Reviews by Walter Sandsquish
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TimeQuest provides plenty of fun and clever puzzles through a light-hearted time-travel theme. The writing is clear and lean, with a bit of whimsy and irony, and the implementation is excellent, creating no game-play problems.
But, the game provides very little direction to the player, resulting in too many save-and-restore puzzles and a lot of aimless wandering at the beginning of the game.
If you make a log of where everything is, for every location and every time frame, before you begin actual game-play, you'll likely enjoy this large, puzzle-heavy text adventure.
Two schools of thought (used to) define adventure games. One school says, "an adventure game is a story whose conflicts have been translated into puzzles," while the second believes, "an adventure game is a puzzle described in terms of a story." The difference is significant.
If you look at "Corruption" through the eyes of the first school, you will see a vastly unfair and agonizingly difficult work of interactive fiction. The game cannot be finished, or even understood, without experience gained through player-character "death." Much of the behavior required of the player character, like spying on his peers or breaking into his partner's office, will, initially, seem unmotivated and paranoid until the player gets stuck in a few dead-ends first. What's more, I can predict, a little smugly, that everyone will discover, just before he thinks he is about reach "Corruption's" climax, that he neglected to do something or other at the start of the story, and must replay the entire game. For instance, (Spoiler - click to show)I found out that I should have thoroughly searched the toilet sometime before the 15th move.
If that sounds irritating and tedious, this may not be a game for you. On the other hand, members of the second school of thought will find a mesmerizing, Chinese-puzzle-box of a game. "Corruption" is a giant riddle, and to decipher its meaning, you must play, and replay, each of its parts. Once the player has mapped out the movements of the non-player characters — who are deftly portrayed, and whose characterizations add much to the bitter, cynical atmosphere of this game — he will recognize a web of deceit and betrayal, and be able guide his character to paths that lead to a satisfying ending.
In short, "Corruption" is a well-written, bug-free puzzle fest, and the puzzles are strongly related to an interesting suspense story. Just remember to save early and save often.
"Arthur" is a clever synthesis of a few of the earlier, usually neglected, legends surrounding the legendary King Arthur's youth. Arthur must prove to Merlin that he is ready to accept the responsibilities of a monarch. Empowered by Merlin's ability to transform himself into different animals, he slithers, burrows, and flies through the wilderness surrounding Glastonbury.
Despite the fact that it's set in the wilderness, "Arthur" teems with characters. Bob Bates quickly and cleverly etches the kind, but stern, Merlin with just a shade of menace; each of the variously-colored knights that stand in Arthur's way has a distinctive personality (my favorite is the Blue Knight, who must have just wandered over the hill from the filming of Monty Python's "Holy Grail"); and the evil King Lot is, well ... evil. The protagonist is, as usual, missing, but "Arthur" sports another dozen delightful personalities that I won't spoil for you. I will, however, tell you that Mr. Bates found room to pay homage to that first memorable IF character, Floyd!
"Arthur's" only weakness lies in its structure. After following Merlin's lead, the player could find himself wandering aimlessly through more than half of this sizable game. It's a problem that could have been easily fixed, and, as a matter of fact, I'll take care of it right now: (Spoiler - click to show) After you deal with the injustice Merlin mentions, walk as far southeast as you can. Listen to what the nice man in red says, and try to be agreeable.
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