Monday, 16 May 2022

7th Guest - Ghosts and Mazes

Written by Reiko

In the introduction to the game, we saw Stauf’s origins, met his guests at the front door, and experienced some of the ambiance of the creepy house. Now I’m ready to start solving some puzzles.
What garish wallpaper. And those chair backs look like spiderwebs.
As I face the stairs on the first floor, I decide to start on the left and examine the left-most room, which appears to be unconnected to anything else. When I go through the door, I find myself in an ugly dining room with a large cake on a raised cake platter in the middle of the table.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Return of the Phantom - Traveller in Time

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

This session in a nutshell

Oh, so close to a title drop!

I didn't save last time, because I didn't need to, so I talk to M. Brie again. Imagine my shock when he tells me this is a copycat crime. This is one of those games where information that should be important is only revealed if you select the proper dialog options. Sure, the back of the box and the manual makes no secret that we're here to stop the Phantom, who has returned, but this is fairly important information for us to be told, and it's entirely optional. I hate having to savescum my way through the dialog.

There are a surprising number of people in the music world back then who have such a vague death date

Hang on, there's a ton of info being said here! I thought I was only missing where to find the damn stage manager! (It's an adventure game, not Morrowind, I don't need directions...I shouldn't need directions) A lot of the stage staff was sent home, and if I were here to do an actual investigation, I would check all of them out first before deciding to look for ghosts. But I've seen the phantom in a cutscene and the game isn't going to have an actual twist like that. Also, minor dialog quibble, I question a Frenchman describing a famous opera house being built as a thing. Feels like something I would say, not someone who is presumably a bit snooty.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Simon the Sorcerer - Rules of Enchantment

 Written by Will Moczarski

And so it's on. Simon the Sorcerer begins with a very long opening sequence which is reminiscent of the one in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. First, there’s the opening credits. They’re accompanied by Simon pulling things – and the actual credits – out of his hat, accompanied by his wry comments. The animations look a lot like those in Monkey Island 2 as well.

The second part of the opening sequence begins in Simon’s attic where his dog opens a mysterious chest and gets trapped in it. Simon leaves his bedroom and climbs up into the attic, frees his dog and finds a strange book inside the chest. When he drops it he accidentally opens up a portal to another world. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Missed Classic: La Abadía del Crimen (1987) - Adventures in Speedrunning

Written by Mariano Falzone

Sir Sean Connery judging my poor murder-solving skills

And So I Go Again

You could say that last time I didn’t make much progress. I barely got to the morning of Day 3, and didn’t do most of what was supposed to be done by that point. But, in any case, I got used to the layout of the abbey, learned a bit how to play this thing. This is one of those games that has to be played repeatedly from the beginning just to understand what you’re doing, let alone beat it. Or, like me, you can save early and save often, and end up with dozens of save states.

I’ve read that the Big Bad Bug the game has is that you need to have the scroll, the one in the Scriptorium, by Day 4 or the game won’t progress anymore. Somewhere else I read that, more specifically, you need to get it by the night of Day 3. Some clarification here: as the days are divided in canonical hours, night is the first of those hours, so the night of Day 3 comes at the end of Day 2 and before the rest of Day 3.

So I decided to try something. I would get the scroll when everyone is either called to eat or to church, hoping Berengario, the monk at the Scriptorium that threatens to tell the Abbot if I pick up the scroll, would follow suit and rush off too. First time I try, we’re called to church, but Berengario just decides to stay put in his place, still not letting me take the scroll. Some double standards, hey, Abbot? Why is Berengario not scolded?

Anyway, I let this day end and decide to try again during Day 3. After all, maybe I still can get the scroll during that day? But after being called to church in the morning, the game just stops progressing. The Abbot is at the altar, Adso is there, and another monk too. But my guess is one monk is missing, and several minutes pass by and he never comes. He must have gotten stuck somewhere. I still use the opportunity to rush off to the Scriptorium, but when I get there, the scroll and the book are nowhere to be seen. And the Abbot eventually shows up and tells me I haven’t obeyed his rules, game over, all that jazz.

So I load back to Day 2, and this time wait to be called to lunch just in front of the scroll, under the vigilant watch of Berengario. And sure enough, we’re called, and Berengario rushes off to eat. I get the scroll and he doesn’t say anything. Yay!

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Game 127: The 7th Guest - Introduction (1993)

Written by Reiko
PC front cover
Many of you will undoubtedly be familiar with The 7th Guest. From what I can tell, when it was released, it was an unprecedentedly huge multimedia-rich adventure puzzle game, doing for horror adventure what Myst did for mechanical puzzle adventure. Or at least, that's my general impression, knowing almost nothing about the game. Yes, you are getting as a reviewer someone who is going in almost completely blind to this classic game. I certainly played Myst back in the day, but I wasn't interested in horror, so I skipped over 7th Guest and never played it despite being very interested in puzzle games (for instance, you can see my definitely not-blind coverage of the first two Dr. Brain games here and here. I'm hopeful that as an adult, the horror aspects of the game won't bother me too much, and I'll be able to enjoy it more for its puzzle aspects.

Friday, 22 April 2022

Game 125: Return of the Phantom (1993) - Introduction

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Unfortunately, it does not look like TBD will be able to play this game as promised. I hope that I will be an acceptable substitute. I hope you will all join me in wishing a swift and beneficial resolution to whatever problems ail him.

American cover, from Mobygames

Return of the Phantom is the third adventure game developed and published by Microprose, though the second developed through internal team MPS Labs*. Microprose, if you don't know, was founded by Air Force Reserves member Bill Stealey and some unimportant programmer named Sid Meier. That the developer of some mediocre racing game would somehow turn making the same flight sim three times** into making landmark games and slapping his name on titles he wasn't even primarily responsible for is something impressive.

*However, they also distributed the first three Legend games, no doubt why the manual for Rex Nebular was written by Steve Meretsky.

**Hellcat Ace, Spitfire Ace, and Mig Alley Ace, okay, one is actually written by someone else, but they're practically the same game anyway.

Indeed, some of my fondest early memories of games are playing, or even wishing to play Microprose titles. If not the main man himself, it was one of his friends. For every Pirates! or Covert Action, you had Sword of the Samurai or Darklands. Sometimes they would make a sequel to a game Sid worked on, because they had a great idea on how to improve it, and they usually worked. It's perhaps a romanticism of a time and place I would never be in, the truth probably less impressive. Nevertheless, it remains that Microprose was one of the greatest computer companies of the '80s.

Return of the Phantom comes at the end of the company's great period. Not too long after the company had tried and failed to enter the arcade market, but it was not yet in dire enough straits for their purchase by Spectrum Holobyte. I wonder if this, rather than the direct sales of Legacy - Realm of Terror, was responsible for the lack of any sequels or follow-ups.

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Game 129: Simon the Sorcerer (1993) – Introduction

 Written by Will Moczarski

Things were simpler in 1993. LucasArts was still churning out amazing adventure games and no-one saw the death of the genre coming. Granted, FMV games and Myst were slowly chipping away at the genre's reputation but the core of the point & click experience was largely intact. Now some games used a simplified interface while others still followed the model that had been established with the SCUMM engine in 1987 – an interface that could be understood as a graphical representation of the parser that had fueled so many text adventures. Simon the Sorcerer was one of the many games that copied the LucasArts formula using a very similar verb list but games like this would soon feel like roadblocks on the way to the casual adventure game of the mid-1990’s. However, in 1993 this was all fair game. 

Another common wisdom that remained true from the mid-1990’s until 2002 was that there were two Simon the Sorcerer games (and two only) and people would tell you “eh...they’re good”. Some people loved them, some people didn’t quite feel they were the bee’s knees but on the whole they were regarded as quality point & click adventure games. Then the series shared the fate of so many others and got some rather unfortunate late sequels. The less said about them the better.

One of the most interesting tidbits about Simon the Sorcerer – albeit with relatively little effect on the actual gameplay experience, I reckon – is that it unites two of the most important early adventure game brands: Adventure Soft and Infocom. Infocom? That’s right, Activision used the brand of the now-defunct company they’d bought and (at least helped to) run into the ground to market this British game in the United States. And Adventure Soft? Well, that’s a hell of a story.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Missed Classic - Twin Kingdom Valley - WON! and Final Rating

Written by Morpheus Kitami

Me and the boys about to fire up a text adventure

Last time, I had explored half of the map in my noble quest to rob everyone and everything I could of their treasure. It wasn't going well, primarily because everyone else was on a distasteful quest to kill me and take everything not nailed down. Those monsters, those evil, evil gorillas, elves and trolls. I must use my wits to prevent them from stopping me.

This is one psychotic gorilla

Last time, I did not quite save at the proper time, and now somehow the small dagger is not where it once was. I have no idea where it went. It just disappeared. This seems to be a sign that things have gotten mixed around since last time. I encounter a gorilla south of the path to the north, and he's got two clubs and an axe. How the hell did he even get that? Anyway, I can't kill him, the axe is just too powerful.

I feel like someone was trying to cheat me

I decide to just ignore him and head to that cave. It doesn't actually connect the two parts of the map, it's just a small sideplace. You know, a surprising number of descriptions you could give underground passages sound rather strange out of context. Not that there's much here, just another dagger and some locked doors. This better not be one long chain of keys.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Eric the Unready - Final Rating

By Ilmari

I am in a difficult position of having officially played only the last few scenes of the game, while the majority of posts have been written by the Brown Dragon. Although it will be difficult to integrate my playing experience with what TBD thought about it, I’ll try to take his statements into account at least in some measure. Let’s begin!

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Missed Classic 108 - La Abadía del Crimen (1987) - Introduction

Written by Mariano Falzone

Adventure games were highly popular in my home country of Argentina in the 90s and early 2000s, when I grew up. Actually paying for games, though, not so much. In our defense, video games were very expensive, the titles available were very scarce, and most parents, even if they could afford to buy one once in a while, never saw anything of value in them, or just didn’t know what all the fuss was about nor seemed to care. That’s why I and many other youngsters would spend our time scavenging through abandonware websites in Spanish. There were even many sites dedicated especially to adventure games, from both Spain and the Americas.

La Abadía del Crimen was a title that was always mentioned in those places. There was a cultish aura about it. I remember thinking that it looked interesting, but I was far more invested in LucasArts stuff, so I must’ve downloaded it, put it somewhere in my computer and forgotten about it. I mean, I could download Fate of Atlantis or Monkey Island in Spanish anyway. For all I knew, La Abadía del Crimen was just another translated American game. Only when I grew older did I learn that it was an 80s game from Spain and one that had never been translated into English, and why that made it unique.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Eric the Unready - To Baldly Go Where All Hair Has Gone Before!

By Ilmari
The end of previous post
Time for some spring cleaning! I’ve agreed to finish Eric the Unready, which TBD set out to play a while ago. Fortunately, the end is already near, as we are facing a group of rather familiar swamp rafters. The atmosphere is full of jokes, some more good than the others. Captain Smirk speaking to a real log made me smirk and so did a skeleton called Bones, while Doctor Spock’s lines with paediatric twists sparked even a few snortles. Dressing Scotty in a kilt and making the helmsman a literal Zulu… not so much, and when I understood the rowing Native Americans were meant to be the engines, I wondered why I had to be punished so hard.

I boarded the raft, which took off to the swamp, but quickly got lost in the fog. The helmsman could clearly use some roddenberries that improve sense of direction. This joke welt flat, since, to be frank, Star Trek franchise was often better without Roddenberry’s sense of direction.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

What's Your Story: Mariano

Answers: Mariano

Introduction and Captions: Will Moczarski

It's time to formally introduce another member of our community who has recently joined our team of reviewers here at The Adventurers' Guild: please give a warm welcome to Mariano! 

Mariano has already started to review La abadía del crimen and his introductory post will be up on Friday. And if you're curious what he is doing when he is not busy reviewing adventure games we'll try to satisfy your curiosity below. 

Sunday, 3 April 2022

Dare to Dream - Final Rating

Written by Will Moczarski

Dare to Dream was the first main game I had the pleasure of playing for the blog, and it was quite the enjoyable experience, too. However, I am unsure how it will (and should) fare in our PISSED rating because it’s a shareware game, meaning its production values aren’t exactly triple A even by the standards of 1993. 

Friday, 1 April 2022

Missed Classic 107 - Twin Kingdom Valley (1983) - Introduction

Written by Morpheus Kitami

There's a sort of empty space in the history of adventure games between 1982 and 1985. At least I feel that way. The '70s had the mainframe games, followed by Scott Adams and Infocom. Then Sierra came along and did graphical text adventures, and before King's Quest we have a handful of literary adaptations and text adventures with pictures. There's not really much discussion of this time period, even among people who like text adventures. Things sort of disappeared into the ether outside of Infocom. Let's see some of them.

Twin Kingdom Valley was not my first choice, but my first choice has about 1000 pages of backstory I feel I should read first. Twin Kingdom Valley is a fantasy text adventure, one I keep getting confused as Twin Valley Kingdom and now I'm not sure which way is up. The back does not describe much, just that its a fantasy game with 175 rooms. Its one of two games Trevor Hall developed and the only adventure. While he is mentioned as having made a few other games, only an obscure text strategy game seems to be credited to him on online databases.

Morpheus desperately trying to play The Hobbit, 2007, colorized

Twin Kingdom Valley's claim to fame is active NPCs, these having their own, hopefully complex personalities and move around. This gives me flashbacks to The Hobbit, where NPCs moved around while you slowly tried to figure out what to do. For me, that meant dying to the trolls before they would go on to killing and eating Gandalf, Gimli, the rest of the dwarves, Morgoth, Saruman, the Silmarils, uh, Cirith Ungol, Angband and the rest of the universe. So, let's hope it isn't one of those adventure games.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Missed Classic: Lucifer's Realm - WON! and Final Rating

 Written by Will Moczarski

One of the advantages of playing through a game simultaneously is that if one of the two players gets hopelessly stuck (like I did) the other one may be able to help. And what can I say? Jason Dyer quickly came to the rescue with the words “Oh, you’re so close!” and four hints encrypted with rot13. His first hint read: “You are correct in that you drop stuff in one specific room in the forest, and it comes out in the cave. It's just a matter of finding the correct spot.”

Last time I had tried all of the spots that seemed likely to me: the room next to the stone wall, the room with the sign and the room in which the trees look greener than in the other rooms. My two options were now to try and brute-force it or to decrypt another one of Jason’s hints. Naturally, I tried to brute-force it first and was VERY lucky because I started with the correct room right away. Things seemed kind of fishy because I dropped the iron club in the penultimate room of the forest – before I reached the stone wall – and when I looked again it was gone. I chalked this down to bad luck because items had gone missing before but when I restored and the same thing happened again and again and with every item I’d drop I knew I was on the right track. Much later, after having finished the game, I decrypted Jason’s other hints and found out that you could “look trees” in each of the rooms to discover white marks on them, sort of like there was a waymarked trail through the maze. The last room with a white mark is the one where you should drop the items but I still have MAJOR issues with this puzzle and still think that this does not count as a clue at all. Why? Because the white marks also lead you to the stone wall which is at the end of the forest. Even if you discover them with the rather obscure move of typing “look trees” while no trees are ever mentioned (except in that one room where they look greener than in the others) in the room descriptions you wouldn’t expect them to be more than a means of simplifying the maze itself. 

That said, I would have liked any of my own (wrong, admittedly) solutions much better than the actual one because they made at least an iota of sense. The actual solution just came down to trial and error. Incidentally, Jason had to take a hint here, too, which goes to show that both of us almost solved the game on our own – but that one thoroughly absurd puzzle threw both of us off track.

Monday, 28 March 2022

Missed Classic: Lucifer's Realm - Request for Assistance

 Written by Will Moczarski

Note: Jason Dyer who is blogging about Lucifer's Realm simultaneously has already finished this game and I hope that he (or one of you) will be able to help me with my request for assistance below. I had planned on finishing the game for today's post, too, but alas it was not to be.

After some time away from the game I decided there were two more things I could try before I would start the game from scratch for the third time. And what can I say? Both were solid ideas and worked out in the end. Now what did I come up with? Looking at my inventory again I thought that I might need to melt the huge ball of wax in case there was something inside. Also, I decided I’d try to attack that snake with my trusty dagger – maybe I did need to feed her the crystal but there’s a chance to get it back somehow. 

Both assumptions turned out to be generally correct. I tried to melt the wax using the candles found in the church where the black mass was being held. When it didn’t work right away I thought it may be due to the parser but actually that just wasn’t the solution. Fortunately it didn’t take me long to realise how blind I had been: the fires I had turned off by using the valve in the first pink-tiled room had to come in handy for this. I liked this puzzle a lot and it felt very infocom (yes, I am smugly using that as an adjective) to me. You actually need to leave the ball of wax behind in the room before turning the valve (only one time, it turned out, involving a lot of back and forth, and then one more time to turn the fire back off. I must have been confused by my initial futile attempts last time). Then you can pick up the iron club which was inside the ball of wax (no, I don't know how I should picture this either).

Killing the snake was pretty straightforward. When I tried it before melting the wax the parser flat out told me I had no weapon that strong so I knew I was on the right track. The club worked like a charm (get it?) but the crystal disappeared. My next idea was to go all the way back to the room where I had picked it up (or rather sliced it off) first – maybe now that the snake puzzle was solved (correctly?) I could slice off another piece. And that was actually the case. I found another crystal bar just lying there on the ground which, I assume, became available because the other crystal bar was removed from the gameworld. Maybe it was wrong to listen to the snake last time but at least the game makes it possible to remedy this (potential) dead end. 

The next steps were surprisingly straightforward. I put the crystal bar into the crystal door with the slot (“put crystal bar in slot” was the only combination that worked) and found myself at the edge of a thick forest of black trees. A sign informed me that this was an “official savegame site” and that the game didn’t take responsibility for lost articles. Was this a clever advance notice to tell me that a maze was lying ahead? 

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Missed Classic: Lucifer's Realm - Trusssst In Me...Jusssst In Me...

Written by Will Moczarski

So here I am standing on a circular pillar in the center of a vast room. The pillar is sinking, bringing me ever closer to the floor which is crawling with spiders. I fiddle around with the pillar and notice how a beam of light shines on it. As this is a near-death experience, “look light” seems appropriate, and I find out that there’s a hole in the roof with a hook on it. Alas, I keep botching my next move for a while. After three turns the situation resets (I assume) – the screen melts and I start over again on top of the pillar. This is like a quick-time sequence! I try “press X” but predictably that’s not it.

As always be sure to check out Jason Dyer's simultaneous playthrough on his excellent blog Renga In Blue!

Time to get my tongue out of my cheek, you say? That is correct. Frustratingly, after three times three turns I am swarmed by huge spiders and find myself back at the start of the game. This is slowly becoming a truly hellish experience. I try “throw chain” this time and it works – it is caught on the hook and I can climb out of there. 

I emerge in a small ventilation duct. There is a small canvas on the wall. Also, the description of the chain is the same as before in the steel walled room so I assume I have to pick it up again. “Pull chain over hook” doesn’t work this time, so maybe it’s not necessary and I’m wrong.  The canvas is very thick and as there is no other exit I look around. There is another ventilation duct to the east with a vent to the south. That one leads to Hitler’s office but the game won’t let me barge in there just like that. I try opening, moving and breaking the canvas. Saying “Lucifage” doesn’t work, either. “Cut canvas with dagger” does, presenting me with a way out of here. The parser will stop at nothing to wring a few more minutes out of the game, though. Going south (where the new opening is at) does not work. “Go opening” does not work. “Enter opening” does not work. I need to use the words “Climb opening” which I probably wouldn’t have tried in a game by anyone else but Jyym Pearson. 

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Missed Classic: Lucifer's Realm - Selling These Fine Leather Jackets

 Written by Will Moczarski 

Be sure to follow Jason Dyer’s simultaneous playthrough of the Apple ][ version with fancy graphics! 

I made some progress but it was hard earned. First I decided to visit all of the rooms again to find out whether I had missed any keywords on my first try. It occurred to me right away that I hadn’t examined the fiery pit from the ledge. Doing that starts an interesting chain of events: I can see that the pit is enormous and full of flaming patterns. Looking at the patterns reveal that they spell a word. I try to read it but the flames are too bright. “Squint” does not work, so maybe I’ll need to find some sunglasses along the way.

I’ll spare you the details of all of the other things I attempted in several of the other rooms and just tell you about what I did find out. For example, this time it occurred to me to not only pick up but also to examine the human skull I found in the huge damp cavern and I was informed that something rattled inside it. “Break human skull” does not work so I may be looking for another blunt object. 

For some reason I am still unable to enter the dark blood soaked pit full of death and decay again because the smell is too strong. After a while I find out that I can “hold nose” and enter without any further hassle. Interestingly, I never stop holding my nose so I imagine my character to be rather one-handed for the remainder of the game.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Missed Classic 106 - Lucifer's Realm (1982) - Introduction

 Written by Will Moczarski

It’s time for the next game in our Med Systems marathon, and it’s another entry by our old acquaintance Jyym Pearson. I have played through The Curse of Crowley Manor, Escape from Traam, Earthquake - San Francisco 1906, Saigon: The Final Days and The Institute for this blog, and now it’s time to tackle the most notoriously difficult of them all (according to its reputation at least): Lucifer’s Realm.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Missed Classic: Stationfall - When Nerds Attack

Written by Joe Pranevich

Hey, do you remember that time when I was going to take a short break after Christmas? That break turned out much longer than I anticipated. In a world that is so full of stress, I will not trouble you with my own, only to say that once you put one of these post series down, it is very difficult to remember what you were thinking and doing. Time dulls our recollection and an easy write up becomes much more difficult. That is especially a problem with Stationfall: there are so many barely-pulled plot threads going on that keeping them all in my head when fresh was difficult; after taking a break? Forget about it!

Last time out, I finished exploring the station. This game, much like the Zork series and Planetfall, is “open world” in the sense that you must spend a long time exploring every nook and cranny to find the pieces that will eventually be used to solve puzzles. At the end of that session, I had a lead on how to access the Space Village; that’s where I’ll start this time out. As you will soon see, that replaces one open area with another even more confusing one. Rather than spending this session putting together pieces and solving puzzles, I could only try to map out an area a bit smaller than the part that I already explored. I hope the real puzzle-solving comes next time out. 

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Missed Classic: The Kristal - Lost and Final Rating

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

How I'm feeling right about now

Before I talk about the last parts of The Kristal, I'm going to talk about the part I glossed over, the stage play. At least, what allegedly exists of the stage play. All I know for certain is what Mike Sutin has said about it. I cannot confirm that what he has said is true or not, because as far as I know, no one named Mike Sutin has ever done anything in the world of theater. Nor has his co-author, Rodney Wyatt, ever done anything either. I do know that Wyatt is American though. I know nothing of theater or searching for topics relating to the theater and Sutin claims to be a stage manager, which isn't something that seems to be mentioned in American productions, let alone the kind Sutin was working on.

The play, under the title The Kristal of Konos was originally a comedy musical, which I jokingly guessed correctly. Sutin thought up this play while touring with the original productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar in Spain, 1975/76. Sutin, who was a stage manager and did backdrops for Pink Floyd. It was never produced, nor did any of the soundtrack ever get released. Which, according to Sutin in two different articles, either was the full soundtrack containing Elaine Page [sic] and the entire cast of Hair, or some with Elaine Page [sic] and the cast and musicians of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Two members of the team are famous in their work outside of game design, namely, the astronomer Patrick Moore who narrated the opening movie; And artist David A. Hardy, credited without his initial doing the backgrounds.

I do not lean towards it being true, but it's weird enough to lie about that at least some parts are based in truth. TV or movies it would make sense to lie about, but theatre? Nobody in video games cares about theatre. Sutin was probably a stage manager and the play probably exists. There is no recording, and if it is, it's in Spanish, with the Spanish cast of Jesus Christ Superstar and it sounds like this. I'm pretty sure musicals don't really tour like musicians do, especially in 1976. And there is no chance Elaine Paige is on it, because she was nobody in 1976 and she was also doing some play called The Boyfriend.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

An American Tail - Final Rating

By Torch
Waaait a minute.. I didn’t see any candy cane guns in the game. Talk about false advertising
With a few exceptions games based on movies haven’t historically been known for their quality. Sometimes they are practically considered merchandise and are hastily slapped together to capitalize on the release of the associated movie. This game, with the snappy title An American Tail: The Computer Adventures of Fievel and His Friends, was released in 1993, 7 years after the first movie it’s based on (An American tail, 1986) and 2 years after the second one (An American tail II: Fievel goes west, 1991). In other words, it doesn’t seem like the game developers were aiming for a release that coincided with any of the movies. If they were, they certainly missed their mark, by quite a margin.

Friday, 18 February 2022

Dare to Dream – WON! Christian’s Lair

By Will Moczarski
This is where I unfairly left you hanging last time:

“I find “my” rock lying here and am very pleased to see it. Also, I can investigate the statue’s left nostril. That is kind of neat as I was primed to look hard at things’ nostrils when I needed to pull the snot from the tree’s nose. Whatever I try to do, my hand cannot fit inside the tiny hole. Maybe it’s time to pop another pill! But let’s save the game first, shall we?”

And this is how it worked out:

While that wasn’t necessary (I can’t enter the nostril and am kind of thankful for that) I find out that I can’t enter the statue’s mouth either. Its glowing eyes mesmerize me whenever I get too close. I quickly realise what I did wrong: I need to insert the unicorn key in the nostril. It is really obvious, to be honest. That shuts off the glowing eyes and I can finally enter the NiteMare. I’m treated to a short ending sequence and that’s that:
Let’s move on to the third and final part then, shall we?

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Dare To Dream – Darn That Dream

By Will Moczarski
Last time I was stuck with nothing left to do. I had explored all of the rooms and exhausted all of my options, or so it seemed. After another bout of meticulous pixel-hunting I found not one but two new exits I had previously overlooked. And both were familiar to me. You see, I had already played through episode 2 of Dare To Dream last July right after having finished episode 1. I didn’t take many notes back then and whatever I did write down I lost in the meantime. Also, I didn’t get around to writing a blog post because, well, life got in the way. Life being my beautiful little daughter who was born last summer.

Now as she is slowly learning that nights are for sleeping I finally got around to picking up where I left off all those months ago. I always thought I had a pretty good memory. If that is true (and it’s probably not) it doesn’t apply to adventure games, I guess.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Dare To Dream – In Search Of The Beast

Written by Will Moczarski
Did you miss me? I sure missed blogging.

It’s been a while since I tackled the first episode of Dare To Dream: In A Darkened Room. I navigated Tyler’s dream world, in that case an almost deserted nocturnal city with just a few wacky NPCs to interact with. At the end of the episode, I awoke and had an argument with my best friend Terry whether I had been trespassing in his dream or the other way around. The second episode, In Search Of The Beast, begins at Terry’s fort – right after the end of the first episode.

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Missed Classic: The Kristal - Slowly We Rot

Written by Sir Morpheus Kitami, Gru of Horror and Nimrod from the planet Terra, 17th Regulus in The Adventurers Guild of the United Hold of Planets

When I first started this entry, I felt like I had gotten off the wrong foot with The Kristal. Throwing a bunch of stuff the player doesn't understand all in the first 5 minutes is a surefire recipe to create a bad impression. I didn't get very far, I'm still within those first 5 minutes. The text-based dialog input could just be one mistake a very ambitious game made. But as I played more and more I realized that first impression was far nicer than it would end up being. Because it was so much worse.





Wednesday, 12 January 2022

An American Tail - Won!

By Torch

So my previous play session lasted all of 30 minutes and got me through the first part of the game, which is based on the first movie. I’ll just spoil some of the fun right now, and let you know that this second part took me about twice as long to complete. But was it more enjoyable because of this? Let’s find out

Like the first part, the second starts with some PowerPoint exposition. (I’m not including all the slides. There were a fair few)
A new antagonist enters the stage, with a new pun for a name. Caterwaul…
Also, for whatever reason
Right after, I’m dropped onto the westbound train.
I wonder why Fievel is the only guy who has access to a color protecting laundry detergent

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Missed Classic 105 - The Kristal (1989) - Introduction

Written by Morpheus Kitami 

Some time ago, I think after Legacy's reign of terror, I noticed that there were a couple of mainline games that had yet to be claimed, Cosmic Spacehead and Innocent Until Caught, so I asked Ilmari if I could claim those, and he said sure. I thought I'd just get all those titles these companies did beforehand now, rather than when they come up on the games list. They are admittedly still a few games away. 

Cosmic Spacehead was published by Codemasters, known at this point for Micro Machines, the Dizzy games and trash. None of the games they published were really adventure games. Dizzy sort of approaches that, but its comfortably far enough away to not be a concern. I feel like the games from the next company have far more validity to the adventure label and I'm not really about to play those now either. Or at least that's what I thought. I must have missed one title on my first passthrough, Necris Dome. However, Necris Dome is a case I don't really think fits too well with Codemasters, since the author, one Charles A. Sharp, did about 13 text adventures in the 1986-88 period, of which only one was published by Codemasters. I might dip into his titles, but not anytime soon. 

On the other hand Innocent Until Caught was published by Psygnosis, who were kind of a big deal. While the company responsible for Innocent did nothing of importance here beforehand, Psygnosis...kind of did? Psygnosis, if you don't know, back during the days of the Amiga and Atari ST, was a game publisher with high production values. A combination of having staff artists who knew their way around the systems, having Roger Dean, best known for his album covers, do the cover art. From their founding up until around 1993 they were the company to beat if you wanted to have an impressive audio-visual experience with your game. Now, the part they sometimes missed was that they didn't always have the best gameplay to go along with that. 

Ultimately, its not really a secret as to why Psygnosis hasn't been covered before, since they primarily dealt in action games. Some of these I understand have adventure elements, but they're not straight adventure games, its not that important. They did translate the French adventure game series Explora into English as Chrono Quest, but they missed the last game in the series and it kind of doesn't feel like Psygnosis in that regard. 

Our hero doesn't look like he's winning here, he's also missing a mustache

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Missed Classic: La Secte Noire - Won! (With Final Rating)

By Ilmari
Happy new year everyone! We are back with La Secte Noire. Last time, I had just managed to infiltrate the base of the sect that had stolen the spell book defending my village. Checking the chest in front of me, I found a knife. It was time to go mapping.