Stone Cell

by Steve Kodat


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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

Think about the things you might do if you were trapped in a dungeon. Perhaps you'd listen at the door? Smell your straw mat? Feel along the walls, hoping to find a secret passage? If you did find a crack, might you try to pry it with something? I think so. Yet "listen", "smell", "feel", and "pry" are all unimplemented, along with a host of other verbs that ought to be there. Authors, take note: if you plan to trap your players in an enclosed space, and make a puzzle out of how they are to get out, the puzzle won't be much fun unless that space is very well implemented. The more often a player tries logical things that aren't accounted for in the parser, the surer that player will feel that the solution is simply arbitrary... Unhappily, this sort of thing is exactly what Stone Cell lacks, and the lack degrades it from a great game to merely an interesting experiment in IF techniques. The experiment does teach us something, but the flaws that surround it teach us even more, and the learning process isn't as much fun.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A medieval jailbreak game, July 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game starts with a long cinematic-type sequence where you are thrown in jail for dressing like a boy.

It's notable for changing location descriptions. However, everyone I've seen that beat it used the walkthrough. It contains several unintuitive puzzles, and is one of those games best experienced via walkthru, in my opinion.

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- MKrone (Harsleben), February 18, 2012

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), January 15, 2009

- Audiart (Davis, CA), January 8, 2009

Baf's Guide

A mess, but an interesting and original mess. You're a peasant girl in a medieval village, tossed in jail for showing up at church improperly attired, and the plot goes in various strange and unpredictable directions from there. The writing varies between competent and ludicrously overdone--melodrama and cliches are prevalent--and there are several peculiar game design decisions, notably the decision to split your cell into a 3x3 grid and hide many of its salient features from you. On the other hand, the whole thing is thoroughly done--you can ask various NPCs about numerous topics, virtually every bit of scenery is implemented--and on the whole it seems like this would have been quite good with some cleanup work.

-- Duncan Stevens

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