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Countdown 3 - The Mind (Windows)

Countdown 3 - The Mind Windows Opening intro.

MISSING COVER

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.5
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Written by  :  vicrabb (6981)
Written on  :  Jan 06, 2009
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Summary

The Tale of Frehorn's Blade - The Delivering

The Good

We're now at the final countdown, meaning that the next review will not be about a text parser and its problems of displaying texts. I can sigh now. I don't have to repeat myself anymore for the Chzo Mythos after that.

In order to satisfy players until the release of the last game in the Chzo Mythos, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw did three games introducing this awaited sequel known as 6 Days A Sacrifice. And well, he just wrote interactive adventure stories... You know, the kind of game where you have to type the command after reading. No graphics, no soundtrack, just a text parser, a story and the download of a reader software like WinFrotz.

Yes, I did it again. I've provided a familiar text as introduction. After having reviewed The Body, the first countdown to be released and relating the making of a minor item of 6DAS, the Frehorn's Blade and The Soul, telling us how this blade was stolen from the Order in the 22th century, I can attack the story of its delivering in 2386 at the New Delhi Mental Hospital. If you're familiar with the Chzo Mythos, you already know that the year of 2386 is following 2385 (no, I'm not taking you for stupid, just read what's next) and that 2385 was the year of the murders of the Mephistopheles, a scoutship who was the theater of 7 Days A Skeptic. Just because the captain ordered to bring aboard a floating object, containing the soul of John DeFoe, a murderous spirit from 5 Days A Stranger, sent in space by Trilby from the same game, after the events in Trilby's Notes.

So, now, we're leaving the 22th century for the 24th, in 2386, precisely six months after the events of the Mephistopheles. You have no name, well, Yahtzee didn't name you. You're just a delivery guy who has to deliver a package to a patient in this mental institute. Your client promised you money and even if this man in red seemed strange, you accepted.

Comparing to the previous countdowns, well, you don't have so much background in the beginning. I mean with The Body and Frehorn, you did know what happened in 1778 and what the consequences of it will be. For The Soul and Delia, you did know what the Order of Blessed Agonies was. For the Mind and the unknown delivery guys... nothing. Nothing on him, nothing on the sect, nothing apart the same red man... and the fact that you'll deliver the Frehorn's Blade. Because it can't be anything else, right? I mean, after having assisted in the making and in the stealing of the blade, I can't imagine anything else than delivering this artifact to someone. And this someone, you know him. The Mind is the only story connecting 7DAS to the Frehorn's Blade in the three countdowns.

But back to the gameplay. I've already told you that it was a text parser. So, bless Trilby's Notes for having train me to it. And bless Yahtzee to have pointed to WinFrotz, a software who is also adapted to AZERTY keyboards. Bless the two previous countdowns for giving the key to finish without problems this one.

As you may know, I had difficulties to finish the first countdown because I couldn't understand how to move. The Soul was my savior. Indeed, in this game, you have to move a lot. So, that's how I've understood that for moving, I had to type "walk + cardinal point or up/down". The problem with the Mind is the same as in the Soul. You just walk a lot. Well, chance is that you have to make more actions than in the previous game. But I'm telling you something. Walking back and forth just for making the guard go far away of you isn't my cup of tea. It's freaking annoying.

Anyway, you just have to type simple commands and it's not as annoying as in Trilby's Notes, with the AGS Engine set for QWERTY users.

Also, remember, the first lines Frehorn wrote were about the characters of 5DAS. In this countdown, you'll find the end of the story: the murder of Philip Harty and the fact that Trilby destroyed fully the Body and partially the Mind. Yahtzee remains logical in this story. As I've played the countdowns after 6DAS, I do know understand why I found a page about Trilby taken from nowhere and speaking about the first part of Trilby's Notes.

The Bad

As much as you have to type simple commands, the fact is that some aren't possible. Use the verb "use" like you did in Trilby's Notes and you'll get a "I don't recognize the verb". Use anything else behind "walk" like "walk to door" and you'll get a "You can't see anything like that". By chance, all the actions are clear here, no need to find another word for an action (if you played the previous games, if not, well, you'll be like me in the Body: frustrated). After having played two countdowns, I can tell you that this one is really easy to finish: no need to sigh because of the unclear way of interacting.

What is following will be familiar but I couldn't review the game without it, especially if you didn't read the review about the Body or the Soul.

I hate also the fact that you can't scrollback directly. You had to switch between the "play" mode and "scrollback" mode. It was perhaps because I've downloaded WinFrotz... But Yahtzee was mentioning it and linked to a mirror site for download.

Also, I had a problem. Sometimes after submitting my command, or some parts of text weren't visible (so, you need to switch to "scrollback" mode where everything is in order and written) or you had previous text parasiting everything. You couldn't read clearly your story, you didn't know if you command will be taken in count, so the only thing I could do it was to press enter until I found a normal screen. I don't know why this was happening but it was very frustrating because after that, you needed to switch to the "scrollback" mode for reminding you where you had stopped before this cleaning process. The first time it happened, I was freaking out thinking that I've done something wrong. Now that I'm used to it, well, it wasn't a surprise anymore and it was almost natural for me to press the scrollback mode button.

The Bottom Line

Like I've pointed, this game has no graphics or no soundtrack. WinFrotz is only proposing your text in white on a blue background, reminding me of "Fatal Error System". It's not really bad, you know. You can read well and it's not really hurting. Though I prefer the black text on white background like in the "scrollback" mode.

Only play it if you're interested in the Chzo Mythos or if you want to know more about the prophecy. You can enjoy yourself with this one, because there is no difficulty in it. The only thing that I've problem is with is the poverty of the beginning. But Yahtzee did put the revelation in the end. The Tale of Frehorn's Blade will be concluded in 6DAS. You can feel it because of this: Why this delivery?

Anyway, I only recommend it to fans of text parsers or to curious people about the Chzo Mythos. The others will avoid it.