One of the most underrated entries in the 6th Annual IF Competition, YAGWAD by John Kean is a wonderful tongue-in-cheek send-up of medieval fantasy games. Among other things, it features excellent ASCII art that is much better than that in Downtown Tokyo, Present Day, his entry in an earlier competition. As usual, Paul O’Brian says it best in his review: |
"You see, YAGWAD stands for "Yes, Another Game With A Dragon!", and the cheeky spirit of that title permeates the whole game, to wonderful effect. YAGWAD has lots of spots that are very funny, and the whole thing takes a playful poke at fantasy conventions. Sure, fantasy conventions have been tweaked a lot at this point, but YAGWAD still manages a certain freshness, as well as a few artful nods to funny fantasies like The Princess Bride. It seems the King has had his daughter abducted by a ferocious dragon, and is offering sparkling rewards to anybody who can retrieve her. Naturally, every strapping adventurer in the province is instantly on the case. Then there's you: neither strapping nor adventurer (in fact, more of a portly, sloppy drunk), you still decide to undertake the quest.
From this premise, YAGWAD unfolds into an excellent melange of puzzles in the best Infocom style. In fact, with the exception of various Briticisms in spelling and grammar, YAGWAD feels like it could have been written by an Infocom Implementor—it's not as lengthy as the typical Zork game, but definitely partakes of the same general feel. For example, at one point in your adventures, you may come across a massive set of reference books called the "Encyclopedia Gigantica" – in the tradition of the Encyclopedia Frobozzica, this reference provides a great deal of humor. Also, as often happens to me with Infocom games, I found several of the puzzles in YAGWAD rather difficult. In this case, though, I think that might be mainly because of the time limit. I was quite keenly aware of the game's size, which is not insignificant—I'd have to be about three times the puzzle-solver I am to be able to finish this in under two hours without hints—and therefore was less restrained about consulting the hints than I would have been. If the competition is over (which of course it will be by the time anybody reads this review) and you haven't played YAGWAD yet, let me urge you not to use the hints. For one thing, the adaptive hint system is somewhat flawed, and it sometimes fails to give hints for puzzles that you may be facing. For another thing, pretty much all of the puzzles are clever and fair, notwithstanding my inability to solve them."
With a wonderful sense of humor that recalls the best of Infocom’s titles, YAGWAD is an entertaining dungeon romp that doesn’t take itself—or you—too seriously. It’s got great ASCII art to boot :) Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs