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Sibilla, La - Review

Review by Zuperfaust

Ratings

Parser/Vocabulary
3
Atmosphere
5
Cruelty
Merciful
Puzzles
6
Overall
6
Written:
16-06-2016
Last edited:
17-06-2016
Platform:
C64/128

sibilla.png
This adventure game was published as a listing in the Italian magazine Super Commodore 64-128 (issue 22 - January 1989). The saved game on cassette contained a bug that was not in the printed listing itself. It is recommended to play the fixed version of the game here, because the .T64 file commonly found on the Internet contains that bug.

It is a mini-adventure, with 8 rooms, 12 verbs (including directions), and 6 movable objects. The antagonist is based on a parody of the Cumaean Sibyl, whose answers were never direct but always with clues and hints to be interpreted. The Sibyl in the game is a Cuban Sibyl, because she smokes Cuban cigars, and this is the first play on words the player is confronted with.

The game revolves about superstition, good and bad luck. The Sibyl cast a spell on your girlfriend, who is now a cat. In order to break the spell, the Sibyl wants you to yell her a 7-letter word. Although your world is limited, the hints are well done and funny. The game can be solved in 1-2 hours if you are good at understanding the plays on words and irony.




Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 3/10)

The parser is very different from the mainstream adventures. It is very stringent and also case-sensitive, and the accompanying magazine gave full instructions to play it and avoid any frustration.

The instructions are as follows:
1. To move around, type a lowercase 'n', 's', 'e', 'o', for north, south, east, and west.
2. To have a description of the room, type a lowercase 'g' (for "guarda", look).
3. To see what you're carrying, type a lowercase 'i' (for inventario, inventory).
4. If you need help, type 'AIUTO' (mind the uppercase).
5. All objects must be typed in uppercase; the player can type the first three letters only as abbreviation.
6. The following verbs must be typed in lowercase, and can also be abbreviated with the first three letters: prendi, esamina, lascia, accendi. They can be used only with the objects that can be carried.
7. The verb 'grida' and the seven-letter word to be screamed must both be typed in lowercase.
8. The five verbs above are all a two-step typing: this means that you type the verb and press the ENTER key, then type the object and press the ENTER key.

I have no idea why this odd parser was adopted, for at that time ('89) there were already good parsers around. Anyway, it is rather clumsy to remember all these rules at first. When I solved the game, I still didn't get accostumed with this sytem.

Also, there is a limit of three objects to be carried simultaneously. Since the player is compelled to go around carrying always a specific object against the black cat (see Puzzles, below), this means you can carry only two useful objects at the same time. It is not a real problem, and it surely adds longevity to the game. ;-)

Atmosphere (Rating: 5/10)

Descriptions are short and up to the point. There are no graphics and the story is very simple. I don't think that creating a good atmosphere was taken into account. The environment has no much weight, rather it is the irony and puns that have the main role.

Cruelty (Rating: Merciful)

You cannot die, the worst thing that could happen to you is to be turned into a frog if you yell the wrong word. Anyway, if your girlfriend is a cat, being a man or a frog is not important, after all. Or is it?

Puzzles (Rating: 6/10)

The most difficult puzzle is at the beginning, when a black cat keeps stealing objects from you. As long as you don't find an antidote for the black cat, you have no chances to solve the adventure.

After having taken the sole object that counteracts that nasty cat, you can placidly go on and find out all the other puzzles.

Some puzzles are solved very easily, while others need more thought, and a bit of common school knowledge. However, you cannot be stuck for long because there are not many opportunities to wander and get lost (rooms and verbs available). Sooner or later, by re-reading what you've found, you'll understand how to go on and find the letters.

Also, with today's means, if you really cannot figure out what is that 7-letter word you could just browse and anagram websites online, and solve the game.

Overall (Rating: 6/10)

This is a good introductory adventure game, and can be played together with one's children, too.

For expert adventurers, it can be a relaxing game and, who knows, maybe solving this game brings good luck. ;-)