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7 Stars IFReview Rating Expedition to the Darkwoods

IFReviewed by Tom Zuchowski on 2006-05-13 10:04 

Game Profile

Author
Greg Gioia

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Eamon

Release Year
1989

IFR Overall Rating
7 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator

MAIN PGM Version: 6.2

Extra Commands: DIG, CAMP, WEAR, REMOVE, ASK

Deleted Commands: None

Special Features: 10-directions, camping, buried items, magical artifacts

Playing Time: 3-8 hours

Reviewer Rating: 7.0

Average Rating: 5.0/2

Description: "Several of the town's children, seven to be exact, were abducted by marauders from the Darkwoods last night. Those attacks were only the most recent in a series of many and different evil-doings that have been going on for about two months. All of our best Adventurers have been slaughtered within moments after they disappeared into the Darkwoods."

And thus you join a company that includes a wizard, fighter, and thief. Your mission is to find the children and put a stop to the evil.

Comment: This Eamon was written as an entry for the NEUC's "Life Orb" contest of many years ago. I don't think it was submitted in time, even though there are some comments towards the end that indicate that the author was cutting his vision short because he was up against a deadline.

It is a real mixed bag, with lots of very well conceived specials that are for the most part poorly executed. The poor execution was an unfortunate result of Greg not getting the feedback that the EAG has given to new authors. Simple things like having to type exactly what the program is looking for go far in piling much frustration on an otherwise fine offering.

There is a goodly amount of combat, and you will do well to bring your better weapons. But there is also quite a lot of puzzling, and the puzzles are the more difficult for being narrow in their interpretation of your actions while dropping few hints along the way. For this, it garners a difficulty rating of (9).

When I originally played it many years ago, I was put off by the poor spelling, death traps (I HATE death traps!), and the tedium of trying LOOK, DIG, and SAY in virtually every room of a large dungeon. There are also a lot of companions and events, and this coupled with version 6.2's truly awful screen pausing, resulted in a personal rating of (4). Pat Hurst, who has a real thing about sloppy spelling and programming, rated it even lower. But this time around, I found myself getting into the Quest, and I made a real effort to work it through rather than dismissing it as a poor work. I think it was worth it, and I am upgrading my rating to (7).

If ever there was an Eamon that rated a hint or two, this is one, so here they are: first, the dragon has something you need. You can't beat him, but you can reason with him; SAY TELL and SAY HELP are useful there. And here's a more cryptic hint: when looking for a conductor, think of Ben Franklin's famous experiment. Finally, to save you some aggravation, the ravine is a "Gotcha!" death trap. Hopefully these hints will lower your difficulty to something more like a (7).

Having taken the time to really wring this Eamon out, I found several minor bugs that were missed before. The only one that perhaps rates a fix before play would be to add a PRINT statement after the GET in line 204, but even this one merely clips one effect record out of a special event, and I had no trouble getting the gist without it.

In spite of the combat, this is definitely a puzzler's Eamon. Those who enjoy taking the time needed to sift through everything they can find in order to assemble the nuggets of puzzling will enjoy it the most.

Used with Matthew Clark's kind permition.
Original review available at Eamon Adventurer's Guild Online website.

    Tom Zuchowski Profile

    Name Tom Zuchowski
    Gender Male

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