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Eric the Unready

by Bob Bates

Fantasy / Humor
1993

(based on 37 ratings)
8 reviews

About the Story

A tongue-in-cheek graphic text adventure/point and click adventure hybrid. You are a chivalrous knight attempting to save a princess; your quest takes you through a mad-cap Douglas Adams-style world.


Game Details

Language: English (en-US)
Current Version: Unknown
License: Commercial
Development System: None
IFID: MZ-000C48CA63F735A4034A005CF8A7A1E1
TUID: 3q9hg2onqjftx5vi

Awards

34th Place - Interactive Fiction Top 50 of All Time (2011 edition)

Editorial Reviews

Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Whenever the experts are asked to name the best adventure games of all time this 1993 game usually comes up, and for good reason. It is a comedy classic, a brilliant parody written by Bob Bates who was formerly with the famous Infocom team, and this game reminds us a lot of their Zork games.
See the full review

SynTax
The author, Bob Bates, leaves no opportunity unexploited to lampoon, parody, satirise and pun his way through an exceptionally funny tale. The more adventures you've played the more you'll get out of it but, if you've seen the movie, read the book, listened to the album, subscribed to the magazine, watched the tv quiz show, and generally worked your way through a few games you'll find a lot to make you laugh.
See the full review

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(20)
4 star:
(14)
3 star:
(2)
2 star:
(1)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Fantasy parody in the spirit of Monty Python, January 11, 2009

Eric the Unready chronicles the adventures of a fumbling knight, a laughing stock of his peers, who accidentally gets assigned the task of saving the princess. Eric is not a very imaginative choice for the protagonist but the game fortunately manages to keep him in the "lovable loser" category as opposed to the "annoying twit" category that are very very close to each other.

The interface has several windows that are, among others, a compass rose, a picture of the location, an automap, a list of available commands and a list of objects in the location. The lists are not of much use to experienced players and can at times even be considered minor spoilers but they can be hidden from the view giving the text area more room.

The jokes vary between hit and miss, fortunately there are more hits than misses. References to popular culture and other games of the era abound. The humor and the game's world in its absurdness resembles Monty Python very much; influence from The Holy Grail is obvious.

Resemblance to Monty Python doesn't end with the humor. The gameplay is very episodic and after the player has finished with one set of puzzles in one location, he is transported into new location with a new set of puzzles. There's not much to tie the scenes together. While this is usually not considered the best design choice, it works here for the same reason it works for TV's sketch shows: the jokes don't have a chance to get old.

As the game was published in 1993 and has been out of print for many years now it might be hard to get your hands on it, but if you can find a copy it's definitely worth playing.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Eric the ultimately unsatisfactory, February 6, 2022
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Fantasy, Comedy

The Legend game Eric the Unready takes the damsel-in-distress trope and uses it as a framework for a grand tour of wacky silliness and over-the-top parody.

The "chapters" of the story are implemented as stand-alone mini-adventures. Each of these is completely self-contained. The biggest of them has eight locations, and none of the puzzles is especially challenging (except for unintentional reasons, see below...)

The strongest point of Eric the Unready is certainly the humour. The constant barrage of slapstick, parody and some of the most groanworthy puns I ever heard kept me chuckling all the way through. Be that as it may, there still is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It seems as if every joke that sounded even remotely funny upon first thinking of it was included in the game. So there are a lot of just plain bad jokes in there.
A particular example of something that didn't work for me is the almost verbatim incorporation of a Monty Python scene. A television sketch works on facial expressions, tone of voice and, most importantly, tempo and rhythm. In translating this scene to IF, so much is lost that what is left feels pathetically uninspired.

The division of the overarching story into separate stand-alone bits makes it an extremely linear game. I don't really mind this, but I would have appreciated a bit more narrative tension as you progress to the later chapters. As it stands, the final chapter is no more serious or exciting than the introduction.

Although the puzzles can be rated as easy, I found that they are sometimes harder than (I suppose) intended. The utter silliness often stands in the way of logical cause-and-effect thinking, leading to a strategy of let's-try-anything-on-everything.

A very funny game, but not a very good one.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Remains a favorite, October 23, 2019

This game, a cross between graphic and text adventures, remains one of my very favorites. Its cultural references (to SNL characters, to Mel Brooks films, to beer commercials) somehow do not feel dated and retain a certain freshness; all the while, its own jokes are hilarious and clever, and require the player to occasionally think in puns. The game is not short (which is probably to be expected since it was originally a commercially published game) and its multiple different puzzles and scenes are satisfying in their depth. May not be for younger players since some portions are a little PG-13.


See All 8 Member Reviews

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Eric the Unready:

Best non-infocom games of the commercial era of the 1980s and early 1990s by Mikalye
There were a bunch of commercial games released in the 1980's and early 90's. In the UK, Magnetic Scrolls release 9 games between 1984-1990 Level 9 released 24 games and a port of Colossal Cave between 1981-1991, Delta 4 released 9ish...

PC's personality integrated with the story by JasonMel
I would like to be able to recommend to someone many examples of interactive fiction in which the player character is far from a cipher or an everyman or everywoman, but is instead a character with a definite personality within a game...

Games with graphics and/or sound by eyesack
I couldn't find an easy way to search for this, so I figured I'd ask the hivemind: What games use graphics and/or sound to enhance the gameplay, similar to City of Secrets and Necrotic Drift?

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