Curses (SPOIlERS)

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John West

May 17, 1993, 3:16:50 AM5/17/93
Sorry about that subject line, but this terminal doesn't like producing
upper case l. No idea why.

I've been playing Curses for a few days now, and I'm quite impressed.
Haven't played such a good game for quite a while.

There are a few problems, and I think I'll cover these first.

Most serious is a bug in the parser. Seems it doesn't want me to look up
more than one word in any of the books. I would have thought

> look up Peter Meldrew in history

would be a quite reasonable thing to say, but the parser doesn't, and
prints a most strange error message:

I only understood you as far as wanting to look c c 1hs that.

I've also had a similar message from going into a dark location, turning
the torch off, then on again, but I haven't been able to recreate it.
Possibly a figment of my imagination.

Some of the puzzles have disappointing solutions. I really liked the mouse,
but I never expected that a survivor from the late 70s would still be
working (it should at least need new batteries), and responding to voice
commands is completely ridiculous. That was a really clever puzzle - I
liked it a lot - but the operation of the mouse could have been made a
little clearer.

I generally don't approve of 'sudden death' locations, such as going down
from the starting location, but once you've made that mistake once, they
are fairly easy to spot and avoid. So why do some of them kill you, and
others print a warning message? This seems strange. Or is it part of the
plot? I haven't completed the game yet. (DON'T tell me. I'll complete the
game on my own)

The method of getting the boat to come is a bit poor too. Why does the
handkerchief work but the poster not? After that clue from the demon, I
would have expected the solution to have something to do with the poster.

Enough of the problems. The rest of the game is great, wonderful. As I said,
I thought the mouse problem a work of genius. Very clever indeed. I also
thought the bit on the roof with the gothic key quite good. Having it fall
down the chimney completely destroyed the feeling of 'thats another puzzle
solved - on with the next'. Just adds a little to the feeling that this is
all one connected story, and not just the series of unrelated puzzles that
some games are.

Famously difficult maze? You have to be joking. But the idea of being able
to see the whole thing wins major style points. Not at all like the mazes
we've been trained to expect. But what is that closed off square in the
corner? I can't get into it (again, DON'T tell me).

The attic setting was quite clever. How to have lots of unrelated objects
in the game without making anything seem out of place. In fact, it is the
rooms *without* lots of unrelated objects that don't seem to fit.

Congratulations. Its almost like having Infocom back

John West

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