Reviews by Wade Clarke

RPG

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The Sword of Inari, by Matthew Clark

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Sophisticated but very unfriendly., December 8, 2010
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: Apple II, Eamon, fantasy, RPG

In this fantasy adventure you must recover the eponymous sword which will save the world from oppression. The intro story is overly long for such a typical plot, but does set the scene for an atmospheric opening in which you are dropped off atop a cathedral by sky ship.

Unfortunately, the initial thrill of going on something like a thieving spy mission in enemy territory quickly gives way to some pretty aggravating puzzles. The precautions you must use to spirit the sword to safety without being detected are not unsophisticated in design or programming (you would hope not from a 2003 Eamon, as this is very much post-heyday) but they are well irritating, because you can wreck your game if you don't do the right things in the first few rooms, but you won't be told about your mistakes until you make it all the way to the end, at which point the game really rubs it in.

Other problems in this adventure are the stacked nature of some locations (in a handful of rooms, you need to examine almost every noun mentioned in the description to unveil a heap of embedded items - most other rooms contain nothing) and the vagueness of what you're trying to do once you get out of the cathedral. Some side puzzles have a lot of programming devoted to them but deliver unimportant payoffs which don't help you to complete the game. I spent ages trying to string together the right series of commands to achieve something in the blacksmith's shop.

In spite of its moments of undoubted sophistication, I found Sword Of Inari to be pretty hard going, even with its relatively small map - because of how easy it is to wreck your game without knowing about it, and how spread out and unpickable the most important puzzles are, and how hard it can be to dredge up the right command to interact with those puzzles.


The School of Death, by Kurt Townsend

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
More like.. 'School of Boredom'., December 8, 2010
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: Apple II, Eamon, RPG, fantasy

Eamon#65 comes with a general thumbs up from the EAG, but I found it kind of tiresome. It's a bunch of straightforward combats set in a contemporary school, written from the point of view of a ye olde warrior (you) who has travelled through time to reach it.

The descriptions are arguably clever and consistent, but somehow I just found the overall effect monotonous. The school's boring, the combat verges on being sparse, and continuing to map the school required an effort of will on my part.


The Devil's Tomb, by Jim Jacobson

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
It's not as devilish as all that!, December 8, 2010
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: Apple II, Eamon, fantasy, RPG

This early Eamon adventure kicks off by dumping you in a dungeon in Hades. The place isn't as diabolical as you might expect given its location in the universe, but it does feel threatening due to decently atmospheric room descriptions, which often suggest something terrible is just around the corner. What's usually around the next corner is more dungeon and the occasional battle.

There are, by modern gaming standards, a handful of aggro puzzle moments here. The way to deal with the Iron Door in the first room doesn't make any kind of sense. (For puzzle advice, read Tom Zuchowski's review at the Eamon Adventurer's Guild). I'd throw in one more kind piece of advice which will prevent you from tearing your hair out - (Spoiler - click to show)in The Devil's Temple - make sure to note which wall the door is in before you open it. You can't read its description again afterwards.


The Lair of the Minotaur, by Donald Brown

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Sparse. Reeeal sparse., December 8, 2010
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: Apple II, Eamon, RPG, fantasy

Extremely sparse Eamon loot'n'kill from system creator Donald Brown, featuring a maze with some monsters and, fortunately, a minotaur. A pleasant easy map, but all the empty corridors you have to traipse through would be tedious if this adventure was any bigger. 'Lair' has one horrible instant death, thus starting a great(?) Eamon tradition. But for the second Eamon ever, this is decidedly alright.


Dracula's Chateau, by Paul Braun

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Basic but fun 'loot'n'kill' Eamon., December 8, 2010
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: Apple II, Eamon, fantasy, RPG

Dracula's Chateau comes late in Eamon numbering, but apparently was written a lot earlier than that would indicate. In spite of having a few too many empty rooms in the castle, this is a fun and attractive Eamon romp with a basic 'fight monsters, grab treasure and escape' goal. It's got neato combat, the odd trick and an equally neat map layout.

The only thing you shouldn't waste time with is trying the 'DIG' command. It works in one room in the whole game, and there to lame effect.

The program did crash on me once, dropping me into BASIC.

A few glitches aside, Dracula's Chateau is a quality destination - albeit a simple one - for an Eamon vacation.



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