Madam Spider's Web

by Sara Dee


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Solid piece with disappointing ending, June 26, 2009

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.

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ElliotM, May 9, 2018 - Reply
I played this years ago and the atmosphere and sense of exploration was great and would have been an easy favorite of mine were it not for how the ending was handled.

I agree that the ending is unfortunate because (Spoiler - click to show)the ending I remember getting felt so disconnected from everything I had learned or done up until that point that it felt like an entirely different game to me.

Dual world stories are a favorite niche genre type for me but the (Spoiler - click to show)'it was just a dream' trope felt like it threw out everything I found interesting about the game and dropped me into a completely different scenario with a ostensibly new character I didn't know who then, after a few short turns, (Spoiler - click to show)dies in a car crash (?) whereupon the game ends. For how much I liked the rest of the game, which I really enjoyed playing, this turn of events was very disappointing and unfulfilling as a story experience.
diddlescatter, February 5, 2011 - Reply
It's good to know that there weren't any bugs... it being a spider's web and all. (So sorry... just couldn't resist.)
AmberShards, May 15, 2011 - Reply
You took the words out of my mouth. Bugs. Hehehe.
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