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Cursor  Member Reviews - Camelot 1.05

4 Ratings
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
  Disappointing, Fri 19th Aug 2011
By David Whyld - See all my reviews

A few errors right there in the intro – general Secretary of the UN? Shouldn't that be Secretary General? Paragraph spacing also seems a little off – why not leave a line between paragraphs or indent the first line so it stands out? As it is, they all seem jumbled together. Item descriptions are poorly written. This is the desk:

IT'S A PLAIN WOODEN DESK, NOT WORTH MUCH.
THE SURFACE IS SCRATCHED AND MARKED FROM MANY YEARS OF USE.
THERE'S A SINGLE DRAWER PLACED AT THE LEFT SIDE OF THE DESK.
STACKS OF BOOKS ARE PLACED ON THE TABLE, AND OTHER BOOKS ARE PILED UP ALONG THE WALL NEARBY.
THESE ARE THE BOOKS YOU NEED TO CLEAR UP AND PUT IN ORDER.

Five sentences split over five paragraphs. Wouldn't it have been better to keep them all together in one paragraph? But the above is typical of the game and makes reading anything longer than a few words quite jarring.

Many other typos – Counsil instead of Council – meant the overall standard of writing fell a long way below what I’d call acceptable. English might not be the writer’s first language, but it’s still hard to recommend a game like this.

The game itself didn't exactly seem enthralling. The intro was poorly written and did a poor job of setting the scene. An intro needs to grip you and make you want to play the game. This intro just had me writing up a veritable shopping list of things that were wrong with it.

Anyway, not expecting much, I persevered. I got myself out of the cellar without too much trouble but then I wandered back and found that the exit had mysteriously disappeared; despite being informed that there was an opening in the wall, I wasn't able to go through it.

There were then more annoyances – a book that can’t be read while standing up but can while you're sat at a desk. The default error message of YOU CAN’T READ THE BOOK! is a little unfortunate here. (Incidentally, ‘read it’ doesn't work when referring to the book.) Here I was plunged into darkness and found myself in an unwinnable situation as I’d already used all the matches and thus had to start again. Probably my own dumb fault for lighting all the matches already for no other reason than they were there but it would have been nice if the game had warned me about this beforehand or at least given me an alternative light source. After a quick restart, I found myself magically transported to the kitchen of Castle Camelot... and a room description, complete with dialogue and an annoying pause and screen clearing, which repeats itself every type you type LOOK. How on Earth was this missed during testing?

At that point, I decided enough was enough. Sorry. While the game might boast no less than five testers, it’s so rough around the edges that it’s hard to believe it was tested at all. The three locations I saw were so buggy I could write an essay on the subject.

3/10


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
  Just a Mess, Thu 18th Aug 2011
By Duncan_B - See all my reviews

Every room in this game has a minimum of three mistakes in its writing, except for a room with no use and practically no implementation that only has two. The paragraphing manages to be all over the place and crammed together at the same time, and all dialog is in italics, so it's a mess even to read. Motivation for puzzles and plot is likewise scattershot. Confusing parser responses abound. The small world is artificially inflated with pauses; 3 second waits when moving from a room makes it feel like moving through 12 rooms. Generally, all of the most potentially interesting items go unimplemented, but you'll see a lot of chairs, shelves, and tables, generally described in some hyperbolic state or another.

On the level of representation and tone, the game doesn't know which Camelot it wants to represent: a glorious, high fantasy kingdom of legend or a cruel world of "the darkest medieval age" (quote from the game). One moment it describes the deplorable condition of the dungeons or kitchen, this-or-that crude furniture, darkness and vomit-inducing stenches. It subjects the player to caste-based bigotry (even if it disrupts puzzle logic!), and even launches an ad hominem attack on a respected member of the IF Community. Then it wants to turn around and fascinate us with images of male peacocks strutting "like princesses," beautiful tapestries, and some really tasty (if "luke warn") baked bread. If there is an attempt at subverting the image of Camelot, it is quite poorly executed.

One wonders why the author chose Camelot as a location at all. The only character important to Arthurian legend that the player actually interacts with is Merlin, and even then that interaction is not beyond the barest extent of characterization. It's clear the author wanted Merlin to come off as likeable, but it's just not the case, since we do practically nothing with him. If anything, I don't see why he couldn't be replaced with a generic evil wizard who might also kidnap a random library janitor (through a method of dubious reliability, but whatever, it's magic), make him into a kitchen slave to be somewhat routinely beaten and insulted by the staff of this savage castle, and then force him to do his dirty work. Add to this that there's no particular *reason* the PC can do what must be done that Merlin couldn't himself do... that's some evil wizard sh*t, right there.

The rags to riches story underneath it all is, like most of the other elements of the game, just lip service. Ultimately, I leave the game feeling like I've been bribed by Muammar Gaddafi. There's nothing likeable in the PC, either-- the writing characterizes him as an almost supernatural klutz and kind of an idiot with no redeeming qualities. Coding and structure are frustrating, often actively misleading. It's not Escape from Camelot, but that's just because it's playable. That doesn't mean I won't give it the same rating.


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
  Tue 31st Aug 2010
By Hensman Int'l - See all my reviews

When I first saw the title "Camelot" I was prepared for a serious medieval plot and spending hours on end to achieve a crusade-like goal. Reminicent of "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court", I was anticipating a challenge of mythic proportions.

Maybe I’m spoiled on the concept of Camelot, and this game was more of a short spoof – I did find it humorous and enjoyable. A few of the commands eluded me as I am ’old school’ and expect to input more detail than less. Example, “light torch” – I kept trying to “light torch with matches”. In this type of game I was expecting at least one secret passage and kept examining a wrong location, certain I was missing something as the descriptions were so vivid. The actual secret passage was less described, thus it took a long time for me to find.

One of the frustrations for me was the use of timed delay between rooms. After being kicked out of one of the rooms I wanted to race thru the directions to get back there. That delay prevented that from happening.

The anacronisms seemed a little too out of place, however overall it was a cute short game. That said, I await the new updated version...


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
  A land of magical wonder and very, very poor hygeine., Sat 28th Aug 2010
By Lumin - See all my reviews


Looking at file sizes, Camelot was the heftiest game in the comp, continuing Finn’s trend of writing longer IF, something I always think we see too little of these days. (I suspect because it requires a whole bunch of work...) I probably spent the longest on this entry than on any of the others, and while, thinking back on it, if you simply listed the required puzzles it may not seem all that substantial, the truth is there is a LOT to do here--Camelot is one of those games that really rewards the player for taking the time to poke around the world trying different things, something I also haven’t seen that often recently.

The puzzles that are there seemed a little more challenging than the usual, requiring some thought. (theoretically a good thing except I suck at logic...) Close attention to detail is definitely important here...there were a couple of points where I became seriously stuck and had to PM the author, only to realize the answer had been right under my nose all along. Also, this game has convinced me to include more secret passages for the player to discover in my own WIPs; I don’t know what it is about the things, but they rock and always make me feel all smart and stuff when I figure them out. :)

On the whole I really enjoyed this game, and though ALL of the eligible entries were impressive in one way or another this year, for me at least Camelot managed to edge its way out to the head of the pack. The only real criticism I can even think of has to do with the plot--other than a handful of typos that I believe have already been fixed in a newer version, the writing was excellent, with lots of attention to the detail of the setting.

It’s actually the realism there that hurts it a bit, in my mind. For the most part the player doesn’t find themselves in some shiny fairy-tale Camelot, but a fairly convincing depiction of a medieval castle. (The description of the kitchen alone made me want to scrub down all my counters with bleach, and then shower in the stuff for good measure...and don’t even get me started on the dungeon.)

The plot, however, gets pretty silly once it’s revealed--not that that’s a bad thing in itself, and there are some genuinely amusing moments there, it’s just that it doesn’t mesh well with the setting at all. And though it’s probably beside the point, I never did figure out why it was assumed the main character would be able to fix everyone’s problem in the first place...though for the sake of MY (precious, precious) MIMESIS I finally did come up with the theory that, in addition to being an underachiever he was also a gigantic nerd; Merlin must have seen all the Dungeons & Dragons supplementals in his apartment and mistakenly come to the conclusion he was an expert on the subjects. :P

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