IFReviewed by Greg Boettcher on 2006-05-22 08:48
This is one of the longer games of the year, and a lot of effort obviously went into it. Unfortunately, there are enough flaws with the game that I didn't find myself getting involved with it. If you are familiar with The Legend of Zelda, and you like a hard game, then you might want to try this game. If you're not familiar with the Zelda universe, then you may be not all that interested in it, since it's basically fanfic IF. Even if you are interested, you might run into the same problems I did. I found the game halfway interesting at first, but the more I played it, the more I became aware of its flaws. Some puzzles seemed nearly impossible to me, due to both guess-the-verb problems and puzzles that are difficult without knowledge of the Zelda universe. I finished the game, but only by resorting to a walkthrough.
The game opens rather well. You are Link (the hero of the Zelda games), and you start out in the cave of Impa (the old woman from the Zelda games). Impa has just finished writing the tale of your last adventure, when suddenly there is a message from Princess Zelda. It turns out her father, the king, was kidnapped. Now you and Zelda must rescue him.
Some of these things rang a faint bell. Many years ago, I did play the original Legend of Zelda game, the one that came out for Nintendo in 1986. I also vaguely recognized such references as Ganon and Like-Like the Shield-Eater. From what I could tell, this appears to be an authentic depiction of the Zelda universe, one that is well conceived, but not always very well executed.
I'm going to run quickly through some of the weaknesses of this game:
- There is a major bug right at the beginning of the game, where if you act in a way the author didn't anticipate, you not only get locked out of victory; you get locked out of seeing anything beyond the first five rooms, and you don't know why you can't go on. This is a really unpardonable flaw, and it happened to me the first time I played the game.
- There are some truly heinous guess-the-verb moments and guess-the-syntax moments. One of them was bad enough that it basically caused David Whyld to give up on the game. Another requires you to use a nonstandard verb rather than the more obvious and equally logical standard verbs. Both of these would have stumped me if not for the walkthrough.
- The NPCs are non-interactive, responding to very few topics of conversation. In this regard, it seems as though the author wasn't even trying. On the other hand, at least the character Zelda is better implemented than some of the others.
- There are a few little problems. For one thing, there can be anywhere from zero to two blank lines between a room's name and its description. Also, when Zelda follows you into a room, there is no mention of her at all -- neither "Zelda is here" nor "Zelda follows you in."
And now for the game's strengths:
- The writing is pretty good. As I said, the game begins well, and the major events of the game are well-described.
- The game makes great use of ADRIFT's auto-map feature. This helped me a lot.
- Most of the items mentioned in room descriptions are implemented.
- The puzzles are entirely appropriate for the Zelda universe -- although, as I said, this may make them difficult for those who aren't knowledgeable about that universe.
- The story is consistent with the Zelda universe, although I can't say how well it fits in with Zelda as a multi-game saga.
- It's admirably long and ambitious, especially considering that I think it's the first game by this author.
So if you're interested in Zelda fanfic-type IF, this game might interest you. Also, if you'd like to try out a rather long and difficult puzzle game written for ADRIFT, feel free to try this out. If you need a walkthrough, and you very well might, you can find one at David Whyld's web site.