Hunter, In Darkness by Dave Ahl Jr.(1999)

The Little Evil, Ugly Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: What the hell? I thought the new breed of IF was supposed to be more literary and less reliant on puzzles, mazes, and stuff like that? You mean this is a game which I actually have to struggle with in order to solve? ARGGGGGGHHHHH!

The Little Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: This game me feel like playing Zork and Adventure, so I did.

My Verdict:Wow. People are still making text adventures.

The Review...

This is a game in the old style. It's a clever amalgamation of "Hunt The Wumpus"(one of the first computer games ever...after "Space Wars" but before "Adventure"), "Adventure", and "Zork." You are hunting the legendary wumpus creature through hazardous caves and caverns full of bats, pits, and other assorted dangers. In short, it's as "text adventureish" as a text adventure could possibly be - it's not the least bit experimental or literary, but instead a celebration of that particular kind of writing and story that is best suited to adventure games, rather than novels or movies. The writing is superb, recalling to mind Marc Blank's careful, exacting, tightly clipped minimalistic style. The plot is intriguing, taking the best bits of the original "Hunt The Wumpus" which never had a detailed storyline(why hunt the Wumpus? Why not leave it alone?) and adding superb Zork-style atmosphere and a few surprising plot turns. But where the game really shines is on the gameplay level. The atmosphere is one of terrible excitement. The tension of the chase, the terror of the caves, the sinister appearance of the bats... Your little heart should be a pumpin' at an ungodly rate after playing this for a while. As for the puzzles, little ones are to be found throughout, but the big one is the maze. It's not like certain other mazes in that each room in the maze has its own description unique to itself, thus ensuring that it gets even more points for atmosphere. I'm not too sure if the maze can be mapped - I wandered through it for about twenty minutes and eventually found the way out without bothering to draw a map. It seemed like I was going to a random room after each step I made(ie, every time I went left, I could not go right and return where I was before), so maybe it's just something that's meant to be suffered through. There's no feeling nicer than escaping a perilous, treacherous maze, though, is there? So maybe it's worth suffering through. The parser is also very, very solid - far superior to that of Adventure, of course, and probably the equal to Zork's.

The only thing I believe this game might be missing is a little Adventure style sly humor. Hunter, In Darkness is cold and humorless - the object of the game is the destruction of the wumpus, and the adventurer's mind is thus always concerned with his own survival and the completion of his goal. But it certainly doesn't lack drama - my favorite moment in the game is one which I can't describe to you without spoiling it all, but it's perfect: the long awaited calling into question of both the adventurer's and the wumpus' mortality. AT LONG LAST! That was suitably vague, I hope.

If you like text adventures, this is a must play.

Simple Rating: 8/10

Complicated Rating: 44/50

Story: 5/10(It has some good twists, but for the better part of the game there isn't much of a story at all...hence the low rating).

Writing: 8/10

Playability: 7/10

Puzzle Quality: 7/10

Parser Responsiveness: 8/10

Special Rating For This Game

Atmosphere: 9/10(Could easily be 10/10 if Zork hadn't already been written.)

Add Your Comments

Your Name or Handle:
Your Comments:

Back to my other reviews