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Written by  :  Clyde Dodge (3)
Written on  :  Apr 17, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful

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A winning, inventive approach to adventure games that was lost in the shuffle.

The Good

The story: this game had a great story, that kept me coming back to it over and over again. The story owed much to Tolkien. You play as a young, Frodo-like character, under the guidance of an older wizard, in a small party adventuring across a mythic countryside. The design: Journey's design was classic Infocom: just about anything you tried would be met with a response. This game pushed that to the limit by allowing you to play through to one of many endings, then presenting you with an oracle's analysis of your game. You found out from the oracle where your mistakes were and could replay the game to get it right. The main character was spared from death, and was always returned to the oracle. This unique approach required tremendous design depth, with hundreds of possible pathways mapped out that could generate a complete storyline leading back to your encounter with the oracle. Of course, winning the game meant learning from the oracle and successfully completing the game in its entirety. I found this superior to both the Sierra (death around every corner) and LucasArts (you don't die, but the story comes to a halt while you try to figure out what to do next) adventure game design templates. The genius of designer Marc Blank (the Zork trilogy) was truly evident in this game. The graphics: I played this on my 128K Apple //c, and the lush 16 color graphics were one of the best uses of this palette I ever saw.

The Bad

The fact that it was supposed to be part of a trilogy, which was never completed. The fact that it was lost in the shuffle as the Apple II line sank to oblivion the year it was released. (I never saw the DOS version.)

The Bottom Line

If you are a fan of the older Infocom games, this is a gem that you should play. It was really a precursor of the type of adventure game design popularized by Legend Entertainment, yet is entirely unique and thoroughly enjoyable. It had a compelling storyline that was strongly influenced by Tolkien's Ring trilogy. You could play thrugh multiple versions of the story, always returning to an oracle at the end who would give you clues to where you got off the main storyline. It had a windowed interface, much like Legend's adventure games. It was created by a master of the genre, the legendary Marc Blank.