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This is a transcript of a full-scoring game. Note that the randomization used in the game means that this transcript cannot be used as a strict walk-through. However, the solution to all of the puzzles and mazes are included.
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by David Welbourn

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Mortlake Manor

by Ben Chenoweth profile

Exploration and Mystery

(based on 6 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Rumour has it that a valuable treasure has been hidden somewhere in Mortlake Manor. It is your task to find the treasure. However, you must be careful; rumour also says the place is haunted...

Mortlake Manor is a gentle introduction to Interactive Fiction. It is impossible to die in the game. It is also impossible to get to a point where you cannot win. And the puzzles are not terribly hard. In fact, the main puzzle is simply navigating your way around the game - I highly recommend making a map! There are even two mazes. Now, I know that mazes are not looked upon with favour much any more, but back in 1994 when I programmed the original version of this game in Pascal they seemed essential to any adventure game worth its salt, and I wanted the Inform port to be faithful to the original!

Game Details


I just wanted to announce a new title, Mortlake Manor, seeking reviews! Mortlake Manor is a game (suitable for children) that provides a gentle introduction to Interactive Fiction. There's a mysterious house and grounds to explore, a treasure to find and retrieve, and maybe even a ghost to avoid (or not)!
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Number of Reviews: 2
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
On the plain side, but , May 15, 2012
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

Mortlake Manor is very old-school in its approach. It has a generous map, a couple of mazes, and even some randomization. But it is a bit on the plain side. There is a little too much walking and not enough reward. I'd have liked more items and fewer rooms, as I spent a good deal of the game looking at my maps and typing in commands without looking at the screen, especially once I retreated through the mazes, (Spoiler - click to show)with the 15-room nonreflexive-direction garden maze (too long!) causing particular annoyance. I tried dropping items in rooms since I didn't get the gauntlet--which probably needs a description, or a clue it can be loosened, so here's where more is less. I just wasn't expecting anything new, and when a player's staring at a chart of which room goes where, the author has lost him a bit.

It's certainly tempting, once you get the hang of text adventure programming, to start creating more rooms, since the first is the toughest--but here, we have several named "east-west corridor" and even two adjacent ones named "back door." This requires nontrivial technical skill to DO in Inform, but instead of adding to the mysterious feel of a mansion, it leaves me wondering what's so special and upset I'll have a few more rooms to walk through if I leave an item lying about. I was especially nervous about (Spoiler - click to show)the hammer, which never got used but was in the corner of my mind--and the game's map. What was it for?

Another thing that could be explored is: (Spoiler - click to show)the ghost gets you points if you study it passively. Why not have it do something, or be able to follow it?

To the author I would say--publish a second release that is not as faithful to the original as this one. Have fun and ask your testers what they'd add. Maybe you can cut down and describe the rooms more, or take advantage of some Inform-specific stuff, while keeping the original somewhere else. Describe the rooms or cut them down, or both. I have one test I like to do for a game--how does the author's by-move walkthrough look when printed out? And this game is a lot of walking around. The story's relatively sparse.

Things like the help and the (Spoiler - click to show)acronymic maze clues in two places show the author has a strong idea of making the game fair. If there's a way to clue without just leaving a few irregular verbs out there to try, then that allows for more immersion and not picking a verb vs guessing one. It helps the player avoid annoyance, but all the same, if a player is looking to avoid annoyance while playing the game, the game needs to change its tack.

I hope this is not too harsh treatment for a first-time author with the guts to put his work out there for opinions. I'm nearly certain the author can make this review obsolete with a second version. In fact, I look forward to it.

(ps - email for transcript if you want it.)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Great Walking Sim, Light on Gameplay, September 16, 2021

Half the fun of diving into an IF game is drawing the map that goes along with it. I agree with previous reviewers: this is meant for the beginning IF player. Even so, I do have a few hints to make the game a little easier. Namely, use the verb "use" when you're unsure how to do something. There are few synonyms in this game, and more complicated verbs such as "flip" or "spread" will not work. When in doubt, use "use"! I really appreciated how much the mapping made sense in this game. I was able to draw it all out easily, and connections between rooms made a lot of sense. Take a cue, new authors! While playing "find the verb" was frustrating before using "use", I will say that this was an enjoyable game.

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Mortlake Manor on IFDB

Recommended Lists

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My new walkthroughs for June 2019 by David Welbourn
On Friday June 28, 2019, I published new walkthroughs for the games listed below! Some of these were paid for by my wonderful patrons at Patreon. Please consider supporting me to make even more new walkthroughs for works of interactive...


The following polls include votes for Mortlake Manor:

Games that include a maze you would describe as 'hey, actually fun' by Jeremy Freese
Everybody always dissing mazes in IF. What are the games that prove them wrong?

Games suitable for children by Mike Sousa
My 10 year old twins recently "discovered" IF. They fell in love with Grunk and are asking for more games to play. I've searched BAF and have some ideas, but figured I would give this poll a shot since there are hundreds and hundreds of...

Child friendly but not too child friendly by Zzoro26
I want something without "adult themes" and reasonless violence but kinda goofy and a tad violent

See all polls with votes for this game

This is version 10 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 28 June 2019 at 2:43am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page