When I first tried this game, I played it online. At that time the game kept freezing and I had to restart each time. I then found that I could download the game instead, and that worked flawlessly (you must first install Quest - Windows only). Later I have tried to play it online without problems. I am just mentioning this, as some might get a very bad impression of the game if they play the online version at the wrong time.
I think the game starts out by giving standard parser players a really bad impression. In the first room, I can see a torch and thus the following attempts are probably fairly standard:
You pick it up.
You don't have a torch.
So even though I just took the torch, I am told I don't have it. This gave me the initial impression that the game is not very well coded. So I got sceptical and looked at the beginning of the video-walkthrough the author had made. The author played very much using hyperlinks, which reveals many of the verbs the game understands. Thus the guess-the-verb problem I had with "light torch" was quickly solved.
After that, everything ran smoothly. The game has real-time elements, but you quickly get the hang of it and it actually fits the game quite well. Some of the best puzzles are not mandatory and only necessary to solve if you get yourself in trouble.
A few things here and there could have been implemented to give a better impression. Still, this is a clever and original game I recommend.
Edit: Since a serious bug in this game has been identified, the bug can easily be avoided, which is why I have revised my review completely. The bug is triggered if you type "SCRIPT ON", so don't do that. Further more, version 4.0 of the game has been released, which is the version I am reviewing. In the time of writing, version 3 is on the Spring Thing site, whereas version 4.0 can be found on www.textadventures.co.uk (there is a link to the newest version from this IFDB page)
This IF fantasy RPG made with quest is fun for a while, though it could use some more polish, which makes it a bit frustrating at times.
The game is a sequel to the movie "Hawk the Slayer" and most of the text is well written. Once in a while, I was in doubt if I had missed something or the game simply was referring to something which happened in the movie. I think it would be good to provide a bit more backstory for those who haven't seen the movie.
I also think that the player should be told from the beginning that they should type HELP since the HELP contains some information the player couldn't know, e.g. type INCREASE STRENGTH to increase you strength etc.
The game has stats and a combat system which is for the most part well implemented. However, if you killed a character (let's call him John), the game simply says "You can see John". It would be better if the game told us somehow that John was dead, e.g. "you see the body of John" or something like that.
Other examples of lack of polish:
1. You might not be able to pick up an object because you are carrying some other object. But if you drop the object you are carrying and pick up the objects in the right order, you can carry them anyway.
2. An NPC has an object you want and encourages you to trade, e.g. rare weapons. I tried to type several weapons I had, I tried typing GIVE <object> TO <npc>, and I tried to type SAY <object> and I tried to type a meaningless command. No matter what I type, I am given the same answer: "Just move along then. Got work to do!" As a consequence, you do not know if you are writing the command incorrectly or if it is the object he doesn't like. Since he is asking for weapons, there should at least be some explanation why he does not like the weapon you want to trade.
3. At some point I enter a certain location and are attacked by a very strong enemy. An error-message occurs:
"You are dead!
Error running script: Only one wait can be in progress at a time."
I enjoyed playing for a while but I did not manage to get many points on my own (30 points out of 360). There are some hints on textadventures.co.uk which may bring you further. In the long run the game couldn't hold my interest, since I quickly got stuck. For instance, I never found a torch so I couldn't really visit all the dark locations.
Difficulty level is of course a matter of taste. I regard myself as a medium IF player and I think I should not get stuck so early in a game. If I get the feeling that I will have to rely on a walkthrough for most of the game, I usually quit.
To sum up, this is a decent game, which could use some more polish. It is a bit too difficult for my taste but some of you might like the challenge. But be prepared to save and restore often.