As detailed and careful an examination as any historical military simulation, Macbeth
recreates the challenges faced by Lord and Lady Macbeth in their ruthless pursuit of the crown of Scotland. Their progress through Shakespeare's play is split into three text and graphical adventures, with an interlude adventure -- akin to one of the Bard's comic-relief scenes -- of a witch's assistant hunting for ingredients (eye of newt?!) on the blasted heath. Those desiring deeper analysis can sit down with Shakespeare himself as he probes the words and motivations of the Macbeths in four interviews uncomfortably like graduate-level oral exams.
Largely the same in each adventure, the command-line parser expects prepositions and even the occasional adverb. Finding the right noun is best done with the play in hand, but the parser will repeat back commands it doesn't understand, highlighting problematic words. Indeed, a copy of the 1623 play is included in the box and necessary in all the adventures and interviews.
The first adventure alternates graphical scenes with text descriptions, walking the player through MacBeth's steps and battles in the first four scenes of the play. There's enough variation to make it truly an adventure, with riddles and an ancient script to decipher which just might allow you to alter the future king's fate.
The second adventure covers the next seven scenes from Lady MacBeth's perspective, all in text and upping the challenge considerably. With a timer counting down an hour in real-time, you must manage a banquet and rooms for the king and his retinue, concoct a sleeping draught, and finally goad your quivering husband into murder. Don't worry; she had a tough time with that last part, too. The castle you must find your way through is a close match to the real Cawdor Castle, of course.
The third adventure offers its clues only in riddles and graphical scenes as you hunt down ingredients from the witches' incantation locking Macbeth to his destiny. Victory there does not seal his doom entirely, though. You can challenge that in the fourth adventure, where Macbeth rushes around Dunsinane Castle, preparing for siege. Mostly text, the interface fixes your attention on the timer again, which not only counts down the fifty minutes to MacDuff's fatal arrival, but burns and flashes with the pursuit of fire and murderous troops. Success rests in solving puzzles and finding secret rooms and, yes, more Shakespearean expertise.
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This entry to the MobyGames database was contributed by me3D31337 (39248)
on Sep 29, 2012.