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LOAD "THE CURSE OF RABENSTEIN REVIEW"

Classification: Game / Text Adventure
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Publisher: Puddle Software
Programmer: Stefan Vogt
Music/Sound: none
Year: 2020
Rating: ★★★☆
Disk: link...

I don't play many text adventure games; not because I don't like them, I'm just not very good at them. I always seem to get stumped at how to communicate the actions I want to take with the game's logic and ability to understand my commands. In the case of The Curse of Rabenstein, however, it didn't seem to be as bad for me this time.

In this game, you're a traveler who becomes stranded in the Black Forest. The horses that are driving your coach become weary and need to rest. To make matters worse, your Coachman has vanished into the night and it's up to you find out what happened to him and escape the evil lurking in the Black Forest, alive.

This game is classified as a text adventure, but I consider it more to be like a graphic novel adventure. Stefan Vogt, the creator behind the game, has done a wonderful job of creating a game that draws you in, with his words and excellent high-resolution illustrations.

The game understands two word commands, what the developer calls “two word parser logic”, which helped me immensely when I was trying to formulate the action/command I wanted to execute. So, commands were simply “GET ROPE”, “USE TORCH”, “TALK INNKEEPER”, and the like. This made it a little bit challenging when I needed to use two items together, in order to achieve a task. What I had to do was USE the items in the correct order for the game to understand what I was trying to do.

There is a HELP command, that explains some of the strategies. If you try to do something in the game that would totally leave you stranded with no way forward (like accidentally walking off a cliff or something), the game tells you that it cannot be done - or you need to do something or get something first. So, there's no way to die in The Curse of Rabenstein, which gives you free reign to explore and try different strategies without having to worry about prematurely ending the game.

One of the idiosyncrasies with this game is the use of the verbs EXAMINE and SEARCH; they don't produce the same results when used. This is important to remember, as there are times when you specifically need to SEARCH something in order to find the items required to progress in the game. EXAMINING them will not be enough.

The game environment isn't particularly large and the puzzles are not complicated. However, I was stumped for a while on a certain task I had to do during Day 2 of the game. But, after all was said and done, the game took me about 420 “turns” and three hours to complete. I'm sure most text adventure gamers would be able to finish the game in a shorter period of time.

My one criticism of the game is the ending. Although the story ends perfectly fine, I was expecting something more in the way of visuals. Throughout the game, Stefan provides some great scenery to help tell the story. So, I was really looking forward to seeing a big colourful image of my victory over the game's villain. But, it didn't appear, which was a bit of a let-down.

Although there isn't much replay value in The Curse of Rabenstein, it was still an entertaining “read” while it lasted. The story-line, along with the fantastic images, really drew me in and held my attention. I hope to see more graphic text adventures from Stefan in the future.

Conclusion

★★★☆ - Although the replay “value” is on the slim side, you could try it again for a better score. However, I did enjoy playing it and was motivated to see it through to completion.



Composed on my C128 with Archetype

reviews/rabenstein.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/29 22:40 by David