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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:Didn't enjoy it, September 29, 2020
I'm surprised this has gotten the good reviews that it has. I didn't enjoy this one at all. In fairness to the game I think that I'm still a little rusty on thinking (and using verbs) the way Infocom thought when designing these games. However, I managed to get through most of Zork and Deadline alright. In those games I think I figured out 80% of the puzzles without hints, but with Ballyhoo I think I only got 20% without hints. Even finishing it with a walkthrough as I did, I still don't understand some of what was going on or how I would have ever figured it out on my own. The ending in particular is crazy.
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RadioactiveCrow, October 2, 2020 - Reply
Just went and read your review. I feel your pain! Yeah, having someone else highlight the best parts after you've finished the game makes it easier to appreciate those parts, but in the middle of the game I wasn't laughing even at the funny things. My head was bleeding too much from beating it against a wall!
Thanks for the comments!
Andrew Schultz, August 15, 2020 - Reply
It's difficult for me to evaluate old Infocom games, too. I found Ballyhoo a bit clearer, but maybe that's because I got further and spent more time on the rest of the game. I do remember the ending being a bit ... crazy.
In particular I think there was a lot of die-and-try (Spoiler - click to show)in the trailer to get evidence, and also it was frustrating that if you didn't (Spoiler - click to show)help Comrade Thumb get a drink of water early on, you were blocked out of a winning ending. While it seemed like the right thing to do, it's still one of those things that bumps the game up to "cruel" on the Forgiveness Scale.
But I think one thing that helped me was reading the manual. There were a lot of clues there, in the text and the pictures. I think a lot of that was copy-protection.
I do remember having all kinds of trouble (Spoiler - click to show)trying to use the balloon right to raise my voice, while I was fighting with the parser.
As for Zork: I do remember getting pretty far in Zork 2, but mostly because I read the 4 gamebooks based on Zork. It was my favorite. I remember waiting for a new one to come out and not just for the story but also to have more Zork clues. Sadly, it never did.
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RadioactiveCrow, September 29, 2020 - Reply
Thanks for the comments! I agree with all your points on the puzzles. I did read the manual and remember it helping out with a few things for sure, but then I had to take a break from the game for awhile and I think some of the details faded. I definitely would have solved more of the puzzles with the animals if I had re-read the manual when I came back to the game.
I listened to the Eaten By A Grue podcast on this game and I think my frustrations clouded my vision of some of the humor in this game. It might deserve to get bumped up a star because it was laugh-out-loud funny at times and I love to see that in a game.