Review of "The Adventurers' Museum"

Adventurers' Museum is an interactive fiction game and is © 1989 by Lee Chapel.

Review by David Welbourn (originally posted at Baf's Guide)

Want to play Zork I again for the nostalgia value, but you've already played that one so many times that it's no longer a challenge? Try The Adventurers' Museum. Twenty treasures have been stolen from the museum's trophy case, and it's up to you to get them back. There's some nice puzzles, the writing is acceptable, and the programming is clean. The game encourages exploration and experimentation, and it doesn't insult the player. Yes, Virginia, an old DOS cave crawl can still be fun.

Let me expand on that. Early on, you meet the curator of the museum who gives you the mission, and then he wanders about the museum's rooms. You can go outside, look through one of the windows and see the appropriate room, including the curator in the description if he wanders in. It's little things like that that help gain a player's trust, and I was suitably impressed.

Modern players will have to adjust their expectations, of course. This game is from the era of hunger, thirst, and lightsource puzzles. You have inventory limits. There's no SEARCH. No ASK/TELL. No NW/NE/SW/SE directions. No X for EXAMINE. And most annoying: no UNDO. But the game does recognize VERBOSE, IT, and G for AGAIN and Z for WAIT. More than once, you'll wonder why it was never ported to Inform.

Also note: I rate this game as "Cruel" under Andrew Plotkin's Cruelty Scale. It's quite easy to make the game unwinnable without warning. Some puzzles have alternate, but less ideal, solutions. Death is common, but you will get resurrected the first two times. Still, the player is advised to make liberal use of SAVE and RESTORE if he or she wants to win the game.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

✍️🏻 See my handwritten notes.