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Demon Mark: A Russian Saga

by Lorraine Fryer and Vladimir Barash

Fantasy
2017

Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
1 member review

About the Story

Call upon the power of your cursed Demon Mark to battle dragons, witches, and an undead army! Beware: each time you use it, the Mark grows stronger.

"Demon Mark: A Russian Saga" is a 200,000-word interactive fantasy novel by Vlad Barash and Lorraine Fryer, steeped in Russian folklore. It's entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Once upon a time, in the land of Rus, you lived a simple life as the firstborn child of peasant farmers. But when the evil demon Uhin places the Demon Mark upon you and kidnaps your parents' second child, you'll set out on an epic adventure to reunite your family.

On your journey through Russian folklore, you'll confront the treacherous witch Baba Yaga, the seven-headed dragon Zmey Gorynych, the mythic giant Svyatogor, and the villainous Koschei the Deathless with his army of corpses.

Team up with the bogatyrs, the heroes of Russian folk tales: strong Ilya Muromets, pious Alyosha Popovich, and wise Marya Morevna. You and your talking animal companion will journey all the way to the Tsar and Tsaritsa's court in Kiev for assistance on your quest. Will the bards of Kiev sing the tale of your heroic victory, or your tragic sacrifice?

The Demon Mark is whispering to you. Do you hear it? Should you listen when it calls your name?

Play as male, female, or non-binary
Meet the monsters and marvels of Russian folk tales, from Kiev to Koschei's Fortress.
Convince the Tsar and Tsaritsa to help you hunt down the demon who marked you
Court the Grey Wolf, a mysterious creature who can assist you on your journey
Defeat the seven-headed dragon Zmey Gorynych
Listen to the stories of Svyatogor...and stay awake!
Complete Baba Yaga's impossible tasks
Escape the dungeons of Koschei the Deathless
Battle the demon Uhin and reunite your family
Embrace the power of the Demon Mark and become a demon yourself


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: June 1, 2017
Current Version: Unknown
License: Commercial
Development System: ChoiceScript
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 75vvpj3y85idpx6u

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A children's story with influences from Russian fairytales, August 30, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This game, like so many other Choicescript games, has a pretty bad beginning followed by a much better middle.

I found the opening very slow, with children's book-style writing and very slow plotting. The second chapter was also fairly slow, and I found it difficult to push through, one of the openings I struggled the most with.

The middle was wonderful. I enjoy being exposed to other cultures, and Baba Yaga is about the extent of my knowledge of Russian folklore. However, every Russian I've seen comment on the game says that it portrays the folklore inaccurately or poorly. On the other hand, though, every such comment I've seen has also included a complaint about how the your sibling is non-binary (which you find out by them telling you they don't think they're a girl or a boy near the beginning). So I can't tell if it's actually really bad representation, or if people hate the non-binary thing and that makes them inclined to attack the rest of the game.

But as a fantasy story in general, I liked the middle. You have a choice of three extremely powerful villains to deal with. I faced a seven-headed dragon and a necromancer.

The ending was fairy tale-like, with simple surroundings and simple solutions. It felt like it fit the story, but wasn't the most satisfying ending, as it didn't tie up every narrative arc (the most thorough tying-up I've seen is in Herofall).

This game's approach to challenges had a lot of pass/fail with no real benefit to failing. That makes sense in some games; but with no undo (like in parser games or in Heroes Rise's legend-point-retry system), a long linear game like this with many chances of failure is too tedious to replay a lot. And another thing this game does that some other Choicescript games do is having a long series of difficult tests right after each other, where failing even one is heavily penalized. Much better is the system in Choice of Robots, Creme de la Creme or Tally Ho where your failures provide as compelling a story as your successes.

Nevertheless, the game was polished, descriptive, I found much of the interactivity interesting and I was emotionally invested. I'd probably give this a 3.5, but rounding to a 4.

I received a review copy of this game.


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This is version 1 of this page, edited by R.E.Towers on 1 June 2017 at 4:51pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item