Hunger Daemon
for Interpreter (Glulx)

Herr M.:
Company: Sean M. Shore
Year: 2014
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Horror / Humour / Myths and Mythology / Text-based
Language: English
Licence: Freeware
Views: 13169
Review by Herr M. (2014-11-08)

Hunger Daemon is a game about the search of a long-time veterinarian student for a heart, a girl and something to eat… not necessarily in this order. His journey is linked to his uncle, who wants to take over the world by summoning an elder being into his body. Of course this cannot be for real, so the only serious question he has to ask himself is: When are you going to get your hands on some food?

Probably the best way to describe this text adventure would be as an interactive horror spoof fiction set in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos. It pokes a lot of fun at inane gibberish chanting, gathering obscure items or tomes for overly dramatic rituals at tastelessly decorated altars, very narrow minded monster beetles and digging up otherworldly artefacts in places where anyone could have stumbled upon them ages ago. What is especially nice is the stark contrast between the comparatively 'normal' everyday adventure game action, you will have to do to finish the game, and the somewhat strange things which are going on in that cellar.

But the humour does not stop at the scenario. There is a lot to laugh about the puzzles too. Most of them are very obscure… but in a good way, because they seem to be meant this way in order to show how ridiculously artificial they use to be in the genre – at times the text even outright mocks this fact. You get to do everything, from doing overly gross things for rather simple tasks, over retreating your steps just because you did not deem that one stupid item really necessary at the time, up to the good old lateral thinking. This could be a problem if it was not for the excellent hinting of those puzzles, which reveal just enough of the solution to avoid frustrations, but leave you yet with a feeling of accomplishment.

The very versatile parser is helping a lot too. More often than not there is no just that one command you have to enter in order to advance, but you can vary your wording a bit. It is also very nice that the game recognises a lot of rather stupid commands too and comments on them, sometimes even hinting at what you actually have to do. And while there are some very minor bugs (like not being able to leave a car without the use of one particular command), none of them really break the game and I never got into a situation where the game was actually unwinable. Sticking to an almost died out tradition the game even features some AMUSING things to do after finishing it, which makes for some extra replay value.

It should also be mentioned how well the author handles a rather delicate subject, one which tends to whip up feeling: Religion. Some slight spoilers ahead: Over the course of the game you meet some deeply religious persons as well as some occult ones. Although the religious ones are shown in a slightly more positive light, the game is not overly preachy and does its best to depict almost anyone as a human being first, with all their flaws, but also their strengths. Interestingly enough, nobody gives you a sermon why you should or should not believe in something. On top of that the protagonist also does not state whether he actually believes in all that stuff taking place in the altar room (though there are some strong hints that he does not take it really serious). An excellent design decision which makes it far easier to identify with your character.

Overall Hunger Daemon is a (literally as well as code wise) well written treat. It offers its players a tasteful buffet bubbling over with morsels of humour, horror and headscratchers in just the right mix to make it recommendable to almost anyone who knows how to handle a parser and is not afraid of some reading.

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