Damnatio Memoriae

by Emily Short profile

Episode 2 of Lavori d'Aracne
Fantasy, Historical

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Number of Reviews: 5
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1-5 of 5

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A short piece with linking magic in ancient Rome, June 9, 2016

This is a short, fast paced game. You are a Roman and a user of magic. The local officials are storming your house, and you must hide all incriminating evidence.

This game uses the linking magic popular from Emily Shorts own Savoir Faire. You can create direct links and reverse links, although I had trouble distinguishing the two.

The game includes the possibility of violence, but it is not necessary. It lasts at most a few dozen turns.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Short and Sweet, March 21, 2012
by Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.)
Related reviews: emily short, fantasy, short

Play the game if: you're a fan of Emily Short's trademark attention to detail and creative command systems, or if you want a short, not-too-challenging puzzler which will nevertheless excite your curiosity.

Don't play the game if: you wished this was comparable in scale to Savoir-Faire, or if you're looking for a story that is emotionally gripping.

Damnatio Memoriae is a flawless game, by which I mean that it hits all the marks it's aiming for. It adapts the magic system from Savoir-Faire into a novel setting and a more constrained story, the premise here being that you have to find a way of effecting a room escape and the destruction of certain objects at the same time.

The difficulty level on this one is quite low, which is understandable given the constrained environment that allows for brute-force solutions; it is, however, tricky to get the most desirable ending on a first attempt, though not impossible. Even without prior knowledge of how linking, reverse linking and enslaving work, it shouldn't take more than a few playthroughs to get the hang of things. A minor flaw here is that the help file is perhaps a tad bit too vague for the newcomer as to the magic system: I hadn't played Savoir-Faire when I first tried this one out, and as a result my initial attempts were perhaps more clumsy than they needed to be. In the event of an updated version or future installments in the series, I'd recommend an inclusion of some basic example scenarios to get across the points - as certain help files will so often do for the basic command system.

The setting is a rather cool mix of ideas - Imperial Roman political intrigue mixed with a crime story mixed with fantasy. The environment was given sufficient detail and verisimilitude that I wouldn't be averse to a future game exploring some side of Agrippa's family history. In some ways, though, that's the great gift and curse of complete short stories: they can stir up such curiosity about the world, rather than making it feel mundane by actually showing it.

Although I can't really fault the story for anything, it gets a four-star rating from me just because, apart from being entertaining and interesting, it won't occupy much of a place in my memory next to more complex or emotionally engaging works, many of which were authored by Ms Short herself. Sometimes perfection and inspiration just aren't the same thing.

(But there are worse things than a perfect game!)

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Veni, vidi, vici, November 29, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)

I've always been a fan of Emily Short adventures because they're so creative. This is a great example of sheer creativeness which appears in all of her stories. The Emperor Augustus has recently died and tuberous is his 'successor' but Tiberious wants you dead because of the incredible power you hold. So the story goes that you have to destroy all evidence of the powers you hold which will incriminate you.
Ok so it's a one roomer ( well, technically 2) but the storyline is really well done and there are so many endings to choose from that I spent at least half an hour.
The 'magic' (Spoiler - click to show) link un link and enslave ( for those who don't want to know, but the commands are also accessible in help), was to me very puzzling at first, but once I finally understood how everything worked, it came easily. Once you get the hang of the format, the time limit is more than enough time. It's really entertaining to see how many endings you can come up with through the differant magic strategies you use. There was something wrong though... I would really love to see a much longer game of this

Note: this rating is not included in the game's average.

2 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
When in Rome..., December 25, 2007

The author has obviously taken a lot of time preparing the game; for one, it has a multitude of possible solutions, some of them ending ultimately in your death, some in your survival. Due to the turn limit, you operate under pressure. You also get to use your powers, which unfortunately are described rather vaguely and you would need to read the source or walkthrough to know how to use them. All in all, though, a good and solid piece of IF.

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Short but enjoyable, November 25, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: ****, Emily Short

This is a very short game, solvable in a handful of moves, which takes place in roughly the same universe as Savoir-Faire (which is rather longer and more involved).

There are several ways to solve most of the puzzles, and a number of possible endings. Some endings are acceptable (you survive) and some unacceptable (you don't), but some "acceptable" endings are better than others. It's worth noting that the end message doesn't differentiate between the different acceptable endings; so if you felt dissatisfied with the way things turned out, it's worth having another go even if the game tells you you've won. (Replay is quite rewarding in general.)

I thought that the optimal way of dealing with the book seemed a little unfair and slightly implausible, but in general I thought the puzzles were quite fair.

I did like the way that even though the game is timed, things like looking and examining didn't take up time; a nice way of making the player hurry up without penalising exploration.

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