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The Alchemist Reviews
Author: Renata Burianova
This is the most frustrating game I've ever played. On one hand, there are
important things that seem broken, under implemented, unclued, or just plain
unclear. But on the other hand, this is not a game you can easily dismiss. Even
setting aside the fact that English obviously isn't the author's first language,
in places the writing is just so GOOD and evocative as it sets the scene ("The
roofs were all covered with snow and trees were kneeling under the weight of
frozen branches.") with the music and pictures enhancing the effect, that
there's no denying this was a labour of love.
Reviewed by Lumin
You play as Alessandro d'Estino, a 17th century alchemist who has discovered the
secret of creating gold and been summoned to Prague by the king to duplicate his
experiment. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it much farther than that; once
it was time to stop reading journal entries and touring the palace and admiring
the scenery, I hit a brick wall. The only clue I was given was that I needed a
certain item, but there were no hints as to where I might find it, even after
examining everything and attempting to talk to every NPC I could find.
At some point I accidentally destroyed another item, and after that--with the
developer password protected so I couldn't even take a peek for 'inspiration'
and with no way to make further progress--I had to concede defeat.
After searching around I discovered a walkthrough on the wiki, but unfortunately
it only highlights the problems with the puzzle design. Short of literally
reading the author's mind, no one would ever figure out most of the required
commands, and so 90% of the game remains inaccessible unless you're willing to
sit there and follow the walkthrough step by step.
I'm convinced the seeds of a great game are in here, but the obvious lack of
beta testing (and of a native English speaker to comb over the text) really
shows, and makes The Alchemist all but unplayable in the end.
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