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Old 02-24-2006, 11:14 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Snarky
Yes, the plot fails to coalesce as a whole, but each thread of the mystery is quite coherent, and allows you to engage in some actual sleuthing. As I recall, deducing that:

The new museum director was a fraud who'd murdered the real man
... was quite satisfying.
Yeah, it was. As I said, the intro is great.

Oh, wait... You mean the not-at-all subtle hints in the intro were not enough and you only discovered it later? Boy, you're slow.

More seriously, that particular subplot didn't work too bad, and even more or less managed to fit within the main plot. And so do quite a few other elements. But it's all done quite inconsistently: some things fit together and others don't. Just like some things are painfully obvious (including the identity of the murderer), while others are really impossible to get by yourself. And many very important things are never explained by the game and, to this day, still make no sense to me. This includes:

Why did O'Riley (sp?) kill Carter?
What was Yvette's involvement in Ziggy's murder?
What was the dagger still doing in the museum, when Little had every chance to hand it over to O'Riley much earlier? Why was it in the gift shop? Why did it then end up in that alcohol vat?
Why did O'Riley behead Ziggy? Why did he move Ernie's body from that vat of alcohol in the basement to the tusks of that mamooth? How could he do that without getting seen? How could he do that full stop?

I think that you'll agree that those are not exactly minor questions. Maybe you thought that it didn't really matter. Well, it bugged me. A lot. It still does. I can accept any inconsistency in Monkey Island or Space Quest, I can accept minor inconsistencies in LB1, GK3, etc., I can even accept the time distorsions in GK2, but that was too much for me.

I also found the conversation system very much to my taste, allowing me to interrogate everyone about every subject. Sure, it demands a few clicks, but given the list of topics you can ask about, that seems unavoidable.
I liked long conversations in TLJ, the BS games, the Tex Murphy games, GK, etc. But, frankly, those in LB2 were mostly bad, for reasons I gave in the review. As to the interface, I'll disagree with you. Just look at what BS, Tex Murphy, GK1, etc. did: you have a list of topics, you click on one, you get an answer, you click on the next one, etc. That's much better than that ridiculous notebook system.

The problem with the location of the other characters being inconsistent was something we discussed in regards to 5DAS, too. I think in Dagger of Amon Ra it quickly becomes clear that it's not something the game keeps track of. You just have to get over it and accept that the game doesn't model reality perfectly (just like in many adventure games you can have exactly the same conversation over and over again).
As I said above, there's a certain level of inconsistencies I can stomach. LB2 went much beyond that for me. Obviously, you have a higher tolerance level.

Admittedly, the Inquest at the end, where you have to explain each murder, is a horrible task that even a perceptive player can only get right by trial and error, but with the help of a walkthrough this should only be a minor annoyance.
I'm sorry, but that's not something I can accept. I wasn't fond of those questions at the end in Mortville Manor and Maupiti Island, but at least those games played fair and square, the plot was rock-solid, and, provided you were willing to spend months investigating everything, you had your chance to solve the mystery. In LB2, the more you try, the more you stop seeing the plot because of all the holes in it.

I'm not saying that having one puzzle that requires you to cheat is an unforgivable flaw (although, for a game released long before the Internet became widespread, it's certainly not a great idea). But when it is this one, this big 'puzzle' that the whole game is all about, then, yes, it is unforgivable. But know that, even without that feature, I wouldn't have given LB2 a positive review (though the score would probably have been a 3).

Dagger of Amon Ra is a flawed game in many respects, but its strengths make it an enjoyable experience nevertheless: atmosphere out the wazoo, fun gameplay, a likeable heroine, and a dynamic (if nonsensical) story.
I think it's mostly a matter of priorities. I think I judged the game for what it itself decided to set as its priorities, namely the mystery. And I hope I managed to give a fair view of the rest, so that people who decide to fix other priorities can decide whether they may like it. At the end of the day, I just asked myself whether I enjoyed playing that game. And found that I sometimes did, more than I enjoyed playing many other games, but also found that the conversations were painful, the characters so bad they really made me feel I was wasting my time with them, the plot so nonsensical that I felt insulted. And I felt sad, very sad, as it could certainly have been an absolutely great game if it had gone through a tighter design process.
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Last edited by Kurufinwe; 02-24-2006 at 11:27 AM.
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