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Ghost Town Reviews
Author: Finn Rosenløv (Cowboy)
Date: 2009
ADRIFT 4.0

Ghost Town hint system


Reviewed by Nick

Ghost Town by Cowboy is one of those landmark games in the ADRIFT community. It is the first complete game to fully embrace the graphic ability of ADRIFT.
With detailed artwork depicting the scene of every location, Ghost Town takes a step away from the usual IF medium of listing every object. Instead the Player must pay attention to the artwork to pick out things of interest that may or be not be included in the description. This adds a whole new dimension to gameplay while not detracting anything from the storyline.

The premise of Ghost Town is to fulfill the final wishes of your Great Grandfather and inherit his entire estate and visit the abandoned gold mining town of Battle Creek.
It sounds like a simple task, until you begin to unravel the unsolved mystery of Battle Creek as you discover the morbid secrets of its morbid past...

The puzzles in Ghost Town range in difficulty. Some require just a little common sense whilst others require some good old fashioned detective work and in-depth interaction with the environment.

The gameplay is not as linear as you might expect, with areas you might miss completely the first time you play.

This game is highly detailed and the effort which has been put in to cover every "default" ADRIFT response and every object and/or alias makes the occasional "missing capital letter" easily forgivable.

This is a must play for everyone and certainly for those who think if they’ve played one, they’ve played them all.
Ghost Town raises the bar in the ADRIFT community, so congratulations go to Cowboy, this game has been a long time coming, but well worth the wait.


Reviewed by Jimmy Maher (SPAG ISSUE #57 - February 18, 2010)

Ghost Town is not, first of all, a remake of the old Scott Adams game, but rather an entirely new effort that may just be the first IF game I've ever played that came from my new home of Denmark. It's also a very ambitious effort: lengthy, heavily plot-focused, and featuring occasional music and some nice hand-sketched artwork that suits the mood quite well. It's in fact among the most ambitious creations I've ever seen in ADRIFT. But that, of course, is a two-edged sword. After being thrilled upon installing Windows 7 to learn that it allowed me to completely uninstall Microsoft's bloated media player, imagine my delight when the ADRIFT Runner told me I had to reinstall it if I wanted to hear the game's sounds. Every time I fire up the ADRIFT Runner it seems to find new ways to confound and annoy me.

The plot of Ghost Town has you coming into an unexpected inheritance from your long-dead and heretofore completely unknown great-grandfather, conditional upon your spending a single night in the deserted old ghost town of Battle Creek, New Mexico. This doesn't, of course, make a great deal of sense, but it does afford you a reason to go into Battle Creek and chase and be chased by things that go bump in the night, as well as giving you the opportunity to meet a hot lawyer chick, whom you first see from an angle that pleases you very much.

Hot chicks are in fact a pretty important part of this game; you'll meet several more as it continues. While there's nothing wrong with a bit of harmless escapism, I found something just a bit creepy about this game's handling of its women. They are so obviously objectified, so constantly ogled over that I often felt I was learning more than I really cared to about the author's own fantasies. Doubtless the reactions of other readers will vary, from feminist outrage to complete approval. For my own part, I will merely say that the wait for a truly sexy piece of IF continues.

The writing is rather haphazard, sometimes contradicting itself within the same paragraph. X ME, for instance, yields this:

Although you actually do know what you look like you decide to run through your statistics again.

You are male (not a bad thing...) not too bad looking, some women even think you are handsome.
You stand 6´6” dark hair which is just slightly longer than a crew cut which suits you just fine. The dark colour goes nicely with your green/gray eyes and your chiselled chin gives you a determined look that most women find hard to resist.
You are wearing a pair of well worn jeans which is a little too long so you have found it necessary to roll them up into cuffs. But hey.. you're an old fashion guy anyway. A plain white T-shirt and a pair of sneakers complete the picture.
. You are wearing well worn jeans, a pair of sneakers and a T-shirt.

Do "some women even think I am handsome," or do "most women find me hard to resist?" There's a fairly wide gulf between these two statements, after all. And yes, the odd spacing and misplaced period are in the original.

And unfortunately the general parser- and storyworld-shoddiness that marks so many ADRIFT games pokes through in this one as well. You will often spend time struggling not with the situation in the storyworld but with the interface. At one point early in the game, for instance, you're riding shotgun with the hot lawyer chick in her SUV. She tells you to watch out for a certain small path that should lead to Battle Creek. I struggled for a long time here, as no longer how long I WAITed the scenery outside never changed. Finally I realized that the game for some reason expected me to move the SUV about with compass directions, even though I wasn't even the one driving.

It strikes me that this game was implemented as a linear series of events, and its author never really considered what might happen if the player did not follow the path set for her. Although four beta-testers are listed, I at least once found myself stuck and had to restore due to having completely confused the game with an unexpected action. Perhaps the testers were playing from the walkthrough?

It pains me to have to write such a harsh review, because it's quite plain that much work went into this game. But a lack of final polishing combined with the general shoddiness of ADRIFT undoes it in the end. A big game like this needs to inspire faith in the player -- faith in its fairness, faith in its implementation, faith in its story world modelling, and faith in its author. This game, alas, does not do that. It's very difficult to persevere with it for many hours when one is constantly wondering whether each new problem is a legitimate puzzle, a bug, or just a game of Parser Fun. In the end, I did what I suspect most of you would do; I gave up.


Reviewed by Mel S

 Taken from the Adrift adventure download page.

An epic adventure featuring a captivating story and some wonderful use of art. If you’re looking for a long, engaging Adrift experience, it’d be harder to find a better place to start than this.


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