Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Dracula Unleashed - London on One Gold Piece a Day

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Dracula Unleashed! Last time out, we successfully survived the first night! Thanks to some “brute force” tactics on my part to find some difficult-to-find scenes, plus a realization how items really worked in the game, we were able to prevent Anisette from succumbing to whatever was transforming her into the Woman in White. Of course, Alexander is blissfully ignorant of all of this; we the player know there are vampires running around and that “bloofer ladies” are real, but he does not, and we start the second day with him still in the dark as to the cause of his brother’s death.

Before I get going, let’s discuss strategy. For this post, I plan to play the second day straight. I will follow plot threads where they lead me, notate everything that emerges organically from play, and tell you all about it. If I die early or quickly, I’ll restore, but my goal will be to make it to the end of the second day in as “normal” a way as possible. Depending on whether this post ends with me sleeping soundly or dead, I’ll figure out what comes next. If I need to spend the next entry brute forcing to find things that I missed, I’ll do it then. 

I am having a ton of fun with this game and enjoying it more than I thought I would. It doesn’t play like a typical adventure and I expect that many players could have been turned off by that (especially the need to save/restore to try different items), but once you know it and understand it, it works. This feels like a new adventure genre (to me) and a different kind of fun from most of the other games I play here.

Sunday, 5 February 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Obvious Solutions and Waiting Around

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Right, the future. The grand philosophical musings of Tim Schaffer and Dave Grossman on the direction our country will take in the future if we elect a tentacle president. Can't help but feel like that's a silly thing to base your musings on. People are pets of the tentacles...and not in the direction some of us were expecting. People performing in silly talent shows with bizarre criteria for victory. And Elvis museums. Eh, not the worst the future could be.

Also befitting the future, I've switched back to the MT-32. I was already done with the last entry by the time I was convinced to change my mind. I'm going to get a better idea of the sound of this game than anyone back in the day did.

You ever get the feeling that someone's run out of good ideas?

I guess my first course of action after attempting to murder everyone and everything is to talk to my compatriots in jail. The old man is Zed Edison and because Laverne confused him for Dr. Fred, he helpfully tells us that Fred is not a very beloved man today. In the future, man is the servant and pet of the tentacles, and people are stuck in degrading talent competitions where they're put in ugly costumes and perform ridiculous talent acts. Yeah, what a dark and depressing future which bares absolutely no resemblance to anything you could watch on TV today. No siree...

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Missed Classic: Nord and Bert - Won! (With Final Rating & Cut Scenes)

Written by Joe Pranevich

It always feels good to make it to the end of one of these games. Sometimes, it feels like a great accomplishment, a challenge defeated! Sometimes, it feels like a great relief, like we can finally move on with our lives. Often, it is a mixture of the two. This is something like my 65th review on “The Adventurer’s Guild” and I can confidently say that I have completed far (far!) worse games than Nord and Bert but this is the first one (except for Batman Returns?) where I have felt this frustrated by what could have been. This could have been a fantastic game and I am told that it inspired some games that are among the best in interactive fiction, but it wasn’t and I am glad that this is the last post. 

Where we left off last time, I had completed the seven main chapters of the game ranging from acting in a 1950s-style sitcom to saving a farm from the horrors of farming idioms. I battled Mr. Clean in his night job as the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. I even sipped a pleasant cup of tea in the most charming cafe I ever saw, one I wish (truly wish!) existed in real life. All that is left for me is the finale where we “Meet the Mayor” and can finally put to right the pernicious problems that plague the people of Punster. Will the ending soar or belly-flop? There is only one way to find out.

Read on for more.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Day of the Tentacle - Mixed Up American History

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

The past, colonial times. Alas, I am not the best student of American history and there are probably elements here I've missed, but I think I remember most of the common myths and ideas we'll be seeing here.

Ah, scenic 18th century America...

Hoagie has a can opener for some reason. Two boring facts, can openers first started being used long after the invention of the can, something which I suspect may be the purpose of it. Something I did not know is that the can did exist during the 18th century, but apparently the cans were of the type that would not work very well with our modern openers. Something about being thick. Meanwhile, did you ever hear about safety can openers? Instead of cutting open the top, they cut open the side in such a way to not create sharp edges.

I just feel like pointing that out since apparently a lot of people still use regular can openers, and there's just not any reason to. Although I admittedly don't know how the device compares to electric can openers and magnetic ones. I just know that you don't have to suffer.

Anyway, this is the The Adventurers Guild, not The Kitchen Guild. Hoagie can't enter bathrooms yet. They're locked. Guess people in the 18th century have people smoking opium in bathrooms much like people shoot up heroin in our time. Or something. So something I didn't realize ahead of time, each era is set at the same location. I'm surprised they went that way. A lot of time travel media forgets that it doesn't move across space too. It takes a cartoon to deal with that. I mean, if it was entirely realistic we'd see their bodies floating around in outer space...

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Dracula Unleashed - Surviving the Night

Written by Joe Pranevich

Last time out, I died. Alexander Morris came to London to unravel the mystery of his brother’s death during the events of the Dracula novel. Despite months of wasting time, falling in love, and doing everything except investigating that death, the situation in London has become frightening. Grisly murders and beheadings are now a regular fixture of the city, including bodies drained of blood. Yesterday, the death of Anisette’s father triggered Alexander to resume his investigation. In one day, we met Jonathan and Mina Harker, visited a pub named for Jack the Ripper, somehow received a Bowie knife by telegram, and bonked an insane person on the head in a nearby asylum. At the end of the night, we discovered our fiancée wandering the streets dressed in white and acting “sexy”. Rather than heading back to her place for some undead special time, she killed us. Game over.

I’ll be starting from scratch again this week. Obviously, I missed something last time– some clue, some event, or some item that would either have prevented Anisette from becoming a vampire or protected me from her. The only problem is that I have no leads. How am I going to tackle this?

I need a plan.