Death Dreadnaught: Finished!   3 comments

Last time, I left off on being unable to get by a creature.

One more ad for the game, this one from Rainbow magazine March 1984, mainly because I’m about to spoil what is more or less the only puzzle.

The solution was of the I-guess-that’s-sort-of-logical? kind which really only came up because THROW was on the verb list but hadn’t become useful yet:

It turns out that was essentially the only problem left. Just past the creature was a console reading “fuel shuttle” with a lever and a knob. Don’t pull the lever! (One final deathtrap, for fun.)

Having opened shuttle bay doors, and fueled up the shuttle, winning was a matter of gathering the oxygen tanks, batteries, and food I had already found, and flying to victory.

(Oh, and that’s a torso of a body that’s screaming WASH ME somehow and you can >WASH BODY and get the reply THANKS, but nothing of importance happens. I kept the decapitated arm I found, too.)

I suppose I said most of what I wanted to say in my last post; although I am hesitant to suggest a game like this needs more death, I think the main issue (other than the massive spelling errors and bad parser) was the static feel to the creature. The creature could kill you when you entered a door, but that was just a red herring. The creature could kill you if you shot it. However, it doesn’t pursue the player or otherwise move about, so the sort of tension you can get from Zork or even one of the wackier Greg Hassett games just isn’t there. The endgame felt goofy rather than intense.

I suspect I know who the authors are. “Biff Mutt and Spud Mutt” were also known as The Dog Brothers, and based in Texas.

Also from Texas, there happened to be a company called Device Oriented Games, ran by two brothers:

If you’re not getting it yet, look at the acronym.

That’s right, Haunted House fans: I’m pretty sure we’re dealing with another Arnstein joint. In the Gaming After 40 post about Death Dreadnaught one of the comments mentions “this game is sometimes credited to Robert Arnstein”; given the three strong instances of location, company acronym, and the fact the company was run by two brothers, I’m inclined to agree with the credit.

We’ll still see Mr. Arnstein again in 1981 with Raäka-Tū and in 1982 with Xenos and Bedlam.

Posted April 30, 2019 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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3 responses to “Death Dreadnaught: Finished!

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  1. “PXHSLDK” is a bizarre attempt at onomatopoeia.

    I thought at first the “body shrieking ‘wash me!!!'” was a way of saying you yourself could do with a shower!

    • There were several weird instances of onomatopoeia like that in the game. I’d have to play through the game again to list all of them, but they were similarly nonsensical (like “SPHDNK” or such).

  2. Did the game really call it a “decapitated arm” instead of a severed arm?

    Last I checked, most arms don’t normally come with heads attached directly to them.

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