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Author: Thomas Mulkerrins
Reviewed by David Whyld
Troll, Thomas Mulkerrins' first - and best - game for ADRIFT is the comical tale of a troll called Fungus called upon by the chief of his tribe to travel to the town of Muddy Lake and there purchase some backward burp berries in order to free his friend, Murky, who currently has a giant frog monster sitting on top of him. Still with me so far?
Despite the rather over the top opening and overall premise of the game, Troll is actually very good: it's always amusing, wittily written and has some better than average puzzles. On the downside there's quite a bit of the dreaded guess-the-verb and some of the puzzles are downright hard.
Perhaps the best thing about Troll are the characters in the game. They are all well rendered and frequently humorous. The obnoxious bartender - the sort of character just crying out for an entire game devoted to him - picks his nose, rummages in his pockets and is generally foul beyond belief. Unfortunately, dialogue with the characters is often awkward, utilising as it does the standard ADRIFT dialogue system of "ask [character] about [subject]". More than a few times it's next to impossible to figure out just what you need to ask.
One of Troll's failing is its lack of hints, which is a shame because at heart this is a harder than average game and the lack of a hints system means the player is liable to get stuck fairly early in the game and, as a result, miss out on everything else Troll has to offer. In particular, I spent quite a while stuck in the tavern near the start of the game and was unable to progress any further for some time, and I know a few others who encountered the same problem. A few hints scattered about here and there would have turned an at times frustrating game into a far more enjoyable experience.
Lack of hints and dialogue problems aside, there's very little to actually
dislike about Troll. The opening doesn't do a particularly good job of defining the game but persevere past it and you'll find a very well written game here indeed. Despite a few rough edges, there's nothing glaringly bad that
should stop you from enjoying Troll. Anyone who likes it should perhaps make the most
of it because the writer's subsequent efforts - House of Horror and The Lost Tomb - have little of Troll's charm.
Logic: 8 out of 10
Though a nonsense game, most of the puzzles (even the very difficult ones) are pretty much logical.
Problems: 7 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
Guess-the-verb problems arise in a few instances and the lack of any kind of hints system doesn't do the game any favours.
Story: 7 out of 10
Never less than amusing, although the opening could be refined a little.
Characters: 9 out of 10
Definitely the best thing about Troll. A pity the dialogue isn't handled better but the game doesn't really suffer too much as a result.
Writing: 7 out of 10
Though having a tendency to go over the top more than a few times, Troll is overall well written.
Game: 7 out of 10
A contender with Wonder Wombat and Goldilocks Is A Fox for funniest ADRIFT game.
Overall: 45 out of 60
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