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About the Story
Danger-filled Ghosterington Manor appears atop the same cliff each year on Samhain night. Hidden inside are the last four works of the dead bad poet Vigilance Ghosterington. Those four poems are worth a fortune, and you, famous adventurer Jubilee Grief, are determined to find them.
1st Place - EctoComp 2012
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The design of this short piece is not unlike Clarke's debut Leadlight: you are a cute, athletic young woman exploring a macabre setting, getting attacked by wacktastic monsters, and dying a lot. This version, however, is a straight-up treasure hunt. In tone it's more of a light-hearted Halloweeny romp, though there are still a few genuinely macabre images.
You are pursued around the house by two monsters, the clockwork girl and the terror statue; remaining in a room with them results in your death. You can avoid them by moving away (though they may come after you), or by shooting them with your limited supply of bullets. Also limited is a central room, which kills you the third time you enter it. Although the treasures you're looking for (terrible, but highly valuable poetry) are hidden, they're only nominally so; the trick is about finding enough breathing space to look for them, and finding genuine treasures rather than useless scraps.
For a game produced within the time constraints (Ectocomp's slightly weird setup: three hours of coding, as much preparatory writing as you like), it's impressively tight design, and everything pretty much works as it ought to. Poking at the scenery too hard is not to be advised, but in general you won't have much time to do so. There are some sound principles at work here, but for me it wasn't quite entertaining enough to stick at; that sodding clockwork girl was far too persistent, and working out which things hid the genuine poems was too trial-and-error, given that I usually had to burn up a bullet to get one. Too much of my gameplay was spent running in circles, trying to make a swipe at that damn armadillo shell and getting headed off by monsters every time.
This seems to be designed as an intentional challenge, but my frustration level for replay is fairly low. If I'm not encountering new content or discovering new strategies, I don't really want to keep hammering away at the same puzzle time after time. That hurdle is what stops this game from being a generally strong piece, as opposed to just a strong piece given its time constraints.
[Review originally posted on intfiction.org]
In this game, you run around a 3x3 house filled with independent hostile NPCs who chase you. You need to evade or shoot them and find four treasures hidden in the house.
The randomized combat can be hard, but if you expect it coming in, it can be a lot of fun. I found 2 poems and ran, and I was satisfied with my ending.
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