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About the StoryDon't Panic! Relax, because everything you need to know about playing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is contained in the pages of this manual. In this story, you will be Arthur Dent, a rather ordinary earth creature who gets swept up in a whirlwind of interstellar adventures almost beyond comprehension.
As the story begins bulldozers are waiting to reduce your house to rubble to make way for a motorway bypass. While you attempt to deal with this problem, your rather strange friend Ford Prefect drops by to tell you that the Earth is about to be demolished to make way for an interstellar bypass! If you survive this double threat, you'll embark on a series of inter-galactic misadventures even funnier than your worst nightmares!
A special note for people who have read the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Although the opening of the game is fairly similar to the book, the story quickly diverges, with lots of new material and different twists. Although familiarity with the story may make a few of the early puzzles easier, if you rely too heavily on this previous knowledge you will certainly end up getting misled.
Language: English (en)
Current Version: 59
License: Commercial (Out of Print)
Development System: ZIL
Forgiveness Rating: Cruel
Spoofed by Coke Is It!, by Lucian P. Smith, Adam Thornton, J. Robinson Wheeler, Michael Fessler, Dan Shiovitz, David Dyte
Followed by sequel Not Found, by Unknown
Adventure Classic Gaming
The game is richly described, backed by an excellent forgiving parser, and more fun to play than you can shake a stick at. The only dark spot in an otherwise sterling effort is Adams' convoluted sense of logic, compounded by an unsatisfying ending. Other frustrations of the game owe more to the paradigm of game design from the early era of interactive fiction than anything Adams has done himself.
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The writing is some of Infocom's very best, which is fortunate because the game itself is a little too short (only The Witness and Seastalker have fewer locations). The atmosphere produced is almost exactly like that of the book, even if specific details of the plot are often changed. The puzzles (including the legendary Babel Fish puzzle) are based on a brand of "consistent illogic" that is rather reminiscent of Lewis Carroll, and make the game one of those few that many will some day play again even after having solved it once. Hitchhiker's is one of the more literate text games on the market, as you will often have to pay more attention to how things are worded than you might in other games.
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[...] the game follows the book pretty closely in parts but, naturally, can't go into the same detail. It is worth reading the book as it will help with some parts of the adventure - of course, it's well worth reading the book anyway as it is so terrifically funny. But I think that even though the game is standard level, certain bits would be quite tricky to solve without the benefit of reading the book first.
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This game was my introduction to Infocom adventures, and what an introduction. It took me two weeks to get past that bulldozer [...] (Kedenan)
I was a bit disappointed by the ending of HHGTTG which was rather abrupt and suddenly bumped your score up when you'd thought you still had a fair way to go. What was more of a shame was the lack of the promised follow-up. A good game, though, and certainly a 'must' for any fans of Douglas Adams. (Sue)
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Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
Up until this point, I had only really been familiar with Hitchhiker’s thanks to a mini-series of it that was on PBS. I remember enjoying it with my parents when we watched it, so it made sense that they bought it for me at some point.
While this doesn’t have nearly the same issues as the IFs based on Dracula or Frankenstein, there is still a bit of a confined feeling since you’re essentially playing “the book.” In the game’s defense though, it does deviate quite a bit from the book in many ways even if still follows the general plot line of the first part of it. Generally the further you get in the game, the more it starts to deviate.
The feelies that originally came with the game were pretty fun. Ranging from an empty plastic bag (supposedly containing a microscopic invasion fleet.) to a pair of cardboard glasses (Peril Sensitive Sunglasses).
Funny writing aside and getting back to the puzzles, yeah this one was pretty unforgiving. The babble fish one is the most infamous, but that wasn’t really the only one. It’s just one of the “worst” since it comes pretty early in the game so you get stuck pretty quickly. In fact most of the beginning of the game until you get to the Heart of Gold is difficult mainly because of timers. You only have so many turns to escape before earth gets destroyed. You escape to the Vogon ship and you only have so many turns before they find you. So you really have to make sure you do everything necessary in those situations before moving on. Lots of times if you didn’t take a certain item, you won’t be able to get it again and without it, you won’t be able to win.
The game will outright lie to you in a few instances, there’s also at least one time you can end up in a literal walking dead situation via randomness. (The game will actually tell you, you'll die in a few turns, but you can still play up until then) Add the fact the game will often outright mock you when you die and it’s definitely a case of the game creator trolling the player.
Not that I’m against trolling the player of course. But given how much the game stacks the deck against you, I can’t imagine most completed the game without a guide. Which sort of defeats the purpose to some degree because it gets to the point where you’re not really “playing” so much as you’re just reading a book every once in awhile you type commands to move the story along. (Unless the point was all a cunning plan by Infocom to sell more hint booklets!)
Still, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the game, even if I was doing more reading than playing.
On the other hand, the puzzles are (I assume) by Steve Meretzky, who is one of my least favorite puzzle writers from Infocom. Sorcerer, though great, was my least favorite Enchanter game, and I get tired of Planetfall early on. So when I started this game, I was scared of any misstep sending me on a wild goose chase into an unsavable state.
So I just used a walkthrough and sailed through the game, enjoying the witty prose. I plan to go back and read more of the room descriptions and the actual guide. I often find that this approach works with very difficult or unfair games, because the second playthrough can be done without a walkthrough, allowing your memory to help you on some puzzles but still having fun with those you forgot.
The game has several puzzles that are frequently referenced in interactive fiction reviews and forums: the Babel-fish puzzle, and the tea. It may be worthwhile to play through with a walkthrough just to see these.
Note that Douglas Adams released this game for free when Activision went a long time without selling it. I don't know the current status of it, but he intended to freely distribute it at least once in the past. It is not available on Lost Treasures of Infocom for iPad, my usual go-to place for Infocom games.
Sure some of the puzzles take dieing and restarting to solve, others take immense amounts of obtuse logic to complete. Because of the difficulty, HHGTG is very fulfilling if you complete it. It's a must play for fans of a) Douglas Adams or b) Classic puzzle-laden Infocom IF.
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