Frankenstein Adventure: Ghosts   2 comments

While I polished off the TRS-80 game of this game already, I was poking at John Olsen’s later port (that he titled Frankenstein’s Legacy) and discovered a feature in the z-code version (made by William Stott) I don’t recall ever seeing in any other adventure game.

First, just to note, all the ports generally do is re-format the game’s text to seem more like a more modern text adventure, as opposed to TRS-80 minimalism.

Dirt path
You are on a dirt path. There is an old, rundown mansion to the north, a swamp in the distance to the east, and to the west is an overgrown cemetery.

Compare with:

Honestly, I think I like the original more? The effect is akin to trying to scale up an old 8-bit game into modern graphics but leaving behind jagged edges.

See also this review from SPAG:

FRANKENSTEIN’S LEGACY’s lack of graphic description is at times comic also. If you order the game to cut open a dead body, you are told “OK.” That’s it, just “OK.”

This event is fine in the TRS-80 version — the appearance of the mutilated corpse in the object list is startling, and the main text is essentially an acknowledgment rather than any kind of atmosphere building. Without the two-window setup, all that’s left is the “OK”.

Now, the new feature.

For fun (and to see how it works), I’ve also implemented a ‘bones file’ (as outlined in ex137 of DM4) to generate the ghosts of the previous 10 player characters killed in the game. This is set ‘off’ by default. To switch on the ghosts, type GHOSTS ON (or HAUNT) near the start of the game.

DM4 is the Designer’s Manual 4 for Inform, the language used to make the port. I reckon someone else must have borrowed this idea since it’s direct from the manual, but I don’t recall ever seeing it re-used — anyone?

When you die in the game, you leave behind a ghost where you died.

>E

Edge of a swamp
You are on the edge of a swamp. There are the distant ruins of an old mill further to the east.

You can see a faint ghost, a sign in the grass and a crowbar here.

>EXAMINE GHOST
The ghost stares at you mournfully. Someone must have died near here once, long ago.

If you die multiple times (quite reasonable to happen on the quicksand and the wolf while you’re solving them) there are multiple ghosts, one for each death. I’ve seen this in puzzle games, RPGs, and even in a multiplayer shooter, but never in adventure games.

Posted March 31, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Frankenstein Adventure: Ghosts

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  1. “I reckon someone else must have borrowed this idea since it’s direct from the manual, but I don’t recall ever seeing it re-used — anyone?”

    I don’t know if anyone else followed the DM4’s lead, but the BONES record of previous adventurers is lifted directly from NetHack.

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