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First to Arise: Along with a Pug Reviews
Author: Darkling
Date: 2005

Reviewed by David Whyld (Reviews Exchange 8)

Background: you're a half-elf called Alex Thassylian, the daughter of (wait for it!) Sysallandrianthasa Thassylian. Today your friends, Greg and Selana, have embarked on a journey but seem to have left without first waking you.

A decidedly strange title for the game, but The First To Arise: Alone With A Pug isn't at all bad. Itís nicely written, has a few difficult (but easily solvable puzzles) and was quite enjoyable to play for as far as I managed to get before becoming well and truly stuck (not all the puzzles are easily solvable unfortunately).

The pug of the gameís title is some kind of intelligent dog called Flash who the player can question about a few subjects in the ask [name] about [subject] style. Normally I'm not a big fan of this but here it works pretty well as I was able to question Flash about a fair number of subjects and get decent responses to most of my attempts. That he kept running away in the midst of conversations and I was forced to pursue him round the house just to get answers was annoying though.

Some of the puzzles are awkward. Questioning Flash reveals the location of a key, yet examining that location fails to reveal said key. After first muttering a while over what looked like an error in the game, then a bit of wrestling with guess the verb, the key is discovered but, while it will unlock a door elsewhere in the game, it canít open it due to the wood having warped. Getting through the door seems to be the main aim of the game but it got the better of me in the end as no matter what I did, I couldnít seem to find a way of getting it open. (I felt the game was pretty decent overall so I wonít go on at length the fact that there are several unbarred windows in the house that the player could, in real life, have climbed through to get outside if he was determined.)

Of all the older ADRIFT games I played recently, this one stood out as the best of the bunch. While not an exceptional game (I didnít reach the later stages so if it became exceptional then, I unfortunately missed out on that), it was head and shoulders above the others. Just donít be put off by the overly strange title!

6 out of 10

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