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Good ideas but...., Sun 21st Aug 2011
By rotter - See all my reviews
I have been looking around for older ADRIFT games to play which have either not been reviewed or I just haven’t heard of. So, I thought I would have a look at House of the Damned by Sam McCall from way back in 2002.
It starts off with the well used classic of a broken down vehicle, stormy night, need help, being chased by wolves. Yeh, my sort of game.
What was I expecting from game that is nearly 10 years old? Well, lots of scenery you can’t interact with, loads of GTV, sparse implementation, generally old school problems. So, what did I find?
The first location starts off confirming my fears, “Portaits of long-dead residents”, so a spelling mistake and strange use of the hyphen in one sentence. But, on the plus side you can examine the portraits or pictures in the Hallway, strangely only once. This mistake is not made with other pictures in the house.
During the game you can hear the storm raging outside, “Thunder rumbles ominously” and “The rain continues to batter down” are two examples. I like this in a game and this happens at every turn. I’ve included the same type of thing in one of my games and it is difficult to get it right. It didn’t bother me but every turn is probably too much for some people.
Problems in the library are typical of the games failings. You can’t examine books or a large table mentioned in the text. Same as clock and grandfather clock both work. But later in the game you need to sort out a rather nasty plant in a greenhouse (can’t examine the plant of course). But, in carrying out the deed some windows get broken. This is then mentioned in the location description.
Now we come to the old favourite of trying to put a ladder against a wall/window. The ladder puzzle is a timed event as if you take too long the wolves return. The game does at least warn you of your impending doom but a timed GTV problem is never any fun.
Worth mentioning is that although this house has no doors (well they are mentioned but cannot examined) it does treat open and unlock as the same.
So, what are my final thoughts on this game? It has the makings of a great little game as I enjoyed playing it. I liked the story and the simple nature of it and most of its puzzles are well clued. It is let down by the IF curse of things which are mentioned but can’t be examined, loads of GTV (but far less than I expected) and not enough testing.
I’m scoring it 2/10 as the author has made some effort and I like the ideas behind the game but the failings really let it down.