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About the Story
An unauthorized sequel to the Infocom classic, written for the 2018 MIT Mystery Hunt.
Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee - defeating Ynf-Okh-Omm, Best Individual Puzzle - 2018 XYZZY Awards
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
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The original Lurking Horror was one of my favorite Infocom games, so I was interested in seeing Veeder's take on it.
This game is closer to Captain Verdeterre's Plunder than to any of Ryan's other games. Like Verdeterre, this game has a tight timer that sends you to your death, and you must play over and over to beat it.
This game exploits that structure for the story in amusing ways, though. You pick up in G.U.E. Tech (from Lurking Horror, itself inspired by M.I.T.), stuck in a time loop caused by the awakening of an Elder God. You are very aware of your previous iterations.
Progress is similar to Hadean Lands, in that you progress by gaining knowledge that your later iterations use. But instead of being tracked in-game, the knowledge is stored in password-like spells. The spell names include mangled versions of the author's name and a scrambled name of a D&D slime demon.
I enjoyed this game quite a bit; the solutions were generally very reasonable, and there was a nice 'power boost' or two near the middle of the game, with the end requiring you to tie everything together. I got impatient with one puzzle in the middle, when I had half a dozen unused spells and the same number of unsolved rooms and I couldn't figure out which ones went together. I decompiled to get past that stage, and didn't have any trouble after that.
I'm normally not a fan of toughie puzzle games at all, but "The Lurkening" managed to draw me in, and had me keeping a notes file and drawing increasingly elaborate maps on notebook paper as I struggled to map out the final steps of the solution. What fun!
Ryan Veeder's characteristic light touch of cleverness suits this game perfectly, making the map pleasurable to traverse again and again; there were even a few genuine laugh moments, like when (Spoiler - click to show)the grimoire in the department head's office turned out to be in Swedish.
For what it is, this is practically the perfect game, and it's just the right length for a fun hour or so of play.
Though I have never played The Lurking Horror, playing this unofficial sequel was really really fun. To my knowledge the concept is quite original: You have 9 moves to finish the game, before something bad happens. However, you need to play the game over and over to obtain the necessary knowledge needed to succeed.
The puzzles are great and are solved by casting spells. To begin with they are quite easy but later on they get a bit tricky. For my taste the difficulty level was just right.
The implementation seemed flawless and the atmosphere was fitting. I can't really say anything bad about this game, so I higly recommend this one.
|Shrapnel, by Adam Cadre|
Average member rating: (159 ratings)
|Curse of the Garden Isle, by Ryan Veeder|
Average member rating: (12 ratings)
Let's both take a deep breath.
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