IFComp 2008: The Hall of the Fount of Artois

Spoilers follow the break.

Another Windows-only homebrew system, only this time the author really went to the trouble of implementing a full game. This work would not look at all out of place at the IF Archive outside the Comp area. There are loads of games like this one there already. They’re almost all twenty years old. Even the blurb made me immediately think of Voodoo Castle (Scott Adams Adventure #4).

One thing about it is that it really separated implemented objects from mere color text. Anything you can actually refer to in commands is listed in a separate line below the room description, in a different color and devoid of grammatical connectives. Again, this reminds me of Scott Adams, except for the presence of room descriptions. Except that, because of this split, the room descriptions almost never contain useful information beyond a list of exits. There are imaginable situations where that wouldn’t be the case — static room text is a perfectly good place to stash information for information-based puzzles. But that doesn’t seem to happen here, and past a certain point I was basically skimming most of the game’s text.

The worst thing this game does is trick the player into thinking that it has a working “save game” feature. There’s a “save” verb that creates a file, and a “restore” that asks you for a file to read, but restoring a save game doesn’t seem to actually do anything. This is especially unfortunate since there’s quite a lot of territory to cover and a move limit on the whole game. Unlike many of the entries this year, the ability to actually save your game and restore it later would have been really useful here.

Rating: 2

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