Wednesday 2 December 2020

Legacy - Final Rating

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

German Ad, "The Nightmare Has Begun", as opposed to the American ad, Home is where the heart stops...why did no one buy this again?

At the beginning of this game, back in the comments, because Voltgloss did the introduction, I said this was the best of a certain selection of horror games featured in one issue of Game Informer. Now, I don't remember precisely what those games were, but the ones I do remember are D, Sweet Home*, Alone in the Dark, Phantasmagoria*, Blood, and Splatterhouse. Of those, I haven't played D and the ones with an asterisk for five minutes. All of those games are better than Legacy - Realm of Terror. I'm going to go out on a limb and say when I do finish those two games, I'm going to find them better. Now I could be wrong, it feels like I've been playing this since the day I was born and now my opinion has sharply declined.

Another German ad. That tagline is also trash, so I didn't bother with the rest

But at the end of it, I see a good game buried here. Behind the pre-rendered walls and the feeling that I'm going to break this game somehow, I can see a situation that would have made this game genuinely amazing. You know, an adventure portion that's fun, and not just incredibly obvious puzzles peppered with timing puzzles and bizarre red herrings. There's a whole bunch of conflicting design choices like that. They don't really work together. The RPG elements drag down the adventure elements, because you get hurt clicking on items you don't know are bad to click on. Don't really know why clicking on toilets is a bad thing, but a random worm that just pops out really makes me enjoy figuring out what I did wrong. Then there's the obvious Poe connection, but really, it feels like a really bad adaptation of a third-rate Lovecraftian writer. Someone like Clark Ashton Smith or August Derleth, or at least, my experience with them.

Hear me out on what Legacy really is...a proto-survival horror game. You know, like Sweet Home was part of the inspiration for Resident Evil, Legacy was part of the inspiration for Alone in the Dark...except it came out later and somehow looks better and worse at the same time. Point is, this is still before anyone ripped off AitD properly. Of course, now its 2020 and you've got a good 30 games that play like AitD, so you don't really need to slum it in weird proto ones like this. Still, as a horror RPG few games surpass it, probably because no one's ever tried. Its still fun...ultimately...if you don't mind some weird design choices.

Pictured, Morpheus Kitami after finishing the game twice, 2020, colorized

I'm not one to criticize someone for not adhering to some supposed limitation of cosmic horror. Ktulu was once beaten with a boat and Nyarlathotep would run a school bus off the road in a car from the '30s, because he's classy that way. I'm more concerned that these big, epic events all feel like nothing. Alberoth just sort of leaves, Melchior I walk past, and Belthegor decides to leave because someone pelted him with a few wind spells. This is just a kaiju movie that never started. There's nothing that really feels like a final boss or even a final triumph. I just sort of win and apparently the police are baffled. Not surprising, considering this place's probably has a bodycount that exceeds several wars.

Special Forces (1992)

Now, before I go deeper into the game, I'd like to point out there's one very big falsehood surrounding this game. I actually consider myself lucky to find out for certain. It isn't so much as Legacy was made by Magnetic Scrolls, but that the remnants of Magnetic Scrolls were used as building blocks for Legacy. The credits credit Magnetic Scrolls as one entity, all in roles that could be chalked up to the coding. RPG System Design, the Windowing System, Adventure Design, Programming. This shows I'm not just being crazy, people who actually know about the company say its unlikely that anyone apart from one worked on the game. I want to point out that the only reason why you'd ever know that Magnetic Scrolls had a hand in this is if you checked the manual. Its not in-game, its not in-box. They certainly didn't write the game, that's Stephen Hand, who never wrote another RPG again. In the manual, the manual says Microprose, not Magnetic Scrolls. We'll ignore that it also says that of Megatraveller 2, its only an ad.

Again, I want to get this point across, this is not Magnetic Scrolls designing this game, this is Microprose with Magnetic Scrolls's old disused organs, maybe Microprose wearing Magnetic Scrolls's skin as a coat. And that's the most morbid this game is ever going to get.

Legacy is the brainchild of one Jim Bambra, who you probably don't know, but might have played one of his games at one point. Prior to video game development, he handled pen and paper games, he wrote books for Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Star Wars RPG and Fighting Fantasy. He also wrote for a few magazines, most notably Dragon magazine...and one of the reviews I could find was for Star Wars RPG. Prior to this Bambra worked on Special Forces, which was fine, but more interesting as a stepping stone for later shooters. Afterward, he would work exclusively on non-RPGs, shooters, strategy games and one racing game. Of note is Fields of Glory and The Great Escape. From what I understand the latter is probably one of the worst games of all time. Its safe to say even if he didn't actually write anything in-game, he had an extensive hand in plot's development.

Stat system, Too much of this is dead weight

Given the amount of experience he has in the field, you'd think he make a pretty good RPG, right? Considering we are talking about someone who might possibly be responsible for finishing off Magnetic Scrolls and spitting on John Sturges's legacy...well. One entire chunk of the stat tree seems unnecessary. The only advantage to the strength tree is additional health. Lift seems unnecessary, at least, the vase can be picked up with minimum lift, I don't see anything else being heavier. Brawling is useless too. There is not a single point in which you'll want to fight with your fists. Its also not clear what a club weapon is, as basically everything that can be identified as a weapon has a blade. I know a bottle and a bat are clubs, but what about a poker, ax or spear? Pretty sure pokers and spears are piercing weapons and axes deal cuts by blunt force. "Force" seems useful at first, but points in that would be better served in mechanical or electronic, because those skills are very close to being necessary. And they don't hurt.

I wonder if this shot is comparable to something in one of the film adaptations of The House of Usher

Now, towards the end of the manual there's a short story, which in-universe is a travelogue written by Edgar Allen Poe, as a strange encounter in the house of his friend, Miles Mayhew. Now, there's a couple of problems with this, which is why I didn't read it, one, I own the whole of Poe's fiction, if I want to read Poe, I can do that, same with anyone, it's in the public domain. Two, the manual asserts that "the house", I.E., Winthrop Mansion, was the inspiration for The House of Usher. Everyone and their dog brings up some famous figure so they can be the inspiration for the big story. Here's an idea, After visiting Winthrop Mansion, Poe was inspired to write Lionizing, or The Scythe of Time. Which if you haven't read Poe's humorous works, is about a guy with a big nose who writes about big noses and someone so dumb she gets her head cut off in a clock tower. Its better than it sounds. Its better than whatever they wrote anyway. After all, an elder god with the nickname Old Nosey seems fitting Lionizing's case.

Yuck or good, you decide

Slightly further in the manual, a short self-congratulatory statement from Bambra. I wasn't aware this kind of self-praise was possible without breaking parts of one's body. Mostly about how the townsfolk are terrified about going out at night because Ken Gordon is going to eat their soul but garlic wards him off. Well, any member of the team, but I think Gordon is the one who was in service to a demon. The game was originally going to use bitmap graphics, the 3D was decided to be a better choice. Before they found out that the programmers were the most horrifying option. He says the rooms and hallways are something else. I actually agree about that, but not in the way he was hoping. Its also brought up that if monsters looked good, they adjusted it, because they were going for yuk or agh. I'll give him that, it looks realistic, and the monsters look like monsters.

Nothing like realistic sleeping patterns in a video game without useable toilets

There's one last subject I want to bring up before the rating. Resting, eating and the sanity system. Throughout the game the player can sleep and eat. The manual says this is necessary, but I didn't have to rest the entire time I played and hunger shows up whenever the game feels like it. The game says that bad things would happen if I didn't, but I don't feel like testing that. Resting heals you, but you only get the option once in a while. Eating usually happens after resting, but sometimes for no reason. ts all very bizarrely realistic. Similarly, the sanity system. Supposedly if you run around hungry and tired the next new spooky monster you meet makes you go full Jack Torrence. This is actually a more Lovecraftian system than Call of Cthulhu, the only people who went nuts upon seeing Cthulhu in Lovecraft's stories were tired, hungry and cold. The only time my character went nuts was the first zombie, and then the first lurker. Then it was just a Tuesday.

Puzzles and Solvability

I feel like the biggest question I had while playing this game was an inability to understand why anyone thinks of this as an adventure game. I find myself sometimes questioning what an action adventure game is most of the time, since by definition, that means its an adventure game in places. This also applies to survival horror games, its not enough to survive, I have to solve the soup cans even if its stupid and it would be a better game without it. Having to decide whether or not to use a M16 or a car on an enemy is not a puzzle, but having to use a sniper rifle is. Assuming you're not forced to. Its one of those things that sound stupid without seeing it in context. Similarly, using keys on doors isn't exactly a puzzle. Nor is using a box of matches to light something. Honestly, it makes sense looking back at it considering Bambra's experience in RPG design, he thought of things in a much more straight-forward manner, but that doesn't make it interesting.

Could have used a lot more of these. A lot more.

But as to the actual puzzles...well...If I had been going through this the first time it isn't obvious how to handle some monster protection items. The items have to be in your hand to function and nowhere does the game say that you have to do that. Similarly, its not obvious that you have to left click on a lot of items in the "panoramic" scenes (what I called the pre-rendered scenes) seeing as 90% of the game doesn't involve that and the other 10% is moving things in your inventory. The rest of it basically boils down to, if you don't know what to do, there's a note that will tell you. If you still don't know, just keep screwing around on the pre-rendered screens. Although I think its particularly cruel to throw in red herrings in a game that makes so many early items incredibly useful later. It takes until the endgame for the severed head to be useful, why not the horned skull? The game's so easy that the deceptiveness is far crueler than in a game that usually screws with you or is otherwise hard. Then there's the timing puzzles, which given the game's control scheme were really weird. Consider that they were the only two puzzles that I got wrong, because I assumed I had to use an item. Having the right idea, but doing it the wrong way in an adventure game just leaves a bitter taste. Especially when it matters very little from any point of view but technical.

Picture very related

Still, its hard to be satisfied by any completed puzzle. Especially since as a RPG you can just pick up a really good weapon and armor from the 4th floor and solve most of the "puzzles" with the use of violence. Since the rest are basically just told to you.

Score: 1

Interface and Inventory

The interface is very modern for the most part. The movement could be done through either the QWEASD cluster, or through the mouse. There are no other keyboard shortcuts that I could find. Might have been useful to get a couple of attack keys. Controlling the character is never really an issue, slowdown happens when a monster or a lot of items are on-screen, but that's helpful or your own fault. However, combat shows the cracks in the interface. Depending on the item, it sometimes has a smaller than expected hitbox. You have to be real precise with dragging items even in the best of times. This isn't helpful in combat since you might want to pick up a note or reload a shotgun. The last thing you want to do is pick up nothing or drag around the suitcase.

Combat itself is rather simple, except when it isn't. Most of the time, combat is about hitting an attack key and waiting for your attack bar to recharge. There's also the aim function, which is useful if there are two things in your sights and you want to aim for one of them. But if there isn't a monster within sight the aim cursor just sort of stands there and you can't pick up items. I don't remember how you actually return to the normal cursor, because whenever it happened to me I was so eager to get rid of the cursor I forgot to write it down.

 I couldn't find where I put a screenshot of this happening, so here's a portal

One of the bigger problems with the interface is that if you use an item on something outside your inventory, and it doesn't do anything to what you used it on, you just throw it. This is still a very annoying failure on the game's part. Depending on the room or location, you can throw an item behind something and never retrieve it. I would wager its certainly one of the most bizarre way to render the game unwinnable this blog has seen so far.

As for the inventory itself, I have four single slots, and I can carry around two items in my hands. There are other equipable items, but there's always an ideal item in a particular slot. Now, the problem is in order to get any kind of carrying capacity, you have to wield the briefcase in one hand, which gives the player 16 tiles of space, but the key point is that this space can carry items bigger than one tile. In theory, you can carry every necessary item at once, in practice, the adventure game aspects don't happen in a vacuum. The problem is that non-vacuum. Because Legacy, by nature of being good at horror, makes you think you might need those items later. The thing don't. Not really. The magic crystals, certainly, but the guns, the medikits, the food? I had at least 10 medikits at the end of the game, in addition to nearly every food item and around 30-40 rounds in the mid-range guns.

It's highs are very good, which is why its failures seem that much more pronounced.

Score: 5

Story and Setting

The story is fine at first glance. Elias Winthrop, a dark patriarch using his descendants as human sacrifices to bring in a trio of elder gods. But the thing you think about it, some elements of this plot makes less sense. Not what you think I'd be going for. Throughout the game there are these green, floaty tentacle things called lurkers, which are the creatures that hold open the portals to other realms, the portals the head elder god needs to open the portal to led him into the human world. The game never explained to me why I should be screwing around in the Ethereal Realm instead of just destroying his forces in the human world and killing the lurkers.

Then we have little things. Some of the character's stories don't really make any sense. Carl Winthrop, who is just sort of here, doesn't really contribute anything to the plot and at some point I have to kill him, or someone with his model, to get a robe. Then I can go back to the floor he's on and watch him walk around, forever. Does killing him here do anything? The events don't really add up. Further, there's yet another Winthrop according to a note I find, and that doesn't seem to be Carl. Speaking of notes, there's a series of them by one Marcus Roberts, supposedly ending in his death...but the way his plot bounces around is weird. He goes into the masuoleum...bringing out the zombies inside, then returns to fight a shotgun totting zombie. Considering that the zombie is glued to the opening hallway the entire time, what is going on? That's not getting into the amount of people who died here, and yet no one cares. Because it treats itself with a degree of seriousness, it feels weird that no one cares and it's never brought up.

The house itself feels just realistic enough to feel like a real place, but not realistic enough to fill that in. I realize that the Winchester Mansion is a place, but that has one bathroom working and dozens of ghost traps, not a small smattering on the 2nd and 3rd floors. This is mentioned in the opening room that most of the furniture was taken to settle the estate, but that leaves everywhere barren. Libraries are just two bookcases and a chair. There's no kitchen. A handful of bedrooms are beds and a set of drawers. There are a selection of panoramic scenes, but after the opening hallway, they're all lame. There's some kind of dining room on the first floor. It looks more like a family's dining room except for a dumbwaiter... which leads to nowhere. Let's not get into the Ethereal Realm or the other places that the game mentions but don't matter.

A minor quibble, but the in-game writings are inconsistent in regards to floor naming, even though this is the European version. As an American, I'm used to 1st being the ground floor, but I can live with 1st being the 1st above the ground so long as it is handled consistently. I do not enjoy having to parse whether or not there's a 5th floor in a game that hasn't used the American system the entire game.

Nothing here is good beyond a first glance. You'd be better off watching something starring Vincent Price or Peter Cushing.

Score: 3

Sound and Graphics

Firstly, I want to go over the music. In my spare time I listen to the kind of music that feels like it should be in one of these games but isn't. Dark ambient, darkwave, that kind of stuff. I also have listened to a lot of old DOS music in my time. So, when I say this, I say this in the kind of deathly seriousness I generally don't go for.

Anyone could make the soundtrack to this game. This is what someone's first ambient tracks would sound like. A primary melody over an atmospheric backing track. Generic piano music, random note danger music, and a track that goes too high into the upper range of notes and just hurts the ears. Three people are credited with bringing to life the music, so I don't know if its the actual writer of it, John Broomhall, primarily known for X-COM's music, or the audio programmers Paul Tonge and Andrew Parton. The reasoning on the later two, well, the sounds are all pretty crap. The shotgun sounds like a fart sound, and generally everything except spells and a few monster sounds are all just there. I think I might have heard the shotgun as a bouncing sound in Commander Keen, weird. On Broomhall, well, I don't see how you could arrange these in a way that sounds interesting. Curiously, it isn't like its these guys first attempts, they're credited on earlier games than this. I guess the Karcist just sucks the musical talent out of people.

Every NPC except the Karcist is basically this

Graphically, well, the 2D graphics are nice, but too dark. The character graphics have one problem, despite the different characters, the items and skeleton underneath all have to fit on every character, so the women have unrealistically broad shoulders and the men have very wide coats. The cutscenes, well, I can't see anything. Maybe I just have a dark monitor, but I have to work with what I have. I don't see the point about it, but since Bambra's first game involved him doing the intro sequence, I have a funny feeling that might have been all him plotting it up.

The 3D aspect in a nutshell

As for the 3D, the real high mark are the monsters. Everything except the shotgun-totting zombie look nice, and even that's probably just because you're not supposed to run up to him with the flashlight on. Its hard to do Lovecraftian creatures right and I think these were done well. That's about all the good I have to say. The NPCs all look very unwell. Very, very unwell. They looks weirdly puffed up. Everything else looks unfinished, empty and rather bland. It is very realistic for the time they had before Myst came out...but it's just a wall, maybe the odd bookcase or chair.

The monsters can't save the rest of it.

Score: 1

Environment and Atmosphere

This feels a difficult subject. Its hard to tell when you spend 22 hours just walking up and down the house. I wouldn't want to live here, Elias Winthrop and Dark Triumvirate aside...and all that other stuff. For one, I enjoy having a house with bathrooms on each floor, and a kitchen. Sometimes people have been known to eat food that isn't stale biscuits and moldy TV dinners. Further, there are a lot of things this big mansion doesn't have that all mansions should have. There's no dining hall, the closest thing is some servant's dining hall where the head popped out. Mansions have dining halls. Why are you going to live in a mansion if the dining arrangements look more like some Average Joe's Thanksgiving? Should have a waiting room too, ball room, study/library, den, gaming room. Like Billiards or Bridge, not SNES. Not sure if it applies to American mansions, rather than British ones, but maybe a gun room? A garden, servant's quarters, another door outside. That's a fire hazard, not to mention the servants have to enter and exit through the main entrance. Oh, and those crazy people too, don't want to bring them in through the main entrance.

I feel like some area in the asylum is an administrative section, but I couldn't tell you which one, it did have a waiting room...a crap one. I feel like the asylum's rather empty beyond some required cells. Which is totally unique among all the floors! The museum suffers a similar problem, there are a few exhibits, then items on the ground hidden behind bizarre force fields. Then there's the temple, which was just Egyptian flavored vomit with Jewish occultism for some reason. The basements all feel right, yet wrong at the same time. So these Sea Daemons just sit around in tiny caves with basically nothing there, huh? The only thing that felt right was the mausoleum. It had a very nice crypt feeling, probably because I was only there for a much shorter length of time compared to the rest of the areas. Come to think of it, there weren't dozens of coffins in there for all the zombies.

Someone smart in the comments is going to point out that the Winchester Mansion is a thing, and a very strangely designed place I would like to point out that the Winchester Mansion has more than 10 interesting things in it, and would make for a much more interesting experience than this...I hope.

Now, what's more of a me problem than a game problem is tied to a specific sentence. Robert Prentiss, waxes on in most of his messages about "I am the One". Now from a general perspective, we're pretty sure that Prentiss is dead, and later we see the act happen. His insistence of his great magical skill makes him come off like an idiot at best, a figure of comic relief at worst. From my perspective, Robert Prentiss is the angel of your desire, and nothing will keep him from you bed. There is a band I frequently listen to called Inkubus Sukkubus, they have a song called I Am the One, on at least two of their albums, their releases are weird. The gist of it is that the singer, a female vampire, is ready for some red hot vampire loving, whatever that means to the lady vampire. It's like an inside joke, except I'm the only one who will ever get it. Its the only feeling I got uncovering the mystery of the mansion, to be honest. Oh, no, another one of my extended family is a crazy psychopath, that's 4 against 18 in favor of the crazies. Whatever shall I do? Anyway...

Generic spookyness, far underscoring the kind of gothic films the authors saw and the stories they read. 


Dialog and Acting

A typical dialog screen

All the characters did feel unique and mostly well-written...but...why did the game need them? They're one of the best parts of the game...but they didn't really do anything. Like maybe the Karcist's dialog was necessary, but the rest? Eh. With the exception of one piece of dialog, everything was explained better in notes, further, you can reread notes. The only way you're redoing a dialog is if you reload. The only exception was ironically enough, the one dialog that would have been better served as a note. What, you're telling me that a series of ghosts that attack on sight and are seemingly controlled by one antagonist or another, has a friendly? Eh...

It's a nice system, but could it have purpose?


That's 1+5+3+1+2+2, which gets me 14/0.6=23.333. I'm gonna call that 24. I'm still maintaining that the game is good, just not as an adventure game...RPG...Dungeon Master-clone...survival horror. It's better than the sum of its parts. Laukku has the winning guess at 35, so yay on him for having the lowest score.

Maybe I'm wrong. After all, I only spent 44 hours playing this game, tried getting through it half a dozen times before. Let's see what the old magazines and a few modern reviewers had to say. Before I go through this, I'd like to just say that instead of just looking through Mobygames summary of things, I decided to actually go through them. All of them, not just the ones from these specific issues. I can also tell you two things that I didn't know before, one, there was a collector's edition from Radio Shack, US-only, but that's okay, its just some weird "creepy" box. Two, Legacy didn't exactly sell. I couldn't find any sales charts with Legacy on it. At all, so I think its not surprising why Magnetic Scrolls disappeared after this, assuming my assertation that Magnetic Scrolls was already dead is untrue. It's not surprising that they retired the husk, since I found that Les Manley: Lost in LA got on a few sales charts. Imagine tanking that bad and not being shareware.

I think there's a reason for that. On the adventure side, we have Alone in the Dark and The 7th Guest. Both of those games are better than this. Probably others I'm forgetting. On the RPG side we have...uh...well I guess it is unique, since Elvira and Veil of Darkness don't scream modern horror RPG.

The "camera" system, note the unfinished version of Ellen

Also, previews, one from PC Review brings up a remote camera system, which allows the player to see things that happen in areas of importance. I think we've found out why the game feels unfinished, they wasted their time on trying to make Night Trap for the floppy disk generation. There are even two of the panoramic rooms that didn't make it into the final game in the half I'm not showing you. Some German magazine claims there's an artifact of this in the released game. Must be in the German version only. I played the later multi-lingual CD release.

Oh, right, reviews of Legacy. Well, Legacy's lack of a legacy isn't due to market penetration, pretty much every magazine had an ad and a review, and the ones that didn't were missing roughly the area it should have been in. Well, except Dragon, but at the time period it should be reviewed, they changed reviewers to one Sandy Petersen, who keeps praising all these ID software and Apogee games, while insulting their competition. I dunno, I think this Petersen guy might be biased, but I don't have any evidence to support that theory. I can't possibly think of a reason why Dragon's staff might have a conflict of interest or anything like that...

Computer Gaming World had a review that boiled down to little more than an ad for the game, with a few token criticisms thrown in, like the dull hallways. Those familiar with the magazine will be disappointed to note that it isn't Scorpia doing the reviewing. The other two English reviews I found bring up similar points to myself, but are generally more positive overall. For instance, they think the mansion looks dark and moody, I just think it looks dark. One point that I didn't bring up, but is apparently an issue, is one relating to no restart button. Since the copy protection requires reading from the manual every time you first start up the game.

Now German reviews, firstly, I don't know what the deal here is, but Poltergeist and Ghostbusters show up a lot. Yes, I know that Poltergeist is German for, but seeing it capitalized all the time is weird. If someone does speak Deutsch wants to tell me what the deal with Ghostbusters is, feel free to tell me down in the comments. And something about a crackle in the shoes of ghosts? Also, choice quote: "Kill monsters and lock up Super Meanie in another dimension." No, that's not me failing to understand German, that's the actual sentence, more or less.

They also brought up the unoriginality of the plot, but were very enamored by the control scheme and graphics. And the German translation. We're also not the first to compare it to Alone in the Dark, but they brought up Don't Go Alone, if you've played that lovely game. Its hard to find any actual criticisms of the game in these reviews, they even go as far as to praise the sounds. All three of them are roughly in the very good range. 8 out of 10, 80%, and whatever the hell PC Joker's system is.

I'm not the only one who had bugs during their playthrough, Joystick, a French magazine, had them during their playthrough...not that it made their opinion suffer any...or mention what they were. It's hard to tell through my poorly translated mess of French. The text belies their rating, the way the writer is prattling on you'd think this game was the second coming of Christ. Apparently that gets a 86% rating. I don't want to know how they treat a 100%.

Now, the magazine I was saving for last. Outside of the usual countries, there are a couple of Polish reviews...I think. Look, I have a dictionary, but I'm not writing down pages of blurry Polish, I've had enough trouble with German and Finnish. They're both 95%, do with that what you will. Now, the real prize, from Finland, Pelit.

To the untrained eye, Pelit looks like a Finnish review of a mediocre game. To the trained eye, they reveal what I've been saying all along. Cheat. Hack the CHARDATA file and give yourself skills, but not too much. They're much more generous than I am, but to be fair, that's probably going to be true if you spend 20 hours less time than myself on it. In the back of the magazine they even have a summary "for those who don't understand our glorious language". "...Without editing the game displays a typical case of British masochism." Apparently the guy who wrote the review had a regular column in the magazine. Curious, I wonder if I stumbled upon the Finnish Scorpia. [Admin note: Yep, he's pretty much that. Famous for never revealing his face.)]

Modern reviews, well, I'll get the obvious one out of the way first. The CRPG Addict. He brings up a few points I didn't. Spells, you're not going to use the majority of the spells because spellpower is in such short supply. He also didn't use the head, so all the locked doors probably colored his opinion there. His opinions on story, graphics, sound are far more positive than my own and more negative in the interface department. He also concludes that it's a far better adventure game than RPG. Hmm...

For the rest of the modern ones, there's a general soft sentiment toward the game. No one really outright says anything bad. Someone really, really likes the music. I dunno, you either have to conclude that I'm completely full of it or everyone else who played this game is. I guess its not good for listening to for 44 relatively close hours, but I can't say this is something I ever really enjoyed on an audio level.

Voltgloss will return, far in the future of the end of 1993 to do Isle of the Dead. I wish him the best of luck when he gets around to it. Speaking of the future, I do hope the seemingly neverending nightmare that was this playthrough won't sour anyone on Veil of Darkness prematurely, another horror adventure/RPG hybrid. I understand that one is actually competent as an adventure game, but we'll see.

CAP Distribution

90 points to Morpheus Kitami

  • Blogger Award - 100 CAPs - For blogging through this game for our enjoyment.
  • Foolish Bet Award - -10 CAPs - For making a bet, ending up blogging the game and not even having the common courtesy to fake fulfill the conditions of his bet.

50 Points to Ilmari Jauhiainen

  • Unchained Award - 20 CAPs - For assisting me when I requested assistance the first time.
  • Morel Advisor - 10 CAPs - For telling me the fungi is useless...(among other things)
  • Deja Vu Award - 20 CAPs - For assisting me when I requested assistance the second time.

10 Points to Voltgloss

  • Introductory Award - 10 CAPs - For doing the introduction to the game.
10 Points to Laukku
  • Psychic Prediction Award - 10 CAPs - For the nearest score guess on Legacy

6 Points to Lisa H

  • Gotta Hand It to Ya Award - 5 CAPs - For bringing up a bit of folklore I was unaware of.
  • Tim Burton Award - 1 CAP - For getting one of my musical references.

5 Points to Michael

  • Red Green Hacker Award - 5 CAPs - For relaying the hackability of most computer games and his resulting minor international fame because of it.

5 Points to ShaddamIVth

  • I Say Guy Award - 5 CAPs - For reminding me of what an Assegai was, and bringing up the Ixwa.
5 points to Vetinari
  • Straight Up Award - 5 CAPs - For getting the closest guess on 1993 1st Straight

5 points to Alfred n the Fettuc
  • Straight Up Award - 5 CAPs - For getting the closest guess on 1993 1st Straight
5 points to Limbeck
  • Straight Up Award - 5 CAPs - For getting the closest guess on 1993 1st Straight


  1. Supposedly if you run around hungry and tired the next new spooky monster you meet makes you go full Jack Torrence. This is actually a more Lovecraftian system than Call of Cthulhu, the only people who went nuts upon seeing Cthulhu in Lovecraft's stories were tired, hungry and cold.

    This reminds me of a tabletop RPG, don't remember which one, that used a similar system. In practice, all negative status are mechanically the same, so it's just an accumulation of them that causes big penalties. For example, you can be Wounded, but if you don't have any other negative status you are fine for the moment. If however, you are also Tired, Hungry and Scared, then the wound could get you over the edge.

    He also concludes that it's a far better adventure game than RPG.

    Well, if CRPG Addict says that it's a better adventure than RPG, and Adventure Gamer says it's a better RPG than adventure, that pretty much seals the fact that both of its parts are extremely bad.

    1. I'm leaving it off my list for All the Adventures -- tilts more RPG from my perspective (and it's not like RPGs don't have puzzles!)

  2. Someone smart in the comments is going to point out that the Winchester Mansion is a thing, and a very strangely designed place I would like to point out that the Winchester Mansion has more than 10 interesting things in it, and would make for a much more interesting experience than this...I hope.

    The Winchester Mystery House (as it's styled) has eccentricities, obviously, including a weird layout resulting from the fact that there was never any single blueprint and Sarah Winchester would just have bits built and destroyed apparently at random, but it was also, you know, a house that people lived in. As for whether it's interesting, I suppose it depends on if that is the sort of thing you like; I don't recall being fascinated as a kid, but, well, I was a kid and might enjoy it more now (haven't been back though as the tours are pretty expensive these days). You can take a 360° tour here (costs $8.99 though):

  3. I apologize for my being late with the next Bureaucracy post. I'm dealing with some end-of-year challenges at work which has sapped my writing time. I'm still expecting to get one more Bureaucracy post out (at least) by Christmas, as well as the special surprise game. Once grading is complete later this week and I go on my yearly vacation from my real job (this year, a staycation, of course), I'll have more time to write.

    I know you are all eager to see how I escape the clutches of the gun-toting nutjob! (And also to learn just how little America seems to have changed since the 1980s...)