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Prelude to an Island's Song


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BRUCE MITCHELL

 

Solid, simple, shortish adventure. Nice rock wall graphics. Little buggy, the worst I encountered being that Erika appears in the same town at the same time twice when what should happen is that one disappears for the other to appear - despite this both the finishing and winning paths can be completed.

 

Average

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ALCRITAS

 

It would be impossible to start a review of Prelude to an Island Song, Janet Cone’s second scenario, without referencing the first thing that jumps out at you — the complete graphical overhaul. Much like the scenario that is a rough preqeul to — The Gathering Storm — Janet has completely reworked the Blades graphics here, changing or creating what seems like roughly 50–55% of the entire selection. (The proportion of the more “important” graphics — e.g. monsters, is even higher.)

 

To be blunt, it works. This, like The Gathering Storm, is a beautiful scenario. It would be impossible not to be impressed with it on an aesthetic level.

 

The plot of the scenario works essentially as a partial snapshot of larger events. The party is largely ignorant of what’s occurring, and the player is only slightly better off, that is, if she or he has played The Gathering Storm previously. I see a lot of one of my own scenarios, Lamentations, here, which is perhaps a mixed blessing at best. Given that this is part of a larger series, it seems probable that Janet’s motivations in creating Prelude were similar to mine in creating Lamentations, namely that the scenario was created for the series first, and for itself second.

 

Here, it doesn’t completely work, nor does it completely fail. The plot is abrupt — although that is to be expected given that this was both (A) a Short Contest Entry and ( a small piece of a much larger puzzle. Still, even given these qualifications, things come off as a bit too rushed. If these topics are revisited in a later scenario, these objections are likely to diminish, if not vanish altogether. Even without later treatment, Prelude is likely to age well. Still, the first playthrough can seem a bit abrupt, and the player can seem a bit cheated.

 

Playability is not a significant problem. There were a couple of bugs — even in the updated version — that diminished the scenario a bit, but nothing overly serious. (The same can not be said, however, of the first version. Playing the most recently updated version is a necessity.) There are no illogical or frustrating puzzles, but there are no real extraordinary sequences either. There is one sequence a fair bit above par — the fight outside the avian tower — but it’s just frustrating enough to dampen the experience down from excellent.

 

My score - Good

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