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Written in the mid-80s at Cambridge University, published by Topologika, and recently ported to Inform, Quest for the Sangraal is on a distinctly different wavelength than most IF produced nowadays. In one sense, it's a puzzle-fest with only the slenderest strand of plot to bind it together, but the puzzles themselves are pretty unusual: many of them turn on puns, wordplay, and literary allusion to an extent largely unfamiliar to those who grew up on Infocom. The gameplay can be frustrating--the parser, true to the original, is limited to two words and doesn't recognize a lot of verbs that are now standard, notably EXAMINE. The saving grace is the literacy and intelligence that went into the writing of the game: the allusions are varied and sometimes rather subtle, and the writing is usually dryly funny. Sangraal is not an easy game, however--finishing it involves some major intuitive leaps--and the player is advised to seek help rather than trying to make all the leaps himself.
-- Duncan Stevens
Sangraal occupies such an odd niche that it's hard to liken it to any recent work of IF. There's no plot, really--the initial premise (retrieving the Holy Grail) is entirely irrelevant, as with most fantasy quests--and neither is there anything binding the game's world together. (I.e., the world depicted feels less like a setting than an excuse for a lot of silly puzzles.) The puzzles have a way of disappearing once they're solved, and most of them either give the player a treasure-type object or simply award points; none, as far as I can recall, changed the game's landscape, and not many even opened up new territory to explore. No doubt this is a function of the memory limitations of the day, which made it difficult to code for both a solved and unsolved state of a puzzle, but the effect is to magnify the random-collection-of-puzzles feel.
-- Duncan Stevens
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