The Unholy Grail

by Stuart Allen profile

Espionage/Science Fiction
1997

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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

Playing Unholy Grail puts me in mind of the old saw about the glass being half-full or half-empty. For each positive I can think of, a counterbalancing negative also comes to mind. While the prose creates sharp, clear, atmospheric images, it is also burdened with numerous grammar and spelling errors. While the game had an inventive plot, this same plot was punctuated with moments of tediousness, implausibility, and pure frustration. And while Grail is orders of magnitude better than Allen's 1996 entry Curse of Eldor, it still fails to realize both its own potential and that of its author.

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- Edo, December 11, 2021

- Arrowhead12 (Edmonton, Alberta), June 11, 2020

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An interesting marine biologist spy thriller, July 5, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This game uses the relatively unknown JACL engine, but it plays pretty well.

This game is a sleeper hit; I hadn't heard of it, but it's well-put-together. You are on a floating scientific base on a small island that has experienced a recent die-off of fish, and a loss of all juvenile population. You are brought in from the outside to what is essentially a military situation.

The game has espionage, science, etc. Some of the puzzles are unfair a bit, but the game responds well to things you attempt to do, and contains a number of action scenes.


Baf's Guide


You're a scientist investigating the mysterious demise of lots of local marine life, which leads you to Sinister Conspiracies and such. Slow-starting--it's not initially clear what you should be doing--and hampered by some unfortunate game design choices, notably a remarkably tedious sequence involving 80 turns of travel to and from a certain location, but it's also well-written and the puzzles are reasonably original. It's not incredibly realistic, but the sinister-conspiracy genre doesn't really thrive on realism anyway. JACL, the game engine, isn't the equal of Inform or TADS, but it's pretty good for a homebrewed effort.

-- Duncan Stevens

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