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About the StoryA small, witty text adventure. Its clever puzzles received quite a bit of acclaim on rec.arts.int-fiction upon its release. You've come to visit your old friend John Baker, but he's missing, and a blizzard has rolled in outside while you were asleep waiting for him. [blurb from The (Other) TADS Games List version 1.2]
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
I'm not quite sure I can put my finger on what makes it so good - it's always easier to pinpoint what you don't like about something than what you like - but "John's Firewitch" is simply very good workmanship; those little irritating glitches and mannerisms that seem to be unavoidable in non-commercial works are absent; the game is eminently playable (much thanks to the excellent parser); the puzzles logical with satisfying solutions; the ending forms a satisfying climax; the writing excellent and free from mannerisms and bad jokes; everything just feels right. (Magnus Olsson)
There isn't a lot to John's Fire Witch; it's relatively short (250 moves or thereabouts required, and much of that is traveling hither and yon) and the puzzles and characters are simple. What's there, though, is refreshingly well put together, with very few obvious bugs or gameplay problems; as first efforts go, this is one of the better ones you'll find. (Duncan Stevens)
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This is, as I said, a fairly small adventure, but it seems larger than this because you are required to travel over previously seen ground. This does not make it boring, rather it gives the player a good sense of familiarity with his/her surroundings. (Neil Shipman)
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This is a small game with only 37 locations, but there is still quite a lot to do. The game leads you gently from one puzzle to the next, and none are too difficult. (Karen Tyers)
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While the scenario may sound a bit simplistic, "John's Fire Witch" turns out to be a pleasantly engaging, unpretentious game that should appeal to a broad range of IF gameplayers. With fewer than 40 locations and a scoring total of 10, "John's Fire Witch" is well-suited to the "snack-sized adventure" label applied by its author. The game's small size and small number of puzzles make it a good introductory game for beginning to intermediate IF players; however, the puzzles are interesting enough to intrigue more experienced players for at least several hours.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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The puzzles are good overall. A couple of them have particularly nice twists; a couple, on the other hand, seem a bit random, but the game is small enough that even the random ones can be solved by experimentation and you don't have to go too crazy.
What's mostly lacking is atmosphere. I don't think I formed a really vivid image of any location or object in the game. Everything is described minimally, and the only objects implemented are those necessary for the puzzles. At the beginning the protagonist does have a nice humorous voice as he talks about John and his habits, but that too goes away once you get underground.
If you're looking for a decent demon-puzzle or two and don't want to be bothered with the rest, go for it.
I'm still searching for John so that I can "buy him lunch". I'll probably have to adjust for inflation though, don't you think? It would be a dream if John came back to the IF community and gave us a follow up, even if it has nothing to do with the Fire Witch. Actually, a sequel would be pretty darn awesome too. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, if memory serves.
You gotta try this one out! It took me several days to beat this one, despite the fact that it's considered to be a relatively short game. It was so engaging though, that I just kept chipping away at it. It's uncommon for me to be so driven and determined to beat a game of this difficulty.
Bottom line; it's a very fair game, and it's guaranteed to satisfy if you put in the time and effort. It's a true classic, but it needs a revival.
I've been more interested in story than puzzles recently, so I used a walkthrough at a couple of points (which made me realize I had forgotten that I dropped some items).
Two big puzzles were very fun; the (Spoiler - click to show)crystal card and the devil's bag. The last puzzle was a bit unfair, I thought.
There are no mind-bending surprises or big innovations here; just well-thought out puzzles. If you like this, you would enjoy Uncle Zebulon's Will.
If you enjoyed John's Fire Witch...
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Recommended ListsJohn's Fire Witch appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Danielle's Classic IF List by Danielle
Traditional adventure games, filled with happy puzzles. Only thing is, you don't need a fancy video card to see the great graphics. Instead, just add imagination.
PollsThe following polls include votes for John's Fire Witch:
Solved without Hints by joncgoodwin
I'm very interested in hearing truthful accounts of at least somewhat difficult games (or games that don't solve themselves at least) solved completely without recourse to hints, walkthroughs, etc.
Influential Games by Rose
As a historical exercise, I've begun compiling a list of IF games that have either done something ground breaking with the medium or otherwise influenced it; and I've turned it into a poll so everyone can have input on the expansion....
Humble Beginnings by Floating Info
What are some games that start off with the PC in a regular situation but turn into something different? This would include a regular person finding a portal to a fantasy world, or a regular person already in a fantasy world abruptly...
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