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Shadrick's Underground Adventure Reviews
Author: Mystery
Date: 2004

Reviewed by David Whyld

Okay, the start was bad. Very bad. For some reason, all the text was in speech marks, whether it was spoken or not, making for a very jarring read. This strange custom was used a few other times throughout the game without any real reasoning that I could see but it was the one at the start that hit worst. Five beta-testers apparently missed this!

The main premise of the game is pretty similar to the previous Shadrick game Ė your brother has got into trouble so you have to rescue him. Last time it was a bear, this time heís gone off wandering in some caverns and got himself lost. As the annoying little tyke seems to have a habit of getting himself into these situations, I was half minded to sit around and let him stew but as that wasnít an option, I set off to rescue him instead.

As with most of Mysteryís recent games, there seemed to be strange gaps in the text. Some locations listed the short description and then several empty lines between that and the long description. Others had just a single empty line. No real problem but it makes the text appear kind of strange on the screen.I came across a few problems as I wandered around the cavern system which comprises the bulk of the game. In one location that I had never visited I was told that there was an opening in the wall that wasnít there before. How did I know this considering Iíd never been there before? There was also a strange bit at the start where I examined the bar and had my mother tell me off for talking to myself. Which I wasnít doing!

The overall writing is pretty okay and certainly less jarring than in the previous game as the viewpoint stays firmly in first person and doesnít have the annoying habit of switching to second person from time to time. Itís also quite a bit bigger than the previous game and shows a nice progression, although I couldnít say I enjoyed it as much. With the map disabled, the caverns are an awkward place to move through and while there are none of the hideous ďpuzzlesĒ that used to plague the maze games I played as a kid, the very idea of a series of twisty little passages brought back those memories. Not nice memories either. The caverns arenít a horrible maze by any means but they're just not that interesting either.

One puzzle I liked Ė but which needed a lot more work expending on it to get it to work properly Ė involved pushing a large boulder which was too heavy to be carried and thereby manoeuvring it around. The only problem with this is that if you push the boulder in a direction you immediately see the new room description minus the boulder. The first time this happened, I wondered if something had gone wrong and went back looking for it. No sign! However, upon returning to the last location I found the boulder was there after all. Experimenting a few times showed me that the boulder does move when you push it but that it doesnít show up in the room description until you actually look. Strange. 10 out of 10 for the nice puzzle, but 1 out of 10 for the poor implementation. Itís also a tad annoying to find that I'm told I canít lift the boulder as itís too heavy, only to later be able to lift it when I need to place it on a plinth.

Indeed, logic isn't this gameís strong point. Items needed to dispose of every problem you encounter in the caverns are conveniently lying around and most donít even require much effort to get hold of. In one location there is a puzzle involving three boulders and three plinths which need to be manipulated to open a secret passage leading to where your absent brother is. Strange that your brother managed to get past this obstacle himself without needing to solve the plinth puzzle. Although itís even stranger that there are three boulders just lying around the caverns which are the exact weight required to trigger the plinths. Hey, now *thatís* what you call one hell of a coincidence.
4 out of 10 

Reviewed by DIY Games (August 2004)

The second offering by Mystery is very different from the first one. Instead of a future world, you play in the past, and as is the authorís habit, the gaming world is once again very well developed and authentic. You play a 12 years-old boy whose little brother got into trouble, as he disappeared in an underground maze below the house. Armed only with your wits and a few seemingly random items, you need to descend into the darkness and find your bro. The author follows her custom of including a graphical welcome screen, and this time she also disabled the map and control panel features, making this one of the more challenging ADRIFT games.

Reviewed by Eric Mayer

I guess I'm used to reading books where the author leads me along. That's obvious from my preference in the maze category.

Mystery's SHADRICK'S UNDERGROUND ADVENTURE though was my favorite of the whole competition. OK, I admit I got through it without so much as a hint. Any game I can manage to do that with, I love. (And please don't tell me Mystery wrote it for her kids and they thought it was too easy) In the game, you're a youngster who has to explore a cave under your parents' pub in search of your younger brother. What I liked was that the cave crawler is given a distinctive personality, which is nicely introduced in a short interactive introduction. Then too, it is essentially a straight forward story with puzzles enough to make you a participant but which don't really offer much of an impediment to the flow 
of the narrative.

Which goes to prove, as I said, I just don't like IF.

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