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Anchorhead

by Michael Gentry profile

Horror
1998

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(243)
4 star:
(63)
3 star:
(9)
2 star:
(8)
1 star:
(1)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 324
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- Greg Frost (Seattle, Washington), February 22, 2021

- tobiasvl (Norway), February 18, 2021

- Edo, February 15, 2021

- Cvrček, December 28, 2020

- Urithor, December 27, 2020

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Why improve on perfection?, December 7, 2020
by DoctorFury (Ohio)
Related reviews: Anchorhead, horror
So I played the original Anchorhead the year it came out, and then just finished the 2018 Steam release on my Mac ten minutes ago. It's a GREAT game in the Lovecraft mythos. So much so that I never forgot it, and was pleasantly surprised to discover the reboot. Plotwise, this is a strong game, with excellent pacing and deep details to discover. The main character is somewhat anonymous, compared to the thorough exploration of her husband's entire family, but this game is more about the player's effort than any characterologic development. The game is very, very well written and the parser has been thoroughly programmed, with only extremely rare "guess the correct verb" moments (Spoiler - click to show)Don't "hit" the web with the broom.

What stuck with me in 1998 was how hard this game was. I mean, I may have been just 20 but I was a smart cookie with extensive IF experience, and I could not finish Anchorhead Original without significant help. Anchorhead 2018 is . . . easier. Not by much, and certainly not in such a way that players of the original will feel cheated, but there's a gloss on the game that made the denouement and ending feel a little perfunctory. Several objects and locations serve no purpose except to move the game towards the finish line. (Spoiler - click to show)What is the point of the flute, except as a handy tool for banishing the final enemy? Hell, why have an altar at all with thousands of corpses underground when the apparent threat is in the water? Tell me more about that Zodiac. And so on.

That said, I loved playing this again in my 40s and I'm so, so glad IF refuses to die. If you have a Lovecraft fan as a friend, introduce them to this game!

- mifga (Brooklyn, NY), October 15, 2020

- Pilaxoft, September 26, 2020

- Laney Berry, September 23, 2020

- PepeSilvia, September 1, 2020

- heasm66 (Sweden), August 10, 2020

- katerinaterramare, August 3, 2020

- Durafen, June 18, 2020

- Panawe, May 28, 2020

- kierlani, May 5, 2020

- edcst, March 31, 2020

- feamir, January 20, 2020

- Xolotlll, December 3, 2019

- Tropical Gothic (Asia), December 2, 2019

- Rovarsson (Belgium), December 2, 2019

- cas, November 11, 2019

- Ry (Philippines), October 3, 2019

- ryd5185, September 15, 2019

- whjohnson22, August 28, 2019

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
One of the best text adventures of all time, even better in Steam version., July 6, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
Review for Steam Edition:

Anchorhead is a masterpiece of interactive fiction. In this well-illustrated Lovecraftian game, you have to piece together the history of your husband's family as you move to a new town with a dark history.

This edition fixes a lot of the worst puzzles from the first edition, especially the very difficult mill section. It adds some new puzzles, too, some of which I found quite difficult (such as the dinghy), and others less so (the new opening sequence).

The illustrations are very well done, and go a long way to making this worth the purchase price. I love this game, and I'm glad to see it in such good form. I also appreciated the change in the orderly's magazine, which made me laugh. Some of the older texts in the game contain echoes of Lovecraft's racism, and they seem to be written new for the game, not old texts quoted, so I thought I'd mention that.

Earlier Review:

Anchorhead can completely draw you into its world. The writing and atmosphere are classic Lovecraftian horror, beginning as merely dismal and developing slowly into madness. Early scenes take on far different meanings on a second playthrough.

That said, this is a very hard game. I'm not sure how anyone could solve the (Spoiler - click to show)telescope lens puzzle on their own.

However, the depth of the game and the quality of the writing is such that it is still enjoyable even if you have to resort to hints from time to time. Many of the best moments are also the easiest puzzles.


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