On the whole I enjoyed this game; I like Dian's games in general but this one ratchets up the story and the atmosphere as you progress while containing some very devious puzzles. It has a much better back story than Dian's Castle Elsinore for instance which was written just afterwards.
There is a steep augmentation in puzzle difficulty towards the end and you have to pay particular attention to character motivation and the back history of your (and others) erstwhile existence to logically solve the last section. There is a jaw dropping moment when you enter a certain location and find out who you are. Dian's skills as an author stand her in good stead here over the 170 odd locations in the game; it is not easy melding a treasure hunt with a Phantom Of The Opera style story but this is one of the better hybrids that I have played.
On the down side there are a few bugs including my bug bear of a non-described ordinal exit and a creature that can be slain but upon returning to the scene of the battle is dead yet still alive (no, not like Leonard Cohen). The knife wielding maniacs become tiresome after their third or fifth appearance as well. I also encountered a couple of parser struggles but in a game this size and with only a two word parser this is excusable and I found the right synonym after a few attempts in both instances. There are a number of magic words and transportation locations to save on lamp time which is generously dished out at 1000 moves. And in keeping with its reverential nods to Crowther and Woods there is a last lousy point which makes more sense than in the original. Just be on your toes or you'll miss the boat.
The inventory limit is predicated on weight not number of objects which is of course more realistic but the short cuts to the more far flung reaches of the game mean that it is never too onerous a task to pick up an object dropped earlier through overload. There is the game's equivalent of the thieving pirate but you have to let him steal from you at least once to glean all the treasures.
Add a couple of small but navigable mazes and this should keep you busy for a good few days.
Cave of Blunders, sorry Wonders was written by Campbell Wild as a demonstration game for his new text adventure creation system Adrift in 1999. As an advertisement, it does for the creation of text adventures what the Titanic did for the sales of holidays on cruise ships.
There are many bugs both lurking and stinging you in the face here. An underwater section can be drained yet reappears as undrained thanks to no conditional flags being set. A bottle can be filled once but never again, despite there being ample quantities of filler left lying around. One section of the game disappears if you enter it and perform a certain action, for no apparent reason. The description of the area is replaced by the letter "x." Hmmmm. Taking a particular object requires "pluck" and does not recognise "pick" or "take" yet another similar object does not respond to "pluck." You get the general idea.
All this is a shame as without the huge amount of bugs (the game can still be finished but it is a pain) a nice medium sized treasure hunt would exist here. The puzzles are often clever and quite tough and there are several ways to soft lock the game if you make a wrong choice.
There are a few static NPCs and one wonderfully dreadful pun which would be quite happy in Quondam.
The two word parser will give you a real battle of "guess the verb" although many objects can be referred to. Very few synonyms are allowed so exact wording is required. The maximum score is 1000 points although I only managed to attain 970 but still found the treasure-filled cave, the object of my quest. The room descriptions are perfunctorily adequate without being memorable. The parser is too picky and very few alternative verbs are catered for which of course creates frustration. As if writing a set sized newspaper column three or four sentences cover most descriptions so it falls far short of a mystical atmosphere; utilitarian reference book rather than mystical novel. There are also plenty of ways to lock yourself out of victory and quite a few illogicalities too. The actual puzzles themselves are the reason to play the game; discovering multiple means of transportation and deciphering maps are done rather cleverly.
All in all if you would like to see what the Adrift environment has to offer try a Larry Horsman game instead.
I have not played many Apple II text adventures but having downloaded the AppleWin emulator recently I thought that I would chance my arm.
Windmere Estate is a traditional find the treasures and store them somewhere two word parser game which appears to be getting tougher the further I hack into it.
The diaphanous premise is that pirates stored their manifold booty in and around the grounds of the estate and you have the chance as usual to emulate Croesus by finding it all.
I initially had some parser issues as oddly entering certain objects in a room requires the syntax "open x" e.g. "open closet" will take you into said item. Examine doesn't work, neither do verbose or take all.
To start with the puzzles seemed childishly simple. Hmmm there are some rats in here and some rat poison nearby. Now what could possibly work? However, as I have penetrated the deeper recesses of the estate the difficulty quotient has inclined considerably. There is a closed vault door, a seemingly inaccessible dumbwaiter (Curses anyone?) and an organ upon which I can produce a cacophonous din but to no avail. One particular problem is caused by a parser infelicity however and I have no qualms in telling you that the portrait needs to be referred to as a picture. Nuff said.
As tradition dictates there are a number of secret passages and hidden rooms which gradually make traversing the large map (I have currently identified 93 rooms) easier.
I have so far accumulated 23 treasures but this only amounts to 230 out of the maximum attainable score of 415 so I still have some way to go.
There is a HINT option which nudged me towards the painting / picture solution but generally speaking you are on your own as this seems to work in very few locations.
You can at least recharge your flashlight at a certain location an infinite amount of times and there are no hunger or thirst daemons. Moving in the dark is usually fatal through injury or at the teeth of a vampire bat. Multiple deaths abound but there are few soft locks so far.
This is worth a look if you are an old school fan and don't mind drawing a map and watching your points tally slowly increment.