Wednesday, October 14, 2009

[IF Competition] Spelunker's Quest

This time, I will fill the spoiler space with an announcement.
I have received a bunch of code that solves basically all of the disambiguation and multiple actions/objects problems of The Art of Fugue! Expect to find it in the next alpha. The reason I'm telling you now is to ensure that nobody else is going to spend a sleepless night trying to figure out how to do this. :)
Which brings us right to Spelunker's Quest, a game that is exactly as old-school as the title might make you suppose.

The author is a professional programmer, and it shows: we have a very cleanly implemented game.

The author is a big fan of the old adventures like Adventure and Zork, and that shows as well: we wake up in a cave, find some treasures, kill some monsters, get ourselves into unwinnable situations, consult the hints menu... wait, did Zork have a hints menu? I don't think so. So that's one extra point for Spelunker's Quest.

I dislike Adventure and Zork; these amnesiac-trapping treasure-hunting verb-guessing unwinnable-situation-filled caves simply don't do it for me. For that reason, I can't say I liked Spelunker's Quest very much either. But it was short enough for me not to get irritated by it, and if this is the kind of game the author enjoys, well, it is at least a competently done game of its kind.

The writing could use another check, though. I don't want to hear that the torches "provide ample illumination"--it sounds very stilted--and I certainly don't want to see that same phrase repeated in several room descriptions. Also: "It empowers you with the knowledge of which direction is north." That verb seems wrong to me; "provides" would be better. Better yet: "It shows you which direction is north."

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