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Melbourne Beach Reviews
Author: David Good (as DuoDave)
Date: 2001

Reviewed by David Whyld

Melbourne Beach is different from most ADRIFT adventures (and most text adventures full stop) in that it isn't really a game at all but a tour around the writer's house. Well, it certainly makes a nice change from all those "save the world from evil" or "find the hidden treasure" storylines…

While there's a lot to like about Melbourne Beach, it's not without its share of setbacks. The main one I found was that, while wandering around someone's house is interesting enough in its own right, you rapidly find yourself yearning for something to do, and while there are a few tasks that need to be completed, with no real goal defined at the start of the game it's often a struggle trying to figure out just what to do next. When the game starts it's fairly easy to guess what needs to be done: find yourself some clothes and get dressed. But once that's out of the way, what you do next proves something more of a challenge. There are a fair number of locations to explore but none really seem to present any puzzles for the player to solve and before long you'll more than likely find yourself wondering just what else the game has to offer. There are quite a few other things to do but finding them is often more of a challenge than doing them.

On the plus side, the writing is at least up to the writer's usual standard and the locations are nicely detailed. Item descriptions tend to be a pretty much hit and miss affair: some locations are packed with examinable items whereas others contain items galore that upon trying to examine them you find yourself faced with the dreaded "you see no such thing". Perhaps one advantage to this is that the items you can reference tend to be the ones you need to solve certain tasks whereas the ones you can't reference don't serve any purpose, but all the same it would have been nice to have a few more examinable items.

A difficult game to review due to the lack of storyline and lack of things to do, Melbourne Beach is at least reasonably playable. It passes the time and is never too demanding on the old grey matter. Overall it's a fair game but hardly one that compares to the writer's other works like Menagerie. 

Logic: 8 out of 10
Mostly logical throughout although some of the location exits seemed messed up. 

Problems: 7 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
A more detailed background telling you the purpose of the game (or at least providing a few hints) would have been a big help. The only actual bug I encountered involved the garage which was impossible to enter even when I'd opened the door.

Story: 3 out of 10
No real storyline as such.

Characters: 4 out of 10
Two characters - the author and his mother - but I was hard pressed to find anything they could respond to. Asking them about each other gave the unhelpful response "[character] isn't here!"

Writing: 7 out of 10
As always above average.

Game: 5 out of 10
Playable but with little actual storyline this isn't the sort of game you're likely to find yourself going back to many times.

Overall: 34 out of 60

Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.


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