Thursday 31 December 2015

Castle of Dr. Brain - Mazes and Codes

Written by Reiko

Last time I programmed some robots and gathered some intriguing items. The wall behind the robot, which has finished its purpose, has opened, and I step through into... another elevator maze! This one's made of stone, though, which I think makes more sense, since the castle appears to be built into a mountain. At first, the stone pattern on the walls makes the corridors harder to understand visually, but I get used to it after a bit. Aside from that, the elevator interface is identical to the previous one. The maze area isn't any larger than the previous maze, but there are a lot more vertical passages linking the floors. I map carefully and soon come to the exit door, which leads out into the third floor hallway, the language hall.

I had to use a lot more colors and characters to identify all the vertical passages in this maze.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Castle of Dr. Brain -­ Robots and Logic

Written by Reiko

The second-floor corridor looks a lot like the first-floor corridor, complete with violent decorations. Below was a suit of armor; here there are some spears. Supposedly Dr. Brain is "throwing them out" because he "hates violence" but really, why leave them in a bin in a random corridor, then? Why not melt them down for the metal, or throw them into whatever gorge is being bridged by that bridge seen in the intro screen, or something?

Second floor hallway with random spears.

Monday 28 December 2015

Castle of Dr. Brain -­ Math and Mazes

Written by Reiko

Ringing the doorbell starts a game of Memory to unlock the door as the first puzzle. The panels above the door can be triggered, and (in Expert mode) also the lamps and flamingoes. The game triggers one item, then I have to repeat it, then it triggers two items starting with the same first one, and I have to repeat it, and so on. The final sequence is ten items long. On lower difficulty levels, the lamps or flamingoes aren't involved, and the sequence is shorter, 6 items on Novice and 8 on Standard. Finishing the puzzle opens the door and yields the "Memory Puzzle Plaque" (regardless of difficulty level -­ I played through on all three levels for the first puzzle to see the differences).

Winning a plaque doesn't mean as much on Novice level.

Friday 25 December 2015

Missed Classic 16: A Spell of Christmas Ice (1984)

Written by Joe Pranevich

A text adventure for Christmas! You shouldn’t have...

Merry Christmas! Last year at this time, we had only recently transitioned “The Adventure Gamer” from the Trickster-era to something new. As Christmas rolled around, we took a look at only our third “Missed Classic”, a nearly-unknown graphical adventure called Merry Christmas From Melbourne House. It was as much advertisement as game, but did it also set a precedent? Should we look at a Christmas game every year? I have no idea. They say it takes three to make a tradition, so let me introduce #2: A Spell of Christmas Ice.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Missed Classic: Dungeon Adventure - Won! (Barely)

By Ilmari

Looter's Journal, day 3 - I've found myself a new job - I am now the head executioner of the Dark Lord. Now I should just wait that some useful idiot finds the gem containing the mind of my Master, who shall rise again one day!

I am beginning to think that Level 9 got its name from the ninth level of hell, meant for betrayers of the worst kind. The game began with some clever puzzles, but then went quickly downhill with some really obtuse problems - and in the final stages I found out that at least the BBC version I was playing was bugged and I couldn't get the perfect ending. At least the graphical version corrected that fault, even if the silly puzzles persisted.

Where I was left in the previous post

Monday 21 December 2015

Castle of Dr. Brain - Introduction

Written by Reiko

The Castle of Dr. Brain (and the other Dr. Brain games) was one of my favorites as a kid. I was into numbers and puzzles, so while the adventure elements are very light, the variety of the puzzles, plus the trademark Sierra wacky humor, made them so much fun to play.

There's not much for story here: the Castle of Dr. Brain itself is just a setting for the wide variety of puzzles you face. You're unceremoniously dumped at the front door of the castle, and one puzzle after another awaits. The documentation will tell you that the goal of the game is to win a position as Dr. Brain’s position, but the game itself doesn’t tell you that until the end.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Willy Beamish - If At First You Don’t Succeed (Request for Assistance)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Is this the end for Horny the Frog?

William J. Beamish Journal #8 - I’m so close, I can taste it! Or is that frog leg batter coating the air? Gross! I got past the Tootsweet security guard and into Leona’s mansion on my brand new jet ski. Exploring this place has been a cinch since Leona is too busy doing “mom and dad stuff” to notice me. I know I’m close to getting Horny back, but the Chef here is brutal. Don’t worry, Horny, I’m coming for you...

Last week, we accomplished the impossible: we won the Frog Jumping competition! Well, strictly speaking, Gigi won but she came over to kiss Horny afterwards so that’s a lot like winning. But immediately after the contest, Tootsweet security guards rounded up all of the competition frogs to take them away to their edible destiny. Yes, the competition was nothing more than a front to ensure that Leona could eat the best frog legs on the planet. Horny managed to escape into the Tootsweet building, but even he was captured a short time later. Now, Willy is being held by a well-meaning security guard. How will we get out of this one? How can we rescue Horny in time?

Thursday 17 December 2015

Martian Memorandum - Final Rating

Written by TBD

It's time to determine the Final Rating of Martian Memorandum.

Puzzles and Solvability

In general, the inventory and environment puzzles of this game made sense, but some of them, even though they make sense on paper, were difficult due to lack of information. I'll discuss this in more detail in the “Interface and Inventory” section.

Some puzzles were rewarding when solved, like using the wrench on the magnet in the power plant.

Monday 14 December 2015

Missed Classic: Dungeon Adventure - Orc heads and rat tails

By Ilmari

Looter's journal, day 2 - Ma always told me not to eat any weird mushrooms, and boy was she wrong! Never have I felt so high in my life, walking on this golden path to a wonderland with giant ants and sleeping trolls. 

Last time I had just searched the countryside thoroughly, and when the sun started to go down, I went inside the dungeon, through the mouth of an orc statue, carved on the mountain. Now, Dungeon Adventure is one of those old-fashioned games, in which you don't want to stay too long in dark caverns - you are not eaten by a grue, but killed by a ghoul, this time. Getting light was pretty easy. I had a piece of a driftwood and dungeon room had a jet of flame, so all I had to do was light the wood. Problem is that the driftwood burns only for a finite number of turns, after which it is all gone. Thus, I haven't even been able to do everything I could in one go. Either I am going to find another light source somewhere or then I shall have to time my movements really carefully.

The trouble with such almost plotless games, based on nothing else but treasure seeking, is that there's no easy way to describe what has been happening. I have therefore decided to divide my account according to different areas I've been to,

Saturday 12 December 2015

Martian Memorandum - WON!

Tex Murphy Journal Entry #6: I did it! I solved the case and topped it off with a hot dog and beer at Weenie World. Now to go home and collect my fee. Oh, and I also found a Martian Memorandum, but that is neither important, nor was it vital to solving my case – honestly, I'm not sure why I bothered mentioning it...

When we last met our intrepid hero, he'd just spoken with local religious leader and all-around-nice-girl Deacon Hawke. She'd given us the address the the Martian colony that had been massacred by the Stanton Expedition. So that's where I headed next.

This game is insistent on making me sad about this place. It's working :(

Thursday 10 December 2015

Willy Beamish - Horny vs Turbofrog

Written by Joe Pranevich

A disgusting way to start your day!

William J. Beamish Journal #7 - We did it! We won the frog jumping competition! We had to cheat, but how else could we beat an impossibly fit German frog? But in the ensuing excitement, Horny got away and has been captured by Leona’s security guards. He’ll be frog legs very soon, unless I can escape from this security guard.

When we last left our hero, Willy had been saved from certain doom at the hands of a singing street gang by a group of Japanese tourist ninjas. This was following an evening where he fought off a vampire bat using a vacuum cleaner. When I started this game, I thought it would be domestic comedy, but it has certainly taken a turn for the surreal! After surviving all of those adventures, we are finally at the big day: the frog jumping competition! And actually, as I think about it, wasn’t the Nintari championship implied to be the focus of the game? It certainly feels like we’re getting close to the end, but I don’t think Nintari has even been mentioned since the first day.

Monday 7 December 2015

Martian Memorandum - Men are from Mars, Women have no... well, women are also from Mars

Tex Murphy Journal Entry #5: I found out a LOT of information from the two women I met on Mars (and I thought women were from Venus.) Jane told me plenty but Deacon Hawke was full of information. Not only that but I found a Martian Memorandum and some vital information on my client, Marshall Alexander.

We start today's episode with another flashback, where I repeated some more things I'd done earlier before reloading.


… I visited Dr Barkley, took his Orange Box (TM), asked him about everything, went to the Power Plant, spoke to “I'm a PC”, got the pass card, used it to get to the restricted area, took the wrench, used the magnet to get upstairs, got the hoverboard, spoke to Lowell, went to Big Dick's, got Big Dick Card, went to bathroom, took Blueprints, then instead of going to the office went back to visit Jane...

Now that Jane will give me more information, I ask her all my questions again.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Missed Classic 15: Dungeon Adventure (1983) - Introduction

By Ilmari

The Hygienic Adventure: Battle Against Bugs and Mould

Jubilation reigns in Minas Tirith!

With this interesting tidbit on late-Gondorian rulers begins the manual of the final game in Middle-Earth trilogy. The name of the new monarch of Minas Tirith seems rather un-Gondorian, but it does have a bit of a hobbit ring to. Think about it: Gamgee, Bilbo, Boffin, Chica Chubb, Jubilation. Yes, I am now convinced that a hobbit has ascended to the throne of the kings of West.

(Note from the editor: A concerned group of angry readers, led by a retired police officer, has protested that "Jubilation reigns" is in this context just a fancy way of saying that people of Minas Tirith are partying like hell. Yeah, could be, but I still like my theory better.)

Thursday 3 December 2015

Martian Memorandum - There and Back Again: A P.I.'s tale

Tex Murphy Journal Entry #4:  I've spoken to Big Dick and been locked in his office. Fortunately I found a vent and escaped. After questioning other citizens of Mars I realised I needed to go back to Big Dick's of...

RELOADING... ... ...

Before going to Big Dick's office, I question the other citizens of Mars, then I go back to Big Dick's office and realise I need more...


Before I leave Earth via the smuggler's base I return to the jungle for a seemingly innocuous and nonsensically buried newspaper advertisement. This ad somehow opens up many new avenues of investigation. I'm sure I'm now on the right track in my search for Alexis Alexander.

Last time I controlled our hero, Tex Murphy, I was killed by saying the wrong things to Big Dick.

So I went for my usual 'systematically try each possible option of dialogue until one works' process.

The way I do it made this the easiest dialogue 'puzzle' to solve.

I started with Response 1, then chose Response 1, then Response 1 again, and I'd suddenly won the dialogue on my first attempt! Thumbs up for Murphy's System for Dialogue Organisational Success! I should trademark MSDOS immediately.

Well, that was easy.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Missed Classic: Adventure Quest - Won! and Final Rating

By Ilmari

Yonder and Back Again for Tea, by Gumbo Baggins, Chapter 4: Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You to Bog - Hack It Off Instead

"A large skunk ape was seen trying to enter the royal palace at Minas Tirith last afternoon. The hairy beast, smelling of rotten plant life, kept making noises that sounded almost human, and an onlooker was sure to have heard the words 'I vanquished the Black Lord', although no sane person would have believed that this creature, covered in mud, peat and muck, could have been human, dwarf, hobbit or elf. The poor animal was taken back to the nearest swamp, where it could be seen slowly taken by the gentle skeletal arms of its fellow apes, rising from the quagmire."

I have to admit that the final sections of the game have been really boring. After a weird but promising start and an interesting and at times even exciting middle game it all just fizzled to nothingness in the end.

In case you wanted to see moor pictures *runs from tomatoes*