The Light: Shelby's Addendum

by Colm McCarthy profile

Part of Quest Adventure
Science Fiction
1995

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Saving the world with a single lightbulb.*, January 31, 2021
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: SF

The intro of The Light; Shelby's Addendum pulled me into the game immediately.
In a rather long passage the protagonist, a certain Shelby is hurrying to get to the scientists in the lighthouse when he is engulfed by an almost tangibly dense fog. Forced to take shelter, he falls asleep in a shed and awakens in the middle of the night. Although frightened, he takes his chances with the dark and the mist, only to find the lighthouse complex abandoned. Or so it seems...

Something went very wrong with the experiment. Up to you to find out what and how to fix it.

There are more long non-interactive passages of text like the intro in the game, like cutscenes and a fighting scene between two NPCs. They are well written and do not slow down the pace of the game. The opposite actually, in my experience. They felt more like rewards after a sequence of tasks done correctly, showing you the fruits of your labour quite eloquently.
The room descriptions are also lengthy and detailed, helping to sustain the dim and gloomy mood in the fog-surrounded lighthouse.

The map is seemingly wide open from the start of the game, with just enough locked doors and hints to other areas to keep it interesting. You can explore every nook and cranny to your hearts content at first. However, as you solve puzzles, you trigger some events that speed up the story significantly and take you to other locations completely, where the pressure to act becomes much higher. (I don't think there is an actual timer, but it sure feels like it. Good writing!)

The obstacles are never too hard. Most are lock and key-puzzles, opening up new and/or hidden rooms in the complex. Some are mechanical puzzles, figuring out what button does what and getting a machine to work. It's one of these that pushes up the tempo towards the fast and action-packed endgame.

The story is great if you are willing to let yourself be swept along. In hindsight, there are some gaping holes and improbable situations (No failsafes in a project of this magnitude? Really?). Turn your willing suspension of disbelief up a notch and you'll be fine.

The NPCs were a tad too distant to my liking. I would have liked to see a deeper exploration of the scientist-gone-mad bad guy. As it was, he was a bit of a caricature.

The Light; Shelby's Addendum shines through its fast-moving plot and its consistently gloomy atmosphere. Great game!

* The title of my review is a tip of the hat to the excellent walkthrough by David Welbourn. Use it sparingly, the game is not that difficult, but go over the whole thing after you've finished the game. The work of a true craftsman.


- Cory Roush (Ohio), August 2, 2017

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An early hit that was later forgotten. Huge lab/lighthouse exploration game., February 3, 2016

This long sci-fi game was nominated for the very first XYZZY award for Best Game in 1996. It is a sequel to former games, as far as I can tell.

This game seems to have been forgotten, with only 3 ratings and no reviews on IFDB. It is a very large game, about as long as Spellbreaker.

The plot concerns a young apprentice scientist who isn't doing as good as they should working on scientific research working in a slightly different universe (with a sort of C. E. J. Pacian feel). Many things show up here before other games; you explore a complicated set of labs the year before Babel came out, and you explore a creepy lighthouse two years before Anchorhead.

The tone is mildly dark and mildly humorous. Some parts of the game near the end are pretty silly. I still don't understand (Spoiler - click to show)the transvestite squid and the yellow submarine full of blue rodents. I have no idea why the tone changed so much there.

This is an old-school game, where they were still incorporating Infocom tricks like search-everywhere puzzles and hidden timers that were only designed to increase the length of small-size games. In a large game like this, it is frankly unfair. Many of the puzzles have difficult solutions, and many items are under-implemented.

I loved the story, as much as I understood it. I just took a walkthrough and ran with it.


- Nikos Chantziaras (Greece), June 4, 2010

- Mastodon, March 26, 2009

- Martin Braun (Berlin, Germany), November 25, 2008

Baf's Guide


A tense and gripping story set in and around an old lighthouse converted into a scientific research station. People vanish before your eyes, reality unravels at the edges, and through it all the storm approaches. Lots of description. Good building of drama and mystery, except for some mood-breaking silly bits in the second half. Has a mixture of mechanical and information-gathering puzzles, with a rather short time limit (given the richness of the environment) for a crucial early puzzle.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt

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