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About the Story
You play the assistant curator of the Evelyn Museum in Boston, and it's your job to help increase failing patronage by finding new artifacts. Your quest leads you deep into the heart of the South American jungle, where a whole new world waits to be discovered.
Latest Version: 1.3 (works with TADS 1.20 ONLY!)
I think the game is probably easier than most text adventures, but this is not a criticism. I was able to play almost straight through the first few sections in a couple of hours, which enabled me to concentrate on the game itself instead of on the usual stop-ponder-start-stop-ponder-start method I usually use. The individual archaeological "digs" are filled with interesting items, locations, and characters, although the quality of the room descriptions is rather inconsistent. In many places, the writing is plentiful and good; in others, it's extremely terse. Some of the best writing is in the various newspaper articles and reports you'll get on your various excursions around the world, as well as religious propaganda you get from a guy at the airport (and you can just imagine what *that's* like).
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The game started off well, there are some slightly amusing responses and there's even a bit of role-playing as you attempt to get the mailbag back from the thief. But there are innumerable sloppy mistakes in spelling (e.g. exibit, artificats) and the programming is poor (e.g. no button is shown on the control panel of the machine in the rubber factory and there is no description of the manhole and cover in the sand).
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The Great Archeological Race and I got off on the wrong foot. It threw a bunch of typos at me and I responded with some harsh words shouted at the screen.
Escalation of the argument ensued. The Great Archeological Race tested my patience to no end with a 10-move-long cab drive where each Z was followed by a boring description of a city block, with nothing to do. I retaliated in a threatening manner, typing QUIT and only at the last second answering "NO" to the confirmationary question ("Do you really want to quit?" it asked in a more docile tone).
We had arrived at the airport by then. Wandering through the terminal in search of the correct departure gate, we settled into an uneasy peace. I started to realize that maybe The Great Archeological Race was really doing its best, that it simply was not made for literary greatness. Even then, the least it could do was make an effort to understand the simple English sentences I spoke to it despondently and perhaps have a synonym or two or three in its vocabulary.
But finally, when we arrived in little village called Hareda, in the middle of the Brazilian Jungle, perseverance was rewarded.
We found a strange machine to produce some necessary gear, and we promised to help out the desperate rubber manufacturer whose mailbag of post orders had been stolen. We prevailed over the bandit in a random and haphazardly sort of way.
And we found the fabled cave of treasures. There was a rather heated argument once again when I found The Great Archeological Race had not properly signalled a matchbook I needed to infiltrate the dark tunnels, resulting in our repeating the whole ordeal with the cab ride and the tedious airport corridors. But now we were focused, joined in our shared goal of finding the hidden treasures that would help us open the doors to the inner sanctum.
After cleverly putting together the clues to navigate the cave halls and their obstacles, and after mapping out an easy maze, we basked in the glory of having found the Crystal Cave.