|Interface||1st paned parser||Real-time||none|
An evil witch is out to usurp the kingdom. The princess has been abducted, and it's up to you, the worst knight in kingdom, to save her and the throne.
A wizard tells you what you need to storm the witch's defenses: five magic goodies scattered about the land. With a couple of intro segments and the finale, the game breaks into eight mini-games. There's no great plot, just the fun of each zany locale. The humour is the point of the game, and it succeeds largely due to the great text descriptions.
There's a lot to do. Most challenges are fairly simple, but there are enough difficult challenges to satisfy grizzled adventurers. There's a game of concentration to play (boring) and a couple of quizzes (funny). Mostly, though, it's the usual lateral thinking with the inventory. One not-so-usual trait, though, is that you sometimes have to look outside the current place and time to figure out what to do; i.e., you have to pay attention to what's going on, where it will lead, and what's happening nearby. It's not a simple matter of looking just at the objects in front of you. This helps to draw you into the world, achieving a greater sense of immersion.
One down side to the challenges is that each segment (day) is timed. Each action you take advances time by a minute, and you have until 7:00 to complete the day. It's not a real-time constraint, just a limit on the number of moves you can make. In other words, you're encouraged to save, solve, restore, and replay optimally. The positive side of this is that a few challenges require synchronising your actions with the time of day. I never came close to the limit, so maybe it's worth it.
The interface is a strange conflation of text adventure with point-and-click graphic adventure. At heart, the game is a text adventure, although there are some graphic cutscenes. Each location has a small graphic, however, and most of the actions you need can be accomplished by clicking directly on the graphic, like a graphic adventure. The graphic is accompanied by a full text description, and there is a full text parser, so you don't really need the graphic. You can also build parser input with the mouse by selecting words from lists, if you're a poor typer or have an ice cream cone in one hand. It's unusual, but it works well, combining the strengths of the two media. I wish somebody would try a similar kind of approach with modern technology.
With droll writing and top-notch challenges, Eric is a fine adventure. It lacks a strong plot, but it's great fun to play. It might be too difficult in spots for some new adventurers, though.