I was intrigued by the title of this game in the 90s Adventure Probe but couldn't play it because I did not have a ZX Spectrum. Now, many years later, a C64 version is available (made with DAAD) so I finally get to play this one.
In this comedy text adventure you control the electron Edmond as he has crashed his orbital in the city of Electronz. The game is a puzzle fest seen from the perspective of electrons, where protons and neutrons are buildings and a graviton is a dog breed etc. So a lot of funny references to beginner particle physics. I am certainly a beginner in that field. Some of the puzzles are based on light physics or word-play but don't expect the physics to be close to the real world. For instance, Edmond is called an electron and starts out having positive charge, which makes him a positron and therefore antimatter but he explodes if he touches antimatter, not the other way around. But such details are not important as this is a comedy and should not be taken too seriously.
Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 6/10)
I played the DAAD version, not sure how close it was to the PAW version. Some untraditional choices but the author makes up for it by guiding the player in several situations. For instance, there were sort of "containers" in the game but you couldn't "PUT OBJECT IN OBJECT". Instead you might EMPTY OBJECT IN OBJECT or FILL OBJECT WITH SOMETHING, stuff like that. But the author tells the player upfront about the commands CHARGE and EMPTY and the fact that SEARCH and EXAMINE are not the same. Some guess-the-verb situations along the way, which probably is unavoidable for such a "big" game, considering it is an 8-bit single-load game.
Atmosphere (Rating: 7/10)
Funny writing which fits the game theme.
Cruelty (Rating: Tough)
I noticed a few places where the game can become unwinnable but it will in most cases be obvious that what you did was irreversible.
Puzzles (Rating: 8/10)
The game is crammed with puzzles, and there were several good, fun puzzles. A few of them involved word-play but they were solvable to me except for on one, despite that English is not my mother tongue. As with most old text adventures, finding the objects are part of the game so remember to search and examine everything.
Overall (Rating: 8/10)
Everything considered, this is a good old-fashioned puzzle fest with good puzzles and some funny writing.
(browser version - port made with Adventuron)
This is a fun little spoof of The Hobbit with some nice puzzles and humour. Some of the puzzles are "pun-based". However, the "genre" 'homegrown British text adventures from the 80s' is to some extend something you need to learn how to play, just as you need to learn how to play parser games in general. To some extend you need to be more accurate about which verbs you apply in these homegrown games from the 80s. Still, some verbs and phrases became a sort of standard within that "genre". Also, do not expect a lot of feedback if you try an incorrect command. You will never know if a verb is accepted by the game unless you find that it works.
Add to this, that this was the author's first effort (though the browser port I played was first made in 2018), you must expect a few guess-the-verb/phrase issues here and there. However, there is a sort of indirect limited "hint system" in the game, though it is not clear if it is intended to be used or only if you are really stuck. I used it whenever I could, and still, I needed to consult a walkthrough a few times.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed this quite a lot. If you are unfamiliar with British homegrown text adventures from the 80s, I propose that you see it as a learning curve. If you are stuck for a longer time, don't hesitate to consult a walkthrough. You will learn as you go along and you will get the hang of the style and probably solve most puzzles by yourself anyway.
(Adventuron version reviewed)
Briefly explained, on behalf of his friend Bulbo, Algernon accepts a challenge in Castle Toidi. He must locate as much treasure as he can and slay as many creatures as possible, including a dragon.
This comedy is the longest game by John Wilson I have played so far (most have been short) and also the most entertaining. It doesn't have a lot of locations, but it is still crammed with puzzles. You score points for most of the puzzles and if you complete the game, you can get up to 250 points, though there is a less optimal ending with fewer points. Out of the 250 points, I only regard two puzzles of 15 point each, as unfair, as they require some hard verb-guessing and phrase guessing: (Spoiler - click to show)The verb "unravel" and the phrase "feel 'direction'" (e.g. "feel south"). And if the player types help, the former is given in a coded message.
I was stuck in a few more situations than the two mentioned above and consulted a walkthrough some more. But looking back, the puzzles were all fair except those two. With more patience, I think most experienced players could solve most of the puzzles. Though I try to avoid looking at walkthroughs, I usually end up consulting a walkthrough a few times (more if the game is really hard) when I play puzzlefests anyway, so to me it wasn't a big deal. What I do find important is, that I get to solve most of the puzzles without hints, which I did.
I enjoyed both the whimsical writing and the varied puzzles, which ranged from easy to harder and more clever. Overall, a fun game, and I am very much looking forward to playing the brand new sequel "Return to the Castle" written with Inform (more specifically PunyInform).
(Reviewing Adventuron version)
I have enjoyed previous episodes but this game is far too hard for me. I enjoyed it briefly, but I quickly got stuck and took a look at the walkthrough. I got one step further, then I got stuck for a long time again, and looked at the walkthrough again and so on. The solutions to these sub-puzzles (both actions and exact verbs) are way beyond what I would be able to figure out without a walkthrough.
Add to this:
* The game can be unwinnable even if the player does nothing wrong (random element)
* The verb USE is normally not understood but suddenly required in one situation.
* The game has a two-word parser but it turns out that in specific situations, the game accepts a four word sentence to be split into two commands:
(fictive example below is not in the game and doesn't happen when using the verb PUT)
>ON SHELF (SHELF wouldn't have worked, ON SHELF required)
Some might see these "problems" as challenges. For me, this isn't what I am looking for when I play older text adventures. Still, I intend to try more episodes in the series, since I liked the first episodes.
EDIT: Gareth Pitchford informed me that the important command WORN was given in the instructions with the original game, so my criticism that you are never told what you are wearing isn't really valid. Moreover, if you play several of the games in the series, it will become apparent that the command type LOOK 'direction' (e.g. LOOK SOUTH or LOOK DOWN) is often required. Thus, this might not be a problem if you played another episode in the series first.
Note that this is a review of the original game, not "The Cats Choice-Cuts Edition" which is slightly longer. I played the Adventuron version. The version you choose to play may influence the commands you can use. Here, the game understands both L (redescribe location) and X (examine).
This game has a few gameplay issues:
1. You cannot examine yourself. EDIT: If you are aware of the command WORN, this isn't a problem
2. You are supposed to: (Spoiler - click to show)LOOK UP but as you are not given any reason to do so, it is quite unlikely the player will try that. EDIT: If you have played other games in the series first, You have probably learned that LOOK 'direction' (e.g. LOOK EAST or DOWN) might be a good idea.
At first, I wasn't aware of the points above, so I found the game to be a bit unfair after having looked at the walkthrough. So perhaps the puzzles are perfectly fair (hard to estimate after I completed the game by looking at the walkthrough). Anyway, it has entertaining parts even if you need to look at a walkthrough. With the information given at the top of this review, you will probably be able to enjoy this game.
This is a quick one-room escape game where you are a balrog (who seems to be a fun little fellow) locked inside the loo. It is a comedy with a few mandatory puzzles and a few optional puzzles. I managed to complete it almost without hints except for one guess-the-verb puzzle, so I consulted a walkthrough on CASA Solution Archive for that. Looking back, I should have been able to figure out the verb by paying attention to my inventory: (Spoiler - click to show)The verb "unfold"
There are many versions available, including the ADVENTURON version, which should be playable in most browsers (html-file). There might be a few differences between the versions. In old British games, typing R was the standard for redescribing the location description, not LOOK or L. Besides that, just keep in mind that it is a two-word parser, just as the popular Scott Adams games. And in some versions you might have to type EXAM or EXAMINE instead of just X.
It was a quick but fun little game, so I intend to try the sequel too.
This is a fun little game, which takes place in Sherlock Holmes' apartment. Professor Moriarty is out to get you, Sherlock. The game only has four locations. Still, it took me somewhere between 1 and 2 hours to complete it without hints, including a few guess the verb issues.
In the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, you will have to pay attention to details if you want to complete this game. I played the DAAD version using a c64-emulator. If you like Sherlock Holmes and parser games, I think you will like this. Quite fun!