead of believing you, she married him. Now you’re going to uncover the truth and set things right...
GHOST KING is the first entry in the fictitious Scott Adams Literary Adventure Diversions (S.A.L.A.D.) series, not-actually-launched in 1980 to adapt classic tales to 8-bit microcomputer adventures. Based on Hamlet by William Shakespeare and the style of Scott Adams and Adventure International.
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This game is a shortish text adventure using the Scott Adams format (short in the sense of 7 treasures and about 16 rooms; it takes a good hour or more to finish without hints, longer if you get stuck like I did). It's based off of Hamlet and contains many joking references to it.
This is a hard game. Much of the ease of modern parser games comes from adaptive hints or helpful responses to incorrect actions. This game has some of that, but only so much can fit into the constrained format. I had to request help and then discovered the (well-commented and organized) source code provided in the download.
While I appreciate the craftsmanship in the game, it definitely is the type to be solved by careful exploration of the state space and deliberative thinking, as opposed to my general play style of 'charge ahead recklessly and see where the story takes me'.
I will say that I think this is much more successful as a game than Graham Nelson's adaptation of The Tempest or my own Sherlock Holmes adaptations.
If I were to assign an Adventure International difficulty level to this game, I'd have to make it "advanced". You do need to be reasonably familiar with the play to get very far with it, and some of the puzzles are less intuitive than those in the early Scott Adams Adventures. I was a beta tester, but I was unable to solve it without hints from the author, whereas I've solved most of Adams's "moderate" games without hints. Ghost King does a great job of juggling the complex subject matter with the antiquated authoring system and quirky style of an Adams game, but loses something of the latter in translation. If anything, the author could have been a little more irreverent with his source material, thrown in the odd anachronism, perhaps, or a little more low-brow humour. (There is one particular word-play puzzle, though, that made me laugh out loud!)
Overall, this is an excellent pastiche, right down to the cover art, and highly recommended to fans of the Scott Adams Adventures. It does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it well.
If you enjoyed Ghost King...
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This is version 11 of this page, edited by jcompton on 10 July 2020 at 6:27pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item