The Eleusinian Miseries by Mike Russo
Ok not sure what this is from the blurb. Greek, but is it Ancient Greece as the picture hints? Here goes …
I love the opening poem. That really sets the mood. And kudos for the content warning in ABOUT which is the first content warning that’s ever made me laugh out loud.
Things continue in a strong way. The game, a parser game which I played for about an hour, is a series of puzzles to solve, using a good mix of locations, objects and NPCs. The writing is strong throughout, the in-game help system excellent. Best of all it is all extremely funny, and very much written in a Wodehousian vein. I did constantly feel “Why is my character doing this?”, but you just have to go with the flow, and think almost like Bertie Wooster, and not worry about the why, just the journey.
The only downside for me was a sense of dislocation. For example I didn’t know what a herm was, and didn’t in my first play examine them en route, far too distracted by what else was going on to give them enough attention. So I didn’t understand what the fuss was about at the end. I think given their importance it would have been better to explain them briefly in-game directly, which might prompt a player to examine them for more information. Also other Ancient Greek terms were tricky for me to get my head around. My fault to a large extent, but a sense of otherness that made the game experience that little bit trickier than a setting I was personally more familiar with.
However it’s extremely well done. Nice smooth implementation, and I didn’t run into any parser issues. I appreciated the walkthrough, but preferred to use the excellent in-game help when I got stuck. And I just enjoyed the whole thing hugely.
So thanks a lot! I now want to go and read more about the society depicted. I do technically have a degree with honours half in history, half in classical studies, but it’s fair to say I studied more of the Roman side of things than the Greek!
Note for the author
There’s a slight bug in the ending if I try DROP UNMENTIONABLES INTO ALLEY with the first five dropping ok then last two unmentionables saying “That isn’t available”, and I need to drop them out in two more steps. I was playing the original version though, so this may have been fixed since. Not a problem for play really though.