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About the Story
"The world is suddenly such a frightening place. People are out to get you, and everywhere there is danger, lurking in the dark, even here, in your own home. Can you conquer your own fears before it's too late?"
Nominee - The crystals, Best Individual Puzzle - 1996 XYZZY Awards
You wake up from a nightmare to find yourself irrationally afraid of various things around your house. Three embedded self-contained subquests in the form of hallucinations make you face your fears before they drive you mad. A well-done small game with a strong theme and good puzzles - I only wish it were longer. There is some death, not always predictable. Has a hint menu.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
An imaginative exercise in using memories and symbolic puzzle-solving to overcome your fears of heights, sounds, spiders, and the dark. The puzzles are, for the most part, refreshingly unique, and difficult.
-- C.E. Forman
The vividness of the setting lies not in what you see but in how you experience it--i.e., through the eyes of the phobic PC. It may not sound revolutionary, but getting the player to focus not on the PC's external goals but on the internal barriers he has to clear represents a real shift in goal-orientation--and even if the puzzle-solving gets projected into external tasks, it's still worth pondering.
-- Duncan Stevens
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FEAR has a clever plot, a flair for the dramatic, and maintains tension all the way through. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat through most of this game, absolutely determined to get into that blasted attic. This is an interesting, absorbing game to play, with loads of atmosphere.
-- Bev Truter
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
The concept here gave a new spin to the “locked-door” genre of puzzles, and it was a delicious irony that the purpose of the game was to get through metaphorical “locked doors” of emotion and reach a final climax of unlocking a physical door to get out of a house rather than into one. However, this key feature of the endgame also provided one of the game’s logical flaws — how many houses lock from the outside?
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Fear is one of those games I tried a long time ago, tried to play without hints, got stuck, tried again, and quit. So I walked through it just now with the hints, and it was interesting to see what the game was like.
You navigate a small house, but your fears don't let you do anything you want to do. Three objects in the game will give you flashbacks, like the game Photograph. Each of these flashbacks contains a difficult puzzle, all of which require lateral thinking.
Overall, an interesting game, but much too hard in my opinion, and not entirely compelling outside of the puzzles. However, if you do like puzzles a lot, this game is pretty fun.
Fear does a lot of things right. It is darkly atmospheric, yet not plotless; the plot provides a reason for the puzzles; in-line hints are available (word to the wise: HINT works; HINTS does not).
However, Fear also does quite a few things wrong. The puzzles are fiendishly difficult and their unclued nature only added to the problem. Worse, when you do use the hints, you'll find that the solutions often turn upon either guessing the verb or manipulating objects in wholly unexpected ways. (Spoiler - click to show)If I can't manipulate the statues, for instance, why the heck would I think about MOVING them? At times, it betrays its age with the lack of synonyms and purple prose.
Fear is a game that I spent hours upon before eventually giving up. It's a shame, really, because the game welds atmosphere and challenge in a way that only the best games have ever done (for example, Zork I). In most games, puzzles are artificial, inorganic constructs that don't flow from the premise and pace of the game; not so here. They are fully organic, just far too difficult to be enjoyable.
I think even the game designer knew that he might have amped the difficulty past the pain point; look at the detail of the hints to see for yourself.
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