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About the Story
"You remember darkness. And the cold. Cold and darkness. And silence. Those memories are all that you have. That, and a feeling that something you never knew you possessed has been lost. Suddenly, oblivion is split by a blinding light and a crash of sound. You awaken to the roar of a storm and a deluge of rain and mud. The day goes downhill from there ..."
A short, simple horror game in the Lovecraftian mode. The puzzles are logical and sensible, and objects are found in logical places. The best thing about the game is the prose, which is expansive but not wordy. The only real problem here is that the game's main audience, Lovecraft fans, are likely to figure things out far too early.
-- R. Serena Wakefield
[...] "The Awakening" is a short piece of interactive fiction, and therefore due to lack some fleshing out that a bigger game perhaps would have had. For its length it's really a fine example of the art, capturing in its story, and convincing in its atmosphere.
"The Awakening" is a short-short horror with a clear and admitted homage to H. P. Lovecraft (HPL) [...] On the good side, a lack of dialogue and human interaction (which HPL felt to be antithetical to the atmosphere he was trying to create) makes sidestepping classic IF NPC issues easier. On the bad side, the kleptomaniacal, Wile-E.-Coyote-esque aspect of the adventurer doesn't mix well with lurking horrors.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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I was going to begin this review by saying: 'Not to be confused with the 2009 game of the same title, genre, initial situation and initial geography,' and then I realised how dumb that sounded. If ever a human being should be allowed to accidentally confuse a pair of games with each other from a position of ignorance, it should be in the case of these two Awakenings, though admittedly this one has a 'The' in front of it.
Now that I have kindly allowed for human fallibility, I can say that Dennis Matheson's lone IF game, 1998's The Awakening, is a well written piece of goth horror in which you wake up in a grave in the pouring rain and must seek to solve the mystery of your predicament. The prose is steeped in Lovecraftian dread and 'unnameable'-ness, and the development of the plot moves strongly in the direction of one of Lovecraft's short tales.
At the time of writing this review, I was mostly in the habit of playing more recent IF games – IE from the mid 2000s and on – and as I played The Awakening, I discovered that I needed to shift my playing style and mindset a bit to accommodate what feels like a game from a different time. The differences were subtle, but they spoke to me about the adventure games I am used to playing, which could be generalised as coming from both the old school and the new school. The 90s games are in a middle period for me. I had no awareness of them at the time, and this one certainly feels more like a small Infocom title than something newer.
The puzzles, though not numerous, are quite finicky and also subtle. Important props are sometimes buried with equal subtley in the room descriptions. It is possible to make your game unwinnable or to miss out on points, and there's also the technical limitation of only one UNDO being allowed. I don't think anyone would say this is a really difficult adventure, and there are in-game hints you can call upon, but it asks a little more of the player puzzle-wise than more modern games.
Atmosphere is king in The Awakening, what with its shuddery graveyard and dilapidated church settings. Some of the gettable objects about the place are just there to enhance the story and the reality of the situation, and there are a couple of nasty NPCs. (Spoiler - click to show)I have to confess that in the case of the guard dog, I only got stuck because I found the description of its chain inadequate. Folks who like non-explicit Lovecraft spinoffs, graveyard spookiness or a bit of rigour in their adventuring should enjoy this middle sized mystery.
Short? Indeed, but creepy, gloomy, scaring enough, with the perfect dose of horror elements: an old church, a graveyard, rain pouring all over you, dead trees, ancient rites, an old and maligne villain.
The game is quite short, but satisfying: the challenges are not too hard, but neither too predictable.
The Lovecraftian background is not so big: of course you can find there a lot of lovecraftian themes, and if you know Lovecraft enough you can easily guess what's happening; but this doesn't spoil the story, since Lovecraft is nothing more than a faint inspiration here.
Most of all, I'd rather put the attention on the horror-style of writing: as a short creepy tale, this game is well written and is one of the few games which can deserve the "horror" tag on them.
A good game, short and to the point, with just few imperfections and a short longevity which make it lesser than it could have been.
Suggested to the beginners of IF - both in writing as in playing!
In this game, you wake in a grave near a church, and you have to explore it to discover what is going on.
The setting is Lovecraftian, and there are only a few interesting locations. The writing is not bad, and there seem to be no bugs, but some of the puzzles require extremely obscure commands (I'm looking at you, trapdoor).
Overall, not bad, but not incredible.
Awakening, by Pete Gardner
Average member rating: (13 ratings)
Awakening on the ground next to an open grave, you have no recollection of how you came to be there. Do you investigate the nearby church and graveyard, or leave well enough alone?
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Average member rating: (23 ratings)
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