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Great Aussie Adventure - Review

Review by Denk


Last edited:

(Unquilled z-code conversion reviewed - c64 version runs just as smoothly)

This game consists of two parts, which can be played in any order.

In each part of this game, you are trying to raise money for a local children's hospital. Each part is a complete game and deserves its own review.

Part 1 - Canberra: Take 20 good photos to raise money
Without going into details, the local press will give you $200 for each photo of a tourist spot in Canberra and its surroundings. You must take 20 photos.

This premise results in a lot of more or less disconnected puzzles around Canberra, as most photos can be taken in any order. In a few situations, you will enter locations that can only be accessed once, and you must ensure you get the necessary objects before leaving. In most cases (all?) you can realize that something irreversable has happened, so I guess this game is rated "nasty" with respect to forgiveness.

As a consequence, you will have to start over many times. In theory, you could save your position often, but as most photos (not all) can be taken in any order, it is usually much faster to start over and focus on the puzzles you haven't solved yet. When you know how to solve all puzzles, you can start over and solve them all in one go to complete the adventure. However, solving some puzzles makes time go by so some locations may first be accessible later that day.

Part 1 is crammed with puzzles and it isn't very verbose. I am pretty sure Dorothy Millard used all the possible RAM in the C64.

As most puzzles can be solved in any order, you will probably solve the easy ones first. After I had taken 11 of the 20 photos, I started using hints once in a while and later also a walkthrough. For the last puzzles, I used the walkthrough quite actively though I also solved parts of the puzzles myself.

I found most of the many puzzles to be both fun and fair with only a few exceptions. The implementation was very good, considering that it is a Quill game with only a few niggles, such as a single available direction which wasn't mentioned in a location description.

Overall, it was a joy to obtain the majority of the 20 photographs. If you don't mind using hints and/or a walkthrough for a few of the puzzles, you will probably enjoy this two-word parser puzzlefest.

Part 2 - Treasure Hunt: In a seaside town, find 12 unusual objects
Part 2 is a little more traditional treasure hunt, even though the treasure objects are a bit unusual. You are told upfront which 12 objects you have to collect, though the descriptions are a bit vague, so it isn't too easy. Actually, part 2 is pretty hard.

I can imagine that if you have played many games by Dorothy Millard, you might find it a bit easier. Dorothy exploits the two-word parser to the full. Fictive example: You might type PUT BOTTLE. Then the game might answer: Where?
And then you can reply IN BARREL. So whenever the game asks you a question, it is probably expecting an answer. Harder examples exist but I don't want to spoil anything here.

Like part 1, part 2 is crammed with puzzles. Due to memory problems some more descriptions would have been fitting, but most puzzles are fair. You will probably overlook a few objects here and there to begin with, as you must examine, search and also move a lot of objects to find other objects. Even if X OBJECT only gives the standard "You see nothing special" it may still be worth it to try and move it.

Unless you don't mind to use months (years?) to complete this part, you will most likely need external hints or a walkthrough several times. Still, I enjoyed it a lot.

Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 6/10)

Two-word parser made with The Quill but fully utilized.

Atmosphere (Rating: 8/10)

Canberra seems as a realistic city setting and in part 2, the seaside town is surrounded by beautiful nature.

Cruelty (Rating: Nasty)

Each part can become unwinnable but you will know in most cases. And in part 1 most puzzles can be solved in any order so you don't need to save your progress as you can just start over again and focus on the puzzles you haven't solved yet. When you know how to solve all puzzles, you can start over one final time.

Puzzles (Rating: 7/10)

Most puzzles are both fun and challenging, though there are also a few easy ones, which is good to get you started. A few puzzles could be improved or be implemented better.

Overall (Rating: 7/10)

Both parts are entertaining puzzlefests, which I recommend.