Tuesday 30 May 2017

Missed Classic: Planetfall - Won! And Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

Oh boy! Are we going to try something dangerous now?

Last week, we continued our Planetfall adventure and solved many of the game’s early mysteries: how to get food from the kitchen, how to cross a ravine using a ladder, and even how to fix malfunctioning communications equipment using color-coded chemicals. (Better than colored rods!) Despite not helping in any way, Floyd is growing on me and I increasingly see him as a fun sidekick. At the end of the last post, we had just worked out how to use an underground train to cross over to another base on a second island. What will we find inside?

I warned you last week, but it bears repeating: Planetfall is one of those adventure classics that you can only play once. Sure, go ahead and peek at the score graphic if you want, but if you ever plan to play this game, the spoilers that I’m going to spoil here may be best left unspoiled. If you have played already or don’t mind learning the truth, read on!

Thursday 25 May 2017

Dark Seed - Won!

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #4 : I’ve made it! By removing their spaceship and destroying the mirror, I’ve finally been able to trap the Ancients in their cursed dimension! The Keeper of the Scrolls provided me with pills in order to deal with the embryo in my head and even sent the beautiful librarian my way… Now if only someone could buy this house off my hands...

As I was suspecting last time, I was very close to the endgame and very far at the same time, because I was once again in a dead-end situation. Turns out you could put several items under the cell pillow and not just the pin, allowing you to successfully keep part of your inventory before having everything stolen from you. I would have loved to find that by myself but of course, I had to admit I was stuck once again and did look at the hints Ilmari gave my on my second gameplay post. His third hint in the “Jail” hint thread was that I could only put three things under the pillow. It meant I could put more than one thing! That’s kinda obvious I blame myself for not at least try to do this by myself.

Stupid pillow

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Fascination - Tramp Stamp on a Bare Buttock (Request for Assistance)

Written by Ilmari

Happened in the previous episode: While Doralice had thought that ice cubes were a great hiding place for an inhibition lowering drug, he hadn’t foreseen that his fling, Robaire de la Cafetiere, would consume the ice cubes, together with the dangerous substance, becoming then a mindless rapist. And although she had been clever enough not to hand out the other two vials of the same drug to a suspicious inspector in a wheelchair, she had been careless enough to contact Lou Dale, an erotic photographer, who had just took some photos of Kenneth Miller, son of Jeffrey Miller, the inventor of the dangerous drug. Gangsters hired by a crooked plastic surgeon, Peter “Doc” Hillgate”, had planted a bug on Lou’s phone and had at once captured Lou after Doralice made her phone call. And although Doralice was able to knock out Lou’s guard with a homemade gas bomb, she still hadn’t figured out that Doc had used Lou’s photos to switch Kenneth with a completely different guy

...and now she’s about to meet Kenneth Miller

Monday 22 May 2017

Missed Classic: Planetfall - Leavin’ on a Midnight Train to Lawanda

Written by Joe Pranevich

Which bed to sleep in tonight?

Last week, I kicked off my explorations of Planetfall, the sixth stop on the “Great Zork Marathon.” The game opened with a brief on-rails sequence where I was taunted by a petty superior officer for not cleaning the floors properly, but quickly became something very different when our starship blew up. I fled in an escape pod and crash landed in an abandoned military base on an unknown planet with only a spare towel and some tasty goo to survive with. Don’t panic! As I explored the base, I discovered many locked doors and elevators, earthquake damage, and a new best front: Floyd, a helpful but childish robot who runs off at odd times and likes to write on walls with crayons. As I ended my last post, night had just fallen and I retreated to an empty dormitory to sleep. I’m running out of food but I had just discovered a key to the lower elevators. That’s where I’ll start today.

But before I go, a word of advice: if you haven’t played Planetfall before, you may want to stop reading and pick this up. I won’t have any of the best spoilers in this post, but this is a game that is worth experiencing for yourself unspoiled. Another challenge I have is properly communicating the tone of the game. Much of what I have glossed over, the mundane exploration of the alien base mixed and the slow realization that you will die without rescue, creates a tension that adds to the solving of typical adventure puzzles. It’s well-written in a way that I doubt I can capture very well. I’m having a ton of fun and I hope you do as well.

Saturday 20 May 2017

Fascination - Aphrodisiac in Orifice

Written by Ilmari

High-class CEOs put their numbers in Who’s Who, low-class erotic photographers don’t

Thursday 18 May 2017

Dark Seed - Stranger Things

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #3 : I’ve finally met the strange being that’s sending me messages and clues from the Dark World, the Keeper of Scrolls. With her help, I’ll have to destroy the Ancient Race and save the world… and all of that before the Alien Embryo I have in my brain blows my head off!

Before starting this post I wanted to tell you that I’m pretty sure I’m really close to the end of the game, however I’ve hit another roadblock and considering I wanted to avoid using any more clues and try to figure out one or two things for myself in this game, it might lead to a kinda short final gameplay post. After last post, I’ve spent quite a lot of time running in circles in the game, utterly and completely stuck, before resorting to read the three hints Ilmari left me after my first gameplay post.

I have no idea what a Chanague Cointreauchet is but I’m pretty sure ANY wine from 1961 would be exactly my cup of tea.

Sunday 14 May 2017

Missed Classic 40: Planetfall - Introduction (1983)

Written by Joe Pranevich

When I was a kid, one of the boxed sets of games that my family picked up for me was the Zork Anthology, a 1994 collection of the what someone at Activision considered the “Zork” games. This package included the original Zork trilogy, Zork Zero, Beyond Zork, and… surprisingly… Planetfall. Looking back on this now, it’s clear not a ton of thought was put into this: the set didn’t include either the Enchanter series nor the ZorkQuest games. They probably didn’t intend to imply that that Planetfall existed within the Zork universe, but it was enough to lodge this particular misapprehension firmly in my brain for decades. When the time came for my marathon here, I added Planetfall to the list even though I knew better. Who knows? It might be connected after all.

Last time out, I took a break from my marathon to play Suspended, a dystopian science-fiction game and Infocom’s sixth title. 1983 marked a huge year for Infocom, a company that had never released more than two games per year suddenly had five. After Suspended came The Witness, a game that Ilmari reviewed last year, and then Planetfall. Although Ilmari already looked at The Witness, I wanted to come to Planetfall with the full Infocom experience so I also played and then wrote about my experiences with that game. You can find it as a special bonus post here. Spoiler: I do not like it as much as Ilmari did.

Planetfall is the first game by adventure gaming legend Steve Meretzky. We’ve seen his work (in various roles) on the Spellcasting series and Gateway; we’ll also be seeing him soon in Leather Goddesses and Rex Nebular, not to mention at least three more stops on the Zork marathon. He came to Infocom as a game tester and, thanks in large part to Planetfall, became one of their top designers. I’m thrilled to be able to experience his first game once again.

Friday 12 May 2017

Dark Seed - Dark City

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #2 : After all these weird clues, I’ve finally gained access to this strange dark alien world. It seems my predecessor in this house went crazy because of them, and I’m starting to worry if the horrible nightmares I’m having are just bad dreams or something more ominous… I’ll try to get to the bottom of this before these headaches kill me!

Since my last play post, I was able to find something else to do before moving on to day 2 : In the garage, I tried using the hand icon on the car to enter it but to no avail. It’s just that I was using the wrong icon. Simply “moving” in the car was enough to enter it. Now that I write about it, it kinda makes sense, but it proves that I have to be careful to use all the icons on things before dismissing something as useless. Entering the car, I can find a pair of gloves in the glovebox and… a radio! The clue from the library book told me to go to “tune to the right station” but all I can get is music. Maybe something else will happen on the radio later.

Honk if you want to find a purpose in this game!

Onward to day 2!

Monday 8 May 2017

KGB - Final Rating

Written by Torch

Well, here we are. My first attempt at applying the PISSED rating to an adventure game. I’m slightly awestruck and hope I won’t skew the scale too much or otherwise make a complete fool out of myself.

Without further ado, the categories:

Saturday 6 May 2017

Dark Seed - Groundhog Day

Written by Alfred n the Fettuc

Mike Dawson journal #1 : That’s it I’ve finally found the house of my dreams where I’ll be able to write my first best-seller. Funny how cheap it was. The real estate agent didn’t even try to negotiate when I lowered the price. It’s remote, calm and old, perfect for my needs. Now if I can only find some aspirin in order to remove this horrible headache I have since I’ve made this terrible nightmare…

The first minutes in Dark Seed perfectly gives the tone for the rest of the game. We begin with a quite jarring nightmare scene where aliens split Mike’s head open and put some kind of embryo in it. The Alien comparison is still accurate, even if this way is kinda even scarier than the facehuggers.

Even more horrifying : Mike’s moustache.

Friday 5 May 2017

Dune - Final Rating

Written by Reiko

I suspect Dune is going to be a mixed bag. While I certainly enjoyed its blend of story and strategy, it's a rather different sort of game than the usual kind of adventure game we see. Let's dive into the categories to break down what it did well or poorly and where the adventure scale doesn't really address its features.

Puzzles and Solvability

Right away, we have to consider the question of whether the interactions in Dune are really puzzles. If we consider that adventure games include dialogue puzzles, then perhaps they are, except that in most cases, there are no choices in the dialogues: I can choose to talk to someone or not, or ask them to join me or stay there, but if I'm speaking to the right person at the right time, then I'll get the next piece of information, and the story will advance: there are no choices about what to say.

With Gurney, getting directions to the next sietch from the Fremen.

Monday 1 May 2017