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About the Story
Your dog is gone. She must be brought. You have a beet (and some other vegetables).
Nominee, Best Individual NPC - 2011 XYZZY Awards
Number of Reviews: 6
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Beet the Devil is a fine puzzle game, polished, smart, and often funny. We follow a grumpy, god-fearing old man as he descends into the underworld to beat the devil... using vegetables.
Actually, that is not quite accurate. I almost gave up on solving the puzzles at the beginning of the game because I was working from the rather natural assumption that one should use vegetables to make progress. It turns out that not all the puzzles are of this form, so you should expand your expectations a little.
The puzzles themselves are a mixed bunch. Some of them are clever and intuitive, other require leaps of logic that I wasn't prepared to make. However, which puzzles belong to which category will probably differ from person to person, and since I myself had no trouble at all with the demon of lust, I can only hope that this in no way indicates anything about one's personality. In general the puzzles are perhaps a bit too easy to make you feel smart for solving them, but I don't complain; they were good enough, and the quality of the writing kept the game interesting.
Then there is final confrontation with evil. I am a sucker for this type of ending, then type where you suddenly know what to type, and you know that this specific command will win you the game, and you type it, and it wins you the game. Very satisfying.
As a morality tale it doesn't work at all, of course. But I assume that it wasn't meant as a morality tale, so I won't hold that against the game.
Smoke and divots and scorching and stinky brimstone – there’s only one thing this could mean.
There has been demons in your garden.
So begins this tale of a God-fearing parish worker whose dog has disappeared. Armed with a motley crew of, uh, vegetables and one puppy, he ventures deep into the depths of Hell. He has to battle various trials and tribulations to get his dog back.
While the premise of the game is rather linear, the puzzles are all fairly straightforward and stand alone. In case you don’t get it, location-based walkthroughs are also available. Some of the puzzles require a small amount of lateral thinking and most will make you smile and go, “Oh, right!”. Although it is possible to die in the middle of the game, abundant contextual hints are provided and it is always possible to undo the mistake. Special mention should go to the endgame, which I thought was (fridge?) brilliance: it was quite a "Why didn't I think of that?!" moment (for me, at least).
There is also some characterisation near the endgame, which provides some background to an otherwise colourless PC and pathos to an otherwise light game. Suitable for those who are just looking for a fun diversion, or who are bad with puzzles.
Beet the Devil primarily shines in its writing. nearly every sentence is bursting with the PC's personality, from his individual judgments of the goings-on around him to his phlegmatic reaction to very extraordinary events.
that said, Beet the Devil is essentially a long, linear corridor, with the useful items front-loaded in the first few locations. you never have more than one puzzle to work on, and most of the solutions involve using vegetables for purposes they were clearly not intended for.
a small amount of lateral thinking is needed in some places, though if you WAIT at a location for a few turns you can usually get some kind of indication of how to proceed. the final single-turn puzzle is so obvious yet so difficult to think of that it's probably a masterpiece (on par with Madventure's).
on the negative side, the implementation is a bit shallow. TALK TO would have been nice, given the extraordinary number of puzzle NPCs, and many reasonable solutions to problems didn't work because the parser had trouble with prepositional phrases. as noted, the game is linear, so if you're stuck on a puzzle you're going to stay stuck. the few places that it seems the game is about to open up, it turns out only one exit is usable. you can get hints from the PRAY command, but they only tell you which object to use, not how.
overall, the writing is worth the half-hour of your time it'll probably take to make it through. i'd love to see something more elaborate from the author.
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