Dead Reckoning

by David Whyld profile

Horror
2003

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Dead, a lot., February 24, 2013
by E.K.
Related reviews: David Whyld, horror

In Dead Reckoning, you are Mark Duffy, returned to the village of Morrow to help your friend Edwin, who has been babbling about mysterious dangers. Initially sceptical, you soon find out that they are very real.

While I'm not sure that Dead Reckoning qualifies as cruel on the Zarfian scale, there are certainly multiple ways to bring death upon yourself here. Judicious use of save and undo will help you, and the game in some ways actually encourages you to try death-bringing moves to gather knowledge needed to better understand your aims and how to achieve them.

The writing is mostly pretty tight, and it's a well put-together world, but there are flaws. In one area, you must examine something, and then examine a further element of that description in order to find an object (Spoiler - click to show)(although I don't believe this object is essential to finding the best ending). In other areas, however, there are descriptions of objects that seem important, and yet are not implemented in the game-world.

I uncovered two small incidents of guess-the-verb, though only one I found infuriating:

1) (Spoiler - click to show)When trying to get into Edwin's house, you must make yourself known to him lest he attacks you. Yet when you try this, the parser demands a very precise wording:

> call
Command not understood. Try something else.

> shout
You’re a little reluctant to do that.

> call to edwin
“Edwin! It’s me!"


2) (Spoiler - click to show)And later, when trying to discuss topics with the priest:
> ask kadrin about shekel
Kadrin frowns. “I fear I do not understand what you are referring to.”

> talk to kadrin
“What do you wish to know?” asks Kadrin.

1: “Tell me about Shekel.”


Other than these few irritants, Dead Reckoning is an enjoyable horror with a tint of mystery, and for fans of the genre it is well worth a play-through or two (or more, if you're also a fan of dying, a lot).