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Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus

by Dan Shiovitz profile and Emily Short profile

Superhero, Espionage, Humor, Science Fiction

(based on 14 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Someplace on Venus a secret weapon is being built that threatens Earth with total destruction. You and your comrade must penetrate the Xavian base and save the world -- before it's too late!

Game Details


Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 2003 XYZZY Awards

Winner - Spring Thing 2003

Editorial Reviews

In the end the bugs wore me down and I come away from the game somewhat dissatisfied, despite some great writing which I found quite witty, a pair of appealing characters, and some interesting puzzles. I suspect that the game's length (7 hours of play for me on my first time through as Doris) meant that the quality suffered. The bug-finding and bug-fixing will have been spread more thinly. If I had taken a less thorough look then I suspect that I would have come away happier. So that's what I recommend to you. Play it, have a laugh, read the walkthrough early, and don't poke around too much. You'll have fun.
-- David Jones
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Home of the Underdogs

With a spot-on comic-book atmosphere, wonderful sense of humor, and well-designed characters and plot, Max Blaster is a fun competition-sized game that should appeal to every superhero fan. Two thumbs up!
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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
*Squawk!*, August 31, 2021
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Comedy, Puzzler

A man swoops down onto a flying pirate ship. He fights off the entire crew singlehandedly, retrieves the stolen briefcase and is off to his next mission.

A woman infiltrates a high-security underground bunker. Through the cunning use of a coffeemaid's uniform, she thwarts the entire assembly of scheming supervillains. She is called in for a briefing on her next mission.

In two short railroaded scenes, we meet our heroes:
-Max Blaster: An action hero, larger than life, with hairdo and ego as big as his muscles.
-Doris deLightning: A stealthy spy, relying on brains over brawn.

Meanwhile,The Venusian Parrot Overlord prepares to conquer Earth. Max and Doris will have to join forces to stop him.

Max Blaster and Doris deLightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus is a hilariously over the top action-comedy. It parodies 1950s scifi clichés and any other clichés that may cross its path. The (anti)chemistry between the protagonists is one of these. If they were bottles in a highschool science classroom, they would be labeled "Do Not Mix" in big red letters. Needless to say, snappy conversations full of funny one-liners are the result of them working together, as well as a growing affection for each other...

After the introduction, the player is asked to choose Doris or Max as the player character. Since they have different styles of approaching obstacles and a different set of equipment that fits their styles, and since they will be separated a few times during the mission, the player will experience a different path through the game depending on this choice.
I played as Doris, so this review will be necessarily incomplete and biased towards Doris' skills. (And against that blastery blowhard who just wants to rush every obstacle head-on!)
When Doris and Max are together in the same room, the player can SWITCH TO the other character to tackle a puzzle from a different angle. However, I believe it is possible to complete the game without ever doing so. I encountered one timed puzzle where I switched, but in hindsight I realize that I probably had enough turns to do it in-character.

There's no leisurely exploring the map in the first half of this game. It starts of at a fast pace and doesn't slow down until the very end. Many times, you will be automatically moved to a new area after a scene. Only once you've penetrated the headquarters are you granted a small bit of freedom to look around. Even then, your space is limited to the few rooms immediately connected to the next obstacle.
Small, simple but clever puzzles help to heighten the tension and emphasize the urgency of the mission. Often, the solution relies on noticing a small detail in your surroundings and realizing its importance.

Just before the endgame, Doris and Max need to split up and tackle a different obstacle. The player needs to choose which problem to solve. On the path I chose, I encountered a glorious multi-step problem with a variety of machines to fiddle with. Anyone who has played Metamorphoses or Savoir Faire will recognize the vintage Emily Short-style devices.

Throughout the entire game, I had the impression of a very "full" game-world. Partly, this is because there are so many objects to examine (and take with you) and devices to experiment with. Another reason is that there are constantly things happening around you: the status of the evil plan is announced through speakers, guards are flying up and down and you get updates when Max (or Doris) has achieved a sub-goal when you are separated.

In such a well-written and smoothly playing game, it was very odd to encounter a very weird bug: on two occasions (once when I switched to Max and once at the very end), the parser prompt simply disappeared. I could still type and enter commands, but they showed up right at the end of the previous paragraph and in the same font as the descriptive text. Not a problem for continuing the game, but very disconcerting at first. I was surprised at how much the standard layout of bold commands followed by smaller descriptions was a visual handhold for me.

A hilarious action-packed parody game with an impressively intricate puzzle-engine under the hood.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Great writing and characters, horrible bugs, January 7, 2023
by Lance Cirone (Backwater, Vermont)

Max Blaster is a game with engaging writing and an active, fast-paced story. The characters are memorable and the game's humor is on-point; I always loved reading the footnotes. The mechanic of being able to switch between the two heroes, and use their unique gadgets, led to some fun puzzles.

However, the game's biggest problem is the bugs. The parser is unresponsive, no matter how many different ways you word your commands or how simple they should be. I triggered a bug that made the game permanently unwinnable midway through in the computer room, the sandwich puzzle did not respond no matter how closely I followed the walkthrough, and figuring out Max's barrier tool was such a pain that I stuck to Doris until I was forced to use it.

If you're willing to put up with an unpolished gameplay experience, give Max Blaster a try, because the written content here is very much worth it.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A long two-character James Bond/Superhero game, February 3, 2016

This is a complex and interesting game. It contains a number of movie-like cut scenes and text effects. You play Max Blaster (with a gun and fancy force generator) or Doris de Lightning (an acrobatic hacker with special tools) as you stop the parrot creatures from attacking the earth.

You can switch between the characters whenever they are together, which is good if one path is harder than the other (twice, there was a seeming bug which rendered the game unfinishable, but I went back to my last save when they were together and switched to the other person). (Spoiler - click to show)One bug was that a key step in the sandwich machine did not work. The other bug is that I could not getup of the mud as Doris. In both cases, I was following the walkthrough when the problems happened.

The writing is fun, and the game was nominated for an XYZZY award for it. Overall, I can strongly recommend it.

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