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The Home of Otter Interactive Fiction

Menagerie Reviews
Author: David Good (as DuoDave)
Date: 2001
ADRIFT 4.0


Reviewed by Amby

Now THIS is a real piece of IF... 

Clearly this is one the best ADRIFT games available. Besides being almost devoid of typos/grammar errors,it also makes good use of many of the engine's abilities ie., multiple random descriptions. 

But I'd like to add that this is also a pretty nice piece of (engine-neutral) IF. Uncommon setting, a not-oft-seen female PC, and puzzles that are refreshingly void of the "get the key to unlock the door" variety. 

My biggest disappointment was in realizing that, at it's heart, this game boiled down to being a treasure-hunt {finding the missing video camera parts.) Such a promising setup, but only a standard solution... 

Bonus points for an ending reminiscant of "Infidel" (one of my favorite Infocom games). 


Reviewed by David Whyld (1)

One of the best 

Well written, interesting puzzles and a storyline that was both a million miles away from what you expect from ADRIFT adventures and refreshing besides. 

Every location came with a detailed description and there were none that fell into the old "you're in a room. You can go east" category of descriptions. 

Well thought out, interesting to play, and the sort of game that everyone should have a go at. Hey, and it even comes with a walkthrough for anyone (like me) who can't be bothered to finish things the proper way. 

Definitely recommended. 

8 out of 10


Reviewed by David Whyld (2)

Right from the start, you know this is going to be a good game. It has a background, it has a detailed introduction. It's not one of those games where you're dumped in the first location with no explanation of what you're doing there and then have to spend the rest of the game trying to figure out what it's all about. Menagerie is well-written, interesting and the sort of game that we just don't see enough of.

In a break from the norm for adventure games, you don't play a hero trying to save the world or rescue a damsel in distress or search for buried treasure, you play a member of Green Peace striving to uncover cruelty to animals in a circus. If this doesn't seem quite as thrilling as would-be-world-saving just play the game a few times and you'll wonder why you ever bothered with world-saving treasure hunts before.

An interesting feature of Menagerie is the clever use of variables, used in such a way as to change locations from time to time. The first time this happened I wondered if I had read something wrong the previous time I visited a location; afterwards I was quite caught up by this ingenious idea. It keeps the game seeming fresh and original even after you've played through it countless times.

Other interesting features included a money system and a cheat which allows you to "sell" score points for extra cash. I didn't discover this when I first played the game because I try to avoid using the hints system unless I get really stuck, but it's a nice little trick that should probably be used more 
widely in adventure games to add variety.

Detailed locations are a thing at which Menagerie excels. Each location is well written and interesting, a far cry from the "you're in a room, you can go east" style of writing which just smacks of laziness. It's fairly obvious from just a casual glance that serious effort has been spent here.

Menagerie comes with three difficult settings (easy, medium and difficult) although in all fairness even the easy game is a challenge. Fortunately it also comes with a detailed hints system and a nice little readme file containing a walkthrough of the game for anyone (myself included) having problems figuring out just what to do.

Definitely one of the best ADRIFT games, definitely the sort of game every budding writer should have a go at. It's just a pity the writer doesn't have a faster productivity rate (hint! hint!) 

Logic: 8 out of 10
Straightforward puzzles that were logical. 

Problems: 10 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
I didn't encounter any problems with the game which either indicated an author who thoroughly playtests his games or at the least has other people playtest them beforehand.

Story: 7 out of 10
The storyline was perhaps less interesting than other ADRIFT games might boast but it was certainly had my attention for the time I was playing.

Characters: 7 out of 10
Quite a few characters although I wasn't able to get much out of them aside from their standard response.

Writing: 8 out of 10
Very good to excellent. The true flair came in the location descriptions, which had enough depth to hold my attention for a long, long time.

Game: 8 out of 10
Definitely one of the best ADRIFT games ever written and the sort of game everyone should be trying to write themselves.

Overall : 48 out of 60


Reviewed by KFAdrift

A benchmark game 

This has always been, and continues to be a benchmark game in terms of Adrift writing techniques. Dave has made the software do some very clever things. 

Personally I am not sold on the location, but feel that the writing makes good use of the situation.


Reviewed by Woodfish

Not bad... 

I didn't like this game. I think it was quite well made, however, and I found no bugs or spelling mistakes. But it suffered from a few common problems like not having objects for things mentioned in room descriptions ie. 

'In the distance you see a fortune tellars tent' 

>LOOK AT TENT 
You see no such thing. 

There were quite alot of these, and also the game was essentially a puzzlefest, with not much story line and no developed characters. 

Good if you like this sort of thing, but if you don't, a game with a more complex storyline is better for you. 

I'll give it 7 out of 10, though, because at heart, it's a well made game.


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