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Author: Finn Rosenløv
Reviewed by Lumin
Reviewed by Hensman Int'l
Reviewed by Duncan Bowsman
Every room in this game has a minimum of three mistakes in its writing, except
for a room with no use and practically no implementation that only has two. The
paragraphing manages to be all over the place and crammed together at the same
time, and all dialog is in italics, so it's a mess even to read. Motivation for
puzzles and plot is likewise scattershot. Confusing parser responses abound. The
small world is artificially inflated with pauses; 3 second waits when moving
from a room makes it feel like moving through 12 rooms. Generally, all of the
most potentially interesting items go unimplemented, but you'll see a lot of
chairs, shelves, and tables, generally described in some hyperbolic state or
On the level of representation and tone, the game doesn't know which Camelot it wants to represent: a glorious, high fantasy kingdom of legend or a cruel world of "the darkest medieval age" (quote from the game). One moment it describes the deplorable condition of the dungeons or kitchen, this-or-that crude furniture, darkness and vomit-inducing stenches. It subjects the player to caste-based bigotry (even if it disrupts puzzle logic!), and even launches an ad hominem attack on a respected member of the IF Community. Then it wants to turn around and fascinate us with images of male peacocks strutting "like princesses," beautiful tapestries, and some really tasty (if "luke warn") baked bread. If there is an attempt at subverting the image of Camelot, it is quite poorly executed.
One wonders why the author chose Camelot as a location at all. The only character important to Arthurian legend that the player actually interacts with is Merlin, and even then that interaction is not beyond the barest extent of characterization. It's clear the author wanted Merlin to come off as likeable, but it's just not the case, since we do practically nothing with him. If anything, I don't see why he couldn't be replaced with a generic evil wizard who might also kidnap a random library janitor (through a method of dubious reliability, but whatever, it's magic), make him into a kitchen slave to be somewhat routinely beaten and insulted by the staff of this savage castle, and then force him to do his dirty work. Add to this that there's no particular *reason* the PC can do what must be done that Merlin couldn't himself do... that's some evil wizard sh*t, right there.
The rags to riches story underneath it all is, like most of the other elements of the game, just lip service. Ultimately, I leave the game feeling like I've been bribed by Muammar Gaddafi. There's nothing likeable in the PC, either-- the writing characterizes him as an almost supernatural klutz and kind of an idiot with no redeeming qualities. Coding and structure are frustrating, often actively misleading. It's not Escape from Camelot, but that's just because it's playable. That doesn't mean I won't give it the same rating.
Reviewed by David Whyld
A few errors right there in the intro – general Secretary of the UN? Shouldn't
that be Secretary General? Paragraph spacing also seems a little off – why not
leave a line between paragraphs or indent the first line so it stands out? As it
is, they all seem jumbled together. Item descriptions are poorly written. This
is the desk:
IT'S A PLAIN WOODEN DESK, NOT WORTH MUCH.
THE SURFACE IS SCRATCHED AND MARKED FROM MANY YEARS OF USE.
THERE'S A SINGLE DRAWER PLACED AT THE LEFT SIDE OF THE DESK.
STACKS OF BOOKS ARE PLACED ON THE TABLE, AND OTHER BOOKS ARE PILED UP ALONG THE WALL NEARBY.
THESE ARE THE BOOKS YOU NEED TO CLEAR UP AND PUT IN ORDER.
Five sentences split over five paragraphs. Wouldn't it have been better to keep them all together in one paragraph? But the above is typical of the game and makes reading anything longer than a few words quite jarring.
Many other typos – Counsil instead of Council – meant the overall standard of writing fell a long way below what I’d call acceptable. English might not be the writer’s first language, but it’s still hard to recommend a game like this.
The game itself didn't exactly seem enthralling. The intro was poorly written and did a poor job of setting the scene. An intro needs to grip you and make you want to play the game. This intro just had me writing up a veritable shopping list of things that were wrong with it.
Anyway, not expecting much, I persevered. I got myself out of the cellar without too much trouble but then I wandered back and found that the exit had mysteriously disappeared; despite being informed that there was an opening in the wall, I wasn't able to go through it.
There were then more annoyances – a book that can’t be read while standing up but can while you're sat at a desk. The default error message of YOU CAN’T READ THE BOOK! is a little unfortunate here. (Incidentally, ‘read it’ doesn't work when referring to the book.) Here I was plunged into darkness and found myself in an unwinnable situation as I’d already used all the matches and thus had to start again. Probably my own dumb fault for lighting all the matches already for no other reason than they were there but it would have been nice if the game had warned me about this beforehand or at least given me an alternative light source. After a quick restart, I found myself magically transported to the kitchen of Castle Camelot... and a room description, complete with dialogue and an annoying pause and screen clearing, which repeats itself every type you type LOOK. How on Earth was this missed during testing?
At that point, I decided enough was enough. Sorry. While the game might boast no less than five testers, it’s so rough around the edges that it’s hard to believe it was tested at all. The three locations I saw were so buggy I could write an essay on the subject.
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