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Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 2006 XYZZY Awards
A very solid work, with the PC captured in Madam Spider's house. Uses an old-school approach to the design of most game elements, including the NPCs, which, however, doesn't prevent the latter from being "alive". Could even receive five stars from me if its main plot twist wasn't so overused.
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Madam Spider's Web is another "fractured fairytale". You are a housemaiden in a giant spider's house, but you can't remember where the cleaning supplies are or what your tasks are or how you even ended up there. (Amnesia must be pandemic among IF player characters.)
The puzzles are easy and interesting and there's a sense of exploration, even though the area to explore is quite small. It won't take long to get through to the ending. The puzzles are well clued and I didn't have to look at the walkthrough or use hints even once when I played. That does not happen very often. For hardcore puzzle fans this might be a disappointment but for me it's important that the puzzles don't interrupt a good story. The implementation is thorough and I didn't run into any bugs.
The ending is somewhat unfortunate because (Spoiler - click to show)a) it's been done many times before (and it's been done better) - the player's reaction is not "oh, clever!" but "oh, this again." and b) the connection with the preceding game is not that obvious. If you're going to make a dream world (a dream within the fictional world, that is) you should take extra care to make sure that the allusions to the real world are there, otherwise the dream world, and the entire work, loses its meaning for the reader completely. (To be fair I might have just missed the point entirely.)
On the plus side the ending you see is based upon your actions during the game, not just the final move; on the minus side without looking at the walkthrough it's not immediately obvious which actions affect the ending or even that there are multiple endings.
If you only look at the basic setting, the gameplay and the length, this would be a perfect game for children. Unfortunately (Spoiler - click to show)gruesome imagery in the end and some scary characters make this unsuitable for that purpose. It would be nice to see a version made especially for children where selected parts of the game would be changed or left out.
I really enjoyed Madam Spider's Web. It is one of those games like Theatre where the writing is a bit more sparse and the game feels just slightly unfinished, but they both have an emotional appeal to them that keeps you playing and sticks in your mind. When I saw the title of this game, it brought up a very evocative picture I've always had of Madam Spider in her room.
This game is short to mid length, with a variety of puzzles. The game feels almost like a Grimm's fairy tale at first, until you start piecing everything together. I think this game was nominated for Best Puzzle not only because of the puzzles solution but because of its deeper meaning.
This is not a long game, and has some very interesting material, so I would recommend that everyone play through it. Good bang for your buck (or for your time, I suppose).
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PollsThe following polls include votes for Madam Spider's Web:
Games with an abrupt and unexpected ending twist by dutchmule
I'm looking for games which, as in a lot of short stories, feature a sudden and unexpected revelation/twist at the very end of the game, that possibly changes your interpretation of what the game was really all about. (but please be...
A Poll About ... A Poll About ... Hm. That's Funny. I Can't Recall. by Ghalev
As of the founding of this poll, the IFDB has only seven games with the "amnesia" tag. I don't buy that for an instant. Please vote for games where the player-protagonist-person is dealing with a bout of forgetfulness (usually about who...
Solved without Hints by joncgoodwin
I'm very interested in hearing truthful accounts of at least somewhat difficult games (or games that don't solve themselves at least) solved completely without recourse to hints, walkthroughs, etc.
This is version 2 of this page, edited by Juhana on 27 June 2009 at 5:16am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item