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About the StoryThe small African Zuni Doll seemed a nice addition to your collection of oddities. Myths say it captures the spirit of an African Tribesman who died while committing a cowardly act. To regain honour, he must kill 25 humans. However, all is safe as long as the doll bears its golden Talisman. Later that night, you awake just as your cat drops something tiny, something golden in your lap...
[--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
[...] Zuni Doll is successful to some measure: the setup is appropriately ominous, the contrived circumstances that loose the doll on you just plausible enough to feel real, and several of the confrontations (particularly when the doll is hacking its way through a door) genuinely suspenseful even if improbable.
Unfortunately, implementation problems weigh the game down considerably. A certain device that you throw together to thwart the doll defies both logic and reasonable syntax--I was forced to resort to the walkthrough. (Actions that aren't on the author's mind get "This dangerous act would achieve little," as if danger were a primary consideration with a homicidal doll on the loose.)
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Straight out of a 'B' movie horror story and vaguely reminiscent of an Arthur Conan Doyle tale, the plot is a brilliant idea. The main flaw with this game being that it could have been made into something special.
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The game is set in the few rooms of your house and doesn't beat around the bush, quickly getting you into the business of finding a succession of methods to stave off the doll's attacks. It has some exciting moments, but the programming is entirely bare bones. The included background information says that The Zuni Doll was written in four days as a programming demonstration, and this shows. There are no synonyms, no alternate ways of doing things, and Undo isn't even mentioned in the game over menu, though it's the most common command you'll need in response to the frequent snuffing out of your life that occurs. There are also random typos, and objects aren't necessarily described through the filter of the life and death events which frame the action.
In spite of these weaknesses, the game is so short and linear that you won't feel like you've wrecked your experience by consulting the equally short walk through, which you'll probably have to do. There's also a bit of humour in the writing (and the whole idea), and some interesting gore. Overall, the game offers brief fun with a good idea, but scattershot delivery. It's certainly a candidate for a tune up which it will probably never get.
The Zuni Doll on IFDB
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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 18 March 2013 at 10:01am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item