by Bonnie Montgomery


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Number of Ratings: 31
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- elysee, June 6, 2023

- cashewehsac, January 14, 2023

- fartbox, August 27, 2022

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Hot coffee from the samovar?, February 18, 2022
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Fantasy, Comedy

Firebird is a loose and at times decidedly anachronistic retelling of a Russian folktale. A few (more-or-less) well-known personages from Russian culture make an appearance, there is the common recurrence of groupings of three (three gradually harder obstacles, three gradually more difficult foes,...) Despite the superficial references to Russian culture, however, the PC is basically a standard "adventure-prince". The PC actually acknowledges his own role as he yearns for a simpler life of making his own sandwiches and eating them in the forest. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to derail the game's narrative towards an alternative ending where your prince gets to do exactly that. (He could take advantage of his lone quest to just vanish and go live as a farmer...)

Depending on the player's choice in the finale, there are two proper endings. They are very black-and-white moral opposites. Much more impressive are the many ways to actually get to the finale. NPCs and puzzles can almost all be handled in multiple ways, there are several paths to a certain far-off part of the map, there is an in-game portal back to the begionning of the game should you have forgotten a necessary object. The game is so forgiving of "mistakes" that they stop being mistakes, just new opportunities to handle a problem.

The implementation is a bit on the shallow side, and the game is a bit heavy on the micro-management. Many actions require in-between steps that could have been handled automatically.

The puzzles are mostly easy and straightforward. (Just make sure you have a nice and full inventory at all times. No limits to what you can carry!) I had the most fun with the elaborate cutscenes and descriptions at crucial turning points in the narrative.

A great game for a lazy afternoon.

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- Zape, December 20, 2020

- kierlani, April 30, 2020

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A classic which just needs a little more fleshing out, October 25, 2019

This game is one of the first "modern" IF games that I played (probably my first download after playing Adventure), and the story has stuck with me through the years; although I couldn't remember all the details prior to this evening's replaying, I knew there was a part with a certain cute semiaquatic carnivorous mammal coming up which I liked.

The game cleverly allows several different endings, and it is a joy to go back through the game and retry all of them. The puzzles, though challenging, are not impossible. Unfamiliar with the Russian rhymes mentioned in another user's review, but quite familiar with Soviet cinema, I giggled at Montgomery's off-handed mention of the "irony of fate," surely a reference to the title of the 1975 classic comedy (which I have begun insisting that we watch in my home every New Years; Andrei Myagkov is my soul).

My major quibble with the game is that it needs a few more details - for example, descriptions of exits are not consistently available, making parts of the game seem much more difficult than they really are: more than once, I circled an area, not realizing I just needed to go north. (That is not a spoiler.) Moreover, some items described in the body of the room description have no description of their own as a decoration. For example, a non-player character handles a garment, but when you try to interact with or examine the garment, the garment does not exist - "I don't know the word ____." These are minor details, but considering that (1) all descriptions are part of an already-rich and rewarding Firebird world, and (2) Montgomery's humorous descriptions and in-jokes are so accessible, cross-linguistic, and pleasantly ubiquitous, it is disappointing not to be able to dig down into the details to find extra easter-eggs.

Overall, however, I give it 4.5 stars out of 5 - I must round up to a full 5-star review, because even for these missing details, the game is incredibly full and rich, and there are details yet to be discovered. Also, Vasilii's NPC is a delight, and he earns an extra half-star on his own. In another 20 years, I will happily play this game again - indeed, most likely far sooner than that.

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- Denk, June 3, 2017

- Lucifalle, April 25, 2017

- Audiart (Davis, CA), February 27, 2017

- IFforL2 (Chiayi, Taiwan), January 17, 2017

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A lengthy retelling of a Russian folk tale in parser form, July 30, 2016

This game does a good job of recreating the feel of an old Russian folk tale, similar to the feel in Grimm's fairy tales.

You are tasked with finding the mythical Firebird. In your journey, you'll encounter frogs to kiss, princesses to court, series of 3 or 4 objects in a row with increasing magical properties, and so on.

The game was quite enchanting, although it comes from an earlier era of the internet that was somewhat less sensitive to some hot-topic issues today (like culture); however, part of this may just be tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at the same insensitivity in old myths.

A delightful game for fans of fairy tales.

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- Oleg Oleg Aney (Smolensk, Russia), July 30, 2016

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Never thought I'll visit the island Bouyan in IF, February 23, 2016
by Sobol (Russia)

A curious mix of Russian folklore and American humor. Being a Russian, I was delighted to see familiar fairytale motives and phrases like "speedily a tale is spun, with much less speed a deed is done" (скоро сказка сказывается, да не скоро дело делается), "are you here to shirk a task or to find one?" (дела пытаешь аль от дела лытаешь?), "three times nine" (тридевять), etc.

The game is rather old-school - even for 1998. The world is sparingly implemented, there are some minor guess-the-verb moments - but it's funny and light-hearted, the puzzles aren't hard, there are multiple solutions (be sure to check the AMUSING section), and the "good" ending really has a na´ve fairytale charm (while the "evil" ending - the one where you (Spoiler - click to show)side with Katschei the Deathless - is, um...). There's a big maze in the game - but you won't need mapping it.

P. S. I was able to kiss almost everyone from the bear to Baba Yaga without anybody protesting. Well, I suppose being a prince has its benefits.

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- Guenni (At home), January 24, 2016

- Thrax, March 11, 2015

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Folk tale hero, February 6, 2014

This is a great little gem of a game that is exactly as advertised. Russian folk tales converted into an adventure. Granted, I don't know much about Russian folk tales, but many of the elements seem right out of Grim's Fairy tales. The prevalence of threes, the animals, etc. This game is also not without a good dose of humor. MOST of the actions I thought to do were accounted for, but some really obvious sounding solutions are conspicuously absent.

There are some really bizarre circumstances that can happen in the game, like getting your hand chopped off. I'm intrigued enough to go back and find out what happens if you allow this to happen and if you can still win.

All and all, a solid adventure!

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- Shadow Fox (Texas), April 17, 2013

- amciek (Opole), May 19, 2012

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), May 14, 2012

- MKrone (Harsleben), February 18, 2012

- sunny and mild (South Africa), October 4, 2011

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Good game, September 24, 2011
by frsh

It does have some bugs and it gets confused with words a lot (try pouring the fountain water in the bucket while you have the water of life in your inventory, this results in a bug, so don't do it). You have to be very specific with the parser. There are some puzzles where there is the possibility of making the game unwinnable if you don't want to resort to violence (Spoiler - click to show)when you try to recover your things from the ferrymen. There should be another way to take your things back from them other than killing them with the sword, that solution besides being generic and uncreative is not very well thought out on behalf of the author, also if (Spoiler - click to show)you don't rescue the hawk in time, etc.
So. It's a little bit buggy with one really badly designed puzzle (the ferrymen) but all in all it's a pretty enjoyable experience.

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- Jonathan Blask (Milwaukee, WI, USA), April 4, 2011

- lagran-G-an (Tel-Aviv, Israel), July 15, 2010

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