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Greedy Dwarf, The - Review

Review by Canalboy


Last edited:

Well, games don't come much more old school than this 1984 offering by Simon Ainsworth. All the tropes typical of that era are here: limited lamp time, magic words, a transportation system, a cheese paring inventory limit, tough mazes (one an almost exact copy of one from Colossal Cave) and an enchanted underground setting. Having said that, it is also much better than many of its peers. It is also pretty complex across its seventy odd locations.

The premise is that you have volunteered to reclaim three of the king's jewels which have been stolen by a slobbish dwarf named Arfa (I can't help but think of On The Buses and Minder as I type) and secreted far underground. Cue you, the intrepid and ambitious explorer.

The display screen via BeebEm evokes memories of Castle Of Riddles and Philosopher's Quest, i.e. white text on a black background and a colon followed by a flashing cursor.

The puzzles are pretty tough right from the start, not helped by an inventory limit of four objects. There are in fact only twenty objects in the game but given the tight nature of the lamp timer you can't mess about too much. Turn the lamp of as often as you can, but bear in mind every move in the dark will kill you.

The two word parser is pretty good, even understanding adverbs which will be needed to solve some puzzles in the game.

I find nary a single typo and only one bug as such. This occurs when attempting to EXTINGUISH a fire near the end of the game; it doesn't however make the game unwinnable and you should be able to sidestep it fairly easily.

It is possible to make the game unwinnable so SAVE often.

Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 7/10)

Pretty good and accepts adverbs. TAKE ALL is missing but you can take and drop multiple items on one command line if you separate the items with commas.

Atmosphere (Rating: 5/10)

Fairly terse but evocative descriptions no doubt influenced by the memory constraints of the time.

Cruelty (Rating: Tough)

Logical puzzles but a tough lamp timer means you can't hang around or waste many moves.

Puzzles (Rating: 8/10)

Many are original.

Overall (Rating: 7/10)

Solid and fun for an old type of game.