Lord Bellwater's Secret

by Sam Gordon profile

Historical
2007

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Reviews and Ratings

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Number of Ratings: 69
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- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 9, 2013

- E.K., May 3, 2013

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent game, but with a tricky ending!, February 3, 2013

Lord Bellwater's Secret I found to be an excellent work. Though I don't have much time to go into a proper review, I would like to mention some points.

Firstly, Gordon's use of events and turns was inspired. At the beginning, your story is revealed to you in italics as you play the game, almost in a "flashback" form, making the transition between the introduction and game completely seamless. Furthermore, every object in the game had examinable details associated with it, the bookcase and diaries in particular being most impressive (the ability to read the titles of 1200 different books and seeing a whole half a year of journal entries astounded me).

Having said that, the game has a few small faults, particularly with the implementation of the endgame. Though it was exciting enough story-wise, I ended up failing not because I didn't know what to do, but because I couldn't work out how to explain my actions to the game. (Spoiler - click to show)I knew I had to use the cord to climb down from the window, but every action I tried didn't produce the right response. This was a shame because other than that, I had a very fun time playing this game, and I would still recommend it to anyone who wanted to see how text adventures should be made.


- amciek (Opole), October 27, 2012

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), June 15, 2012

- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), April 4, 2012

- Relle Veyér, March 1, 2012

- Guenni (At home), February 13, 2012

- heleneotroy (Washington, DC), September 8, 2011

- Kendi, September 8, 2011

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Loved it!, September 7, 2011
by Deboriole (San Diego, CA)

This game is absolutely fantastic. All of the evidence-gathering puzzles are solvable without needing any hints (another poster said the date puzzle was not solvable, but it most definitely was) but hints are available if you do need them. My only gripe was the ending... It wasn't clear to me when/how I was "done." Plus, I was carrying something I should not have taken, but the game would not let me drop it and then leave the room. Unfortunately I had not saved early enough and was stuck with the one ending. However, even with this disappointment, I still give the game 5 stars! I highly recommend it.


- Ryan Veeder (Iowa), July 15, 2011

- Ingo Scharmann (Berlin, Germany), February 25, 2011

- diddlescatter (US), February 2, 2011

- loungeman (Bilbao, Spain), January 23, 2011

- Carlo, December 22, 2010

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent writing, but occasionally arbitrary puzzles, August 13, 2010
by ZUrlocker (Traverse City, Michgian)

Lord Bellwater's Secret is a well-crafted single room mystery in a historical setting. The mood and style are nicely conveyed with excellent writing that sets the stage and provides the right motivation for the character.

Despite the seeming simplicity, I was definitely stumped on a couple of verb / parser issues that sent me to the built-in hints. The hints are well-done and thorough, but it made me feel like this was more of a "dig for clues" kind of puzzle than something that could be logically deduced like "An Act of Murder". Some of the puzzles have a laborious feel to them. But the story is good and the writing always pays back your efforts as the story proceeds.

There's quite a good drama that unfolds and the ending was quite exciting. It got my heart racing! I hope the author will continue with more mystery fiction.


5 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Guessing Numbers, June 27, 2010
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

I suppose on the continuum of IF players, I'm almost the direct opposite of "puzzle fiend". As a result, I was hesitant to play this game, but I let the glowing reviews of others seduce me into trying.

About ten minutes in, I was reminded why I hate most puzzles: they aren't puzzles, per se, but guesswork requiring large leaps of logic. Lord Bellwater's Secret (LBS herein) commits the unforgivable crime of requiring the player to guess numbers to solve a puzzle. (Spoiler - click to show) It's not that the actual idea of the lord's birthdate as the combination to the safe is unrealistic. It's that you have to guess that those numbers are the ones that he used, and if you guess wrong, the safe, the character, the narrator, all give you no feedback. Nothing in the game even hints that the lord used those dates for the safe. You just couldn't logically get from here to there!

The plot progresses through random discovery of items by the character, which is a salient failure in this game. Despite LBS being a mystery, there's no sense of one thing leading to the next. It's all guesswork on behalf of the player which results in a discovery that gives up the next bit of information that doesn't seem connected in any way to what happened before. It's a bit too random. It's odd, but in this case, a more linear gameplay would have worked better. (Spoiler - click to show) And time travel? That was another maddening example of randomness. It's a time travel that works one time, and it is seemingly irreversible.

What other reviews have noted about the quality of the writing stands; it is wholly immersive. The same goes for navigation through the room. The character glides effortlessly from one part of the room to the other. As far as objects go, I didn't discover any purple prose; everything that is described you can examine or manipulate in some way. There are a few bugs in the parser, and they can prove annoying (for instance, how do you look out the window?). LBS does feature hints, but having to resort to hints, for me, is a sign that I'm in over my head.

I think you need to enjoy puzzles more than the average player, or be steeped in the tropes of mystery fiction to appreciate this game. If you are not, you won't have the background to intuit a successful action. You'll be stuck guessing numbers.


- WaterMonkey314, April 4, 2010

- Ben Treat (Maine, USA), November 2, 2009

- tinroof, October 17, 2009

- Michael L. (Germany), June 10, 2009

- Steve Blanding (Redmond, WA), May 15, 2009

Jörgs Wort[be]reich
Rezension zum IF-Comp 2007 (German)

Im Jahre 1863 verdingst du dich als Stallbursche im Londoner Haushalt des Lord Bellwater. Nach dem Tod des betagten Hausherrn, bezieht sein Sohn die Residenz. Als kurz darauf deine Liebste, die Hausangestellte Elsie, auf tragische Weise ums Leben kommt, glaubst du nicht an einen Unfall, und beschließt eines Nachts, eigene Nachforschungen anzustellen. ...

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- Rhian Moss (UK), April 4, 2009


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