As has been my practice for the last few years, I’ve set my RSS feed to truncate entries so that I can post reviews without spoilerage. Within an entry, there is a short, spoilerless discussion (though the comp purists may want to avoid reading even that before playing for themselves); then spoiler space; then a more detailed discussion of what I thought did and didn’t work in the game.
I’m also pursuing an approach I came up with last year: I’m playing and reviewing games that have listed beta-testers, and skipping those that don’t. Last year that turned out to be a pretty fool-proof indicator of which games were going to end up scoring 4 or less on my personal scale. I’m hoping this will mean I have more time to devote to the remaining games, which in turn will (I hope) be of higher quality, and you, dear reader, will have fewer rants inflicted on you.
Now up: Spelunker’s Quest.
I got kind of excited when the game mentioned Brazil at the outset, because I thought we might be in for an Amazonian adventure with a detailed tropical setting and maybe some interesting animals or archaeological artifacts.
But no, that’s not what this is. We have very old-fashioned game design — lots of ways to make the game unwinnable; sudden death rooms; some fairly hard to guess actions and unexpected magical effects. The implementation is reasonably solid of its kind, which is to say that I encountered quite a few unchanged defaults and undescribed objects, but no bugs.
I have the impression from the notes that the author hasn’t met much IF written since the early 80s, and that he was pretty enthused about being able to write an homage to those retro pieces. And he did a fine job of creating what he seems to have wanted to create.
One thing that did bother me a bit: it appears we’ve stumbled into the goblin’s home, whereupon we kill him and steal all of his stuff. I know it’s a convention of the old-school that monsters are monsters and deserve to die, but it sat a bit wrong with me anyway. Blame my modern sensibilities again, I guess.