Alchemist's Gold

by Garry Francis profile


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Fantastic old-school parser adventure, July 4, 2022
by jkj
Related reviews: parsercomp 2022

# Alchemist's Gold: Fantastic old-school parser adventure

> Concept by Lucian Blebea and Mike Manard.
> Game design and coding by Garry Francis.
> Play testing by Christopher Merriner, Dee Cooke, Edo Rajh, Jade J Aincioa, Phi> l Riley, Rovarsson and Stu Dobbie.

(Spoiler - click to show)
This is an old-school parser adventure where you have to get the alchemist's gold. It features a medium sized map of about 20 locations, not including a forest maze.

I really enjoyed playing this. The game has fantastic attention to detail. Almost everything i tried had descriptions and explanations.

The game mechanic is well thought through and the writing good. There are only a few places where you can go wrong and "die", but "undo" fixes this nicely.

The puzzles work well. I was stuck for a while escaping from the house, thinking it had to do with the log, fireplace, sack or window. But it's not. perhaps these are there deliberately for distraction. But generally the difficulty balance is good as i didn't resort to hints or walkthrough.

The game features a maze, but gives you an ASCII map to navigate it. Thankfully, this made it interesting rather than frustrating. I found the ASCII map diagram a bit weird at first, but it soon made sense.

I had no real problems with the game system, although it would have been nice to have clickable links and word completion for input. Some illustrations would also be nice to add atmosphere.

Some silly things i tried were amusing because they were handled, such as;

> stand on chair
You've been trudging through the forest all day. If you were to stand on the lounge chair, you would leave muddy footprints all over it. Be a little more respectful.

> hide
This is no time for playing hide and seek.

A few other things came out a bit wrong, probably due to default handlers. Examples:

> remove wire
You're not wearing the fence.

> stroke squirrel
The squirrel is soft and cuddly like a child's teddy bear.
> stroke shepherd
You don't feel anything unexpected.

> x axle
You get down on your hands and knees to look under the cart. Yep, it's certainly got a broken axle. That cart won't be going anywhere any time soon.
> mend it
That's not broken.

> snuff candle
That's not a verb I recognise.
> extinguish candle
You blow out the candle.

> light it
(with the lit candle)
The log is too large to light with a mere candle. You would need to chop it up into smaller pieces or get some kindling to start a fire.
> chop log
You would achieve nothing by this.

Help and hints are boilerplate messages rather than in context. Eg.

> hint
Examine everything you find and draw a map.


There is a `score` command to report progress, which neatly adds to 100% when complete.

In conclusion, a detailed and nicely implemented enjoyable game and well recommended if you like fantasy parser games. Perhaps add some hints or clues and i couldn't find a walkthrough (although there may well be one).

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MathBrush, July 4, 2022 - Reply
Iíve appreciated your in-depth reviews. I think they provide great insight into the different games.

One thing Iíve seen you mention in all 3 reviews is that parser games out to have clickable links and word completion/prediction. Iím a fan of both of these things, but Iím not sure Iíve seen any parser system that has both of those and compiles to web. Do you have any suggestions for systems that do what youíve mentioned?
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