Thursday 30 May 2024

Missed Classic: Daughter of Serpents – Murder in Mesopotamia

Written by Vetinari

“Mesopotamia” means “between two rivers”, and look! Alexandria is between two branches of the Nile, so... okay, I just didn't know what title to choose.

So, last time the god of knowledge gave me a gift, and somehow I don't remember anything at all after that. This strikes me as counter-productive somehow.

Anyway, we were going to examine the warehouse of Elytis Import Export Company, where three months ago a poor sod named Yusuf Al Raschid was found dead and tied to a chair, most probably murdered.

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Missed Classic: Loremaster - No Prayer for the Dying

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

I need to get money. That's the clear thought I have starting up this game with a completely new world and save. Firstly and oddly, I'm buying the leather armor I have just a bit too little money for last time, it's a better choice as of yet. Since I should try to be a "proper" player, I guess I won't try to rob the church. Playing at being Henry VIII isn't my best choice anyway.

And someone may or may not smite you for it.

While trying to check my stats again, I realize that the command "help history" won't help me with my command history, but tells me what's going on. It's nothing we didn't already know. The King Yelraf (Farley backwards, guess there's someone with that name on this game's team) and Queen Tei live in the Kingdom of Peace and Tranquility, the kingdom to the north has been conquered by the evil Gaiasbane. We need your help LOREMASTER! (Player is not actually said to be Loremaster)

Saturday 25 May 2024

Game 137: Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III - Introduction (1993)

Written by Joe Pranevich

Here we are again, for the third time! Video game history is filled with low-effort sequels, followup games built with the same engine for a fraction of the cost. Even the prestige studios got into the game. For all that the Ultima series was famous for building a new engine for every release, that didn’t stop them from releasing (or at least distributing) Ultima VII Part 2, Savage Frontier, Martian Dreams, or Ultima Underworld 2. Sierra, Infocom, and LucasArts were all made successful by building great engines and then making as many games for those engines as possible. This is pretty normal in adventure game history.

For Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, ICOM’s strategy can be best summarized by the ad blurb that they put on the box:

“What they said about Sherlock II, you'll say about Sherlock III."

This might not seem significant, until you realize that they used the exact same blurb on the second game, with just the Roman numerals decremented by one. 

In a way, this is completely expected: at some level, all three games in Consulting Detective are (quite literally) the same game. The 1981 tabletop game that ICOM licensed featured 10 cases to solve, three of which have been adapted each in the first and second games, and three more finally in this third game. (More on that “missing” adventure in a bit.) We’re treating these games like sequels, but even the box clearly says that they are merely “volumes” in the same game. As such, ICOM saved money by re-using many assets: the manual, game map, menus, help videos, and overall interface are identical between the three volumes. But unlike many low-effort sequels, they still needed to write, direct, film, and edit all of the new videos that made up the cases. A FMV game will be made or broken based on the quality of the acting and videography. We’ll have to see how this one fares.

Having said all of that, I must admit that it is all only partly true. Why did I just lie to you? Read on for more.

Friday 24 May 2024

Missed Classic: Sherwood Forest - An Outlaw for an In-law

Written by Michael

So, the premise of this game is really quite original.  Robin Hood seems to have a little amnesia, forgetting who he is, and everyone seems to have forgotten what Robin Hood looks like in normal street clothes.  So, we need to help him convince others (and probably himself) that he is who the game says he is.  Then, we need to get his fiancée, Maid Marion, to accept it as well so their wedding can go on as planned.

Last time, we started to explore a little, finding even an owl that looks at him and questions, “Who?”

So let’s explore some more.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Game 136: Pepper’s Adventures in Time (1993) – Introduction

By Will Moczarski

It’s time for a Sierra game! Pepper’s Adventures in Time was an entry in the short-lived (1991-93) Sierra Discovery Series that Jimmy Maher regards to be „[a]mong the most rewarding hidden gems in Sierra’s voluminous catalog“. You can read about several of the previous games from the series on our blog as many of them are adventure games or at least games with features reminiscent of adventure games, meaning our authors’ appreciation sometimes surpassed the actual PISSED rating. Reiko awarded Castle of Dr. Brain (1991) 46 points but EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus (1991), being the first proper adventure game in the series, scored an impressive 60 points. Not bad for a game targeted at children! Roberta Williams’ Mixed-Up Mother Goose (1991) is so far a future missed classic whereas Mixed Up Fairy Tales (also 1991) was reviewed by Aperama, scoring an equally impressive 54 points. Then there’s Quarky & Quaysoo’s Turbo Science (1992) which is neither an adventure game nor actually developed by Sierra but it’s still part of the Discovery Series so a short review for our blog wouldn’t be out of line, either. The sequel to Castle of Dr. Brain, called The Island of Dr. Brain (1992) scored 45 points but again Reiko thought it was „fun to play“ and it may well have scored higher on an alternate PISSED scale more suited to puzzle games. Alphabet Blocks (1992) is another non-adventure game not developed by Sierra but this one is even less likely to appear on the blog as it’s targeted at very young children (ages 3 and up). Finally, Lost Secret of the Rainforest, a game from the current gaming year and the sequel to EcoQuest, scored a little lower than its predecessor at 55 points. All of this bodes well for Pepper’s Adventures in Time which is the final adventure game from the series. So far, the average score of the series is 52. The Discovery Series was continued (or should I say stretched out?) for three more games: Spelling Jungle (1993), Ready, Set, Read with Bananas & Jack (1993), and Turbo Learning: Mega Math (1993). None of them was developed by Sierra but by the two companies responsible for previous non-Sierra games from the series: Bright Star Entertainment and Jeff Tunnell Productions.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Missed Classic 132: Loremaster (1991) - Introduction

Written by Morpheus Kitami

Valhalla is another game like Twin Valley Kingdom in that it requires an absolute ton of mapping, which in its case, involves a lot of busywork. I'll explain when the next entry on that comes out, but for now, let's talk about the very mysterious Loremaster.

Actually, it's not just me that's going to be talking about this, because Loremaster is another one of those weird RPG/adventure hybrids. Which means of course, that the CRPGAddict has so graciously agreed to do another collaboration with us, so his first entry can be found here. I promise I'll finish this one within a year, I swear. (Note, finish, not win)

This seems to be overselling it considerably, judging by the following screenshots.
As you can see, that's a lot of money. I think this might have been shareware, but if it was that was a hell of a lot of money for a shareware game. Either way this explains why it was missing for a long time, nobody was going to spend that much money for what was effectively a random game. We've had screenshots for a while, but the game was only findable on the internet a few years ago. So, let's get into it.

Friday 17 May 2024

Missed Classic: Daughter of Serpents – Death on the Nile

Written by Vetinari

Alexandria is on the Nile, so the title is technically correct.
Last time we were going to visit Bimbashi Cameron at the police station to check on our leads about the case which brought us here in Egypt. Cameron gives off the vibe of being a very strict and severe man, a classic by-the-book policeman.

This is the one and only pleasantry which he exchanges with me.

In an As You Know moment, Cameron explains the backstory which brought me here, i.e. the fact that a friend of mine was sold shares in a worthless company, and that I have managed to find out that the man behind the fraud is one Constantine Elytis, who runs the Elytis Import Export Company here in Alexandria.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Missed Classic 131: Sherwood Forest (1982) - Introduction

Written by Michael

Back in the early years of graphic adventure gaming, there were many releases of games that were often no more than a disk and a paper in a plastic baggie on a spinner rack at the local computer shop.  There’s so many stories of the varied quality of these games.  That’s the history of the predecessor to Ultima and also the first release of Mystery House.   It’ll be fun to explore some of the games of that time.  

My choice today was packaged a little better than that.  As best I can tell, it was a professionally-printed cardboard folder holding the single disk and a double-sided instruction card.  The game was Sherwood Forest, a 1982 release from Phoenix Software, Inc., of absolutely no relation to the then-growing Phoenix Technologies, responsible for the BIOS in many early IBM PC clones that helped make MS-DOS a standard and Bill Gates very, very rich.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Veil of Darkness - A Good Ol' Coffin Hunt

Written by Zenic Reverie

A small correction from my last post. The Rowan staff is used to kill the Will-o-wisps, while the zombies are damaged only by the silver sword. Also, I thought I had killed Andrei to gain a crystal, but when I loaded the game up he was still alive. I attempted to kill him and realized why I didn't save, the disease zombies give is devastating. It drains continuously increasing damage, isn't cured by the gypsy woman, and I haven't found a cure for it yet. I'm not sure where I gained that crystal, but Andrei has a diamond specifically.

The machete I found by the plane proved the bane of these plant monsters.
Unlike the zombie's disease, the poison from the topiary creatures does get removed when healing at the gypsy camp. I also had many herbs that cure it, but I was hoarding them while I could make the trek back to camp. Only once I was deeper into the maze did I resort to using the nasturtium to remove the green lipstick. I could easily take out two or three creatures before needing to retreat, and as the only creature in the maze it proved easy to navigate despite the name. I picked up some comfrey plant and garlic throughout the maze. The garlic was strung together into a necklace by Annabelle. She warned to keep it hidden, lest those sided with Kairn might upon seeing it be embolden to strike me down. The comfrey doesn't seem to have a use other than trading for coin.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Missed Classic 130 - Daughter of Serpents (1992) - Introduction

 Written by Vetinari

Daughter of Serpents is the second of the two games created by British developer Eldritch Games and based on the Cthulhu Mythos by H.P. Lovecraft, the first of which, The Hound of Shadow, was my first series of posts for this blog.

Chris Elliott and Richard Edwards are credited as authors also for Daughter as they were for Hound, but here they had contributions from at least six or seven other people, which may bode well for this game, at least in comparison to Hound where there were four persons credited in total.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Missed Classic: Beyond Zork - Won! And Final Rating

Written by Joe Pranevich

It was a bumpy ride and I took too many hints, but we have defeated Beyond Zork and can finally put it to rest. I am grateful to our community for the assistance! I was able to solve most of the rest of the game on my own, but as you will see, there were still a few places that caused me trouble. I ended the last post with Prince Foo of Pheebor’s helmet, finally retrieved from the far distant future with the help of our trusty time archway. We had to take a chocolate truffle, dip it into the Fountain of Youth, travel back in time to the battle where the prince died, hide the truffle in a ditch next to his body, travel forward in time thousands of years, and then dig it up with the help of a magical chocolate-sniffing ferret. When you write it out like that, it sounds perfectly normal, right? 

Stay turned to the very bottom of the post for questions and discussion on the future of the Infocom Marathon, especially with Return to Zork coming very soon in the 1993 cycle. Your input will be invaluable as I work out how I approach the coming months.

Monday 6 May 2024

Missed Classic: The Hound of Shadow - Won (Plus Alternate Characters and Final Rating)

Written by Vetinari

After the poppycocks of the game wiping out the file for my character just because he had been devoured by an abomination from outside of space and time, I proceeded to create another character and play all through the game again until the end.

Not really. I just edited Sven's character file with Notepad by copying the values from one of the pre-generated characters.

So, back to Blythburgh church. This time I choose to meditate, emptying myself of all conscious thoughts. And then...

Saturday 4 May 2024

Discussion Point: Standout Soundtracks

Written by The TAG Team

In the comments recently, we were admiring some outstanding music in a game.  That made us wonder: what’s the best song or soundtrack in an adventure game?

There are some well-known songs, like the video above from Quest for Glory, and some overall good soundtracks.  But what’s your favorite, from a game new or old? Any obscure tracks from a forgotten game?

Let’s keep it to original compositions.  The soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City isn’t a contender in this discussion, no matter how awesome those 80s hits are. 

Thursday 2 May 2024

Wayne’s World - Final Rating

by Michael

Okay, kids.  Grab some Red Vines and let’s rock out this final rating post.

So, we reached the end of Wayne’s World in the last post, and it’s time to reflect on the experience.  This can be a very educational experience, and with some soul-searching, this process will bring us to total harmony....

... NOT!

Seriously, this wasn’t a bad game.  It definitely has flaws, but I was expecting something much, much worse based on the games of this developer we played already.  Most recently, Alex briefed us on L.A. Law back in 1992, and Ilmari drove The Beverly Hillbillies to the view of civilization earlier this gaming year.  I think they made a better effort with this outing, but let’s see how it fares in the scoring.  

Monday 29 April 2024

Missed Classic: The Hound of Shadow – Appointment with Death

Written by Vetinari

Last time we were asked by Father Paul Mason to find out the nature of the beast that killed Matthew Talbot. A good place to search for that would be the Reading Room at the British Museum, but obviously without knowing the name of a book to retrieve, the library is almost useless. I do not know of any other source of knowledge (except for Marcus, who is characteristically close-mouthed about any topic of which I ask), so I am a little bit lost here.

The list of verbs does not give any particular hint (I already tried searching almost everywhere I thought there could possibly be something hidden), so I resort to checking back my screenshots and notes. And I find out that when Marcus gave me the Gascoigne Journal to read, he took it back but said that I could read it as long as it would not leave the shop.

Marcus drops a hint.

So I immediately ask him to show me the Gascoigne Journal, and he reluctantly does so. Apparently, Gascoigne talks about the Plateau of Leng and some of the terrible creatures that reside there, saying that Von Juntz's book has more details. But... I already read Von Juntz's book...

Saturday 27 April 2024

Wayne's World – Won!

by Michael

At the end of this game, we will be rescuing a princess.

Well, I have to take back some of my optimism about this game from the previous posts.  This last segment of the game made me feel as though I was constantly climbing ladders, dodging wine barrels being tossed my way.

I’m going to leave out a lot of the deliberations that went into my actions.  A lot of the puzzle solving in this last section came down to pure luck or brute force inventory application.  Sometimes, I could see where I might have been given a hint, had I arrived at a different screen first, but instead did not.

Last we saw, I found out my pookie had been babe-napped, and the money we raised to save the TV station had been stolen at the same time.

I dare you to say it three times, really fast.

Exploring the world after the tragedy, I made my way to the grocery store warehouse, where, housed within, was a meeting of the Secret Society of Sinusitus Sufferers.  Because that is the most likely place for a meeting, of course.

I could think of a better place for such a meeting.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

BloodNet – Final Rating

by Will Moczarski

The time has come for the final rating of the "cyberpunk vampire adventure game" BloodNet – or is it a cyberpunk vampire RPG? When I started reviewing this game back in fall 2022, I made two predictions: there’ll be more coincidental Muse lyrics than “time is running out” in my posts before I get to pen the final rating. And “exploring the far reaches of Cyberspace” will surely be a chore. Both of them were wrong. Cyberspace was alright (although there are some who will beg to differ), and I refrained from quoting Muse altogether as far as I'm aware. Before I try to break down the sprawling mess that is BloodNet, however, let's take a look at what the contemporary magazines had to say about it. 

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Missed Classic: The Hound of Shadow - By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Written by Vetinari

Next morning, I wake up to a surprise. The landlady, Mrs Bastable, announces that a visitor, a young lady, is waiting for me in the lounge.

Now, I haven't mentioned anything about a landlady up to now, and I can hear what you're saying: of course there's a landlady, all sleuths (especially ones who live in London, and in Marylebone, no less) have a landlady. No! You are thinking of Victorian sleuths! Golden Age sleuths have no landladies, only secretaries!

She's no Miss Lemon, but Nikki Porter comes a close second.

Anyway, going to the lounge I find that this mysterious visitor is none other than Yasmin the maid/assistant from the séance. She says that her real name is Vivienne Powers and that Harry Pelham, a.k.a. the Adept Karmi, has not been right since the other night. Nightmares, headaches, depression, the whole package that you can expect after having had a close encounter with occult and malevolent forces.

Sunday 21 April 2024

Homeworld - Spirits and Spies

By Reiko

Previously, we discovered Convergence was the head of a secret society who had leads on where to find the items necessary to fix the ship so we can return to Earth, but we still need the TransWarp drive from Solifluction to get back in time to stop the Assassins. So we have to contact his son Raphide again and also find Astatine in Fogram's lab. The Aesthemis constellation unlocks the door to the lab, so I step inside.

Please note that this post has fewer screenshots than normal because we have many lengthy conversations in which the only image is the exact same picture of the character having the conversation with us.

Sneaking into Fogram's secret lab.

There's a lot of mysterious equipment in here, but the most interesting things are a visor and a strange device on a pedestal. I think I remember something about the visor, so I look at the device first. It sort of looks like a belt but with a piece of metal attached. I reach for it to pick it up and fiddle with it, but instead it zaps me. Ow! Then the screen on the wall lights up, and we see an Ancestor, who says, "Who are you? Do you belong here? Get out! I'm at a delicate stage in my experiments and I will not tolerate your interference!"

Friday 19 April 2024

Wayne's World - Welcome to Uncle Nutzy's Clubhouse

by Michael

This logo reminds me of another adventure game publisher...

So, last post, I said the game wasn’t as bad as I expected.  And that’s still true.  But it is far from the “Pinnacle of Entertainment Software” as their logo in the game loading sequence claims.

I probably could have finished the game in this session, but I really needed to take a break.  

Recapping from the last time, we’ve crossed 5 of the 10 items off of our to-do list.  So let’s see how to handle the rest of them.  First, my thoughts before I started out:

  • Advertising - I’ll need to find the mascot mouse or a replacement to pep up the ad agency staff

  • Volunteers - I need to befriend the biker gang

  • TV air time - I’ll need to steal the time slot somehow from the gadget guy

  • Electronic totals board - I’ll need to use the remote control to commandeer the televisions/computers from either the TV studio or the invention business

  • Pizza ingredients - need to be obtained, somehow, from the supermarket

And it turns out that I’m right on 4 out of 5 of these.  Let’s see how I worked this out.

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Missed Classic 129: Valhalla (1983) - Introduction

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Its time for a marathon. Today's topic, Eldritch Games, the company behind The Hound of Shadow and Daughter of Serpents. Two horror adventure games that got missed the first time through, and seemingly ones that deserve the title Missed Classic. But an astute reader will have already noticed that this isn't The Hound of Shadow. Like all good stories, it does not start where you think.

Wait, what do you mean Vetinari started up Hound of Shadow? Serves me right for first writing this entry in 2022.

The principal team behind Eldritch Games consists of Chris Elliot, Richard Edwards, Mike Lewis and Carl Cropley. Mr. Elliot did not do anything before Hound of Shadow, at least that I know of. Lewis and Cropley were friends long before, and we'll get to them quickly. Today's title covers a game Richard Edwards had a hand in, the Norse mythology driven Valhalla...which is an adventure game with real-time gameplay. Can't I get a game without some annoying aspect like that?

And this game has combat. Not sure how extensive it is, but that is apparently part of the game. I remember someone once telling me adventure games were generally not violent. I can't help but feel like I've never seen one that was about non-violence...uh..Leisure Suit Larry...?

Sunday 14 April 2024

BloodNet – WON!

 by Will Moczarski

Whatever the case: I’m back. Those are the words I ended my previous BloodNet post with, and they are just as suitable for picking up on it again. That was on May 19, 2023, so it almost took me a year to be “back” this time, hopefully for good. Now I could bore you with long explanations why it took me so long but I think it doesn’t matter at this point. Whatever the case: I’m back.

Last time, I finally jumped over the huge stumbling block that was the fight inside Grant’s Tomb. The spike in difficulty had been unprecedented at that point and the remainder of the game was comparatively easy. I finished BloodNet on May 22, 2023 riding high on my previous success, clocking in at 28 hours. Fortunately, I recorded my playthrough. Also, I wrote much of this post back then but because I had to get back into the plot (as is probably the case with you) I decided to rewrite most of it (you'll notice by the shift from past to present tense when the new introduction ends).

So, where were we? I won the fight at Grant’s Tomb, killing Abraham Van Helsing in the process. Also, I freed Alexander Tennant only to see him die on me. To make things worse, he told me that Van Helsing was not really dead. I’d have to stab his heart to make sure. From looking at my notes I figured that was fair game since I hadn’t managed to find Deirdre yet (my main objective once upon a time). It was time to shape up and tie up with some loose ends.

Now going back out into the streets felt strangely satisfying having spent so many hours inside that damn tomb (although the in-game time hardly advanced, naturally). I stocked up on ammo at Vince’s and only then did I notice (or remember, really) that my proud party of six had shrunk to only three members. Rymma Fizz and Monique St. Clair had stuck it out but the others would never come back from the tomb. 

I decided not to repeat the fight hoping for a better result as I still had some potential party members waiting for me out in the streets. Also, I had been stuck in cyberspace, not being able to continue with the “lost kids” plot. Going over my notes I figured that Chuck was likely the right person to talk to, so I went out to add him to my party. (I had tried that in some of my earlier save states but he didn’t seem like a good fighter to me. Maybe he’s of more use to me in the cyberspace.)

Now especially during the endgame I was quite happy that I had been really thorough at keeping notes. I could quickly look up where to find other party members such as Garrick Fizz who’d finally be reunited with his wife Rymma now. He was on the same street corner as Chuck, too, which was kind of convenient...

Saturday 13 April 2024

Missed Classic: Hound of Shadow - A Murder is Announced

Written by Vetinari

Whoever may have had an however fleeting or passing acquaintance with other famous Lovecraft-adjacent games (or even just stood downwind of someone who had), when faced with a title like The Hound of Shadow knows exactly what to expect: one of the most iconic creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos, the Hound of Tindalos.

The main characteristic of these creatures is that once a human becomes known to them as a prey, they will pursue the victim through anything to reach their quarry.

Say hello to my little friend.
So, starting the game proper I had quite a good idea of what I would be facing, at least in terms of the main antagonist. Something relentless, that would hunt down the investigator without mercy wherever and whenever he would be.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Wayne's World - Whoa, We're Halfway There

by Michael

So, how to start off this post?  How about a shocking thought:  this game is nowhere near as bad as I expected.

I'm not saying it's great.  I'm not even saying that it's good.  But there's actually a few things in here so far that are actually an improvement over the last game I played for the blog.  A LucasArts game, remember.

For example, some commenters on that last review were distressed by the lack of tool tips or mouse-over item descriptions.  This game has both.  It has icons that function very similarly to that of old-school LucasFilm games, where you can select an action, and then whip around the screen, the names of items showing at the bottom of the screen.  Not only do most items have a description when you look at them, but often, different descriptions when either Wayne or Garth is looking at the item.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Missed Classic: Urotsukidoji (うろつき童子) - Won (And Summary)

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Last time, we finished a meeting with Kudo, and we were going to go to class 3-C. Probably.

That's Akemi, but it isn't anyone I recognize. Wasn't she missing? Oh, it is Nagumo, but wait, who was the guy the first time? I guess a member of the student council? Jaku asks about the Choujin, Nagumo says he always asks about that, when in the world is he going to get new material? Now two different people are stealing my lines...I have Jaku talk to Nagumo again, and again, Nagumo mocks him and now Akemi is joining in on the fun. I'm going to click on talk to Nagumo again, Jaku, are we going to talk to him normally? He asks him what's going on, nothing much. How about Akemi? Well, she asks Jaku if he's seen Kumiko, he says yes, but he's cagey about it. Probably because she's dead. Jaku tells Kuroko to watch Nagumo.

Yuuchi is in 3-B. So if Kudo isn't in 3-B or 3-C, where is he? Yuuchi is still pinning over Akemi, and to be honest I sort of don't care about this plotline much. Seemingly, it might just be carryover from yesterday, hopefully that's not a technical issue. I briefly search the rest of the rooms on the third floor, before deciding to speed things along. Which is good, because I didn't examine the Information Room on the third floor enough. Examining it three times reveals that Jaku can hear someone's voice, and because this is the only way we're getting any plot right now, we search the LL room, then I have to go to 3-A, 2-C and 1-B. A green voiced person is saying something about making war in 24 hours...and then eating a bento. On the first floor, Jaku then gets an ominous atmosphere.

To the school infirmary, where a yellow voice says something ominous, and another, this time purple voice, says something mysterious. Jaku enters and...

Sunday 7 April 2024

Veil of Darkness - A Weapon for Every Being

Written by Zenic Reverie

Thanks for hanging around.

The mace I found at the monastery was quite effective against the skeletons, and good thing too because no other weapon made a mark on their bones. Combat beyond normal wolves and bats has required a dedicated weapon to deal damage. This has led me to cautiously approach new enemies, and keep most weapons handy. I dispatched them one at a time, retreating to heal at the gypsy camp. With those two cleared I was clear to explore the graveyard and collected some betony. I found there wasn't much else to do without a means to banish the guardian in front of the crypt. Next location of interest was a crossroads that connected the towns. Here was the man hanged for the murder of Eduard. His soul, still attached to his body, had much to say. He warned me to stay away from a nearby hut that was home to an old crone.

I promise I won't give it to the witch unless it's part of the quest.

Ambrose, the hanged man, wanted his soul redeemed. Finding the true murderer was necessary. Continuing to claim full innocence, he elaborated that the magistrate had to make an example of someone to appease the Dark Lord Kairn. While in this limbo state he communicated with the spirits of the monks from the monastery, blaming their deaths on the nearby witch. The key she sought from the monks unlocks their library where a book called Etheric Rites is held. How Ambrose came by the key wasn't covered.

Friday 5 April 2024

Missed Classic 128: The Hound of Shadow - Introduction (1989)

Written by Vetinari

The Hound of Shadow is the first of two games created by British developer Eldritch Games and based on the Cthulhu Mythos by Lovecraft.

This game is a bit of a precursor to the other Lovecraftian games which were all the rage in the first half of the 1990s, such as Alone in the Dark, Shadow of the Comet or Prisoner of Ice, but still it was published two years later than Infocom's The Lurking Horror.

Eldritch Games was the child of software designers Chris Elliott and Richard Edwards, who created the company specifically to develop the Timeline computer games series, of which unfortunately only this game and its later sequel (Daughter of Serpents) were ever created.

Elliot and Edwards. I doubt that this was taken during a normal day at the office.

The other credits for this game are Mike Lewis, who is credited with the lion's share of the programming, and Carl Cropley as the graphic artist.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Black Sect - Final Rating

By Ilmari

The story of Lankhor is over in our regular game list, although I might return to do some of their older games as Missed Classics. The company did continue its existence to 2001, but all they did after this was some racing games. I can’t help, but feel a bit sad. Still, I’ll try to maintain my objectivity when rating the Black Sect.

Monday 1 April 2024

Missed Classic: Johnny Castaway (1992)

by a Random Reviewer

The other genres get all the credit, even though adventures have always been the superior genre.  So many action games have inspired movies, such as Doom, Tomb Raider, Need for Speed, and the Super Mario Brothers series.  Heck, they even got people to pay to see a movie that was really just an advertisement for Mario 3!  

But there’s very few adventure games that have succeeded in that way.  In fact, there’s only one.  (Rumor has it that Les Manley was copied to make a Steve Carell film, but I don’t buy that.)  

Enter today’s game, Johnny Castaway, a 1992 classic from the team at Sierra On-Line.  Dynamix lead Jeff Tunnel did much of the work, causing the game to be noticed by filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, taking a break from directing the smash hit Death Becomes Her. Tom Hanks didn't take much convincing to star in it. According to the press at the time, he took one look at the game and instantly signed on to the movie project.

Friday 29 March 2024

Homeworld - Gravity's End

By Reiko

Interrupted, just when it was getting good!

Last time we attended a mysterious rendezvous and met Macropterous, a member of a secret religious sect among the Heechee. He believes we can help each other, so he gave me the course code to the sect's headquarters. However, I have to follow some ancient Heechee prophecies in order to gain access, because our meeting was interrupted before he could tell me how to do it.

History of an obsolete religion.

I have put the course code into the ship and now activate it to travel to a new location. A rocky hill is crowned by the ruins of an ancient temple. Oddly enough, this seems to be a tourist destination, as a guidething (bot) wakes up when I arrive and begins telling me about the "ancient site of the Temple of Sterigma." The ancients who built the site worshiped the elements and focused on religion as much as science and technology. Yet their scientific studies were the undoing of their religion: as they learned to understand the world around them, they ceased to worship it. That's reasonable.

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Missed Classic: Beyond Zork - Finally Finding the Plot

Written by Joe Pranevich

Welcome back to Beyond Zork! I admit that I have struggled with this game. It's not that it's a bad game, but I have difficulty motivating myself to play or write about it. Every time I try, my attention drifts elsewhere and I find something else to do. I'm almost surprised I haven't opted to paint my bathroom by now. This should be impossible – this is a Brian Moriarty game! This is a Zork game! This is Infocom! I've played my fair share of duds for this blog — and I'll admit, a bad game can be charming in its own way. Every one of them inspired me to write, sometimes too much. Beyond Zork is the first game where my primary feeling is one of mediocrity. It should be a better game and my energy is sapped. This session at least ended well and I hope that I can keep up this positive motivation to finally finish and rate one of the final games in our marathon. 

Last time, I needed hints to progress, including a major one for solving the riddle at the lighthouse entrance. After navigating the structure and battling interesting monsters — from replicating dust devils to a creature with countless eyes — I opened a chest at the very top. What happened next was unexpected: I was teleported to a celestial realm filled with unicorns. They didn’t like me much and banished me back to earth with a warning that they would not be so friendly next time. I still have many unsolved puzzles, with perhaps the largest being that my character hasn’t “found the plot” yet. We (the player) know what is going on and that we’re questing for the Coconut of Quendor, but all my protagonist knows is that she had a sudden urge one day to do a fetch quest for a cook in a nearby inn and before she knew it she was trying on armor and being insulted by unicorns. What is her motivation?

This week, as the title suggests, we’ve finally discovered the plot. Let’s get on with it!