Arthur Yahtzee: The Curse of Hell's Cheesecake / Ben Crowshaw (2000)

PC from Death To My Enemies' Verdict: Hmmm, Arthur Yahtzee thinks he's so great.  'I have a name!' he says.  'I have a gun!' he says.  Does he have a dead sidekick to push around?  No?  Mua-ha-ha!

The ifMUD's Verdict: mm, cheesecake.  This game would be just about perfect if it only had more monkeys, parrots, phad thai, and esploding zarf's.  And less pants.

My Verdict: This is one of the best least-played games of 2000.  It received my XYZZY vote for Best PC

Game Information:

Game Type: Inform

Author Info: Although he hasn't written a lot yet, Ben Croshaw is already earning a reputation for zany, wacky games.

Other Games By This Author: Offensive Probing

The Review...

Review by Jonathan Blask

I came upon this gem while browsing the /games/pc directory at gmd.  I had recently been given a 386 from a friend and it was my hope that this bad boy would help inspire me to code some more IF and also play the old text games that I never can sit myself down to play on my parents' computer. Of course, that plan hasn't been working too well.  It still took me two months to write the lamest Hugo game in the world and while I have played more IF than usual, I still haven't been able to devote much attention to AGT games and the majority of old games lurking in gmd's dark corners.  I'd love to see a website that collected winning transcripts to old games.  I mean, I'm willing to believe that some of them have some really great parts that I'll just never get to with my feeble attention span, and while it's great to have these games at all, I think there's a minimal chance that anyone gives these games the effort that the author originally intended.

In any case, I digress.  So I came across a curious file,,that turned out to not even be an AGT game but a jzip executable of an Inform game not available in the zcode directory.  The name of the author, Ben Croshaw, rang a bell, but it wasn't until much later that I remembered that he had written the sadly misguided sci-fi adventure, Offensive Probing.

The Curse of Hell's Cheesecake, on the other hand, is a fun little romp through heaven and hell as we direct super-agent Arthur Yahtzee on a quest to get Hell's cheesecake to its proper owner.  There's a lot to be said for this game.  For the most part, the puzzles aren't too bad, although there is one timed puzzle that I don't think I'd ever figure out and if one misses the window of opportunity, the game becomes unwinnable.  At least, Ben thought to distribute the game with a hint sheet so this isn't much of a problem.  Also, I usually hate when games include the river Styx and stuff like that.  It's used way too much in text games, and I don't think I ever really thought it was funny, scary, or clever.  Here, though, there was enough going on in the game that I really didn't mind.

And this game is funny.  The insane logic and humor is well-established in the opening paragraphs, and the tone is consistent throughout the game.  There was only one part that I wasn't completely happy with.  There's a part in which an NPC is telling abortion jokes (the main joke being who's telling the jokes).  I was neither offended nor did I find it funny, but just knowing that it'd offend others who would've otherwise loved the game made me wish that the author had taken a different route.

In any case, I'd recommend this game to anyone looking for something light-hearted and silly.  It's a shame that the author only uploaded the jzip executable, as I'm sure this cuts the amount of people who will see the game a significant amount.  Of course, it's pretty easy to extract the .z5 file from the executable, but I wouldn't feel right, uploading it without the author's consent.

Rating:  8.0 / 10.0


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