John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

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Fundamental Plot Failure

The first 2/3 of The Lost Crown were good enough that I felt compelled to stay up until the Whee! hours of the morning finishing it last night ... unfortunately right around the 2/3 mark is apparently when the plot starts to go all wobbly, and works out something like this:

  1. Arrive in town on the run from Vaguely Sinister Ex-Boss. Town is full of spooks and people are more-or-less friendly but kinda miserable.

  2. Be told cats are going missing.

  3. Be told there is a Lost Crown, but that under no circumstances should you go find it.

  4. Be menaced by Four Evil Ghosts of the Lost Crown's guardians who presumably don't want you to find it.

  5. Get in touch with Vaguely Sinister Ex-Boss, who's not at all mad at you for having stolen, er, whatever it is you stole from him, and sends you high-tech ghosthunting gear for reasons never quite made clear.

  6. Wander around your house and hunt ghosts. Get clue about Crown and be menaced by Evil Ghosts of Crown Guardians. Be told not to hunt Crown. Go into cave and hunt more ghosts. Get clue about Crown and be menaced by Evil Ghosts of Crown Guardians. Be told not to hunt Crown. Go down to Railroad Tracks of Doom and hunt more ghosts. Get clue about Crown and be menaced by Evil Ghosts of Crown Guardians. Be told not to hunt Crown. Go into Creepy Forest and Nonexistent Farmhouse in order to find Abandoned Church #1, where you hunt more ghosts and have to defeat Black Smoke Monster #1 (which turns out to be one of the Evil Ghosts of Crown Guardians). Be told not to hunt Crown. Break into museum and hunt more ghosts. Get clue about Crown and be menaced by Evil Ghosts of Crown Guardians. Be told not to hunt Crown. Be reminded of cat subplot periodically.

  7. Practice May Day Fair treasure hunt for local matron, which naturally involves hunting ghosts and being told not to hunt Crown.

  8. Go down to the beach for vision of Saxon helmet doing its best unintelligible Mordor voice.

  9. Defeat Black Smoke Monster #2 (another Evil Ghost of Crown Guardian) and discover what's happening to the missing cats. Get clue about Crown. Be told not to hunt Crown.

  10. May Day Fair! Hooray! Get clue about Crown. Be told not to hunt Crown, and good luck with it. Find Abandoned Church #2, where you hunt more ghosts and have to defeat Black Smoke Monster #3 (another Evil Ghost of Crown Guardian).

  11. Off to Atlantis (easily accessible through an abandoned mine shaft), to defeat Black Smoke Monster #4 and find the Lost Crown! Hooray!

  12. Back to town to put the Lost Crown somewhere safe. Lost Crown is immediately stolen.

  13. You asshole! You found the Lost Crown! Everybody hates you now! Also, the guy who stole it from you was brutally murdered by the Evil Ghosts of Crown Guardians or something. (Didn't you defeat those guys? Why did they brutally murder him and not you?)

  14. A bit of last-minute ghost hunting to de-spook your house once and for all. Also, the catnapper is caught and is randomly the Insane Antiques Shop Dealer for no particular reason.

  15. Find the Lost Crown on the beach where the brutally murdered guy dropped it. Wow, not even in a chest with a slide-lock puzzle?

  16. Big Seánce! Vaguely Sinister Ex-Boss sticks in his oar! Be incomprehensibly gibbered at by the Not-So-Lost-Now Crown and your old friend the Saxon Helmet of Mordor! Magically be teleported back to Atlantis to put the Crown Back which you never should have taken, asshole!

  17. Wake up on the beach wondering WTF just happened. Vaguely Sinister Ex-Boss cackles in glee at the way everything went exactly according to plan. The end.



Um, yeah. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the spooky atmosphere and the puzzle solving and all that — but after all the Portentous Hinting going on, I expected a better payoff. Or at least, some kind of payoff. Unfortunately, I was left at the end feeling like the writer was bouncing around and snickering, "I've got a secret! I've got a secret!" There are hints about the town being unstuck in time, or possibly it's the protagonist, there are suggestions that Saxton may somehow be a virtual or parallel world or maybe exist somehow inside a photograph (several of the locations have what appear to be "damage to the negative" superimposed on the screen), and so on — but there's nothing definite to hang it on, which gets very tiresome after a while.

There are also at least two major un-busted ghosts at the end and I never did get to go back to Nonexistent Farmhouse to see what was there, leaving me with a nagging sense of a job left unfinished. Dangnabbit!

So, yeah, fun game while the plates are spinning, but short on rhyme or reason at the end.

-The Gneech
Tags: adventure, gaming, yog-sothothery
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