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Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: August 26, 2007
Current Version: 1
Development System: Inform 7
Baf's Guide ID: 3048
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The best SpeedIFs are usually examples of mad genius; solid, appropriate, non-boring design is rare. The Twelve Heads of John the Baptist, by contrast, is a straightforward process-of-elimination puzzle, like 69,105 Keys writ small. It's notable, however, for meshing a sensible puzzle mechanic with entertaining content in a way that doesn't feel forced; and it has a good feel for one of the key pleasures of IF: the joy of a rich inventory listing, packed full of interesting and picturesque objects.
So, nothing extraordinary here, but a good eye for combining strong, established design elements; and enjoyable to play, however briefly.
I played this game because of the title. Just think of the possibilities inherent in a game called "The Twelve Heads of St. John the Baptist"! We get to play Salome as she is given the Herculean task of learning and performing twelve increasingly erotic dances, each successful performance being rewarded with a new head of St John, who was a very capital fellow to begin with. Or we are cast as the executioner who faces the even more straightforwardly Herculean task of beheading a saint from whose wounds two new heads grow immediately. Or...
But let's not get carried away. "The Twelve Heads of St. John the Baptist" turns out to be a SpeedIF, which means that it is very short, very silly and not as polished as a normal game. (These are perhaps not necessary qualities of SpeedIF, but they are certainly very common.) You are carrying twelve heads, and you have to find clues that allow you to determine which head is the real head of Saint John. Which is fine as far as puzzles go, but not having a dance of the 84 veils seems like a wasted opportunity to me.
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