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Anello di Lucrezia Borgia, L' - Review

Review by Zuperfaust

Ratings

Parser/Vocabulary
7
Atmosphere
9
Cruelty
Cruel
Puzzles
8
Overall
8
Written:
25-07-2016
Last edited:
Platform:
PC

I played the MS-DOS version that is available from the author's website.

The adventure game was part of a set of demonstrative adventures in a book called Avventure per MS-DOS published by G.E. Jackson in 1988. In 1997, the game reached version 3.0 and was distributed as freeware, online.

The medieval setting takes its inspiration from Lucrezia Borgia's intrigues. She gives you a simple task: to retrieve her ring before her family comes to visit her, in order to avoid political issues.
And the task is indeed simple, since you find the ring very soon and very near Lucrezia's residence.

However, that's not a good day for you. You manage to lose the ring on more than one occasion, and for this reason you set off to explore the nearby village, the plains, the mountains... meeting many different people and animals.

You must outsmart several foes, but before that, you must be able to distinguish them: it might turn out that being a vixen or a noble lady is not so clear-cut.




Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 7/10)

The parser used is the flexible "Modulo Base," created by Enrico Colombini himself. In this game, it understands 36 verbs (including synonyms), 6 directions, and 36 objects.

Actions are typed in the 2nd singular person, and the syntax can include the article or not.

If using DOSBox, you can use the commands "save" and "load" (yep, in English) to save your progress in the game folder.

Atmosphere (Rating: 9/10)

It is a pure text-only adventure, with a high quality of the writing. Descriptions are short and basic to save memory, but the existing descriptions give you enough information to imagine the setting and continue your adventure.

The historical setting doesn't want to be faithful: it takes inspiration by what is rumored about Lucrezia Borgia's lifestyle as well as the morality of that time.

However, the game is purely fiction, it is not meant to represent actual history.

Since the game involves animals too, I feel compelled to quote that "no animal has been harmed in the making of this game." (haha! -ed)

Locations are abundant and varied, and the player can feel the distance between castle, village, plains, swamps, etc.

Cruelty (Rating: Cruel)

I've opted for this vote because the bandits' puzzle as well as giving back the potion to the witch can get you stuck irrevocably, and you receive no warning about that.

In those cases, the only thing to do is to restart the game or load a previous saved game. But you learn it only by negative experience.

Also, there is no clue about what the potion does or is, therefore you must die at least once to understand how to use it.

Puzzles (Rating: 8/10)

Puzzles are easy for the most part. You get hints by talking to people around. There are some very clever ones, and one puzzle needs organizational skills.

All puzzles are well integrated with the story, and they are definitely original.

Unfortunately there is the possibility to be stuck because of the wrong sequence of puzzles solved, and you'd need clairvoyance (i.e. a saved game) to avoid that situation.

Overall (Rating: 8/10)

With 65 different locations, and places and living beings put there just as "fillers," this game is of a good quality. Also, it was used in a book to teach how to code adventure games, and this explains why there are puzzles using timers, one-way locations, and other different techniques.

The historical situation, the writing, and the variety of puzzles proposed make this game fun to play. If the player has some school knowledge of who Lucrezia Borgia was and did, he/she will certainly enjoy the final solution better. On the other hand, complete ignorance of L.B. and her times doesn't subtract from the fun.

That's a game for all.