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About the Story
You awake groggy outside your family's Keep, aware only that the Mindsword has been wrenched from you by a powerful Warlock.
Best in Show; Audience Choice, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2020
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Number of Reviews: 3
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Edit: Since a serious bug in this game has been identified, the bug can easily be avoided, which is why I have revised my review completely. The bug is triggered if you type "SCRIPT ON", so don't do that. Further more, version 4.0 of the game has been released, which is the version I am reviewing. In the time of writing, version 3 is on the Spring Thing site, whereas version 4.0 can be found on www.textadventures.co.uk (there is a link to the newest version from this IFDB page)
This IF fantasy RPG made with quest is fun for a while, though it could use some more polish, which makes it a bit frustrating at times.
The game is a sequel to the movie "Hawk the Slayer" and most of the text is well written. Once in a while, I was in doubt if I had missed something or the game simply was referring to something which happened in the movie. I think it would be good to provide a bit more backstory for those who haven't seen the movie.
I also think that the player should be told from the beginning that they should type HELP since the HELP contains some information the player couldn't know, e.g. type INCREASE STRENGTH to increase you strength etc.
The game has stats and a combat system which is for the most part well implemented. However, if you killed a character (let's call him John), the game simply says "You can see John". It would be better if the game told us somehow that John was dead, e.g. "you see the body of John" or something like that.
Other examples of lack of polish:
1. You might not be able to pick up an object because you are carrying some other object. But if you drop the object you are carrying and pick up the objects in the right order, you can carry them anyway.
2. An NPC has an object you want and encourages you to trade, e.g. rare weapons. I tried to type several weapons I had, I tried typing GIVE <object> TO <npc>, and I tried to type SAY <object> and I tried to type a meaningless command. No matter what I type, I am given the same answer: "Just move along then. Got work to do!" As a consequence, you do not know if you are writing the command incorrectly or if it is the object he doesn't like. Since he is asking for weapons, there should at least be some explanation why he does not like the weapon you want to trade.
3. At some point I enter a certain location and are attacked by a very strong enemy. An error-message occurs:
"You are dead!
Error running script: Only one wait can be in progress at a time."
I enjoyed playing for a while but I did not manage to get many points on my own (30 points out of 360). There are some hints on textadventures.co.uk which may bring you further. In the long run the game couldn't hold my interest, since I quickly got stuck. For instance, I never found a torch so I couldn't really visit all the dark locations.
Difficulty level is of course a matter of taste. I regard myself as a medium IF player and I think I should not get stuck so early in a game. If I get the feeling that I will have to rely on a walkthrough for most of the game, I usually quit.
To sum up, this is a decent game, which could use some more polish. It is a bit too difficult for my taste but some of you might like the challenge. But be prepared to save and restore often.
This is a big Quest game entered into the 2020 Spring Thing.
It's clear that a lot of love and hard work has gone into this game, and it is very detailed and at times evocative.
However, adapting other works, especially static stories like film or books, is tricky. It can, as in this case, end up with huge worlds and confusing maps, tons of NPCs each with small parts, etc. This, plus the randomized combat, gives a feeling of an old western false-front store, designed to look big but needing a lot of work in the background.
A walkthrough would improve this immensely. On the plus side, it made me want to watch the original film, which I think is one of the author's goals.
I've had the privilege of working with the author through a testing and refining period, and this game is wonderful. The puzzles are intricate, but usually solvable with enough time and lateral thinking. The world is expansive and complex and begs to be mapped (I recommend Trizbort), and the quality of the prose lends each area a lovely and distinct atmosphere. If you're looking for a great, rewarding piece of interactive fiction that'll take time to figure out, I definitely recommend Hawk.
The author's affection for the source material is perhaps this game's central feature. Quotes and references and characters from the movie abound, but the author has infused this project with a real sense of mystery and beauty that goes beyond reference or homage into something more. There's some breathtaking prose here--the author is an English professor, after all--and it's all tinged with a shimmery, dreamy quality. It's like we've been granted the chance to see the original movie as it ought to have been, with 80s camp and pure wonder in equal amounts, but unhindered by the cynicism or irony we might apply to the source material today. It's art restoration in the best way.
This game is complex. It can be frustrating, and it has a couple of rough edges, due in part to the engine used, which begins to struggle under something of this scope. But above all, the amount of love put into this project shows. The flavor and idiosyncrasies of the world and the sheer breadth of references pulled in (shoutout to T. S. Eliot!) give Hawk a highly specific and utterly enchanting tone. If you leave behind the contemporary instinct to consume and forget, if you take time and savor the complexities of Hawk's world, you'll find something remarkable. I love this game.