Ratings and Reviews by Denk

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The Great Aussie Adventure, by Dorothy Millard
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Excalibur: Sword of Kings, by Ian Smith, Shaun G. McClure
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Time's Enigma, by Jim MacBrayne

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Time travel with decent homebrew parser, February 3, 2021
by Denk
Related reviews: Homebrew parser

(Played on Windows - can run on Mac using Wine somehow)
This rather new game from 2020 is a very good old-school puzzlefest with minimal story and a good parser (Infocom-like, no undo).

Following a heated discussion with your old college professor, you are pushed into his "Time Manipulator" and sent to another time an place. You are told to find some evidence of where and when you are before you return. The first step is to figure out how to operate the Time Manipulator. After that, you can travel to many known more or less historical places.

All the puzzles are fair, though I needed a single hint from the author to complete the game. And I needed one more hint to get the best ending. However, the game has been updated recently, so that the best ending is better hinted. If you type AUTHOR while playing, you will get his contact information. Jim replied very fast in a friendly manner, so you don't need to worry about that there isn't a Walkthrough available in case you get stuck. Many of the puzzles are about handling different mechanisms, though more traditional puzzles are present too. From a logical point of view, you may sometimes wonder, how a clue for one time period is to be found in another time period. But that isn't really the purpose of this game. The purpose is an entertaining puzzlefest. Some might find some of the puzzles too easy but for me, they were just right.

The game has an inventory limit. As in many games with inventory limits, there is a remedy for that problem, though your inventory limit will not be infinite. While playing this is not a problem at all, as you can have your objects in a central place. Only when you reach the end of the game, which objects you bring might be important. However, in the newest version (February 1st 2021), It is pretty well hinted which objects you should bring (or at least how to figure it out). I encourage you to find the best ending (maximum points) as it is more fun than the easier ending.

Jim's style is such, that most location descriptions mention what was once in the location and that most of it is gone when you arrive. Thus, there will only be a few things necessary to examine in each room. Thus you don't need to examine countless of scenery objects. I like this approach. However, you may sometimes need to look behind or under objects too.

NPC's are extremely rare and it could have been fun with a few more NPCs, which could also be a little more active.

Nevertheless, this was an entertaining game I recommend if you like old-school puzzlefests.


The Mines of Lithiad, by Jack Lockerby

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A well-implemented PAW game from 1992, February 3, 2021
by Denk
Related reviews: STAC, The Quill, PAW

(Spectrum version reviewed - legally available from http://www.zenobi.co.uk/ )
Jack Lockerby was one of the most prolific homegrown authors on the ZX Spectrum and c64. Luckily the ZX Spectrum versions have been made available by John Wilson, who owned Zenobi Software and the right to distribute these games.

The Mines of Lithiad is definitely one of the better ones. As it is made with PAW, it is often possible to use 4 words, similar to e.g. PUT BALL IN BOX or GET PEN FROM BASKET. However, whenever two words are sufficient to describe the action, you should stick to two words.

The plot: Cavilan, the last surviving dragon, has chosen you to rescue her egg from the clutches of the Master and his band of Orcs.

Once you are past the introduction location, the game starts out with a large area with mostly empty locations. Though several of these have the same location description, it is not at all a maze, as the map is very logically laid out. I guess the main purpose of this map layout is to make it a bit challenging to solve a specific puzzle within a time limit. Here, I should add, that there are a few real time elements. These real time elements are very rarely a problem, especially as you can save as often as you like quite quickly with a free ZX Spectrum emulator like Fuse. So even if you don't like real time elements in IF, I recommend that you try this one.

And if you dislike inventory limits, you should know, that you can find a solution to that quite early in the game, so that isn't a problem either.

Once you are past the big opening area, the map becomes more standard with lots of fun puzzles, some original as well as a few classic puzzles.

I never had serious guess-the-verb problems but I needed a hint for two puzzles. They weren't unfair, so with more patience, you might be able to solve it without hints.

Very entertaining, certainly one I can recommend.


Deck the Halls, Gieves, by VerdantTome
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Land of the Purple Sea, by Dorothy Millard
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Santa's Trainee Elf, by Garry Francis
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The Golden Fleece, by Jim MacBrayne
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Fuddo & Slam, by John Wilson
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Imagination, by Peter Torrance
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