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The Elfen Maiden: A Comedy of Error Messages

Adam Le Doux 2011
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

Imagining a computer as a quasi-sentinent being might not be a completely new idea, but it hasn't been done that often – especially as a comedy. This particular computer's role is to serve its 'master', as it calls Jason. This might imply doing whatever he wants, but now, the computer simply knows that Jason is about to make a mistake which will scar him for life. Being active in an online role-playing game, he has met an 'Elfen Maiden'. Things are pointing towards a real-life date between the two. However, there are no women on the Internet (at least not Elvish ones), so the computer just knows that this must be a guy just playing the part. A look at Jason's porn stash confirms he would not be (sexually) interested in another man. So the player, taking over the role of the computer, has to prevent this date from happening... and maybe hook Jason up with someone more suitable.

The End of He-Man!

Mr Creosote 2002
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 0/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

The Good Old Days' second birthday special - an Adventure walking along the fine line of cheesiness and geeky fan-ideas.

The main technical difference to all my other games is that I didn't use a full-blown sophisticated language anymore. Much too much fuss. Instead, I relied on TADS (Text Adventure Developement System), a free C++ like language specialized on IF. The main reason I chose TADS and not Inform or any of the other competitors is that TADS is very easy to learn. It's purely event-based. That means to program a game, all I had to do is define the objects, locations and persons and set routines how they interact with each other. The TADS engine connects it all then with the already great parser which comes with it. Of course I also added to and customized that one. But a big chunk of the work of a real game engine (which none of the older games have) didn't have to be made - I could concentrate on the contents of the game! The source code writte by me is over 2000 lines long. Then add even more for the engine and you get the picture how much work has been put into this.

The Entropy Cage

Stormrose 2014
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Freeware
System: Interpreter

The interactive fiction community is split into two camps: Those that prefer the more traditional parser games (which mostly put a stronger emphasis on the interactive part) and those that like the hypertext ones (which mostly prefer the fiction part). So as always, a group of people cannot be small enough without quarrelling about how to do things. Some people go as far as outright avoiding games from a certain ‘faction’ or playing them just to criticise them for all the things they are not. The Entropy Cage mirrors this conflict in its story. It is hard to tell whether it is intentional or not, but anyways it is nice to find a game about the dogmatism of a hidden computerised society in an almost obscure online subculture.

The Feeble Files

Adventure Soft 1997
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

[Mr Creosote] The Feeble Files, the German version being called Floyd (which is the version we'll refer to at some points in the course of this review), was developed by Adventuresoft, which is primarily known for the Simon the Sorcerer games. Under the name of Horrorsoft, the same people also produced such popular games as Elvira - Mistress of the Dark or Waxworks.

The Forest of Doom

Puffin Books 1983
Genre: RPG
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Gamebook, C64

On planet Allansia, our hero travels across the Northern Borderlands without meeting a single soul. Until one night, he is wakened from his sleep only to witness the final words of a dying dwarf called Bigleg. His mission to take a legendary weapon of war to Gillibran, the king of dwarves, at the edge of Darkwood, failed. It has been stolen in an ambush. Without this weapon, the dwarf kingdom of Stonebridge is in danger from warmongering trolls. Bigleg promises our nameless hero great riches if he can find the war hammer again and bring it to its rightful owner. Then he dies right under our eyes.

The Fourth Protocol

Hutchinson Computer Publishing 1985
Genre: Strategy, Adventure
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: C64

The Cold War... since you're reading this review of a mid-80s computer game, this probably isn't just something you learned from history books. It also filled another kind of book, though: for spy novels, it provided the perfect background. A very successful release in the genre was Frederick Forsyth's The Fourth Protocol. The basic plot: Evil communists have devised a plan to finally tip the balance in their favour. 'Plan Aurora', as it is called, involves smuggling a nuclear bomb into the UK and detonating it, making sure the blame goes to the USA, thus destabilizing the western alliance.

The Gene Machine – The Great British Adventure

Divide By Zero / Vic Tokai 1996
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC
19th century literature procuded many of the iconic figures which are still dominating public mindset even today. Who hasn't heard of Jack the Ripper, Dr. Jekyll, Sherlock Holmes or Captain Nemo? All these original stories being in public domain these days, they provide ample material for more or less free adaptions. Or at least as source of inspiration. Or as the butt of jokes.

The Great Giana Sisters

Time Warp 1987
Genre: Action
Rating: 6/6
Licence: Commercial
System: C64

Every C64 owner knew it, everyone played it and enjoyed it. The Great Giana Sisters. The ultimate Jump & Run Game for this good old computer. Great graphics, many hours of fun, lots of nobody is asking for Super Mario Brothers, Nintendo´s contrahent. in fact, we rather like to play with women, don´t we ?

The Great War 1914-1918

Blue Byte / SSI 1993
Genre: Strategy
Rating: -
Licence: Commercial
System: PC
History Line 1914-1918 was released by SSI under this title in the USA. Gameplay is identical.

The Guild of Thieves

Magnetic Scrolls 1987
Genre: Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: Amiga

Magnetic Scrolls send you back to Kerovnia, the location of The Pawn. But instead of a confused stranger, you are an aspired wannabe-member of the famous Guild of Thieves! To be accepted to this illustrious round, you have to prove your abilities. The guild sends you to an island and you have to ransack as many valuables as possible. The castle-like mansion looks like a likely target, but you're already stopped at the entranceby the guards. The nearby bank on the other hand looks like an even harder job...

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