The Mystery of the Druids
2001 House of Tales
Designed by Tobias Schachte, Martin Ganteföhr
*) a maze -- At least it's a fair one.
*) catching the cat -- easy time constraint, but annoying since you seem to
have to be standing at just the right spot
*) Melanie sneaking into the mansion -- the time constraint is minor, but see
Most of the problems here are not with the solutions to challeges. The very
existence of the challenges, and the ignoring of alternate or equivalent
solutions, add to the feeling of non-sensical play. Few of these are major
offenses to reason, but they do add up.
*) I have no money or ID -- but I can get to France?
*) getting salt -- e.g., the bistro
*) fishing rod -- you're a cop, and you don't give it back? no wonder the
French spent most of a millenium at war with the English!
*) opening gate -- if the file folder works, most anything else should, too
*) crushing salt -- I have a pail, and all those tumbled walls.
*) hiding amulet -- why would I want to?
*) getting scissors -- in an office building that big, somebody will lend you
some. hell, you could tear it well enough.
*) electric fence hole -- coat should work, too
*) putting picture under door -- there's no feedback telling you why it doesn't
work. you have to guess why, given only the flor itself seems to be a
hotspot. i.e., we're no longer "in" the game, but meta-reasoning.
*) passing out -- A homicide detective passes out? And when he wakes up, he
eats with these people?
*) prying floor tile -- you gotta click the nail on the right spot, but there's
no feedback to distinguish the wrong spot from the right, so it's easy to
think you've tried something that the game thinks you haven't
*) library coins book -- fits into a pocket?
*) 12 bridges exterior door -- the amulet is heavy enough? nothing else is?
like local rocks? if it was heavy, wouldn't I notice?
*) getting worms -- digging is the usual way, why doesn't it work?
*) blocking drain -- nothing else works? like evidence bags?
*) bird on blacksmith chimney -- I can't just shoo it off?
*) getting key to maze -- why does Serstan leave it behind like that? doesn't
he notice the ill-fitting tile? I've seen the hole, why can't I figure out
where it is without the block?
*) temple inner door -- a magic barrier for the key, why not just a magic
barrier for the door?
*) Maglor is dead -- how do we know? I thought he just passed out. there should
be better feedback.
*) mistletoe magic healing -- Huh? It would be okay if it required some special
preparation and mixing, but just by itself, untreated -- mistletoe doesn't
*do* that. You've gotta give a hook to suspend the disbelief on.
The worst offenders:
*) Melanie sneaking into the mansion -- You can die, with no auto-restore.
Since this is the only place you can die, you haven't been saving a lot.
Furthermore, the solution itself is a silly, having to click on the bush
at just the right time, and then the window. The interface doesn't portray
the scene accurately enough for the player to reason out the correct play.
*) sheet as parachute -- where did the ropes come from? why do I have to burn
a hole? the game is too realistic for this to work, anyway.
*) endgame -- This makes no sense at all. What does Sertan's honour have
to do with the success of the old ritual? Even if it does, his vow clearly
applies only to things he can control: Melanie is going to die someday, or
stub her toe. Why stab her? Try a smaller harm first. The challenge is easy
because of the narrow scope.
*) fingerprints on alcohol bottle -- great problem, fun and fair
*) getting the professor out of the way -- a bit overly contrived, but it's a
*) mixing sleeping potion -- blue+yellow=green is old, but it's nicely hidden
*) getting the wax impression -- maybe not that hard, but it's a good insight
*) tiles in lower temple -- the twisting stairs is a good gotcha!, and the
element-transformation connection is a good insight problem
In hardware rendering mode, the characters all appeared in front of any
backgrounds, often when they shouldn't. Software rendering worked right, but
caused the mouse to be slow and jerky.