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The Home of Otter Interactive Fiction

The Long Barrow Reviews
Author: C Henshaw
Date: 2006
ADRIFT 4.0


Comments on Adrift Forum

This game started interestingly, but I couldn't get the game to do anything at first. ANYTHING. I had no idea what I was supposed to do
besides excavate, but typing 'dig' or 'excavate' or 'dig ground' or 'dig with shovel'; I finally got to 'dig with trowel'. I played until the sudden death in the cavern, which was too difficult given only one level of undo. 5.

made it to the end in good time, fun :) 5.

This game was one of the tougher ones (or tougher ones not written by me). I made some headway, but there were a lot of objects and no clear goal. I did make it to the end (when I finally stopped dying), but I had to peek in the generator to get the syntax to overcome the final puzzle. 5.

Some GTC in the Large Carved Room, but otherwise a well written little game. 8.

This I quite liked, even though I spent most of the time looking in the Generator trying to figure out what to do next. Guess-the-command seemed to be the game's biggest fault, sometimes with the obvious command in a given situation not doing anything and a non-obvious command required instead. I struggled a lot, particularly in the last room (though in my defence, the game alternatively uses a couple of different words for the same item which didn't help). Still, not a bad game overall. 5.

The length of the introduction is a bit off-putting at first, but the high calibre of language goes some way to carrying it off more than most authors would. Some of the command wording is a bit ambiguous however as I found myself reaching for generator to discover that 'dig depression' was the only thing I could type to progress the story.

This game succeeds in being constantly engaging and somewhat enigmatic, until the end which is slightly too anti-climactic in the context of a game of this nature. But still, very well written language-wise and interesting. 7.



Reviewed by: Nick Rogers (InsideAdrift March/April 2007 Issue 34)

(I have to admit that when I started this game I was expecting a full game. Half way through playing this game I learned that, in fact, it was created for a speed-IF comp (one or three hour - I can't remember), so much of what I say has to be weighed in that light.)
I'm (not) diggin' it

The introduction was well written, but didn't really grip me. So I'm a lowly archaeology assistant, and have been that way for a while, but maybe I'm about to make it big. So I pick my trowel and try to dig. "I don't understand what you mean." Pardon? I have all this digging equipment, and I can't just "dig"? Hmm. I try digging the ground. I try to scrape the rocks. I try swinging the pick-axe. Grr. On a whim, I try digging with the trowel. Ah!  That's what is needed. This game has gone down a peg. I realise that this game was written in a short time frame, but really, if it wasn't going to handle the basic "dig" command, it should have at least lead me to the right phrase and told me to specify what I should dig with. Anyway, second room. Whoops, some bad spelling: a duplicated word "One one side of...", and I believe mortar is spelt with an "ar", not "or". Can I dig with trowel here? Not on your life. At least I can move the rocks. Can I break the brick wall? Can I swing the pick-axe? No. Well I do have a new room to explore. There's something shiny in the corner. How do I examine it? Now, call me picky, but I'm afraid I would never have thought to try "examine
something". Yes, I can see that the word was used in the description, but so was "sheens", but that one doesn't work. I tried shining my light on it. In the end I just tried the greatest IF command of all time: "get all". Hey, now I have a gold hoard! Whoo-hoo! Just another brick in the wall

So now what? I admit I cheated at this point and opened the game in the Generator. With no hints or help online, I didn't really have a choice. And the game was starting to get old really quickly. Getting through the brick wall was a pain in the GTV. You can't use the pick-axe, which, in my mind, would be a natural for knocking down brick walls. The main problem is that you get the standard Adrift response ("I don't understand what you want to do with the pick-axe") for all the wrong tries, which leads you to believe that you can't knock down the brick wall at all. You can, but you have to hit on the right word combination.

And then there's the digging. You need to do some more, and again, you can't just dig. But now you can't dig with an implement, as you needed to do in the first room. Consistency is optional, I guess. By looking at the generator I discover what I'm supposed to type in and move on.

Rock on, dude
That leads me into a tunnel. After a bit of moving around it ends up saying "You can go east and west". Actually, it's lying. I can only go west. So I end up in a large carved chamber. There are some "awesome" carvings on the wall. I'm sure they are, but I couldn't examine them. Or the ceiling. Or the floor. Or the walls. The only thing that is fully described in the room is a large, boring slab of rock. (But remember to enter "rock", because "slab" doesn't work.)

Now, for the final puzzle of moving the slab, sorry, rock. There are four commands that have to be entered to solve it, But there are no hints, no suggestions if you tried "move rock". In fact, "move rock" responds with "You can't move the rock", when the puzzle you have to solve is designed to do exactly that - move the rock. You're just supposed to know. Maybe the items you were given at the beginning were supposed to be suggestive. I don't know. In any case, I don't think I would've come up with that on my own. And then there's the ending. You've just ransacked an archaeological site, and destroyed various parts of it, without a shred of photographic or written documentation on what you did. In the real world, there is no way you would be getting a big raise. You would more likely get kicked out of the archaeological community.

It's a long way to the top...

This game has potential, and so many things suggest themselves as improvements: when the player falls into the room at the beginning, make it impossible to get out. This would create the reason for escaping through the tunnel. Give the player a camera and some recording equipment to document the find. Change the ending if the player moves or breaks things, so that it's bad if they take the gold or silver. And cover some more standard commands. You know, like "dig".

As it stands, I didn't really enjoy this game. As a game written in an hour I guess it's pretty good, but I think I'd rather see something a little more completed. There is some good writing, with the occasional mistake, but unfortunately all the issues I had left me feeling that it was only half done.

3/10


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