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About the Story
In this game you assume the role of SIR IGNATIUS GRIMWOOD, a celebrated actor of the period. It was near the end of August 1886 and the theatre had one hour earlier been filled with all the hustle and bustle of the drama-loving public.
This is an interesting crime game which takes place in 1886 following some events in a theatre where you are an actor. It is one of the many Zenobi games that the late John Wilson made available through his blog. However, many of these games come without the original instructions. It is my impression I was missing some important information for this game too but still I managed to enjoy it with some help from the walkthrough on CASA as well as the small introduction that can also be found on CASA. Still, I felt I was missing some information about the characters you encounter later in the game to properly understand the plot. But 95% of the puzzles were nice and could be solved without this information.
Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 7/10)
I am not so experienced in PAW games as I used to have a C64 in the 90s but I have started to play many with a Spectrum emulator. Luckily, the walkthrough gives some general parser advice before the spoilers: You will need both quotation marks and periods and use commands of the type (fictive example):
>say "go up. take painting. go down" to jack
So in this sense, the parser is pretty advanced. On the other hand, there were many guess-the-verb situations. Guessing the verb was to some extent part of the fun back then, so the player didn't solve puzzles accidently. However, at least one puzzle I would never had guessed even though I had the right idea (rot13.com): fvyrapr evsyr
Atmosphere (Rating: 8/10)
As most 48k Spectrum games the descriptions are short but in this game sufficient for a fitting atmosphere with a focus on puzzles.
Cruelty (Rating: Cruel)
Often you can continue until to the next "scene" without the needed objects. However, this was common back then and the game is not very long so often the player will suspect that they might be missing an object and therefore play the previous parts of the game again if they are stuck.
Puzzles (Rating: 8/10)
There were some good, original puzzles, some involving timed events as some events happen at certain times. There is a watch in the upper right corner which ticks away if you are too slow. However, if you start writing a command, the clock stops until you have finished your command. At least one puzzle I wouldn't have guessed without the walkthrough, perhaps because I didn't have all the original instructions.
Overall (Rating: 7/10)
This was an entertaining game. It was probably even better if I had understood the plot fully but I didn't. Still I enjoyed it.
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