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These reviews are in alphabetical order according to the name of the game reviewed. The index also has a few extra features. First and foremost of these is the instant gratification feature. If you see the SPAG button:

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YAGWAD You Are Here


From: Suzanne Britton <tril SP@G> Review appeared in
SPAG #23 -- December 29, 2000 TITLE: YAGWAD (Yes, Another Game With A Dragon) AUTHOR: "Digby McWiggle" aka John Kean E-MAIL: digby_mcwiggle SP@G DATE: 2000 PARSER: Inform standard SUPPORTS: Z-code interpreters AVAILABILITY: Freeware (IF Archive) URL: VERSION: Release 1 An utterly conventional and thoroughly delightful adventure game. I was in a lousy mood when I started playing--I left the computer with a big smile on my face. That is the highest praise I can give. Let's back up. YAGWAD is, as advertised, a game about a dragon. You're an unlikely hero hoping to rescue the princess from the nefarious beast and win the king's favor. So why did I love it, when so many games of this sort merit only a yawn and a shrug? There are quite a few reasons. First and foremost, YAGWAD is the funniest game I've played this year. From the rousing prologue (and responses to "score" and "fullscore" therein), to the delightful ascii art animation in the title, to the encyclopedia salesman (insert Monty Python clip), to the friendly teeth, the troll, the answering machine, the monks....well, I could go on all day. Suffice to say, YAGWAD kept me grinning ear to ear from beginning to end. The humor is dead on, comparable to Steve Meretzky's and often better. Programming is very solid. I ran into a few relatively harmless bugs, and that's it (notable: I can read the diary without picking it up). The writing is not the lush, purple prose of much story-based IF (don't get me wrong--I like well-done purple prose!), but it is comfortable to read, grammatical, and often funny. The room descriptions, in particular, have an economy of expression reminiscent of Infocom. Few of them span more than five lines, yet they lay out scenery and evoke a mood with ease: The forest stops short of this slope of mountainside, where a crumbling monastery stands with forlorn dignity overlooking the tangled remnants of an overgrown garden. A cracked stone walk winds from the forest opening north, through lank beds of herbs and wildflowers, and up to the wide stairs and darkened doorway leading west. The plot ties together neatly. In fact, figuring out exactly what happened years ago to leave things in their current state is part of the fun. It's impossible to put the game in an unwinnable state (a feat which clearly required some extra programming), and there are no sudden deaths. Puzzles are relatively simple, but fun to solve, and a few of them are clever enough to yield that nifty "aha!" feeling when you think of the answer. I especially liked the hilt-password puzzle, and when I realized the solution to the final puzzle, I laughed aloud. It was just perfect. Bottom line: YAGWAD is a polished gem. It was written by an author who clearly knew what he was doing and took the time to do it right. "Digby McWiggle": Thank you for reminding this world-weary judge why she fell in love with IF in the first place. Rating: 10 FTP FileInform .z5 file (updated version) FTP FileInform .z5 file (competition version)

You Are Here

From: Adam Myrow <myrow SP@G> Review appeared in
SPAG #27 -- January 4, 2002 TITLE: You Are Here AUTHOR: Roy Fisher EMAIL: royhome SP@G DATE: October 2001 PARSER: Inform Standard SUPPORTS: any Inform interpreter AVAILABILITY: Freeware (IF Archive) URL: (a directory containing a readme and the game itself.) VERSION: Release 1 My competition rating: 7 This game is very odd in many respects. First, it is supposed to be a promotion for a play about an online MUD or multi-user dungeon. Second, it is actually a fairly complete simulation of a MUD, minus, of course, real people. This makes sense as a MUD is really nothing more than a souped up version of a text adventure. Most fall more towards the role-playing and hack'n'slash types of activities than the storytelling Interactive Fiction that most readers are accustomed to. So, I suspect that this and the fact that the game tries to promote a play that few would have gotten the chance to see, turned a lot of people off and resulted in the relatively low rating. However, the thing that makes me rate this game so highly is that I see it as a humorous jab at many of the well-established traditions of IF. For example, the main quest in the game is described by your companion as a "gather a bunch of completely unrelated items Fed-X Quest." I suspect that the author had played games like Arthur, where the plot fell into such a quest. That isn't the only real bit of humor to be found. Virtually all the MUD elements are here. There is a combat system similar to that in Beyond Zork, except that all the monsters disappear in a cloud of black fog. It's clear that the author put this in on purpose. You can use MUD-like commands to list players, and the other NPCs sometimes talk out of character or whisper so you can't hear them. Since the story is that you are a guest player, you naturally are prevented from exploring at will, and this device works well to keep the game small. In this game, you choose your gender near the beginning by deciding which armor you will wear. Like most of the Infocom games, this makes little difference to the plot, but I strongly recommend playing as a female and hanging around the little girl for awhile. There are some really great little Easter Eggs when the other characters see you with her. The remarks from Harrold, the companion you have during the majority of the game, are a real hoot. Since I've mostly written about the humor of the game, here is an actual example. Like any town in an RPG type game, this town has a tavern. The drinks, however, are unusually bad. This little bit of interaction contains one of my favorite responses in the whole game. >ask bartender for mead The dwarf reaches behind him and grabs a seemingly indistinguishable bottle from the shelf. "A drink for northern ponces with horns," he says, pouring a small quantity into a stein and placing it on the counter. "I'll just put it on yer tab fer now." >drink mead It isn't as nice as you expected. It's made with genuine honey--you can tell from the floating bumblebee corpse you fished out from between your teeth--but it tastes more muddy than meady. You can't for the life of you think of why you'd want another. The stein itself disappears, part of a kingdom-wide initiative to "keep our enchanted forests clean!" Well, the game isn't perfect, of course. There are several annoying bugs. The most well-known and most complained about is the Changeling bug. Basically, don't mess with the Changeling until you have an idea of what to do with it. If this creature is attacked too early, the game can be made unwinnable despite the author's claim to the contrary. Yes, this is most likely a bug as Harrold makes it clear that this is a magical creature that shouldn't be able to be killed normally. Another bug is that typing "fill mug" will result in a string of "***programming error***" messages. The author forgot to turn off debugging and strict modes, a common mistake every since they are turned on by default. This makes cheating possible, but I didn't do it. There is no walkthrough for this game, but hints are available by praying at the temple. Other than the bugs, it isn't that difficult and has an ending that fits with the rest of the game quite nicely. So, I recommend this game to experienced IF players who have played both the best and worst of IF and like humor in a fairly easy, relaxing game. FTP FileDirectory with .z5 Zcode file and readme
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