John's Fire Witch

by John Baker

Fantasy
1995

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Reviews and Ratings

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Number of Ratings: 37
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A dream of ice and fire., November 8, 2021
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Fantasy, Puzzler

It's been too long since you and John got together for some heavy liquor sampling. For some reason however, he didn't show up. When you go to his house, you find that John has disappeared and that a mysterious hole in his basement has appeared. Hmmm... What to do?

John's Fire Witch takes the basic structure of an old-fashioned cavecrawl and ditches a lot of ballast, resulting in a small and focused adventure.

Instead of having a sprawling map with many connecting junctions, confusing layout and mazes, John's Fire Witch is confined to about 35 rooms. A few clever twists in the layout do provide a limited sense of exploration though.

The simplistic scenario functions as the backdrop for a small number of really good puzzles. You'll have to use some basic real-world physics and pay close attention to the wording of object descriptions. The final puzzle requires an intuitive leap to use one of your objects in a new way.

The writing is very good on the level of individual descriptions of rooms and objects. However, I found that the old-school approach to the overall atmosphere didn't work so well. The game wavered between lighthearted and self-deprecating humour on the one hand while never quite succeeding in evoking a scary-underground-tunnel feeling on the other.

The game misses a lot of opportunities to flesh out its atmosphere. Many plausible actions are not supported, background scenery is mostly unimplemented... On the whole, I felt that there should be more stuff there to look at (even if it was just the cave ceiling). This is perhaps justified by the theme of the final room, which is just full of stuff (presumably hoarded there by the antagonist). Here, the overabundance of stuff serves to make the endgame hard and confusing by giving you so many options that you could never hope to try them all within the limited time allotted to you. SAVE-RESTORE is your friend...

Good fun.


- Arrowhead12 (Edmonton, Alberta), June 11, 2020

- Zape, February 10, 2020

- Autymn Castleton, July 30, 2018

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
What An Awesome Game!, July 12, 2018

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.


- Stas, March 25, 2018

- Audiart (Davis, CA), February 11, 2018

- nosferatu, January 31, 2018

- Jason McIntosh (Boston), August 8, 2017

- shornet (Bucharest), March 26, 2017

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Enjoyable short adventure from the early years of home-made IF, February 3, 2016

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.


- Thrax, March 12, 2015

- Khalisar (Italy), October 18, 2014

- Sobol (Russia), September 12, 2014

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 9, 2013

- amciek (Opole), December 22, 2012

- verityvirtue (London), November 29, 2012

- liz73 (Cornwall, New York), May 31, 2012

- E.K., May 29, 2012

- Dudley Dipstick, May 20, 2012

- Guenni (At home), April 16, 2012

- MKrone (Harsleben), February 18, 2012

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), June 25, 2011

- schifter (Louisville, KY), November 14, 2010

- Stickz (Atlanta, Georgia), June 23, 2010


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