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About the Story
A small, witty text adventure. Its clever puzzles received quite a bit of acclaim on rec.arts.int-fiction upon its release. You've come to visit your old friend John Baker, but he's missing, and a blizzard has rolled in outside while you were asleep waiting for him. [blurb from The (Other) TADS Games List version 1.2]
You're all set to go drinking with your buddy John, but he's caught in the struggle between a Fire Witch and an Ice Wizard that live in hidden caves beneath his apartment. A small but detailed game with some very satisfying, if difficult, puzzles. Easy to get trapped in places until you suss out the teleportation device (hint hint).
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
I'm not quite sure I can put my finger on what makes it so good - it's always easier to pinpoint what you don't like about something than what you like - but "John's Firewitch" is simply very good workmanship; those little irritating glitches and mannerisms that seem to be unavoidable in non-commercial works are absent; the game is eminently playable (much thanks to the excellent parser); the puzzles logical with satisfying solutions; the ending forms a satisfying climax; the writing excellent and free from mannerisms and bad jokes; everything just feels right. (Magnus Olsson)
There isn't a lot to John's Fire Witch; it's relatively short (250 moves or thereabouts required, and much of that is traveling hither and yon) and the puzzles and characters are simple. What's there, though, is refreshingly well put together, with very few obvious bugs or gameplay problems; as first efforts go, this is one of the better ones you'll find. (Duncan Stevens)
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This is, as I said, a fairly small adventure, but it seems larger than this because you are required to travel over previously seen ground. This does not make it boring, rather it gives the player a good sense of familiarity with his/her surroundings. (Neil Shipman)
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This is a small game with only 37 locations, but there is still quite a lot to do. The game leads you gently from one puzzle to the next, and none are too difficult. (Karen Tyers)
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While the scenario may sound a bit simplistic, "John's Fire Witch" turns out to be a pleasantly engaging, unpretentious game that should appeal to a broad range of IF gameplayers. With fewer than 40 locations and a scoring total of 10, "John's Fire Witch" is well-suited to the "snack-sized adventure" label applied by its author. The game's small size and small number of puzzles make it a good introductory game for beginning to intermediate IF players; however, the puzzles are interesting enough to intrigue more experienced players for at least several hours.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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The plot: You show up to visit your old friend John, but he's nowhere to be found; you get trapped in his house by a snowstorm; there seems to be some kind of crazy tunnel in his basement. Adventure ensues. A goblin, a demon, a devil; color-coded rooms.
The puzzles are good overall. A couple of them have particularly nice twists; a couple, on the other hand, seem a bit random, but the game is small enough that even the random ones can be solved by experimentation and you don't have to go too crazy.
What's mostly lacking is atmosphere. I don't think I formed a really vivid image of any location or object in the game. Everything is described minimally, and the only objects implemented are those necessary for the puzzles. At the beginning the protagonist does have a nice humorous voice as he talks about John and his habits, but that too goes away once you get underground.
If you're looking for a decent demon-puzzle or two and don't want to be bothered with the rest, go for it.
This is most definitely one of my all time favorites. It also really inspired me in my early IF endeavors. I didn't actually get too far in this one as a kid when I stumbled upon it back in the 90's, but I came back and beat it as an adult just a few years ago; and without any hints, which is somewhat rare for me. It just captured my imagination and sucked me in, sticking with me through the many years. I won't lie; the puzzles in this one might prove pretty tough for some, but they are very clever and logical, and they are actually really well hinted. The hints are extremely subtle though, so you really have to keep your eyes open for them, and then you have to actually realize that they're hints (exactly how hints should be, in my opinion). The final puzzle is so clever and painfully logical, that I remember slapping myself on the leg and shouting when I finally got it.
I'm still searching for John so that I can "buy him lunch". I'll probably have to adjust for inflation though, don't you think? It would be a dream if John came back to the IF community and gave us a follow up, even if it has nothing to do with the Fire Witch. Actually, a sequel would be pretty darn awesome too. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, if memory serves.
You gotta try this one out! It took me several days to beat this one, despite the fact that it's considered to be a relatively short game. It was so engaging though, that I just kept chipping away at it. It's uncommon for me to be so driven and determined to beat a game of this difficulty.
Bottom line; it's a very fair game, and it's guaranteed to satisfy if you put in the time and effort. It's a true classic, but it needs a revival.
John's Fire Witch is a short, fun collect-the-item and solve-the-puzzle game. The feel reminded me a lot of Enchanter, but without the magic.
I've been more interested in story than puzzles recently, so I used a walkthrough at a couple of points (which made me realize I had forgotten that I dropped some items).
Two big puzzles were very fun; the (Spoiler - click to show)crystal card and the devil's bag. The last puzzle was a bit unfair, I thought.
There are no mind-bending surprises or big innovations here; just well-thought out puzzles. If you like this, you would enjoy Uncle Zebulon's Will.
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This is version 9 of this page, edited by Lance Campbell on 15 April 2020 at 2:27pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item