The Wumpus Run by Cheryl Howard (ADRIFT)
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:
HMMM … THE DARK IS STARTING TO GET TO YOU … WHAT %CHARACTER% WHERE?
THE SOUND OF A STARBLADE SHATTERING ON THE WALLS OF THE CAVERN ECHOES THROUGHOUT THE CAVERNS. SO MUCH FOR SNEAKING UP ON THE WUMPUS … DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE MANAGED TO WAKE IT UP YET?
YOU SLUMP TO THE GROUND EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY SPENT FOR A FEW MOMENTS … COULD THIS BE THE END OF YOUR ONE AND ONLY CHANCE OF BEING SOMEBODY?
UH-OH! YOU ARE ONE LUCKY ADVENTURER … YOU MUST HAVE MASKED MOST OF THE LIGHT WHEN YOU PASSED OUT, ALLOWING THE WUMPUS TO SETTLE BACK TO SLEEP.
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