Ghost King

by Jason Compton profile

Episode 1 of S.A.L.A.D.

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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Something Not So Rotten, June 20, 2020
by J. J. Guest (London, England)

A game designed to answer the question, what might have resulted had Scott Adams decided to release a series of games based on Shakespeare's plays. Ghost King is written in the same programming language, and within the same tight memory constraints as the original Adventure International titles. The author has tried very hard to capture the essence of those early text adventures, right down to the terse messages, odd use of capitalisation and occasional typo. In this he succeeds magnificently, and at times you could really believe you're playing a game made in 1980. It also succeeds in translating the main story beats of Hamlet into a series of object-based puzzles, retaining some of Shakespeare's best lines, and including a "find the *treasures*" side-quest into the bargain.

If I were to assign an Adventure International difficulty level to this game, I'd have to make it "advanced". You do need to be reasonably familiar with the play to get very far with it, and some of the puzzles are less intuitive than those in the early Scott Adams Adventures. I was a beta tester, but I was unable to solve it without hints from the author, whereas I've solved most of Adams's "moderate" games without hints. Ghost King does a great job of juggling the complex subject matter with the antiquated authoring system and quirky style of an Adams game, but loses something of the latter in translation. If anything, the author could have been a little more irreverent with his source material, thrown in the odd anachronism, perhaps, or a little more low-brow humour. (There is one particular word-play puzzle, though, that made me laugh out loud!)

Overall, this is an excellent pastiche, right down to the cover art, and highly recommended to fans of the Scott Adams Adventures. It does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it well.