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The Curse of the Scarab

by Nils Fagerburg profile

2020

Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

Archeology licenses are for suckers, not for Rhoda Tarcrew. But now the authorities are closing in and there's only time for one last dig before you have to flee the country. Better make it count.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 31, 2020
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Custom
IFID: 4AB2E07B-RIFF-45CD-9243-B6AB80074176
TUID: v41tydzz51khw6ab

Awards

3rd Place, Le Grand Guignol - English - ECTOCOMP 2020

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(2)
4 star:
(1)
3 star:
(1)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Optimization game with excellent puzzles and implementation, November 15, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Homebrew parser
This game is inspired by the optimization games "Captain Verdeterre's Plunder" and "Sugarlawn". I agree those are good. This is however my favourite optimization game so far. Except for a few locations, this game takes place in an Egyptian tomb. Your task is to find a certain object and then find as many valuables you can. When you complete the game, you will automatically sell everything. The money you earn is your high score. The author encourages you to send him a transcript if you get a high score, which always gives even more incentive to keep playing.

This game is a lot of fun. It has excellent puzzles and thorough implementation. However, it does have some "old school features" but that makes sense for an optimization game: Time limit (read: turn limit) for parts of the game, inventory limit and the game can be put in an unwinnable state. However, these are what makes this game fun and challenging. The game is not very big location-wise and most locations can be reached when the game begins. You will probably have one playthrough to solve puzzle A, then another playthrough to experiment with puzzle B etc. After that, you can try to optimize your playthrough so that you will earn as much as possible.

Regarding the time limit, note that you can exploit the parser, obviously intended, for instance, GET ALL would only take one turn, whereas if you get the objects one by one, it takes more turns. Such parser exploitation is not exactly realistic but I think it adds a positive extra layer to the optimization.

The game engine appears to be made by the author, which was probably a good choice as the implementation is very good and suits the game. Even when you restore a saved game you can undo as many times you like, and after multiple sessions, it accumulates a list of all the treasures you found and the number of undiscovered treasures. Those actions, which shouldn't take time in the game, don't. For instance, examining things only takes time if something happens. My only nitpick with the parser was (Spoiler - click to show)I wasn't sure about the syntax for wishing. E.g. it could have understood [wish that 'something'] but that didn't work. I am now under the impression that the only way to wish is to type [wish for 'something'].

As an Ectocomp game, this is not particularly scary to play, though it does contain violent deaths, unnatural phenomenons etc. Still, I think it is suited for Ectocomp but would probably do very well in other competitions too. Anyway, I think this is an excellent game I highly recommend.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, October 31, 2020
by jakomo
Related reviews: ectocomp2020
Grab as many treasures from the cursed ancient ruins as you can, and get out safely before you get eaten by bugs, fall down a pit, die of thirst in the desert, or get ripped to pieces by a mummy. I was never fully sure of the game's mechanics but still found it enjoyable throughout, with it's mildly comic tone falling somewhere between the more serious Infidel and the more silly The Horrible Pyramid, to name two other grave-robbing adventures. I finally escaped with my life and 150 to my name. Lots of opportunity for replaying here, trying to maximise your winnings in the style of Captain Verdeterre's Plunder. Fun.



2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A surprisingly rich and complex but difficult optimization games, November 7, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
I beta tested this game briefly.

I usually think of Ectocomp games as being quick and simple, but the Grand Guignol games have been pretty intense the last few years.

This game has several innovative/amazing features:
1. It's in a custom parser that's brand new but so good that it felt like Dialog or Inform for me
2. It has excellent javascript integration with smooth scrolling image sidebars
3. It has an optimization puzzle that requires in-depth strategy and a lot of spatial thinking.

So it's pretty cool. You're breaking into a tomb (like Infidel) and need to grab a scarab amulet as well as as much treasure as you can carry (which is rough, given you can only carry 4 things at a time in your hands).

The puzzles are harder than most optimization games I've seen. Just getting a successful ending at all will likely take several tries. There's enough complexity here that I probably saw <1/2 of the game when I beta tested it and still there are things I don't understand (like the purpose of the (Spoiler - click to show)map and cursed disk).

The only drawback I found is, like the other optimization games, the puzzle itself detracted somewhat from the emotional impact of the story, as the story is mostly a frame for the puzzles and is repeated over and over each time. Otherwise, for fans of optimised treasure runs, this is a great game.

If you enjoyed The Curse of the Scarab...

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