Sunday 31 January 2016

Conquests of the Longbow – Bring the Boys Back Home

Written by Alex

In screenwriting there is an axiom that every scene needs conflict. In other words, the writer should never make things easy for the protagonist. Steven Spielberg was the master of this. Jurassic Park, the Back to the Future trilogy and the Indiana Jones movies keep viewers on the edge of their seats by ratcheting up the tension: Right when you think the heroes are going to get away with their latest adventure, another obstacle gets thrown in their way. It can get ridiculous, but it makes for one hell of an entertaining thrill ride.

These movies also dispensed with elaborate backstories, which are more appropriate in books than on-screen. Think about the opening text crawls of the Star Wars movies: Everything you need to know is in there, and no time gets wasted getting to the action in medias res.

These same general rules can go for any type of fiction, including computer games. And it sure seems like Christy Marx and her colleagues know what they’re doing. Not only does Conquests of the Longbow drop the player into the thick of things sans overlong flashbacks, something I praised in my first gameplay post. Robin’s missions follow suit: He wakes up, and right away there’s a conflict. And solving it is anything but a cakewalk.

Thursday 28 January 2016

Missed Classic 17: Deadline (1982)

By Ilmari

There are adventure games. And then there are detective adventure games. If we followed the historical logic of the name “adventure games”, we might as well call them “deadline games”.

Don't leave your doors locked, if you don't want to get murdered

Sure, there were adventure games with detectives and crimes even before Deadline (we’ve even seen one of them in the past). But Deadline was most likely first adventure game with the serious intent on solving, not puzzles, but crimes and mysteries (and yes, I definitely wait for the first commenter, who mentions some crucial early mystery game, which I have missed and which did all that I said Deadline does).

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Free D.C.! - Do Not Forsake Me Oh my Darling

By Ilmari

Avery Zedd Journal # 3: No matter how strange it might sound, I’ve managed to get a new friend in this horrid Zoo. Of course, Harry is not a real human, but a subhuman, but sure is a lot more humane than most of humanity right now. My search for Detectron parts has also been positive and I’ve got only few more things to tick on my Pending Escape -list. Here’s for the eventual freedom!

Everyone loves Dan Quayle

Last time I had just managed to find my first Detectron part, but no other avenue of progress appeared to be left. This all changed when I noticed an important thing about the movement in Zoo. You see, finding exits isn’t really simple in the game - often it seems just a matter of trial and error, or so I thought initially. But then I noticed that in case of southbound movement the game helpfully draws a blue line to indicate a potential exit. Often this line takes up whole of the lower limit of the viewscreen, but sometimes only parts of it - thus, there were many potential exits I had missed, simply because I hadn’t paid enough attention to visual clues and had tried in the wrong part of the screen.

Sunday 24 January 2016

Questprobe: The End

Did the Chief Examiner ever save his people?

Scott Adams’s Questprobe is one of the most ambitious adventure game projects ever attempted. The goal was to release twelve games and twelve comic books over four years. Each game had to attract new players, but also build on the previous ones in terms of characters and puzzle complexity. Each new comic had to expand on the story of the Chief Examiner as he struggled to save his doomed race. The whole mess was years ahead of its time: it would be more than two decades before another company tried to publish episodic adventure games on such an ambitious schedule. Unfortunately, the changing game industry took its toll on Adventure International and the Questprobe series was cancelled after only three games. Even without new games, the story of the Chief Examiner was picked up by later Marvel writers and brought to its conclusion. In this special “ending” post, I’m going to take a look at how Marvel ended this series as well as speculate a bit on “What If” the series had continued. There’s no gameplay here!

I want to stress that the following is the “official” ending to Questprobe, but not the one intended by Scott Adams and his team. Scott has modestly insisted that they did not have an ending planned out, nor was he thinking on the games more than one ahead. I’m not sure that I buy that exactly, but let’s see what Marvel has in store for us.

Saturday 23 January 2016

Conquests of the Longbow – The Hunchback of Sherwood Forest

Written by Alex

Wonder Twin powers, activate!

Conquests of the Longbow is broken up into separate days, but unlike the Quest for Glory series, the player has no control over when to end the days, nor is there any indication that time is passing. I generally have no issue with this, and Longbow moves at a brisk pace. This also makes it easier to write these posts. The only downsides of this episodic structure are narrative, in that it seems silly to do only one thing and then call it a night, and personal, in that I can’t escape the feeling that I triggered the end of the day without completing all that there is to do. I’m quite confident that Christy Marx and company have not created a game full of Sierra Walking Dead Scenarios™, so I won’t be too obsessive about saving and reloading. However, I just want to experience all that this game has to offer.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Free D.C.! - Living in Harmony

By Ilmari

Avery Zedd Journal, #2: D.C. is sure a looney place, now, with everything empty and crumbling down! I’ve interacted with the locals, who sure are not very helpful - I guess they just don’t recognise real charm when they face it. Luckily I shot a little kid - long story, I’ll tell you later - and obtained my first part of Detectron. I am sure I’ll break free out of this facility in no time!

Time to start this hilarious show again

Last time I had just met the man I was thawed to apprehend, doctor Valerion, but instead of capturing him, I decided to join his rebellion against the evil robots keeping the human race under their iron thumb. My first task was to gather parts of a big gun called Detectron.

Monday 18 January 2016

The Poetic Whodunit - Where the Story of Detectives Began

By Ilmari

I am soon about to begin playing Maupiti Island, which belongs to a genre of detective adventure games. This genre has some distinct characteristics, which separate it from other adventure games, and while we have seen some of them appear in games like Colonel’s Bequest, I thought I should still take a look of the first proper detective adventure, Infocom’s Deadline. But before that, I wanted to further point out the original literary source of many cliches in detective adventures. No, I am not talking about Sherlock Holmes, but Edgar Allan Poe and his detective stories.

I am sure someone will eventually introduce us to this beloved cocaine taking violinist

Saturday 16 January 2016

Free D.C.! - Once Upon a Time

By Ilmari

Avery Zedd Journal, #1: Capital of USA has sure changed from the last time I saw it - killer robots and jungle everywhere. I’ve been forced to track down a maniac who’s been killing some robots. Turns out the maniac is actually quite a nice fellow and we share a common goal: we both want to get the hell out of this place!

Little did I know what to expect when I volunteered to play this game
One thing’s for sure: the game doesn’t even pretend to be great art, and the verdict on whether it is even fun entertainment is still on hold. The tongue-in-a-cheek attitude continues from the manual to the game itself, as is evident even from the intro. Unfortunately, the biggest laugh was caused by something that I assume producers weren’t thinking to be funny.

Thursday 14 January 2016

Conquests of the Longbow – Dreams of Maid Marian

Written by Alex

As I booted up Conquests of the Longbow, I knew I was in for a treat. Not only due to the pretty graphics and excellent music, but because of the game’s writing and presentation. Right away, Longbow frames the background story in a clear, efficient, and creative way.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Willy Beamish - Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

Willy is the Nintari Champion!

Well, this is it. We’ve reached the end of the line for Willy Beamish. Ten gameplay posts and one “Request for Assistance” later, it’s just about time to discuss how the game did on our PISSED rating scale. Are you excited? I know I am. I never know how these are going to go before I start writing. But before we get to that, I want to quickly discuss two more things: the hint book and the Sega CD release.

Sunday 10 January 2016

Game 65: Free D.C.! (1991) - A. B. and C.

By Ilmari

A clay figure? What next, a game based on Captain Scarlet?

I had never heard of the game, when I volunteered for it, and after doing some research on its producers, I am still not sure, whether I should look forward to the experience.The company producing Free D.C.! was called Cineplay. It is no wonder if no one recognises the name, since in addition to Free D.C.!, they published only one game, a presidential election simulation Power Politics (1992), before quickly fading away to obscurity.

Friday 8 January 2016

Willy Beamish - WON!

Written by Joe Pranevich

Time to make some frog legs?

William J. Beamish Journal #9 - We did it! With the help of a bit of elbow grease (and some of the real stuff), I was able to rescue Horny and his friends from Chef Childish. Mrs. Humpford managed to catch me, but then it was time for Turbofrog to return the favor by rescuing ME. It was really cool! Dad was kidnapped and we had to break into the Sludgeworks to rescue him! Thanks to my trusty yo-yo, Mrs. Humpford and Mr. Stoole were flushed down the drain and I saved Frumptom. Everyone was so happy! Winning the Nintari Championship was just the icing on the cake.

In our last post, Horny had been frognapped and taken to the kitchen of the evil (or at least culinarily questionable) Chef Childish. Although they were right in front of me, I could not find any way to rescue the frogs. What’s a Beamish to do?

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Game 64: Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood – Introduction (1991)

Written by Alex

Maid Marian. Little John. Friar Tuck. The wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. King Richard the Lionheart. The Merry Men. Even in the 21st century, we all know the characters and the stories. And of course, there’s the man himself: Robin Hood, the legendary outlaw, swordsman, archer, and ladies’ man. He wields a pretty mean quarterstaff, too, and really loves the color green.

Robin Hood memorial in Nottingham. Photo by Olaf1541. He looks kind of like Link, doesn’t he?

Monday 4 January 2016

Castle of Dr. Brain - Final Rating

Written by Reiko

Some people might say that this game doesn't even really belong on this blog, as it's mostly puzzles rather than an adventure, but enough people were enthusiastic about adding it to the list, so let's see how well it stacks up on the rating scale. Personally, I had a lot of fun playing it, although some of that is certainly bolstered by nostalgia.

Saturday 2 January 2016

Castle of Dr. Brain - Won!

Written by Reiko

We're finished with the codes, and now the third maze of the game awaits. The walls of this third elevator are painted to look like space, apparently, while the elevator itself still looks like brown stone. The starry walls blend together so it's hard to see which way the corridors go from the visual information. In fact, it's weirder than that. Facing a wall directly displays a green sphere, but walls on the left display a bit of pink and walls on the right display a bit of yellow. An opening displays a wisp of white, like a galaxy, but of course when you get closer, there's nothing there at all. Once you see this pattern, it's easier to understand the walls, but it doesn't make any actual sense.

The wall to the left always has a pink dot, even if it looked like a white galaxy from farther away.