I played this game online at Eamon Remastered where you can either play with your own character or a demo character.
This RPG is quite original in the sense that you are cursed with the sword Hellsblade, so that you attack all beings on your path with the sword, whether they are friends or foes. First you need to find a way to control the blade and later get rid of it, so that the world will be a safe place once again.
The game is a classic Eamon adventure, so there will be lots of interesting treasures and weapons to pick up, which you can then sell or use in other Eamon adventures. The game is very much about combat and exploring, finding keys, secret rooms and tunnels but there are also a few real puzzles included. Hints are included in case you get stuck.
The writing is good and the game is well designed. I have played a lot of Eamon games lately and this is one of the best I have tried so far. I can certainly recommend this.
This game contains:
* 304 locations
* randomized combat
* hunger timer
* thirst timer
* tiredness timer
* a light source with limited fuel
* a maze-like area
* Eamon parser (limited verb-set but how to use commands is explained)
* NB: Online version cannot SAVE and RESTORE. Download the game instead.
If you can cope with all this, this is a very fun and rewarding game with some fun puzzles too.
In this fantasy game, you are leading a party who is to find and defeat the powerful wizard Zorag. However, not everything is as it seems...
You quickly learn how to handle hunger and thirst so that is not a big challenge.
Tiredness is not critical but reduces your abilities in combat. Thus it is a good thing to CAMP once you get tired. While you camp, you and your friends take turns looking out for enemies. You and your team might get assaulted while you are camping, which starts a combat scene.
The light source is quite limited, so make sure you save the game before venturing into a dark area since there is not enough fuel to map and examine everything in one try.
The swamp is slightly maze-like, so you might want to save your game before going there, and then you can distinguish the locations by dropping your objects in the locations temporarily.
The parser is similar to other Eamon games: If you type a verb the game doesn't understand, you are given a list of verbs understood by the game. Thus you rarely have to guess verbs. If you are to use an object you should normally apply the verb USE, e.g. USE SHOVEL rather than DIG, USE BUTTON rather than PUSH BUTTON etc. The TALK command is a bit strange though: It requires the syntax "TALK <character> ABOUT <topic>". It would have been more appropriate if the command was named ASK instead of TALK.
The HINTS command gives only general hints on how the Eamon parser behaves, e.g. if you are to take an object from a container you must REMOVE the object. Stuff like that.
The difficulty of the randomized combat is medium. I think it will be possible to complete with a brand new character. However, Eamon Deluxe contains some predefined characters in case you don't want to build up a character from scratch, but just want to play this one game.
It is highly recommended to play the download-version since the online version cannot SAVE and RESTORE. Furthermore, the online version runs slower and you cannot bring your own character into the online version.
I can only say that I enjoyed this game a lot. It is the biggest Eamon game available and among the best. The random elements might not suit everyone's taste. But if you like Eamon games I think you will enjoy this too.
The Heart of Gold (THoG) is highly inspired by the first two books in the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” series but twists the story, so that the planet Eamon was in the way of a new 'hyperspace bypass' and would promptly be destroyed. Your friend Ford Prefect helps you escape by hitching a ride with The Heart of Gold spaceship, where you will meet all the familiar characters from the first novel. From here, you will go through four well-known but modified scenes from the series before you reach the end.
Some of the puzzles will be easier if you have read the books and played the Infocom game “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” but there are still some good original puzzles in it. The puzzles are certainly easier than the Infocom game but the forgiveness rating of THoG is more cruel: If you feel stuck in some of the last three scenes, it is most likely because you didn't find everything there was to find in the first scene. However, the game is quite short once you know what to do, so it isn't that time consuming to start over. There is a built in hint-system. I only needed a couple of hints (which I regretted) but if you haven't played the Infocom game or read the books you might need more. Overall, I regard the puzzles as fair.
The author (Frank Kunze later known as Frank Black) chose to write the game with the Eamon system, which is normally used for combat-heavy IF games, where you can bring character stats, weapons and armor from other Eamon games. However, ThoG doesn't contain combat at all and it is a standalone-game, which means that you cannot bring any stats, weapons or armor into the game.
Furthermore, the game understands seven new verbs compared to a standard Eamon game, whereas commands which doesn't make sense in this game, such as the four standard spells, have been removed. It can be argued that the game is an IF with a restricted verb set, and if you type a word the game doesn't understand, all verbs understood by the game are listed. If you never played an Eamon adventure before, you might want to check out the first option in the HINTS menu (General Help), which doesn't reveal anything about the puzzles in the game. Instead it tells you about how the Eamon parser behaves, which is a little different than modern IF games. Most importantly, you can INVENTORY characters to see what they are carrying and if you want objects inside other objects you must REMOVE them. The parser is primarily a two-word parser, e.g. TALK ARTHUR, though it does also understand phrases like GIVE KNIFE TO ARTHUR etc. However, the Eamon parser has the advantage that you don't need to write whole words, e.g. you may type EX WA instead of EXAMINE WALKIE-TALKIE.
The humor is more or less stolen from the books, which I regard as a good thing since I regard THoG as a tribute game with some original puzzles, and since many authors have attempted to be as funny as Douglas Adams without success.
So if you enjoyed The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in any form, and you don't mind the alternative Eamon parser, you will probably enjoy this small puzzlefest.
Finally, some practical info for Linux, Mac and Windows users:(Spoiler - click to show)Unless you want to run an APPLE II emulator to play, you must download and run PC Eamon Museum for your machine. When it starts up, select "Visit Eamon Deluxe 4.5 (2007)". Then choose 1.Enter the Main Hall. When you are asked if you go over to the desk, hit "D". Then choose any of the predefined characters. It doesn't matter which one, since character stats, weapons and armor are not used in the adventure. After selecting a character, you will see a graphical view of the Main Hall. Your character is placed in the top-middle. All you have to do is go one step up using the arrow keys. You will then be asked whether you want to go on a (A)dventure or (L)eave the universe. Type 'A'. Now you get to choose which adventure set to play. Frank Kunze changed his name to Frank Black, so select "The Frank Black Adventures". Answer the questions, select "Play an adventure" and pick "The Heart of Gold". The game is now running.
First, I should tell you that this game is a standalone Eamon game. If you are familiar with Eamon games, you know that they normally allow the player to bring their own character with improved stats, effective weapons and armour etc. and there will usually be a lot of combat.
However, in this game, you do not bring your own character (if you play the game through Eamon Deluxe, you have to bring a character on this adventure, but the stats, weapons etc. of that character will not be transferred to this game). You start off unarmed without armour and you cannot see your stats. And when you complete the game you do not get to keep your weapons. In that sense, it is similar to the popular "Leadlight".
Some randomized turn-based combat is unavoidable, though there is not a lot of combat, and as usual with Eamon games, it is a very simple combat system, not anything like say "Kerkerkruip". However, combat is quickly executed. Let's say you meet three pirates, it is sufficient to type e.g. "A PIR" (though you may type "ATTACK PIRATE" if you like). Subsequently, you just hit enter, which will repeat your previous command, and so you will quickly see if you have a chance to beat the enemies or if you are currently too injured or if you have too little armour or are in need of a better weapon.
Since combat is executed quickly, it becomes a sort of a puzzle, which enemies to attack and what weapons and armour you should buy first. You might have to solve some puzzles first to gain money or equipment before you will have a chance against certain enemies. For instance, it may pay off to attack a difficult enemy even though you will get mortally wounded since you might find some treasure you can sell and then you can pay someone to heal you. I personally enjoy such a combination of puzzles and turn-based combat.
The genre is classical fantasy with dragons, magic etc. You will need to talk a lot to people and ask about things to complete this game. I estimate that I used about 4-5 hours to complete the game without hints. However, there are in-game hints if you need that. The parser is a two-word parser with prompts, e.g. if you type "PUT SWORD", you will be asked "Put it in what?", If you type a verb which is not understood, you will get a list of all the verbs, which are understood. If you are to use an object, the command is normally USE <object>. Verbs can usually be abbreviated, e.g. "EX" for "EXAMINE". I had no problems with the parser, but it might be because I have played several Eamon games.
The locations are simple to map, as long as you have a separate map for the wilderness and separate maps for the cities. This you are told when the game begins along with some other information, which is good to keep in mind. So I recommend that you take notes while you play. It is also recommended to save often (you have 5 save slots), especially if you defeat a strong enemy.
The game is well written with typical Eamon quirks, which do not bother me, e.g. if you examine an object you will usually get the same message as you got when the object first appeared. If you don't have a problem with such old fashioned issues and if you don't have a problem with simple randomized combat, you might enjoy this game as much as I did.
This is a horror game with rpg elements including random combat. And it is a good one. There are lots of puzzles but they are all sensible, and the atmosphere is scary. The game comes with a very detailed user manual and hint sheet so you should be able to get through. Regarding combat, the game was fair, though I had to die a lot before choosing the right strategy. I did have some trouble near the end though, where multiple enemies were present at the same time. As a result I ended up with very few hitpoints left for the final battle, and so I had to save and restore a lot during that final battle. Despite that, it was a very good game with scary horror sequences.
About running the game:(Spoiler - click to show) I had feared that I would have to play around with emulator settings etc. to get the game working, but all I had to do was to download the windows version and double-click on an icon. Then the game was up and running. I can imagine that the mac-version is just as easy to run.
The story of this game is minimal:
You are under siege by the Guild of Bandits, who are looking for an artifact called the 'Runcible Cargo'. You must either locate it and deliver it to the bandits, or else find a means of defeating them.
This is the first time I have played an Eamon adventure so I was expecting a rather outdated parser. Though it is not Inform, the parser was a lot better than I expected. Yes, the game runs in a little DOS-window but except from that, the game mechanics work rather well. Guess-the-verb is not an issue since a list of all recognized commands pops up if you type a word the game doesn't understand. I had one parser issue though to begin with, which relates to the way Eamon works: (Spoiler - click to show)If objects or NPCs are inside a container, e.g. a sword inside a locker, you must REMOVE SWORD to get it. Alternatively you can ATTACK LOCKER and subsequently pick everything up with GET ALL. After learning that, I had no parser problems at all.
The game is an RPG with puzzles. Thus expect some random combat. However, to begin with I picked a predefined character called Floyd the Barber (included in Eamon Deluxe which you need to install to play the game), so the fights were never a problem. And you will find food around to restore you health. More over you may find some NPCs who will assist you in your battles. The puzzles are quite easy too, except for the final puzzle which is a little tricky but optional unless you want the ideal ending.
After completing the game, I tried to create my own character from scratch. This resulted in a much tougher challenge where you have to be much more strategic, so you better use those five save slots carefully if you attempt this. Still I managed to complete the game again, though I died several times before I succeeded. Thus the difficulty level is very much dependent on which character you bring into the game. I am glad I started out with a predefined character so I could learn the game mechanics before attempting with my own weaker character. Note that characters can be transferred between Eamon adventures and so it is possible to improve a character and gain better weapons by playing some of the easier games first. I am glad though, that the game could be completed with a new character, which shows that the game is well designed.
To summarize, this is a very enjoyable game, especially due to the atmospheric descriptions, so I can certainly recommend this.