The Colonel’s Bequest (1989)   3 comments

A few months back I listed the Innovation 13, a set of 13 adventures I was going to play out of the usual chronological order from the All the Adventures project.

It’s time to finally play one of those. It not only has graphics, but parser and point-and-click!

By 1989, Roberta Williams was already a veteran game designer; in addition to writing in the text adventure era she had already finished the first four King’s Quest games and the edutainment title Mixed-Up Mother Goose.

This was her first mystery adventure since Mystery House (1980). It was made right before Sierra switched to an all point-and-click interface (no typing at all, that is). Commands are still typed in via a parser, but clicking the mouse is available to move places and to examine items. Since moving and examining are the main activities of the adventure (at least so far) the game really feels 60% point-and-click and 40% parser.

You play as Laura Bow, a young journalism student in the 1920s. You’re tagging along with your friend Lillian to a family reunion at the island estate of Colonel Henri Dijon.

I assume murder and mayhem ensue — there are a number of other characters and nearly all of them seem to dislike the Colonel — but I haven’t done much yet other than explore.

I would like to take a moment to confess: I am very bad at adventure game mysteries. The major ones all seem to depend a lot on time; various events happen at various times, and if you’re not in the right place at the right time you’ll miss some crucial clue. The idea is to replay enough times that an “optimal route” of information is built up as you decipher the movements of the various characters. Theoretically, this sounds fine by me; in practice, I can never figure the mystery out. I never even finished The Witness (1983) which is notorious for being one of the easiest of the Infocom games. I’m hoping by writing about the experience I’ll get over my issues? We’ll see.

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Posted August 10, 2017 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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3 responses to “The Colonel’s Bequest (1989)

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  1. I might actually play at the same time as you. I’ve heard from Jimmy Maher this is her best game, and it’s one I haven’t played as it seems to rely heavily on being at the right place at the right time. Still, maybe it’s better than the descriptions I’ve read of the mechanics would lead me to believe. Other than Mixed Up Mother Goose, Phantasmagoria, and King’s Quest 8, it’s the only post-King’s-Quest-1 game of hers I haven’t played at all.

  2. Don’t look in the insta-death closet!

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