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The Merlin Bird of Prey Reviews

Author: Mark Sarul
Date: 2009

Reviewed by James Webb (as revgiblet)

As with 'The Magician's Niece', I'm quite happy with this genre.  A game isn't going to lose points from me just because it's a bit old-school, with evil wizards and the like.  However, 'old-school' is one thing, 'clichéd' is another. There's a nice curve ball in the way that you're supposed to be a modern-type dude who seems to magically appear in this olde worlde kingdom because you wish for more adventure in your life, but even this this is explained in a clichéd way - a paragraph about a random old man who grants your wish for no reason other than it's convenient.  Still, it's possible for a game like this to win me over through the power of sheer charm.  Because this adventure can't really be explained by using the words 'gritty', 'harrowing' or 'realistic' it automatically starts higher up the 'charm' ladder than other games in the comp.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a huge amount to do in the three-rooms allocated in the comp.  The game hinted at exciting locations to explore, but I couldn't get to them.  That's OK.  It's in the rules, after all.  However, I couldn't really do much once I got inside the monastery and there didn't seem to be much to explore.  I found a coin.  I had seen a fountain in the courtyard.  IF Logic dictated that I throw the coin into the fountain.  I couldn't seem to do this.  Fair enough.  What can I do then?  There was a lion statue as part of the fountain.  This item appeared to be described in more detail than other facets of the fountain - such as the water - so it must be important.  Maybe I can put the coin in its mouth?  No.  Nothing.  I can't seem to do anything.

It's hard to make a final judgment about a game where there's so little to do.  I couldn't get a sense of how the story was going to go, or even what I was supposed to do to prove my worth and find the Merlin Bird of Prey.  Maybe I'll see in future.  Maybe not.  At the moment I don't feel to compelled to find out.

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