Dr Ego and the egg of Man-Toomba

by Special Agent


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Number of Reviews: 5
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1-5 of 5

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Paging Dr. Jones, December 7, 2020
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020

Dr. Ego is an old-school, parser-based treasure hunt that wears its influences on its sleeve: the ABOUT text says the idea came to the author while watching Indiana Jones, and one look at the starting inventory, which includes a fedora and a whip, shows we’re not messing about (I know the character is called Dr. Ego, but in my headcanon, an Indy knockoff is always named Tennessee Williams). As I recall, the initial bit of dialogue with the guide character nods a bit at the imperialism of carting off indigenous peoples’ cultural artifacts (I lost my transcript so I might be misremembering), but we’re clearly not meant to take things too seriously.

The classic setup is mirrored by classic gameplay – you wander through a jungle environment solving traditional adventure-game puzzles. The map is relatively small and there aren’t that many objects or barriers to work through, so it definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome (the “two hours” estimate on its entry page is off by at least a factor of two, for those folks considering whether to give Dr. Ego a whirl). For the most part, the puzzles make sense given the environment, and it’s usually clear what you’re meant to be doing next (if anything, the final one, (Spoiler - click to show)which is lifted directly from the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, is too easy).

Implementation is all right, if unspectacular: scenery is generally there if it’s described in the location, though most of the default responses haven’t been changed and there aren’t a lot of custom reactions to actions not required to solve the game. I also ran into two guess-the-verb issues, or rather two variations of the same one: (Spoiler - click to show) despite having figured out that I needed to go behind the waterfall, repeated attempts to do that were stymied until I used the hint function to discover I needed to LOOK BEHIND WATERFALL. Once in that chamber, it was also hard to examine the object in the hole until, by parallelism, I thought to try LOOK IN HOLE. There are some typos (including in the opening text, unfortunately), and the line breaks felt a bit haphazard, which sometimes made it hard to parse what was happening.

Overall this is an unpretentious game that was good for whiling away a pleasant hour, even though I’m not sure how long it will stick in my mind. One last complaint though – I lost my hat midway through. How can this be an Indy homage if you lose your hat!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Fun puzzle adventure, December 2, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform

In this game, you play the role of Dr. Ego, an adventurous archaeologist looking for the golden egg of Man-Toomba in the jungle. It is a fairly standard puzzle adventure with a few bugs and a few places where the descriptions could have described more thoroughly what was going on. Still, most of the puzzles were easy.

Besides examining things, remember also to "search" things. If the game had been a bit more polished and/or a little more effort had been put into the writing to make it more exciting, I would gladly have given one more star. For instance, the ending is very short. I prefer when the ending is a little longer, to give the player some sort of award for completing the game. Despite the few problems mentioned above, it was still a fun game.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Exotic treasure hunt, November 30, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ifcomp 2020

This is a classic style parser game heavily inspired by the Indiana Jones movies – an exotic treasure hunt taking place in the jungle.

Dr Ego and the egg of Man-Toomba adheres closely to common tropes, both of IF and of its inspirational material, and for this reason most of the puzzles are a bit on the obvious side. Still, it was not completely without challenges. Although it was always clear what the next step should be, there was always some need for searching and rethinking which made the game quite enjoyable overall.

The writing, as the puzzles, is not particularly original or engaging, but rather decent. In fact, I feel that decent is the word that best describes this game. There is nothing particularly bad or wrong about it, but nothing exceptional either. In the end it took me 45 minutes to finish without a walkthrough.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Indiana Jones style game, November 7, 2020

This is a very nice Indiana Jones style game, set in the jungle. The focus is on the puzzles, which have just the right difficulty. It is not a wordy game, which I liked. The descriptions and dialogs are cut to a minimum, with the focus on puzzles. I also liked to have to consult your journal to interpret inscriptions.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A short jungle-raiding classic-style adventure, October 8, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game is another parser game (like Elsegar I) that is simple and spare in writing, with a small number of locations, each with one task to do, and generally written in an older-school style. If anything, it reminds me of the older adventures JCompton has been putting on IFDB recently. I will say that it has less empty rooms and significantly more complex puzzles and interactions than Elsegar I.

In this game, you play an Indiana Jones-like adventurer (complete with bullwhip and fedora) that must find the Golden Egg of Man-Toomba, Along the way, you meet a jungle tribe, consult your journal, and interact with several animals.

The puzzles were interesting, but I had some trouble with guessing the verb (for instance, figuring out what to do (Spoiler - click to show)when climbing up the tree or interacting with the sun stone in the temple).

There are several beta testers listed, which is likely why this game runs smoothly in general. The hint system makes winning a lot easier, too. I guess that (like my own game) I feel like this game could be significantly expanded in scope, and maybe give a bit more direction. Otherwise, it was a smooth play.

As a final note, raiding jungle tombs doesn’t feel quite as fun anymore since someone pointed out to me online that ‘jungle tribes’ are just people of a different culture and we’re just taking our stuff. It’s kind of like playing a game where you’re a Nepali breaking into Notre Dame to steal a gilded crucifix. But I was happy that you have to pay the tribe for their skilled services in this game.

+Polish: In what it does, it does pretty well. I'll leave the synonyms to my Interactivity criterion.
-Descriptiveness: The writing seemed a little flat to me.
-Emotional impact: I didn't feel invested emotionally in the game.
-Interactivity: It was hard to know what commands to type even when I knew how to solve the puzzle.
+Would I play again? It's short enough and responsive enough that I wouldn't mind taking it for another spin.

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