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This game requires an interpreter program - refer to the game's documentation for details. (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)

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Mountains of Ket

by R. A. McCormack

Episode 1 of Ket trilogy
Cave crawl

(based on 3 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Your society is suffering from frequent attacks by forces from the east, lead by Vran Verusbel and princess Delphia. You have been charged with murder, and have only one option to escape death - travel east and kill Vran and Delphia. The only safe way to cross the mountains is to find a secret path leading to an underground passageway. You are not fully trusted, so an implant known as Edgar is fitted - it will know when you are not sticking to the task, and kill you if that happens.

Game Details

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

A decent specimen of the 1980's dungeon crawl. The objective is to cross under a mountain range, but collecting treasures gives extra points. Two-word parser with a small vocabulary and no EXAMINE command. Randomized combat that's usually but not always avoidable. Ample opportunity to render the game unwinnable. Consulting the room-based HELP text is essential to solving some puzzles.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt


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Number of Reviews: 2
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
It's... Alright., August 25, 2020

Despite its status as a contest game, and its age, this is a perfectly playable game. You're robbed of an examine command for all but your items, but most of what you have to do can be deduced. The key word being most. There are a few completely impossible puzzles in here, thrown in purely to slow progress on the contest. Whether some dedicated geek got through without waiting for a magazine hint is anyone's guess. Fortunately, the other puzzles are easy to intuit and fun to play around with. You'll know when you've run into a brick wall. Peek at a walkthrough and continue on your way.

Of course, you can die left and right, or end up in an unwinnable situation. Combat, step and die traps, missing items, missed information... it's all here in its early 80's glory. But you likely know what you're getting into. This game packs personality into its small bites (or should I say bytes?) of text, and can be fun for those who don't mind a game that hits the hard end of the Cruel ranking. A fun bonus: you can carry over your stats into the second game in the trilogy, which is a marked improvement over this one.

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Disincentive Software, August 26, 2016
by Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle)

An old-school cave-crawl; part of an unfortunate trend, predominantly in the UK, of games which offered a prize to the first player to complete them, as documented by Jimmy Maher:

To make a puzzle that will be attempted by thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people and not have it solved within hours ó a development that would be commercially disastrous ó requires making that puzzle outrageously hard. And outrageously hard puzzles just arenít much fun for most people. Itís this simple truth that makes the idea of a mass treasure hunt much more alluring than the reality. The differences between the demands of the contest and the demands of good puzzle design are almost irreconcilable.

'Outrageously hard' is a qualitatively different from 'very hard', here. The approach all but mandated games which weren't just difficult, but cruelly unfair. In order to win Ket, you must use a password which only appears, randomly, for no diegetic reason, in a particular room of the early game; that room has become inaccessible by the time you need to use the word, rendering the game unwinnable without the player ever knowing why. There are a number of tightly timed sequences which will kill you if you do anything wrong, and a lot of random combat which will usually kill you even if you make optimal choices. The mid-game features a brutal inventory-management puzzle. Even with a walkthrough this is a painfully difficult game to play.

Ket has modest narrative ambitions: it's a minimally-written D&D-style melange with a nondescript hero who has no very strong motivation other than getting from point A to point B. A small distinctive feature is that the narrator is meant to be a companion of the player-character - so 'we' gets used a lot, and occasionally the companion passes comment - but this is rendered in an unclear and often confusing way, and it's never really built into anything more than a gimmick.

Mildly interesting as a piece of archaeology; not recommended otherwise.

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