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Three Monkeys, One Cage Reviews
Author: Robert Goodwin (Hanadorobou)
Date: 2003

Reviewed by David Whyld

Okay, this is a hard game. And by hard, I mean really hard. I donít think I've played many games quite as frustratingly difficult as Three Monkeys, One Cage and, for my health, I kind of hope I never do again. 

After that intro you might gather that I didnít like this game. On the contrary, I loved it. Impossibly difficult as it is, offering opportunities for getting well and truly slaughtered as it does, killing the player off every few seconds as it very frequently does Ė itís also an exceedingly good game. Just a bit on the difficult side. 

The premise is straight from a pages of the corniest sciencefiction every written: the average guy off the street is abducted by aliens and placed in a cage with two other monkeys: a chimpanzee (who can prove to be quite helpful if you can only figure out how to enlist his aid) and a mandrill (who is anything but helpful and will tend to be the cause of most restarts unless you can figure out some way to temporarily deal with him). Watching over you are a gaggle of strange alien beings, not to mention a commentator who offers less than helpful comments on your progress (or lack of) and generally makes himself one seriously annoying figure. (Fortunately his chatter can be turned off if you so desire.) 

On the face of it, Three Monkeys, One Cage is a game that you will either love or hate. The room descriptions (of which there are just four although the game often seems far larger when you're playing it) are sparse for the main part and at first glance donít appear very involving. But then this is a game more about the puzzles than about lengthy descriptions and the puzzles are, without a doubt, intricate to say the least. Every item seems to have a use somewhere although finding that use Ė not to mention lasting long enough to actually do it Ė is another matter. 

Death comes quickly, and often, and anyone who finishes the game in a single session is either a lot better at games than I am or a hell of a lot luckier. Most games that result in the player dying every few moves just because a single bad command is entered tend to be games I donít play that much but I made an exception here because this isn't a game you're expected to finish in one go. The puzzles are designed so that you can generally figure out to how to solve them the right way by doing them the wrong way the first time (of course, doing them the wrong way results in you dying so itís knowledge you need to remember for the next time you play) and this, as well as the demented lunacy of Three Monkeys, One Cage, is as much a replay factor as anything. There's also a definite feeling that you get slightly further into the game with each successive playing, leading to the kind of thinking: ďoh, one more time and Iíll be sure to finish itÖĒ 

Trial and error plays a large part in regard to most of the puzzles and itís a case of try everything and hope something works out. Avoiding the mandrill becomes a pain after a while but from repeated plays I was, eventually, able to figure out a way to give myself some breathing space away from him. Only temporarily, alas, as he always seemed to be there ready to bother me again. Maybe it was just my bloodthirsty nature getting the better of me, but at one time I was dying for an option to be able to deal with the mandrill once and for all. I even tried assembling a makeshift weapon from the items found in the cage in the hopes of killing him, but no such luck. 

How the game ends I donít know as I've yet to reach that point but Three Monkeys, One Cage is certainly one game Iíll be playing more than a few times before I put it to rest. 

Logic: 8 out of 10 
How logical any of the storyline is I donít know but the puzzles at least made sense. 

Problems: 9 out of 10 (10 = no problems) 
If repeatedly killing the player could be considered a problem (and some might view it as a big problem) then this game would be riddled with them. Aside from that, Three Monkeys, One Cage played smoothly and I didnít run into an unexpected bugs. 

Story: 6 out of 10 
A reasonably detailed introduction but this is a game more about puzzles than anything else so a better storyline isn't really called for. 

Writing: 9 out of 10 
Excellent. And very, very funny. 

Game: 8 out of 10 
One of the most amusing puzzlefests I've ever played and while the sheer difficulty factor might put some people off this is still a game that deserves 
repeated playing. A worthy follow on from The PK Girl. 

Overall: 40 out of 50

Reviewed by THoiA

Savage, Funny, Scathing...and extremely Fun. I don't think any single game has ever trounced me quite so soundly and still had me going back for more. I'm a Sci-Fi/Comedy fan from way back (HHGTTG and Red Dwarf!!!) so the tongue-in-cheek commentary was very welcomed. Small actions by the Chimp NPC are priceless. Some day when you are feeling invincible give yourself a run through this game and it'll knock you back down a peg or two, but no matter how many times it happens you'll find yourself reloading from you last save point and trying it again!

Reviewed by David Whyld on BAF's

Incredibly difficult comedy puzzle-fest featuring a guy trapped in a cage with two monkeys (the guy himself making up the third monkey of the game's title) who has to find a way to escape before the time limit runs out. If very hard games don't appeal to you, or ones where sudden death is just a short step away, this might not be the sort of thing that you you'll yourself enjoying but persevere and there is a surprisingly good game here. Considering the entire game comprises of just four rooms (the four parts of the cage you are trapped in) there is a fair amount of gameplay and the many different ways of trying things lead to a lot of replay value. Recommended for anyone looking for a challenge.

Reviewed by Ken Franklin (KFAdrift)

As far as puzzlefests go, this game is a killer. Itís one of those games whereby the player seems unable to progress more than a few moves without death unexpectedly striking. That said, itís also an amazingly addictive game; often you seem to reach slightly further into the game with each play and discover interesting and unusual things to try out that you didnít discover before. If this is indeed Hanadorobouís final ADRIFT game itís a crying shame.

Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.


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