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Mr Creosote:
Company: Cameron Wilkin
Year: 1999
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Misc. Fantasy / Horror / Text-based
Language: English
Licence: Freeware
Views: 27720
Review by Mr Creosote (2009-09-05)

“Ignorance is bliss”, people say. Know those clichéd fantasy settings in which a knight in shining armour slashes his way through hordes of 'monsters', although the whole time, you have this nagging question in the back of your head how this guy is exactly 'good' and how his victims are 'evil'? Then Bliss might be for you. On the surface, the game is exactly what we all despise: Your alter ego, the hero, has been captured by the Orcish army of an evil magician. Now, he has to escape from the dungeon and finally kill the evil guy's dragon. The whole journey being a violent killing spree. However, the evil wizard has apparantely put a curse on your head as sometimes, reality just seems to fade away...

On a related note, do you know these games which apparantely have a very good idea somewhere in them, but the execution doesn't live up? Games which sound better on paper than they actually turn out to be after you've started playing? That's Bliss, too. Puzzles are scarce, repetetive and unintuitive. Apart from one or two flashes in mid-game, nothing interesting actually happens until the very end. And even then, it feels kind of rushed, with the big revelations only taking a few sentences.

The most interesting aspect is the player being a willing accomplice to the protagonist's actions. This is a genre convention which Bliss questions. Why is everybody willing to commit such actions, just because the narrator tells him it's the right thing to do? However, other than not playing at all, this game doesn't really give the player any hidden alternatives pathes to take. The narrative is completely deterministic. If it allowed for alternate solutions apart from the obvious ones, playing the game a second time would make perfect sense, because the player would suddenly see it from a completely different point of view, giving him incentive to actively search for these alternatives. However, since they are not there, what remains is just bleak and depressing.

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