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L. Frank Baum Series

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1-4 of 4

Dot & Tot of Merryland, by Anonymous

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Good for kids, December 19, 2010
by Bernie (Fredericksburg, VA)
Related reviews: L. Frank Baum Series

This game is modeled on the L. Frank Baum book by the same name. You play a young girl who has been whisked away to a magical land and must get home again (apparently L. Frank Baum was lacking original plot ideas by this point in his career.) The land of Merryland, like Oz, contains many interesting and unusual creatures that can be 'looked' at.

The parser is primitive, but workable since the author lists the few working verbs in an accompanying text file. There are few verbs in this game and very few required actions, making it a potentially good game for young children. The puzzles are very straightforward and consist almost entirely of picking up objects -- which are clearly displayed in an "object" box at the bottom of the screen -- and giving those objects to the creatures that ask for them.

The game cannot be made unwinnable. The only snag with the game is that the objects must be given in a certain order, otherwise the characters in the game give the rather strange response "You're not royalty." Other than that, the game is short and simple. The object box makes it simple for young kids to identify which objects need to be manipulated and which characters are present. To add to the charm, the game ends when you hug your dad.

The Magical Monarch of Mo, by Anonymous

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Playable with a few parser problems, December 19, 2010
by Bernie (Fredericksburg, VA)
Related reviews: L. Frank Baum Series

This game is based on L. Frank Baum's book "The Magnificent Monarch of Mo". Mo is a fantasy land much like Oz; it is a realm of magical things and strange creatures. You play a prince of Mo who must vanquish the purple dragon.

Of this series of L. Frank Baum games, this one is perhaps the most playable. The parser is primitive but is made tolerable because the text file that accompanies the game includes a list of verbs. The puzzles are well-clued and generally fair, even for those who haven't read the stories. At some point, you must perform certain actions in the order that they occurred in the story, but a simple trip to google reveals the order. Furthermore, attempting to take incorrect actions simply responds with "you must do this in the order of the story" and disallows the action rather than rendering the game unwinnable.

Unlike the other games in the series, this one is tough to get into an unwinnable state. At least a few of the puzzles still end up turning into "guess the verb" puzzles, even with the list. Eventually, running threw the available verbs will reveal the correct action. This parser trouble is exacerbated by the implementation of the verb "use", which works for certain objects but not for others. The final puzzle is extremely unintuitive unless you've either read either the book or the wiki entry, since it involves utilizing an object that is not in your inventory. (Spoiler - click to show)Apparently, the prince runs around with scissors in his pocket the entire time, and upon stretching the dragon, you need only type CUT STRING to win by pulling out a pair of shears and snipping him up.

Generally, though, the game is fair and interesting, a rarity for these ancient games, and thus worth a look if you're looking for a bit of nostalgia.

My Adventure in Oz, by Anonymous

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Kid appropriate, September 19, 2010
by Bernie (Fredericksburg, VA)
Related reviews: L. Frank Baum Series

This is a very simplistic game in which you run around collecting members of the Oz books for a party. Each member has an item they need, and you must find the item and give it to them in order to get them to go with you to the party. The objects in the game are simple to find and clearly listed in a separate "objects" box. The characters in the game move around, but are never very difficult to find. The download for the game also includes a 'map' program that will allow you to print the map for the game.

The parser is a primitive two-word parser. However, it's something that can easily be dealt with by younger children. I'm thrilled to find a game that is easily graspable for my 6-year-old. She really enjoys typing the simple commands into the parser. For this reason, I awarded the game 3 stars.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Anonymous

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A game that somewhat works despite the parser, September 19, 2010
by Bernie (Fredericksburg, VA)
Related reviews: L. Frank Baum Series

This charming game was written in 1985 and this is entirely reflected by the parser. The game would be highly frustrating were it not for the fact that the author includes a list of verbs in the accompanying 'read me' file. (Although it leaves out the verb "board") The clunky parser also makes little sense when commanding other characters. However, once you figure out how the commands work, navigating through the game isn't too tough.

I had extreme trouble with one of the puzzles (Spoiler - click to show)the evil trees. Clearly I needed to get some help from my friend the Tin Woodman, but I couldn't manage to get to my friends after killing the witch.. I was proud of a few of the other puzzles I managed to solve despite their obscurity. (Spoiler - click to show)At some point, in order to cross the river you have to tell the tinman to MAKE RAFT. "BOAT" is completely unrecognized. However, after spending 20 minutes on a puzzle I finally conceded to being irreconcilably stuck. The frustrating part about these old games is that you can never be certain that you didn't miss some very obvious solution. Oh well, I'm content to blame my failure on the game for now :)

I would warn children away from this game, both because of its difficulty and because the command "kill" is often utilized in the game, although I believe the puzzles might parallel events in the book. (Spoiler - click to show)At some point you command the scarecrow to 'kill crows' and he is described wringing their necks. It's funny to remember how un-PC children's books were like before they became an established genre.

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