So I've been playing Level 9's Scapeghost recently. I had never played it before, and I genuinely don't remember Robb writing a review of it for RFTK even though it turns out he actually did. That inaccessible memory might have been in the back of my head when I decided I wasn't going to try to tackle Knight Orc or one of those gnome games again this time around which is what usually happens when I set out to play a Level 9 game. Anyway, part of what makes Scapeghost cool is that it puts you in the role of a ghost (a recently murdered cop) who is trying to simultaneously solve his own murder, get his kidnapped partner rescued, and accomplish the mother of all drug busts. It's a different sort of mystery game for sure, and while I'm still in the decidedly early going as of yet I am fully invested in the mission.
What I'm not invested in is the relative wimpiness of my character. Level 9's view of life after death is decidedly hellish. Ghosts are often trapped near their graves, unable to travel very far from where they are buried, they carry with them all the demons and shortcomings of their past, they are sensitive to bright lights, and they struggle to lift even the smallest of objects. I actually like that Alan Chance starts out weak and you have to build up his ghostly muscles by gradually picking up larger things. What I don't like is that his strength seems to plateau fairly quickly. You try to pick up a wreath and you're told you'll NEVER be able to pick it up. Never is quite a long time when you're talking about eternity, but I suppose I could accept that in the universe of Scapeghost there are certain things ghosts can never do. Perhaps a poltergeist would be needed to pick up any wreaths. But then I happen to walk a few rooms away and run into the ghost of Bert Wilmot who is not only HOLDING a wreath, he is athletically batting away any hand that dares to try to take it from him. Bert Fucking Wilmot. I get that he's a Victorian-looking gentleman who may have been lifting pebbles for centuries to get to where he is today, but I didn't get the option of training for a century so *I* could lift a wreath. Instead, I was told I NEVER could, no matter how hard I tried. This makes me think my character might be a little on the weak side. Perhaps I struggled to lift thistledown even in my mortal life. If only Alan Chance had given the gym more of a chance while he was alive.
Discuss text adventures here! The classics like those from Infocom, Magnetic Scrolls, Adventure International and Level 9 and the ones we're making today.
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