Thursday, June 20, 2019

Game 333: Waxworks (1992)

The box CamelCases the second "W" but the title screen doesn't. There's a similar issue with whether the company is called HorrorSoft or Horror Soft.
           
Waxworks
United Kingdom
HorrorSoft (developer); Accolade (publisher)
Released in 1992 for Amiga and DOS
Date Started: 11 June 2019
         
Waxworks is the fourth major title from HorrorSoft, after . . . A Personal Nightmare (1989), Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1990), and Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus (1991). (It is also the last; the company would re-brand itself AdventureSoft in 1993 and from then on publish essentially nothing but Simon the Sorcerer entries. That annoys me a little bit. I mean, "AdventureSoft" is too generic a name to be taken up by a company that just publishes one series. They should have called themselves "SimonSoft" and left "AdventureSoft" for a developer with a more diverse catalog.) I think I could make a case for the game not really being an RPG, but part of me is curious to see how the developer does without Elvira as the game's centerpiece. I never really cared for the character, which I'm sure dragged down my enjoyment of the two previous titles.
          
Like the Elvira games, Waxworks is fundamentally an adventure game that does offer RPG-style character development, combat, and inventory. The interface is slightly redesigned from Elvira II. (The engine is called AGOS, a graphical version of an open-source engine designed for MUDs called AberMUD.) The system of health to individual body parts has been dropped, as has the useless beating heart. The compass is moved from the lower-right to the left, and character stats are on the bottom rather than between the two main windows. A control panel of icons in the upper-left lets you check inventory, manipulate objects, ready weapon, and attack.
        
I bought the GOG version and was confused for a while until I looked it up and discovered that the game came with two manuals, one of which GOG doesn't offer. The second, The Curse of the Twins, explains the backstory in 13 pages of text by Richard Moran, who also wrote the manual to Star Control II.
         
The backstory casts the unnamed protagonist as a twin whose brother Alex disappeared when they were teenagers. They had been exploring an old mine. The siblings lived in the seaside town of Vista Forge, where their rich, eccentric Uncle Boris built a wax museum in his creepy mansion. Now an adult, the main character has returned to Vista Forge to attend Boris's funeral. All kinds of mysterious signs, portents, and disasters accompany the trip, including the collapse of Boris's grave, and disappearance of his coffin when a sinkhole opens beneath the cemetery. During the chaos of this event, the protagonist thinks he briefly sees Alex in the mine tunnels that run under the cemetery.
         
The hallways of Uncle Boris's waxworks.
         
The protagonist remembers a tale that Uncle Boris once told, about a family ancestor who caught a witch named Ixona stealing one of his chickens. In retaliation, he chopped off her hand, for which Ixona cursed the family: "In every generation in which your family bears twins, one shall belong to Beelzebub." The curse nearly immediately came true, when one twin son of the family became Vlad IV of Walachia, or Vlad the Impaler, who lived up to his name by tracking down and impaling the witch. Generations later, other twins in the family included Torquemada, the Marquis de Sade, and a female witch burned at the stake in Salem. [Having lived in Salem, I am obliged to point out with indignation that no accused witches were burned in Salem; they were all hung, except for one who was crushed under rocks. Also, they were all innocent.] It was these very individuals that Uncle Boris chose to populate his waxworks. Determined to lift the curse, Boris also funded a dig at Vlad's castle in Walachia and recovered a crystal ball from the impaled corpse of Ixona. 

The character enters the tunnels and returns to the location where Alex disappeared, finding evidence that someone has been living in the tunnels, eating bats and fish. The next day, at the reading of the will, the character inherits Boris's estate. A letter left by Boris indicates that Boris knew Alex was still alive, and possessed by evil, and that the character can save him by using the waxworks to travel back in time and undo the curse.
         
Uncle Boris's creepy, disembodied head speaks to me from beyond the grave.
        
The game begins at the door to the mansion, with Boris's butler inviting the character in. The butler gives the protagonist (whom I guess I'll describe in the first person from now on) a crystal ball in which I see Boris's face. He tells me that I must use the waxworks exhibits to enter the worlds of the previous twins and kill them, "destroying the power that feeds the curse." I then find myself in front of an Egyptian exhibit. The Egyptian siblings technically predate the curse, but one of them was evil, which gave Ixona the idea in the first place.
         
Death is only the beginning.
       
I move throughout the mansion. Given the backstory, I expect to find exhibits depicting the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, Dracula, and perhaps even the persecution and assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade. But I guess those were just examples. What I see instead are:
        
  • A mine being overrun by a mutant plant
           
Did that happen in this town? If so, the authorities sure hushed it up.
         
  • Jack the Ripper approaching one of his victims with a knife
         
You're not even stabbed yet, woman! Don't swoon--run!
         
  • A bunch of zombies lumbering through a graveyard
              
I'm not sure this event was "historical."
            
There are other closed curtains throughout the museum. I'm not sure if they'll later be opened and reveal other exhibits.

I wonder if I'm supposed to take these on in a particular order, but the game has me covered there. It turns out I can talk to Boris by clicking on the crystal ball. He tells me that no, it doesn't matter what order I choose--all of the scenes need to be "cleansed." I realize later that talking to him has cost me "psy" points, so I'd better save it for when I'm really stuck.
          
 . . . except that I'll be Level 1 for the first one and like Level 20 when I go to the last one.
          
I decide to go in chronological order, although I'm not entirely sure where the graveyard fits into it. My best guess is that the order is Egypt - Graveyard - Jack the Ripper - Mine. Thus, I head back to the Egyptian exhibit and choose "Enter."

A couple of flashes of light later, and I'm in a pyramid. A nearby room shows someone labeled "pyramid designer" stabbed in the back, his body hunched over a table. A piece of papyrus underneath the corpse has an image of Anubis and a set of nine hieroglyphics.
           
Some kind of puzzle already.
         
The room is full of baskets, jugs, pitchers, and other objects, and it turns out that, just as in Elvira II, you can pick up just about everything. Unlike Elvira II, there's no spell system here that's going to make use of all these items, so there's probably no point in loading up my inventory. I do it anyway, mostly because I want to see if the 16 items the window holds are all I get, or whether it scrolls. It turns out that it scrolls. At this point, I realize that I can't figure out how to drop things. Clicking and dragging them back to the environment doesn't help. The manual says that "Drop" is supposed to be an object action when I click on an object, but it never appears. I hope there's no limit to my inventory, then. I walk out of the room with a scarab beetle brooch (found in a chest), a dagger, a lamp, a bowl, a beaker, a stylus and ink block, two pieces of papyrus, three baskets, six jugs, a jar of oil, and a mat.
         
The scene in the first room. Most of this stuff will end up in my inventory.
      
Returning to the hallways, I start wondering if I'm going to have to map. I decide to try following the right corridor first, and if I get lost or confused, then I'll map.
       
I turn a corner and meet a pyramid guard with a sword. Combat hasn't really changed since Elvira II, either. You hit the sword icon to activate your readied weapon, then click in the screen itself to indicate what part of the enemy you want to target. The guard defeats me three times in a row.
          
And here's where we learn that Horror Soft did not skimp on its customary gruesome death screens.
          
Finally, on the fourth time, I manage to kill him--with no hit points lost. That suggests that luck is going to play a big role in combat. From this one battle, my level increases to 2. I also get the guard's sword.
         
                 
As I walk, I realize I'm getting 1 experience point for every square I've never stepped in before. I soon go to Level 3. This is accompanied by an increase in maximum hit points.
        
Continuing down the hall, I meet another guard, who also slays me two times in a row. I finally kill him on my third try. I hit him about five times for every time he hits me, and I do hundreds of points of damage to him. These guys are tanks. I begin to wonder if I was really supposed to level up in one of the easier scenarios first.
         
At this moment, let's pause to note that the graphics are quite nice. Many are animated, which isn't coming through in these static shots. But the only sound effects I've experienced in the game are the swishes and thuds of weapons connecting in combat. There's music, but it's loud and relentless and I turned it off.
         
This guy was a little easier. He looks easier.
      
After picking up some piles of sand, I meet a new enemy: a priest with a dagger. He dies a lot easier than the guards. At the end of a corridor, at a statue, I find a tuning fork in a pot. But it isn't long before yet another guard kills me. I reload, kill him, step a few paces past him, and find a little pond. There, a crocodile kills me while I'm trying to fill a jug with water. Man, this game is rough.
           
         
Reloading, I walk a few paces past the crocodile, then meet an Egyptian guy with a spear:
           
            
The problem is that hit points don't seem to regenerate automatically as you move. It occurs to me that Uncle Boris might be able to help. I contact him and, sure enough, using the bits of papyrus and pen that I picked up, he creates three healing scrolls. Each one seems to heal 10 hit points. They don't really help: the spear guy destroys me in two stabs.

I start paying attention to the statistics, and when I finally kill the bastard, I'm convinced the game is just making things up. When you strike someone, the box in the lower-left corner tells how many hit points of damage you've done. There were times that I hit the guy for over 200 points in multiple blows and he didn't die. When I did finally kill him, it was after maybe 80 points of damage.

I come to a treasure room! Too bad that's not why I'm here. Five pots, a weight, two cat statues, a golden calf statue, and a tile all join my overflowing inventory.
            
In a real RPG, there would be lots of cool stuff in a room like this.
         
I soon come up against a thick glass panel. Nothing will smash it. This sounds like a job for the tuning fork! After 15 minutes of rummaging through my stuff, I find it--somehow I accidentally put it into a basket. I use it and the glass shatters and collapses.

A few paces on, two blades come out of the ceiling and kill me.
        
        
Okay, it turns out that the blades are the result of a trap, indicated by the presence of a very thin piece of string stretching across the corridor. I'll have to watch for those in the future.

I finally make it to a set of stairs upward, where I'm confronted by a puzzle: a pentagram with the number 0 at each point, plus four numbers (1, 3, 4, 6, 7) at each intersection of lines. Clicking on any of the 0s causes them to cycle through numbers 1 through 9, but it also starts an hourglass timer at the bottom. If I run out of time, as I did the first attempt (before I realized the hourglass was even running):
             
The mechanism by which this happened is unclear to me.
         
My guess is that it's like a magic square: each line has to add up to the same number, with no number being used more than once, including the ones in the middle. That means I have to make do with 2, 5, 8, 9, and 0 at the points of the pentagram. It doesn't take me long, though, to realize that isn't going to work. The best I can do with no repeating numbers is make the totals come out to 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.

So I focus on just getting them to add up to the same thing period. I spend some time messing with it in Excel and I finally come up with the answer, but I'm unsatisfied with my method. I know there's a way to do it algebraically, and I just couldn't figure it out. Solving math puzzles via trial-and-error never seems right. Anyway, I go up to Level 6.
             
Caught it just as the door was opening.
        
A few steps down the corridor and:
              
How did I end up barefoot, exactly?
         
I think I'll leave it there. So far, it seems like a brisk game, but much like Elvira II, the RPG elements are unsatisfying. The deaths are kind of funny, but I wouldn't be laughing if I prized myself on low reload count.

Time so far: 3 hours

72 comments:

  1. I'm somewhat tempted to guy buy this on GOG and play along...

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    1. Oh wow, you're not wrong about the sound.

      Also I got maybe lucky with my first two pyramid guards - killed them on the first try - but maybe unlucky - neither dropped a sword. Does it matter where you're trying to stab them? I just kept clicking their kidneys...

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    2. Oh no, I see, the weapons fall by the body.
      Spear guy took me three tries. On the third try I hit him three times in a row in the chest using a sword, maybe about 35 damage in total if the game is to be believed, and he went down without hurting me.

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    3. Hey CRPG Addict, how did you turn off the music but keep the SFX? The music is driving me batty but I don't want to miss any sound clues...

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    4. I got lucky with the "M" key. I don't know if it's documented.

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    5. Thank you.

      Also: time spent playing the game as intended 20%
      Time spent knowing what the basic solution to a puzzle is and fighting the interface to work out exactly what combination of inputs actually put the sand into the frikkin' pot: 80%

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    6. Ugh, I just encountered the dead-man-walking scenario in the mine level. Inexcusable. I have a save from not *too* far back but I'm not sure I can be bothered...

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    7. Was it the mine cart thing? That got me twice.

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    8. Yes, the mine cart. I felt very swift for dodging it the first time, and thought that that was the whole puzzle (because the boulders in the pyramid always neatly end up somewhere non-problematic once you dodge them). Played for another 90 minutes or so before I realised the problem while checking a walkthrough to help me with another puzzle.

      I really enjoy the process of mapping this game, but every last actual puzzle feels like it's been playtested precisely zero times.

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    9. Ugh, and then I hit another one. It lets you put both charcoal in the same handkerchief, and then if you put that in the thing that it goes in, there's no way to get the second charcoal out and you can't harvest another one.

      This time I don't have a save anywhere reasonably before it - because again, it took such a long time to realise what I'd done wrong - so I guess "screw Waxworks"?

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    10. I mean, the whole scenario takes about 30 minutes if you've already run through it a few times. It's your time, but I'd take a day's break and then give it another run.

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  2. "How did I end up barefoot, exactly?"

    Are you possibly, when going back in time, actually "inhabiting" the good twin, which is who is displayed in the top left window (a shirtless shoeless guy in your Egyptian screenshots and nothing in the screenshots from the present)?

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    1. A Quantum Leap (or The Terminator) restriction on time travel could explain why the protagonist doesn't save himself a lot of trouble and travel back with a gun.

      There's also the question of causing a paradox or ending up in a drastically different timeline by assassinating people in the past, but we're probably putting more thought into this than AdventureSoft did.

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    2. Some of the answers from the uncle's head / crystal ball suggest that yes, you are occupying the body of the good twin.

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    3. Yes, you are occupying the body of the twin in that time period, and you will also have different hairstyles in each time period.

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    4. The manual does confirm that "when you step into an exhibit. you become an inhabitant of the exhibit, a character in the time period you have stepped into. The Character Box in the top left corner of your screen shows who you are."

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    5. You're all right. That became clear in the next scenario.

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  3. I don't like these brutal game over screens so skipping it is ok with me.

    However I am really curious about the "zombie scenery". Maybe you could tell us to what time period it belongs to?

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    1. What is your avatar? The style looks familiar...

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    2. It turns out that the zombies were raised by Vlad the Impaler, so mid-1400s.

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  4. I like them for the over-the-top cartoon gore.

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    1. They also seem like a distinguishing feature of the game, so I wouldn't leave them out. Maybe blogger has a spoiler feature that would make you click first to have the images appear?

      (nit-picking: WaxWorks would acutally be PascalCase, camelCase starts with a lowercase letter)

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    2. I love them for that, too. Some of the death screens are pretty creative (although as we can see in some of the ones already posted, some share the same image base and just the wounds are different).

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    3. The protagonist always seems very relaxed in them.

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    4. The death screens are the only reason my 12-year-old self wanted to have the game.

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  5. 5 equivalent statements:

    1. a+10+c
    2. b+9+d
    3. c+10+e
    4. d+5+a
    5. e+8+b

    #1 & #3 tell us that a = e, so we can get rid of #3 and change the other e to an a.

    1. a+10+c
    2. b+9+d
    4. d+5+a
    5. a+8+b

    #1 and #4 give us d = c+5, which we can sub in, #1 and #4 are now the same so we get rid of #4.

    1. a+10+c
    2. b+14+c
    5. a+8+b

    #1 and #2 give us a = b+4, sub in, remove the duplicate

    2. b+14+c
    5. 2b +12

    b = 2+c

    So we can pick any c, (there are infinitely many solutions) I'll pick 0.

    a=6,b=2,c=0,d=5,e=6





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    1. Very well explained. Good mathing

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    2. A somewhat more geometrically intuitive way to arrive at the solution-

      We know the top number and the top left number must be equal since they have lines that share the opposite vertex and the difference of their interior sums is 0 (7+3 and 6+4). This establishes 5 relationships between adjacent values going around the outside circle counterclockwise from the top of 0, -1, -5, +2, +4, or cumulative relative to the top value, 0, -1, -6, -4. The second form with the solution domain implies unique solution for each choice of the top value between 6 through 9 inclusive.

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    3. I used a very similar approach to Tristan Gall, a bit more strict mathematically. I found out that there are four possible solutions, with C equal to 0, 1, 2, and 3. If C is greater than 3, A and E become greater than 9.

      I also love PoorKay's approach, that is mathematically impeccable, and he gets to four solutions, too.

      I wonder if all four solutions would work.

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  6. About inventory: vg'f hayvzvgrq naq jvyy or pyrnerq rnpu gvzr lbh pbzcyrgr n fpranevb.

    About leveling: yriryf ner erfrg rnpu gvzr lbh fgneg n arj jnkjbex.

    Theoretically, hitting different body parts of the enemy should do different amounts of damage, including critical strike opportunities at certain points, though whether or not this is actually implemented is anyone's guess.

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  7. Off-topic question: did you change the Master Game List on Google Docs? I can only see the rejected games now.

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    1. I set it back. I try to remember to reset it after doing my own filter, but sometimes I forget. You can always download a copy and do your own filters.

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  8. Considering the closed curtains in the exhibit, I wonder if the devs intended to launch "data disks" with extra levels down the road?

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  9. Sorry to be pedantic but it's hanged not hung.

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    1. This is the kind of comment that makes me want to stop blogging. If you feel you need to add this sort of thing to a longer comment that actually engages the topic of the entry, fine, but to show up and post JUST this . . . I don’t see why you’d do it unless you actively hated me and wanted to ruin my mood for a few minutes. You’re not sorry. If you were sorry, you’d have restrained yourself from such a worthless comment in the first place.

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    2. There's always going to be guys like this one... no reason to get hanged up on such things.

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    3. Hang in there, Chet. Such useless comments are in the minority on your blog.

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    4. Yes, I know. I'm not one hair away from quitting or anything. But the comment momentarily pissed me off, and I happened to be at a computer at that moment.

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    5. If you're going to be pedantic, then you better be *correct*. While hanged is preferred for executions, *both* are acceptable in American English according to Merriam-Webster.

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    6. Quite a few of the comments on the Digital Antiquarian's posts are like this too. He is unfailingly polite about it but I don't know how.

      I agree with the Addict - I would be frothing mad if I spent days writing a long, well-researched blog post only to have nitpicks like this.

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    7. I started reading the Digital Antiquarian recently and noticed this too. The first comments on every article are usually ones that mention minor grammar and spelling mistakes. I guess he encourages his readers to spot and report these kinds of mistakes, as he tends to fix them in the blogpost when people mention them.

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    8. Jimmy has long encouraged corrections at Digital Antiquarian. I think he plans to turn his blogs into books somewhere down the road.

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    9. Digital Antiquarian articles are actually made into e-books - one for every (historical) year. Also, he seems to be genuinely interested in correcting even those minor mistakes, so I guess getting free proofreading is right up his alley. ;)

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    10. As a non-native English speaker, I always find these quirks of the language fascinating (of course, every language has them).

      I was convinced the correct wording was "hanged", from a scene in BBC's "Sherlock".

      The explanation on the Merriam-Webster website is very interesting, and kind of funny:

      "Observing the popular distinction between 'hanged' and 'hung' will not make you a better writer, but it will spare you the annoyance of being corrected for having done something that is not wrong."

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    11. Another project addressed this by having a method for reporting typos separate from the commenting form. You could put a note on the bottom asking them to be sent to grammaraddict@whateverdomain.com, and then only check that inbox when / if you're in the mood.

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    12. I don’t mind notifications of typos. I just delete them after I make the fix. What I mind are pedantic distinctions between things like “hanged” and “hung,” especially when the commenter acknowledges that he’s being pedantic.

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    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    14. "They said you was hung."
      "And they was right."

      --Blazing Saddles

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  10. "the persecution and assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the asylum of Charenton under the direction of the Marquis de Sade"

    Some things, like Tolkien, you expect to see referenced endlessly in discussion of CRPGs. Other, less obviously germane topics, prove hugely delightful when they elbow their way in.

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    1. Sorry to be pedantic, but wasn’t Marat murdered in his bath by a royalist? And she was guillotined, not hung.

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    2. Weiss's play really ought to make more strategic use of italics, or it's open for misinterpretation like this.

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    3. Sorry to be pedantic, but wasn't Charlotte Corday a republican, not a royalist?

      (I think everyone should start adopting the moniker "Pedantic Butt" whenever they make these kinds of corrections. "Sorry to be Pedantic Butt. Actually...")

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  11. AdventureSoft has a fairly interesting history. It started out in the 1980ies as computer store importing games to UK. They imported a lot of Scott Adams adventures, which I recall was the reason for the name. Soon they started developing their own games, but I've never played any before the HorrorSoft stuff, I think. HorrorSoft itself was merely a brand for AdventureSoft.

    I really liked Simon the Sorceror I and II, which is the reason why I still remember the history for the company.

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  12. You asked why they used the generic "AdventureSoft" after this and the answer is more about what they did before rather than later. The origin of the company was "Adventure International UK", the international franchise of Scott Adams's US-based "Adventure International". They localized the Scott Adams-published games and released a number of their own such that they outlasted their originator. You played "Seas of Blood" some time ago which was from the same company.

    HorrorSoft was their next iteration as you pointed out, thanks in part to their licensing deal with Elvira but I don't know which came first. AIUK was deep into the licensed adventure game world, but when I spoke to Mike Woodroffe about this a couple of years ago he claimed that it was more of a coincidence: he and Elvira had the same talent agent! I'm not sure what a software designer needs with a talent agent though. Clearly by the time Waxworks came around, they weren't doing the Elvira-thing anymore, although it's pretty easy to see how this could have been a third "Elvira" game with a bit of light skinning here and there.

    After the horror games, they went back to comedies with Simon the Sorcerer and Feeble Files. The got some consulting from Infocom on the first Simon game (and so it is dear to my heart), but I don't know much about the second. After that, they lost the rights to the character. I don't know why. I should find out...

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    1. I didn't so much "ask" but make a stupid jokke about it, but I appreciate the clarification nonetheless.

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  13. I wonder if the reason they didn't have some of the more obvious scenes is because they would have been too similar to the movie Waxwork(1988) and they wanted to make sure they wouldn't get sued. pretty much all the scenes shown and the namechecked evil twins were scenes in that movie as well. Thus instead of Audrey being in a little shop....we get Mine Audrey. Instead of a straight up Zombie scene we get a Drac/Zomb combo. Be interesting to see what the other curtains Hyde in that way.

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    1. It didn't even occur to me that there would be a connection. Now I've read the film description and I'm surprised how lazy the game developers were with their story-telling. I'll talk about that in the final entry, I guess.

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    2. Stuff like this always makes me wonder if there was a licensing deal that fell through, or if the devs were trying from the start to make a serial numbers filed off adaptation

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    3. Considering the Elvira games were also based on an existing horror franchise, a licensing deal that fell through wouldn't be all that surprising.

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    4. Hunh now that Ethanland mentions it....the sequel DID drop in 1992 and instead of Wax scenes the wiki says " these worlds comprise "God's video game," where God and the devil battle over the fate of the world, each victory being reflected in events occurring in the real world", and the protagonists become people in that world (even thinking they are that person sometimes). That is a heck of a lot of overlap.

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    6. Maybe this interview could shed some light to the matter: https://archive.org/details/ZeroIssue28Feb92/page/n53

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    7. It seems that they changed the Marquis de Sade scenario for the Jack the Ripper one on the eleventh hour.

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    8. Oh yeah that clears up a lot all right. Its definitely a numbers filed off then....only question is whether or not they had tried to get a deal with the movie company and lost it or not.

      And on the scenario change. That makes sense. If I recall correctly the Dracula one they changed to zombies was a seduction scene in the movie, and the De Sade scene was him trying to dance the Masochism Tango with the heroine. They might have had just a small problem trying to adapt those. De Sade swordfight woulda still been awesome though.

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    9. Forgot to say thank you for finding the article EonFafnir.

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  14. The film is fun I think.

    And please add me to the list of people for who the horrorsoft games never clicked. I learnt to love Simon The Sorcerer 1 with time (it is still one of the most beautiful adventures out there) but their tendency to have a mean anti charismatic main character also pulls me away from the fun in their point n click era.

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    1. Sorry to be pedantic, whom. I know, me. I know. Mobile phone and watching and anime at the same time.

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  15. Also, I find it somewhat funny that game number 333 (the little brother of 666) is a horror game.

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  16. Regarding killing things: things go faster if you hit stuff in a certain order.

    Regarding the sound and music: you would really really do yourself a favor in the music department if you changed the game to the Amiga version (I could even provide you with the necessary files and settings for WinUAE because I played the game back in January)

    Also: never forget checking the inside of pots etc.

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  17. Quick note on combat: Apparently most enemies have weak spots, and aiming for them kills them much faster than general attacks. This may be the reason why you sometimes kill them without being hit once, and sometimes get destroyed without seemingly harming them at all.

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  18. You absolutely need to map every period except maybe the graveyard one. Without this you have no hope of winning.

    In general, the game has a great atmosphere and some genuinely interesting ideas and puzzles, but is ridiculously unforgiving in that missing a single item or failing to perform a set of actions in precisely the right order will render it unwinnable. For example, it's perfectly possible to make a mistake at the very beginning of one of the periods, only to find you're missing a vital item near the end. Also, there are lots and lots of red herring items.

    What's worse, sometimes logical solutions won't work. One I can think of is in London, where you specifically need the sword cane to fight - even though you can find a sabre and a shotgun, you can't use them!

    Now that I think of it, the game does remind me of some of the most unfair Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

    ReplyDelete

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