Behind Closed Doors 2: The Sequel

by John Wilson

Episode 2 of Behind Closed Doors Series

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Same humor as episode 1 but with new puzzles, November 21, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Adventuron, The Quill, DAAD, PAW

EDIT: Gareth Pitchford informed me that the important command WORN was given in the instructions with the original game, so my criticism that you are never told what you are wearing isn't really valid. Moreover, if you play several of the games in the series, it will become apparent that the command type LOOK 'direction' (e.g. LOOK SOUTH or LOOK DOWN) is often required. Thus, this might not be a problem if you played another episode in the series first.
Note that this is a review of the original game, not "The Cats Choice-Cuts Edition" which is slightly longer. I played the Adventuron version. The version you choose to play may influence the commands you can use. Here, the game understands both L (redescribe location) and X (examine).

This game has a few gameplay issues:
1. You cannot examine yourself. EDIT: If you are aware of the command WORN, this isn't a problem
2. You are supposed to: (Spoiler - click to show)LOOK UP but as you are not given any reason to do so, it is quite unlikely the player will try that. EDIT: If you have played other games in the series first, You have probably learned that LOOK 'direction' (e.g. LOOK EAST or DOWN) might be a good idea.

At first, I wasn't aware of the points above, so I found the game to be a bit unfair after having looked at the walkthrough. So perhaps the puzzles are perfectly fair (hard to estimate after I completed the game by looking at the walkthrough). Anyway, it has entertaining parts even if you need to look at a walkthrough. With the information given at the top of this review, you will probably be able to enjoy this game.

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Gareth Pitchford, November 21, 2020 - Reply
You won't get far in the Behind Closed Doors series, especially John's later efforts, without knowledge and use of the command WORN. That's one of the disadvantages of playing the game without access to the original instruction sheet.
Gareth Pitchford, November 21, 2020 - Reply
You'll also need to LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN, LOOK RIGHT, LOOK LEFT, and even LOOK AROUND in various instalments of the series... Again, they're pretty unique to John's games.
Denk, November 21, 2020 - Reply
Good point, that the command WORN is mentioned in the original instructions - I did not know that. I will revise my review and mention that.

I have met the LOOK 'DIRECTION' command before, but normally I think that the game should always give some hint that it is worthwhile, at least in a big game with many locations. Otherwise, the player would have to type LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN, LOOK EAST etc. in every location. I am aware that this is a one-room game so it won't take long to do that here - still, I think that there should be an indication that these could be useful. Perhaps the original instructions encourage the player to look in various directions too? If so, none of the problems I mentioned are actual problems. Even if that isn't mentioned, the player will learn from one game to the next, that this might be useful. Thanks for the tip.
Gareth Pitchford, November 21, 2020 - Reply
I think your comments were perfectly fair... even back then the use of WORN and that particular use of LOOK was not particularly common! Probably not quite as annoying as the LOOK CAREFULLY that was seen as being distinct to EXAMINE by some authors!

Revisiting homegrown British text adventures from the 80s and 90s is interesting. There was a tight-knit community of people playing and creating them (particularly on the Spectrum & Amstrad machines). As a result of this closed & largely known audience, several conventions or trends developed that would seem particularly obscure or unfair to a player now. Commands like SEARCH became quite commonplace... and we even went through a phase where authors quite often required players to search things multiple times to discover additional objects.
Denk, November 21, 2020 - Reply
Yes, it seems like many things in British text adventures were done differently than American games like those of Infocom (e.g. R instead of L to redescribe the location). Some of it has probably spread to other parts of "IF".
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