Leadlight

by Wade Clarke profile

Episode 267 of Eamon
Horror
2010

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Number of Reviews: 9
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Days I'd Rather Forget, June 4, 2011
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

When I first heard of this game, I felt celebratory. Someone made a game for the Apple II! Yes! There's even special IIGS features! So, I reacquainted myself with the pain of getting files from the interweb on to my IIGS, and some time later, I was ready to roll. The game installed on a single 3.5". While not quite as nostalgic as a 5.25" on which I played Zork and Adventure, it'd have to do.

Then, disappointment struck. The game was in 40 columns, instead of 80? The room description displayed every time you did something, like the all-time king of suck, The Mist? Oh noooo. I grit my teeth and played on.

It turns out that the game is a strange mix of technical competence and storytelling meh. Leadlight uses some kind of handrolled system, and that increases my respect for the programmer quite a bit. However, this system suffers from the fatal two-word parser disease. The color-changing background to match your status (only on the IIGS?) is a nice touch. The main menu, the ability to save games, and so forth demonstrate that the system was well-thought through and gives players the usual fundamentals. I especially appreciate the warning screen at the beginning; it's only fair to let players know what they are in for. Good job, for the most part.

Now, about the meh. The storytelling is ok, I suppose; it's not literary and it's not campy-disposable. However, it's not very revealing about the monsters that you face, and as a result, it's not frighting. The reason why you're at a private boarding school and your melencholy/disturbed nature is a gold mine to lay on the atmosphere and the psychological insights, but that opportunity was passed by. Overall, the impact is not even leaden. It's just present the way that a ham sandwich is present. Even the RPG-ish battles felt lackluster.

Now if this was all there was to Leadlight, then I'd walk away with a feeling of discontent; however, one item propelled my discontent into full-bore anger: the deathtraps. Leadight is a game where you *must* save early and save often, because the nonsensical deathtraps will get you every time. The warnings you receive are cryptic and compel further investigation, but you'd better not investigate, because then you'll die. That sucks. It all started to remind me of the bad DMs I had played with who delighted in punishing players through such devices, and a whole host of lame MUDs I'd played on. The rage and the disappointment I'd much rather forget, but this game brought it all back.

Upon realizing the pain that was in store for me, I gave Leadlight the old heave-ho.