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About the Story
Don'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.
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
Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy is co-written by Douglas Adams, and the strong prose shows this. The game is very imaginative and vibrant.
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.
Hitchhikers is one of those games at times so dastardly, so unfair, so evil, that it shouldn't be enjoyable to play. But thanks to the wonderfully enjoyable writing of Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky, HHGTG is an enjoyable puzzle-fest.
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.
I'm not a huge Hitchhiker's fan, but I still thoroughly enjoyed Douglas Adams' characteristically witty, sardonic prose. Though the game has a (deserved) reputation for being difficult and at-times cruel in its design, the world-class satirical writing and absurdly fun sci-fi narrative are more than enough to motivate the player to meet these challenges.
The first half or so of the game largely follows the plot of the first Hitchhiker's novel, and occasionally draws verbatim from the novel, though with enough wrinkles, puzzles, and knowing tricks thrown in to make it more than a straight adaptation. A working knowledge of the novel will certainly help a player of the game, though having read the book does not at all make this first portion of the game redundant. Adams (apparently a huge fan of IF) and Infocom veteran Steve Meretzky build in lots of charming, self-aware details like warning players to don 'peril-sensitive sunglasses' before viewing a low score after they've died, or a death sequence where the story continues following the deceased Arthur Dent in the ambulance and scolding the player to stay out of it. There's just a lot of learning by death in this game, but it's usually fun if infuriating!
The second part of the game diverges quite a bit in its design, moving from the more or less linear plot following that of the novel to a non-linear episodic design where the player departs from a central map to points across time and space. I really, really liked this except for some major details regarding the mechanics of this episodic structure that are not divulged to the player. It takes quite a bit of finagling (or consulting a walkthrough) to understand how to (Spoiler - click to show)handle the Infinity Drive and get in and out of the darkness, none of which is explained to the player. For many of the episodes, it's also not very clear what the objective is or what the player needs to do to make sure they don't end up in an unwinnable state. Nor is it clear how many episodes the player needs to go through before advancing to the concluding sequence of the game.
In full disclosure, I made heavy use of a walkthrough to get over these difficulties. Even still, I greatly enjoyed this game, and found its design inventive and its writing winning. I feel like a bit more direction about how to navigate through the episodes in the second part of the game would have added to the player experience without necessarily sacrificing any difficulty of the game. As it is, it feels like parts of the game design are cruel just for the sake of being cruel. Regardless, I highly recommend playing this -- and no shame for using a walkthrough at some key points.
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