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by Leonard Richardson profile

Fantasy, Surreal

Web Site

(based on 15 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

The glitterings of Gold, Jewels, Tapestries, &c. belie the Corruption of he who 'til recently occupied this high Seat. A white Carpet, once flanked by Sycophants & Counsellors, now lies untravelled. It leads away from the Seat & towards the Sunrise.

The cruel Baron lies at your feet, dyeing the carpet scarlet with his blood.

Game Details


Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2001 XYZZY Awards

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

A knight stands above his slain foe, his quest accomplished. But the dead man has planned a posthumous revenge. Short, strong sense of style, good puzzles, not buggy at all. The slow realization of what's going on is handled well, with a creepy twist as the time limit closes in.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt

The puzzles aren't especially exciting--there are only a few of them, and reading the manuals you find is essentially all you need to do--but there's lots of fun to be had in the writing. Much of it is mock-Elizabethan or thereabouts--lots of Surprising Capitalizations, for one thing, often put to amusing purposes. [...]

As mentioned, there's a trick of sorts in the game, on which I won't elaborate here. It's not a total success; some players, I know, thought it was a bug, which it most certainly isn't. There are indications that something's afoot well before the trick happens, though they depend to some extent, I think, on whether the player's moving around--fewer, if any, of the clues would be apparent to a player who's staying in one room working on a puzzle.

-- Duncan Stevens
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Number of Reviews: 3
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting/aggravating, January 13, 2015
by CMG (NYC)

Your holy mission to kill the degenerate baron has been fulfilled. You're standing over his corpse when the game starts. His subjects have already fled the castle and there ought to be no further obstacles. But as it turns out, his subjects have fled because they know the worst is yet to come.

Saying anything else about this game's plot threatens to ruin the core mechanic, which gradually reveals itself as you attempt to explore the castle. It's clever, but it's also a tad irritating. As the game closes in around you, your options diminish. This means it's very easy to waste time at the beginning, examining objects and rooms and whatnot, before you even realize that you're wasting time. When you do realize what's happening, it's probably too late.

The outcome leaves me conflicted. It's necessary to go into the game without preconceptions in order to get the most from the experience. However, this means that it will also likely punish you a few times until you learn to economize your puzzle-solving. The "optimal" good ending is also not as rewarding as the "normal" good ending, as though, after you've solved everything, the game is in a hurry to tidy up.

Nevertheless, it's well worth playing for the writing, mood, light humor, and the overall concept. Just be prepared to undo or restart.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting grim fantasy game with alalchemy and messing with IF conventions, February 3, 2016

This game is about a warrior who destroys a baron, only to discover himself cursed. You wander around a castle while investigating hidden rooms, ancient texts, and complicated puzzles, as well as running into some NPC's. The atmosphere is anti-heroic.

The main attraction of the game is the nature of the curse, which messes with IF conventions.(Spoiler - click to show)As the game progresses, room descriptions and objects become less and less implemented, until each room is just a number with nothing in it.

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
An Interesting Experiment, March 17, 2016

As a game, Degeneracy isn't much. The puzzle needed for a partial victory does't make much sense. It has a character with no apparent purpose. It requires some phrasing to manipulate its complex objects.

Its merit is in the quality of the gimmick's implementation. There isn't any point in playung the game, unless you're having trouble understanding the source.

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Degeneracy on IFDB

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