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The Wumpus Run Reviews
Author: Cheryl Howard (as Elfindor)
Date: 2006

Reviewed by MathBrush

Wumpus is an old game, and Andrew Plotkin had long since done an amazing remake of it by this point (Hunter, In Darkness). But this Adrift game was surprisingly fun.

You wander through a pretty bad maze (although you can find a nice, hand-drawn map), avoid obstacles, and try to kill the wumpus and escape.

I won on the second try after about fifteen minutes or so.

Reviewed by David Whyld

I never played the original Wumpus game but I have a vague idea what it was about: hunting for some creature called the Wumpus through a cavern system, killing it and getting out in one piece. This is the author’s interpretation of the idea.

Unfortunately, I can’t much say I cared for it. The introduction is nice, but the game goes downhill quickly from there. ADRIFT’s built in map is disabled – never a popular decision with me, particularly in a game set within a maze – which means I had to figure out my way with constant glimpses at the map contained in the game package as I couldn’t be bothered to map it out myself. I should probably say that I dislike mazes intensely and while I have many fond memories of retro text adventures, of which this most definitely aspires to be, that fondness doesn’t extend as far as mazes. Especially mazes that kill the player off without warning merely by going the wrong way (one location has a hole in the middle which you fall into the moment you enter the room).

There were some strange errors in the game, like when I tried to throw my starblade at the Wumpus:





Aside from the obvious mistake of %character% popping up in the text (I'm assuming that should be the name of some NPC), there seem to be four totally unrelated paragraphs there. At another point, I tried throwing the starblade at the Wumpus only to be told that I couldn’t do that with the starblade – despite the fact that this is what the game’s intro specifically tells me to do! – and when attempting to kill the Wumpus, I was told that that wasn’t very nice (ADRIFT’s default response when trying to kill an NPC that the writer has forgotten to program a response in for. When the very idea of the game – killing the Wumpus – isn't even covered, you really have to wonder just what kind of testing this game went through). While I'm sure the game *can* be finished, I just couldn’t summon up any willpower to keep on playing it. Take a maze, a disabled mapping facility and the most obvious commands not working properly and you have one remarkably poor game.

2 out of 10 

Reviewed by Matt Carey

Blurb: Wumpus Hunting will never become "the sport of Kings" ... too many risks involved for royalty (although, they've been known to allow any number of fools, er, adventurers, to partake on their behalf). Let's not be under any delusions here - you could die!

It’s been a long time since I last chased the Wumpus, but it looks like this is just a straightforward reimplementation of that game with a few extraneous words layered on top. I was surprised that this passed muster under the no copyrighted works rule, but I guess Wumpus has been ported so many times that it must be public domain somehow or other. 2

Reviewed by JDC

Not really IF. Not really an exciting game, either. Terse descriptions, and my first playthrough was unwinnable because the Wumpus was in the
same room as the pit.

Reviewed by Admiral Jota

What a novel idea for an IF game. And the author chastises me for looking at things. Poor implementation, as expected. And, of course, the insta- death. And randomized geography. Sigh. I didn't even like HiD that much.

Reviewed by Jimmy Maher 

Revivals of Hunt the Wumpus have become quite the thing in modern IF.  There was Hunter, in Darkness, then Wumpus 2000.  Now we have The Wumpus Run.  While those earlier games were variations on the basic concept of the original, this one comes down much more firmly in the camp of simple recreation.  That doesn't mean it's bad, though.

If you've played Hunt the Wumpus, you know exactly what to expect here.  It's all in place: randomized caverns to map, bats and a pit to avoid, and of course the Wumpus itself which must be killed by shooting your weapon -- a "starblade" rather than bow and arrow this time -- into the cave where he lurks from an adjacent location.  The backstory is, however, fleshed out a bit to turn the whole from the elaborate logic puzzle that was the original into something that at least resembles our modern conception of IF, and some nicely done sound effects are included.

The only major change from the original is that the map now lines up in the way that we expect in modern IF.  In other words, going north and then going south leads one back to one's original location, rather than the whole cavern complex being a maze of twisty little passages.  Anyone who has played the original will tell you that creating an accurate map was by far its most challenging aspect.  I'm not sure if Ms. Howard changed this to have mercy on her players or because the ADRIFT system will not allow these types of non-intuitive map connections, but I can say that the game is now much, much easier, perhaps overly so.  I had recently played the original as an exercise in historical research, and so knew exactly how to approach this version.  I solved it in under ten minutes, without dieing once.  I think I probably had an unusually favorable starting setup, but still...

So it's not particularly hard, but it is fun, probably more fun than the original now that the frustration of maze-mapping has been removed.  It's also one of the few works of IF I've seen that I could call truly replayable.  I think what it could use now are some more challenges to deal with to replace the maze and make it a bit more interesting and challenging.  That said, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with what we currently have here.  It's solid, bug-free, and a fun, quick play worth returning to occasionally.  What it lacks in originality it recoups in execution.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Reviewed by Michael Martin 

This is an implementation of the old Hunt the Wumpus game in ADRIFT. A prototype to IF, yes, but not really IF. There's some original work here, particularly in room descriptions, but, well, you're competing with Hunter In Darkness (and, in a different way, Magocracy) here.

Score: 3

Reviewed by Jimmy Maher 

Technical: 5 
Puzzles: 4 
Story: 3 

Another game based on Hunt the Wumpus? Poor girl probably never heard of Hunter, in Darkness and thought she was being original. As they say, “a few hours in the library can save you weeks in the lab.” (Hell, HiD is even mentioned on the Wumpus Wikipedia page.)

Way! Too! Many! Exclamations!

“Cheryl”? At least give me the option of naming myself.

Hm. The boilerplate responses have been modified, but not in a good way.

The map is Euclidean. Interesting.

Plotkin wept:

There’s an awful smell coming from somewhere close by.


Will you be serious, or are you just plain crazy?

And the most egregious abuse of ellipses goes to:

Throw starblade.

You must be kidding! It’s impossible to do that … with the legendary starblade.

Oh, man. I do feel sorry for Cheryl. It’s a reasonable attempt, and much more true to the original Wumpus than Plotkin’s adaptation in both tone and play. Still, it feels like comparing a Harry Potter fan fiction against Rowling’s original. I doubt any of the other judges will be any kinder.

Reviewed by Ralph Merridew 

"Wumpus Run" handles the mechanics of the old game fairly accurately, as far as I can tell, but falls down on some of the new things. (For example, it's possible to take the ladder and climb it in any room; I think the "Oops!" in-room description for the dead Wumpus should be changed; there were occasional glitches with descriptions, such as "{deadWumpus5}" or describing the starblade as being in the Wumpus's eye after I'd picked up the starblade. I personally can't give a game which is primarily a port even a medium score unless it has an exceptional implementation. (This is also a banana candidate.)

Score: 3

Reviewed by Miseri 

I'm not really sure how different this is from the original Wumpus. With modernity, one would have thought one would be able to perform various actions to determine the location of the various dangers relative to oneself.

Reviewed by Niz

Highlights the problem with randomization in IF. While the implementation of this Hunt the Wumpus update is fine, with decent descriptions, an elaborated back story, lots of gadgets to play with, and sensible responses, I fearlessly trekked north expecting a decent hour's entertainment, only to find the sleeping wumpus in the very first room! Okay, so now backtrack one room (expect the big twist any minute...), fire the arrow (still no twist), go back and retrieve the spoils from the dead wumpus and climb the ladder. *** You have won ***. Oh, so no twist. Just Hunt The Wumpus. Was there something more? I never found out, having completed the game almost immediately. So the only impressions I have are of yet-another Hunt The Wumpus game, competently handled but without anything to distinguish it from the crowd, and certainly not in the league of Zarf's similar competition effort HUNTER IN DARKNESS.

Reviewed by Dan Shiovitz

Well, it's an implementation of Hunt the Wumpus, which (as far as I can tell) plays it pretty straight, except it's not set on a dodecahedron. It makes a few concessions for playability: you can't run out of arrows (as far as I can tell, you can always retrieve your weapon), and you don't die instantly going into the room with the wumpus. Set against this, the author's added a lantern that provides a time limit for the game. But more important than anything else is the fact that a Hunt the Wumpus game is pretty silly when >UNDO is available

Reviewed by Jerome West


No doubt the author was trying to do something pretty darned clever with this game. I'm sure that the randomisation of the locations alone is a pretty impressive programming feat. But at the end of the day, this game consists of a cave, some bats, a bottomless pit and a particularly smelly monster. I gave it a few tries, but I didn't find anything to keep me coming back for more.

Reviewed by Crowheart

Wumpusrun got a 1. I do not give points simply because the game runs, and I found it honestly obnoxious. To me, that wasn't the point of IFComp, and it doesn't seem like IF at all. I could not give it the full two hours, because I wanted to scoop my brains out of my skull so that they would no longer be tortured by the game.

Reviewed by David Fletcher

This is basically just "Hunt the Wumpus" with some uninspired room descriptions tacked on, and some pointless items for you to carry about. In some ways it's worse than real wumpus, being harder to map because you don't get told what rooms are adjoining, and with a weapon that can only be thrown into one directly adjoining room, not like a proper crooked arrow. And you have to use normal compass directions, which don't map nicely onto the dodecahedron layout.

Given that it's such a simple game, you wouldn't think the implementation could be too badly done. But it is.

The description of the wumpus doesn't change after you kill it.

The bats can put you in a pit, but you don't actually die until you type "look" to see where you are.

Now it keeps saying "Who was the bright spark who let the lantern go out?" when I try to go anywhere, but I can still see things in the room, and the lantern is still described as "shining brightly". Sigh. Restart.

Whenever the game ends the stupid high score table pops up for me to enter my name, even though my score is always 0% whether I killed the wumpus or not.

Complete waste of time. Barely qualifies as IF. Almost a straight lift of an existing game, adding little more than some prose which tries to be funny, but fails. One point.

Reviewed by QF

A rather daring entry, considering that Hunt the Wumpus is a very old, worn-out theme, and Plotkin has already previously entered a rather impressive modernized entry on the same. Overall, I liked this one a lot. The gameplay itself isn't all that interesting, but this is definitely a good "modern remake" of Hunt the Wumpus. The intro is pretty good, and the randomized cave descriptions are not bad (although not breathtaking either). A lot better than "twisty tunnels, all alike", for sure. Not relying on the worn-out trick of dropping objects to identify caves helps a lot. There are also nice witty remarks every now and then, which add a lot more depth to an otherwise overused theme. The game even attempts to make things more interesting when you miss the wumpus, or if you kill the wumpus but forget to do something else.

Unfortunately, there are technical problems: some typos, not enough synonyms, the game unwinnable if the bats and the wumpus are in the same cave. I found the cavern map several times, but it didn't appear to show anything...? The story says the rope ladder is hauled up into the gloom, but looking around shows that it's still there. Also, after cutting the mane, the wumpus' description shows code instead of text.

OVERALL: 6. Not bad, but not enough synonyms, and has typos. Needs more betatesting! Also, the randomized layout could be better---it's always the same topology even though the descriptions switch. (It *is* a lot better than most random-generated games I've seen, though, so it does
deserve some credit.) Had there been less technical problems, this game would've scored a lot higher than it did.

Writing:   6    Not bad, but too over-the-top (cut down on the exclamation marks). Does capture the excitement quite well, at least.
Setting:   8    Much better than the original Wumpus game, for sure.
Story:     5    Nice premise for the Wumpus hunt, but still, this *is* hunt the wumpus after all. No real story to speak of.
Puzzles:   n/a  Well, we all know how to hunt the Wumpus by now.
Technical: 8    Randomization of cave descriptions is clever, although it could be taken further.
Brownie:   9    Extra Brownie points for a very good remake of the worn out Wumpus game. Extra Brownie points for the humorous additional
twist necessary to convince the judges of your feat.

Reviewed by Bob Woodward

Yeah, well, now I'm known as master wumpus hunter or something like that. I guess it's mostly about inside jokes I didn't get, but I still don't know what a wumpus is and from where it did originate. It's a pretty easy game: even without mapping I didn't need more than twenty minutes to beat it. Sone kind of fun, but definitely lacks substance.
Score: 4

Reviewed by Valentine Kopteltsev

A seemingly faithful remake of an adventure game from the 1980-s. Represents a randomly generated maze with several opportunities for irrevocable dying with almost no warning. Winning or failing depends purely on luck - as much as in a dice game. 
Rating 2


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