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Reviewed by David Whyld (1)
Playing 'Topaz' isn't like playing a game at all, but more like reading a story. There are few options for the player to take and the game is immensely linear, yet the style of writing is fairly accomplished (particularly if this was, indeed, written in just an hour). The only problem I had was with a truly bad guess the verb puzzle involving picking up the sword. The descriptive text advised me I might be able to pull it out. Tried that. Failed miserably. Getting the item didn't work. After trying half a dozen different combinations, I finally went with "dig mud" and was rewarded with success. Sometimes the least obvious command seems to be the one that works best. That aside, I enjoyed 'Topaz' and hope it gets enlarged into a full size game one day.
7 out of 10
Reviewed by David Whyld (2)
More a story than a game, Topaz is also the writer's most accessible and accomplished work. It's short (naturally) but remarkably well written, if just a tad too linear for my liking.
Little is said of the player but he (or perhaps she) begins walking along a muddy road in the rain. Something shiny alerts his attention and he stoops to see a sword lying partially buried in the mud. Beating aside a few guess the verb problems, he takes the sword and then is swept away by a sudden torrent of rain. Is there a connection here? Ha, serve him right for picking up strange swords like that.
There are no real puzzles to solve and making progress is generally a case of typing in the most obvious command but then this isn't a game concerned with puzzles. It reads more like a novel (or short story at any rate) than a standard text adventure with occasional breaks in the text to allow the player to type in obvious and straightforward commands. From start to finish, you're probably talking under ten minutes unless you're either a really slow reader or the sort who favours reading the overly descriptive text. This is a pity because there's a very good game here but just as you're beginning to appreciate that, it reaches an ending.
An ending which hints at a much needed sequel.
7 out of 10
Reviewed by David Welbourn (13 Nov 2005)
This easily could have worked as an entry at IntroComp, and not a bad entry, either. In this intro, you discover a magical sword who calls itself Topaz, and then you make another discovery that gives the game-to-be a direction. Unfortunately, that's all the game there is. And although there are no puzzles in this game, the lack is more than made up for with good writing and good coding.
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