by Marc Blank


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A departure from the standard Infocom parser, November 30, 2020
by mjhayes (Somewhere east of Garinham)
Related reviews: infocom, menu-driven, graphics, point-and-click

I had played this game twenty years ago and enjoyed it, but I recall there was one place where I had to save-scum my way through. Recently, I gave this another try and figured out the apparent intended solution without cheating. Since no other walkthroughs adequately explained how to solve that puzzle, I created one of my own. It is now posted on gamefaqs, along with an in-depth guide for just the one puzzle.

As for the game itself, I liked it because the menu-driven system (making optional use of a mouse), which replaced the old parser, made it painless to play through multiple times. Combined with the beautiful illustrations and fantasy storytelling, this is a masterpiece that many players might have missed.

Gameplay is mostly linear with some path-branching. Getting through the entire game is mostly based on trial-and-error, particularly with respect to use of magic, since essence is scarce. There are some decisions you make early in the story that determine whether the game is unwinnable near the end (like (Spoiler - click to show)taking the spyglass and (Spoiler - click to show)collecting hawkbane), and some randomized apparently-mundane detail buried near the beginning of the story is essential toward solving the last puzzle. If you enjoy the story enough, having to play through multiple times shouldn't matter to you.

I wish Infocom had been able to complete the Golden Age trilogy, especially since the endgame leaves a mystery as to one of the characters you meet along the way. Perhaps the other two stories will be written someday.

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