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Missione Odessa - Review

Review by Zuperfaust


Last edited:

This is one of the adventures an adventurer should have on his CV. It is not too difficult, and it is satisfying to play the part of a spy who discovers hidden closets, rooms, and documents... and survives.

The game was inspired by Frederick Forsyth's book The Odessa File and although the acknowledged author is Paolo Giorgi alone, the accompanying booklet with background information and game instructions names Mauro Giorgi as well.

The game was well received by the Italian community at that time, and it is well conceived.

With 59 rooms inside and outside the house, the world seems so vast that you fear for the sunset to come before you end your mission.

Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 6/10)

The parser used is Enrico Colombini's "Modulo Base" and accepts the verb(space)object or verb (article) object syntax. It understands about 40 verbs including synonyms, 6 directions, 20 objects. The player can carry five objects maximum simultaneously, including your most needed oil lamp.

Verbs must be typed in the 2nd singular form.

Atmosphere (Rating: 8/10)

This is the strongest point of this adventure. The original instructions explained at length the post-war situation of Germany and the ODESSA organization, immersing the player in the setting.

The time limit keeps the player in "rush mode" and, even the ending gives you suspense and makes you concerned whether you made it or not.

The only problem is that the game is bugged. Some versions on the web cannot be solved. I played a partly fixed version (look at the link in the Synopsis) and I encountered one bug only in the last room. But if you deal with the guard without typing in directions, you can finish the adventure without any bug.

Cruelty (Rating: Polite)

You can die for several reasons, and explanations are verbose and well written.

Puzzles (Rating: 5/10)

Puzzles are logical and some situations are to be solved similarly; there are two identical puzzles in two different rooms.

I was disappointed by the puzzle involving the "bastone di comando." It has a encrypted sentence that gives you a clue to solve another puzzle, but...
...the description of the room gives the same clue, thus making the command staff and its hint useless. (For those who have never decrypted the sentence, replace each letter with third previous letter in the alphabet, e.g. X becomes U.)

Puzzles are not too difficult, and there are plenty of clues in descriptions and objects so as not to be stuck for long.

Overall (Rating: 9/10)

The idea to use a spy mission was very original for that time, where most adventures were set in castles, pyramids, deep space, or fantasy worlds.

After thirty years, this game stands the test of time and it is a pleasure to play it again. The story plot is still - unfortunately - modern.

However, a clean, debugged version would really be nice to have, without any hacker intro and added contents (as is currently available now). I do hope someone has the will and skill to fix it once and for all.