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.