Saturday, 5 March 2016

Conquests of the Longbow – Final Rating

Written by Alex


Conquests of the Longbow was a thoroughly enjoyable game to play. In fact, I wish that it were longer (there were so many people I didn’t shoot . . .). I have a feeling that the game will do quite well on the PISSED scale, as it seems to be one of the better games we have played on this blog in a while. Will it reach Secret of Monkey Island and Quest for Glory I and II heights? Read and find out.


The high-quality even extends to the game box copy.

Puzzles and Solvability: 7
Longbow had some of the best, most logical and consistently entertaining puzzles out of the games I have played for this blog so far (Leisure Suit Larry 1 VGA, Leisure Suit Larry 5, and Police Quest III). While I wouldn’t qualify any puzzle as “difficult,” some of them required a little outside-the-box thinking, such as leaving the beer money on the table for the guards instead of supplying the alcohol yourself. Puzzles ranged from being inventory-based to requiring the manual to solve. Speaking of which, while manual-based puzzles are really just glorified copy protection schemes, Longbow integrated them fantastically, making their content actually interesting! For example, the manual was required to:
  • Use the Druid’s hand code;
  • Identify and learn the Druidic names of the trees;
  • Know gemstone lore; and
  • Be able to correctly identify various coats-of-arms
all in a beautifully written and illustrated manual full of Robin Hood legend and lore.

Then there were the archery and quarterstaff mini-games which, while not a large part of the game, were pleasant enough diversions. And of course, Nine Man’s Morris, which featured some of the most challenging computer game AI I have encountered in games of this era.

This guy didn’t mess around.

One of the best aspects about Longbow’s puzzles is that the game doesn’t hold your hand. It straddles the line of providing more than enough information to the player without being too obvious or too obtuse. As long as you’re paying attention, you should be fine. No brute-forcing here (unless you decide to shoot everybody, of course (PRO-TIP: You should)).
Lastly, Longbow features something I love, and wish more games had: Honest-to-goodness multiple solutions, each with their own consequences. The scenarios involving rescuing Marian and robbing the treasure train are obvious examples, but even how Robin deals with the various people he waylays on Watling Street, as well as their victims, can be approached from different angles. And they have consequences for the end game! Stuff like this really makes the player think hard about every decision, adding layers of complexity: Do I treat everybody with compassion and charity? Do I act like a jerk, robbing indiscriminately? Or do I just skewer everybody with an arrow to the face (Answer: Yes). You can even choose the order in which you approach certain quests. To top it off, stuff even happens “off-camera” if the player dithers for too long; the Widow’s sons being rescued by the Merry Men if Robin dithers for too long comes to mind. And let’s say you screw up by doing something really dumb like, oh, I don’t know, following Much the Miller’s Son’s advice (Boars? Did Papa Miller drop you on your head as a child?) and the game will let you continue.

Still funny.

If I dock any points, it’s because re-using the “turn into a tree to avoid the Sheriff’s men” puzzle felt like padding, and knowing that you had to stand still in a forest screen in order for the little pixie to appear was a result of dumb luck on my part (if you’ve been reading my posts so far, you know that the emphasis is on “dumb”). But these are minor nitpicks to a game that otherwise contains some of the best, most creative and logical puzzles we’ve seen—almost like anti-Sierra puzzles—since that LucasArts classic widely held to be a standard-bearer of the genre.
Interface and Inventory: 7

A 7 might seem a little high here, but Longbow’s interface and inventory were so good I didn’t even notice them. That’s a complement! Not once did I get tripped up trying to do something, nor was I ever at a loss as to what to click where and when. Even the quarterstaff duel I mildly complained about as being a button-mashing contest devolved into such more due to my impatience and less due to the interface itself (the fact that I hadn’t adjusted the arcade difficulty from its default “low” setting likely had something to do with my success just ramming the attack keys).

Arguably less-humane than getting longbowed, I say!

Interacting with objects in the inventory itself, while only done a handful of times, was so easy, even Much the Miller’s son (aka, Loser) could do it. Boars, Much? Boars?

I still cannot get over this.

Changing Robin’s rings was the main thing the player has to do in the inventory screen, switching from wearing the fire ring to the water ring. The handy depiction of Robin’s fist (pun totally intended) let you know in no uncertain terms which ring Robin was currently sporting, which could spell the difference between a dramatic rescue and a fiery death.

Probably Much’s fault.

While the inventory and interface are standard Sierra point-and-click fare, the specialized “Bow” icon helps, as does the fast-travel option in the top-screen status bar. Best of all, the interface never got in the way like it did in Police Quest III, arguably the low-point of Sierra’s VGA era.

You take that back, punk.”

Or what, Jim Walls? You gonna make me play Police Quest III again?

Yes.”

Wow, you don’t mess around either! I take it back! Anything but Police Quest III!

Anything?”

Good grief! Get out of my posts, you people!

“‘You people’? What do you mean, ‘You people’?”

That’s it. That’s it! I quit. I’m done. Post over. I’m out.
*deep breaths*

Story and Setting: 7

I’ll be honest with you: The story of Conquests of the Longbow is a little trite. “Save King Richard and thwart the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John while winning the hand of Maid Marian and shooting an arrow through another arrow” is as played-out in the Robin Hood mythos as you can get.

But that’s kind of the point.

The stories are malleable, changing through the centuries yet still retaining certain core characteristics. Conquests of the Longbow is Christy Marx’s own spin on the Robin Hood legend. She tosses in the well-trodden tropes, adds a little magic, and combines it all to give a fresh take on an old character. It’s a familiar tale that is comfortable for the player to slip into, except instead of just watching it, you get to take an active part. The need to raise a literal king’s ransom gives the game a narrative thrust that never falters; in fact, it picks up as the game goes on, the urgency and the stakes being raised until the final rescue of the Queen’s Knight from the fens monastery. The villains are obvious, but so despicable that you revel in every chance Robin and the Merry Men get to put one over on them.

[INSERT DIGITIZED LAUGHTER HERE]

The setting is also excellent. Sherwood Forest truly feels like Robin’s haunt, with secrets that only he and his men know about. And Nottingham provides enough locations to keep the player busy. Even revisiting areas feels fresh due to the story’s changing nature. All told, medieval England is a fun place to have daring, swashbuckling adventures, even if stealing people’s clothes on Watling Street gets a little ridiculous.

Beggar, St. Mary’s monk, fens monk, yeoman, merchant . . . I should’ve kept a running counter of this, too.

Conquests of the Longbow excels in this category because the story and setting do what any good game should: it makes you feel like the character you are playing.

Sound and Graphics: 8


What is there to say? Sierra continues its run of great, hand-painted, 256-color graphics as it entered the nineties. Longbow might be the best of the bunch; I think its graphics look even better than King’s Quest V’s, Space Quest IV’s, and Police Quest III’s. In fact, I’d put them on par with Monkey Island’s. The motion-captured animations are great and never look embarrassing, each character is uniquely drawn, the backgrounds range from the lush environs of Sherwood to the beautiful chapel of St. Mary’s and the dank fens monastery.

And the music . . . oh, the music. Aubrey Hodges—beloved for his excellent Quest for Glory IV soundtrack alone—does a bang-up job here, truly adding to the experience with catchy, evocative, and I’m assuming period-appropriate tracks. From the great opening theme and the somber Nottingham map tune to the jaunty Widow’s theme, the ethereal Marian in the grove, and the more ambient and atmospheric tracks that play in St. Mary’s and the fens, ever track’s a winner, actively adding to the experience. And the sound effects are similarly great: Each twang of the bowstring, death-scream, and twang of the bowstring followed by a death-scream is just so satisfying. The monks’ chanting as Robin approaches St. Mary’s is another nice touch. Top-notch stuff in the audio-visual department all the way around.

Environment and Atmosphere: 7

Was there any doubt that this would score highly? The world of Longbow is a fantastic one to get lost in. From the sun shining through the trees in the sacred willow grove to the dankness of the fens monastery, from the pub hewn into a cave to the comfort of Robin’s camp, each of the game’s setting is detailed, well-crafted, and meaningful. And I haven’t even gotten to my favorite section, the Saturday Fair.

To be fair, the game never makes it clear what day it’s supposed to take place on . . .

This part is three screens of unnecessary detail that does nothing except draw you further into the world. Nearly every single character can be spoken to or interacted with, and Robin can even buy trinkets for Marian or get his fortune told for nothing other than meaningless points. There are even cameos from Sierra alum and some historical figures for you to discover as you try to determine which wandering scholar is your contact and which are Prince John’s spies. And this is before you even get to the archery contest that pits Robin against another legendary English outlaw almost equally as well-known for his prowess with the bow and his luck with the ladies. The only environment I wish was fleshed out more was Robin’s cave. I know it’s just a cave, but it seemed a little bare.

I mean, look at it! Not even a carpet


Dialogue and Acting: 8

This might be Longbow’s coup de grace. The writing in this game is so good, it reminded me of a slightly more-serious Monkey Island. Each character has his or her own memorable style, from Alan’s dandy foppishness, Little John’s no-nonsense straight-talk, the yeoman’s simple bad-assery, the Sheriff and his wife’s thick-headed arrogance, and Much’s mewling stupidity (seriously, &*!#@$ that guy). Each character feels distinct real. The Abbot is a pompous jerk! The Prior of the monastery is a power-hungry brute! Maid Marian’s quiet shyness belies a steely braveness! The textual descriptions are equally evocative and on par with those in the Quest for Glory series. And as with Leisure Suit Larry 5, nearly every character has a unique response to every inventory item being clicked on them. The attention to detail is astounding.

But wait! There’s more! The designers seem to have thought of every situation that a player might enter into. Forget to dye your beard before posing as the jewel merchant to the Sheriff and his wife? They’ll recognize Robin as the archer from the contest at the Saturday Fair. Visit St. Mary’s wearing the Abbot’s stolen fire ring? He’ll call you on it and have you hanged! Little touches like this make for a truly vibrant world that feels alive.

And then there’s Fulk. I love this guy!

All of the little atmospheric touches add to the experience as well. In the fens monastery, for example, a necessary quest item, as well as clues to escaping, are in the monastery’s scroll room. But there are also several other scrolls that do nothing but provide historical information about the game’s 12th century setting.

It’s like history class, but awesome.

One of my favorite touches was the way the Merry Men would sit around busting each other’s balls each night—and bust Robin’s when he died!—the way men have throughout the ages. It’s like those scenes in mob movies where the characters sit around eating pasta and ragging on each other. But with more tights and less Joe Pesci.

Which is a damn shame, really. Imagine this guy playing Friar Tuck. Or Fulk. Or wearing tights.

Great stuff all around. According to Moby Games, a CD-ROM version of Longbow was planned but subsequently cancelled. From the teaser demo, the sole surviving example of this project, it seems like the voice acting would have been pretty good, if a little campy. I can guarantee you that Much would have sounded like Cedric. Friggin’ Much . . .

So since PISSED don’t lie, let’s see what we’ve got: (7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 8 + 8)/.6 = 73. 73! Holy cow, that’s the second-highest score ever awarded on The Adventure Gamer, beating the first two Quest for Glory titles! But I think this score is eminently fair and totally deserved. Math wins again! Suck it, science!

Hey, come on! What’d I ever do to you?”


I’m not the only one who really likes Conquests of the Longbow. Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in Dragon Magazine issue 179 rated it a 5 out of 5, noting that “LORH [Legends of Robin Hood, although that acronym sounds like they were clearing their throats] is suitable for both novice- and intermediate-level adventurers. Those who have played some really tough adventure games might find some of the challenges in LORH less difficult than they would like. However, the overall treatment of the adventure will leave you amazed.” The three also call the game “a fine example of superb programming skills, graphic design, and game ingenuity.” They were equally impressed by Longbow’s interface and the fairness of the arcade sequences. I find it amusing that all of the screenshots in the magazine are reversed. And also, check out the game’s price: $69.95! That’s $121.68 today!

Computer Gaming World was similarly effusive, even nominating Longbow as a game-of-the-year contender in issue 100. What did Longbow lose to? A little LucasArts title called Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. There’s no shame in that! It’s interesting to note that the other nominees were Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and, uh, Martian Memorandum. ♫ One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong . . .

Hell, even Richard Corbett of PC Gamer’s “Saturday Crapshoot” fame liked it, and he hates everything!

And that does it for one of the best, most well-designed and just flat-out fun adventure game I have played on this blog. Do yourself a favor and give Conquests of the Longbow a shot. You won’t be sorry. Unless you listen to Much. And in that case, you only have yourself to blame and may God have mercy on your soul.

“You can trust me!”

Lastly, don’t forget that Longbow’s designer, the lovely and talented Christy Marx, has been gracious enough to agree to answer reader questions! Put them in the comments below for forwarding to Ms. Marx as time allows. Thanks for going on this strange journey with me!

CAP Distribution

100 CAPs to Alex
  • Blogger Award – 100 CAPs – for playing through this game for everyone's enjoyment
55 CAPs to Joe Pranevich
  • Blogger Award – 50 points – for playing through The Hobbit for everyone's enjoyment
  • Double Dare Award – 5 CAPs – the challenge in on!
30 CAPs to Joseph Curwen
  • A.J.P Taylor Award -25 CAPs - for a fascinating discussion on English history
  • Celebrity Lookalike Award – 5 CAPs - for guessing that Fulk looked like Edward G. Robinson 
18 CAPs to Charles
  • RTFM Award - 5 CAPS - for pointing out how to reload Robin’s bow in the archery interface; It was in the manual, which I did read (honest!) but totally forgot about. Instead, I was leaving that screen after each shot. 
  • Best Director Award - 3 CAPs - for correcting my spelling of “Spielburg.”
  • True Companion Award – 10 CAPs – for joining in the fun of playing Conquests of the Longbow
16 CAPs to Laukku
  • Cinematography Award – 6 CAPs - for linking to death and ending videos for the game
  • Psychic Prediction Award - 10 CAPs - for almost correctly guessing the score this game would have
15 CAPs to TBD
  • Psychic Prediction Award – 10 CAPS – for getting the closest guess to the score The Hobbit's remake received
  • Why does everyone think it was Spielberg Award - for knowing who the real director of Back to the Future was
  • Wake up and get Blogging Award - -5 CAPs – for promising to do this CAP distribution, then falling asleep and forgetting
  • Spider Sense Award - 5 CAPs- For spotting Green Goblin on the cover
  • Celebrity Lookalike Award – 5 CAPs - for guessing that Fulk looked like Inconceivable Guy
15 CAPs to Aperama
  • True Companion Award – 10 CAPs – for joining in the fun of playing Conquests of the Longbow
  • Celebrity Lookalike Award – 5 CAPs - for guessing that Fulk looked like Robert Hirschboeck 
15 CAPs to Fry
  • Conquested With Extreme Prejudice Award – 15 CAPs - for the idea of keeping a tally on problems solved by longbow
15 CAPs to Reiko
  • Unnecessary S's Award - 3 CAPs - for pointing out that coasts-of-arms are different than a coat-of-arms. 
  • Sometimes you have To Shoot a Few Guys Award - 5 CAPs - for clarifying that there are multiple responses to the day’s Watling Street encounter, but only one real solution.
  • Fashion Tips Award - 7 CAPs - for telling us why a tunic should be longer
10 CAPs to Corey Cole
  • He Had To Split Award - 5 CAPs - for reminding me that I forgot to mention the arrow-splitting as an integral part of the Robin Hood mythos
  • It's Got Groove It's got Meaning Award – 5 CAPs – for working out that Cheese is the word to answer a riddle
10 CAPs to Laertes
  • Psychic Prediction Award – 10 CAPS – for correctly guessing what score The Hobbit would receive
7 CAPs to Lupus Yonderboy:
  • The King of Dukes Award – 7 CAPs - Lupus Yonderboy - for pointing out that Leopold was actually the Duke of Austria, which would not become a kingdom until about a century later.
6 CAPs to Ilmari
  • Doctor Hobbit Award - 1 CAP – for his genre-bending discussion of Radagast
  • He Didn't Need to Die Award - 5 CAPs - for pointing out that you can skip the Watling Street encounter entirely.
5 CAPs to Andy_Panthro
  • Celebrity Lookalike Award – 5 CAPs - for guessing that Fulk looked like Moe Howard
5 CAPs to Rowan Lipkovits
  • Celebrity Lookalike Award – 5 CAPs - for guessing that Fulk looked like Warwick Davis
5 CAPs to Jims Walls
  • Big Balls Award - 5 CAPs – for having cojones enough to appear in the Final Rating of a game he had nothing to do with (we're unsure at this point whether or not he kidnapped Sexy Robin)
5 CAPs to Mark E.
  • Read to Me Award – 5 CAPs – for pointing out some missed points
Rankings of 1991 games

1. Conquests of the Longbow - 73 points
2. Space Quest 4 - 65 points
3. Willy Beamish - 61 points
4. Larry 1 Remake - 60 points
5. Space Quest 1 Remake - 58 points
6. Spellcasting 201 - 51 points
7. Martian Memorandum - 50 points
8.-10. Timequest, Larry 5 and Police Quest 3 - 47 points
11. Castle of Dr. Brain - 46 points
12. Free D.C.! - 30 points
13. Hugo II - 18 points

27 comments:

  1. What the hell, Alex? You award a 73 without even reviewing the hint book? I'm so disappointed.

    Yes, I KNOW that the only copy available online is $130. But are you telling us that money is more important than providing unnecessary information in a game review that only I care about? Of course it isn't.

    That said. Great review on a great game. Clearly a solid win and deserving the #2 spot. Goodbye Leisure Suit Larry! (And the great Sierra/Lucas divide is intact at 5 games and 5, if we count Mr. Beamish as a Sierra game.)

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    Replies
    1. Well, if owning the physical copy isn't important, there's also a PDF-version of the hint book available:
      http://www.sierrachest.com/gfx/games/Conquest2/Conquest_2_Conquest_of_the_Longbow_Hint_Book.pdf

      Thereäs lot of interesting stuff in the intro, where Christy Marx details her research of Robin Hood lore, process of plotting the game and all kinds of interesting stuff about making the game. Only one thing is missing. She tells that a Sierra programmer and his fiancee were videotaped as models for animating the love scene between Robin and Marian. Names, we want names!

      Great job, Alex, although I am sure I might have found a way to give the game a couple more points.

      Delete
    2. Well, you could add that Alex's interview questions...

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    3. @Ilmari,

      Great question! I'll put it on the queue. Also, I will check out the hint book as a part of my homework before speaking with Christy; thanks for the link!

      Delete
  2. Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in Dragon Magazine issue 179 rated it a 5 out of 5

    Not to detract from this game, but the Lessers were notorious pushovers -- as best as I can tell, 5/5 roughly translated to "bought an ad in Dragon magazine."

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    Replies
    1. @Rowan

      Good to know, thanks. I do take these with a grain of salt, but I just wanted a couple of examples of how the game was viewed at the time. Will take the Lesser Three's word with even more salt now (but don't tell my doctor).

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    2. My understanding is that it was basically impossible to not get 5/5 on a Dragon review.

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    3. . . . but did they play Les Manley?

      Delete
  3. I'm with Rowan on the 'contemporary review scores' issue. Those magazines were notorious for their terrible reviews. Unfortunately, Evil Robin has hit a snag known as 'having too much to do with my day' so I haven't finished it. It's fun! I'm not sure I'd call it more fun than either QFG titles or Loom, but opinions may vary of course. And I'd probably take a point away for the repetitive 'find a disguise and nobody will ever know it's you!' side of the plot, maybe? Eh. As I say, it's really down to the individual.

    If anyone's interested in Phoenix Online, the guys who made the free Silver Linings KQ followups, the Gabriel Knight remake and many more, Indie Gala presently has the majority of their pre-2013 lineup for $2 USD. $2 USD! https://www.indiegala.com/phoenix

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  4. @Joe

    You know, I almost did a hint book review, but I didn't want to seem like I was muscling into your territory. Plus I'm lazy.

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  5. @Aperama

    We can maybe append the "evil" play through to this post when you're done.

    And I am glad that opinions very; it keeps things interesting. For example, like you, I think QfG I and II should have been ranked higher--perhaps equal to Longbow perhaps. And I also think Trickster, and the gaming public at large, overrate Monkey Island a bit. So if we each rated every game ourselves things would shake out quite differently.

    Now there's a time-consuming project for us!

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  6. CAP Distribution is here!

    Leaderboard will be updated later today (I mean it this time, I promise)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait, wasn't I the closest guesser of the score of this game?

      Delete
    2. And the leaderboard has been updated.

      In notable moves, Mark E. has his first points and Joe Pranevich has overtaken Laukku to hit 4th spot!

      Delete
    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWaLxFIVX1s

      Now I have to work harder to regain my spot! Or to possibly even become to most CAP-wealthy person in the world...

      Delete
    4. @Laukku

      I cannot want until the movie about your rise, reign, and inevitably fiery and disastrous fall from the peak of the CAP World when it comes out this summer!

      Delete
  7. Looking at the nearest competition I can't account for some score differences - guess I'm being autistic but I would like to know your thoughts. For example the graphics of Conquests (8) is not at the same level of Monkey Island (8). They are much better to look at (yeah I know thats subjective but still...) and more of the screen is visible compared to Monkey 1 because of the interface differences. One game uses a full colour palette and the other barely has vga. Stylistically you could argue for Monkey 1 but they honestly look like prettied up ega level graphics.

    Also I'm not sure I agree that Conquests has a much poorer interface (7) than Monkey Island (9). There is an argument to be made for minimalism and Monkey Islands interface is big. Admittedly there are more interactive possibilities with Monkey 1s interface but then the interface is pretty much the Maniac Mansion one which got an (8). I can't imagine that a scumm interface would be an improvement for Conquests as a game. What else did it need to do to score higher?

    But all in all a fair score and enjoyable read.

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    Replies
    1. We've had some discussion about ratings in general with the reviewers, and while we all agree that we probably have a good sense of how to score a bad game, we haven't had that much experience of rating excellent games. It might be that we are a bit too afraid to use the high end of the rating scale, since we are expecting A Still Better Game to come up.

      I'll leave it to Alex to account for the individual scores he has picked (although it might be just that his and Trickster's tastes are too different to compare), but I would still note that we rate sound and graphics in combination, so a game with better graphics could still get same rating if it just had worse music (again, I cannot say, whether it is so in this case).

      Delete
    2. When I started reviewing games here, I went a bit nuts. How could we judge games on a scale invented by Trickster? To do my first rating posts, I reviewed EVERY rating done on the site, assembled notes as to what it took to make each level, and then I shared that as a doc to the rest of the reviewing team. I think honestly (whether they use that doc or not), we're doing a pretty okay job with the ratings. Probably not exactly how Trickster would have done it, but that's okay.

      The other thing I realized is that even Trickster himself was not all that consistent. He'd give higher or lower scores on a game to game basis, even when we had cases like you cite where the engines would be almost identical. I think that is to be expected; it's part of the human factor that goes into these ratings. To try and be perfectly consistent with as many games as we have is impossible, even more so with multiple reviewers.

      I try to think of the ratings as being "about" right. Any given player may find a game to be a few points better or worse, but a good reviewer should end up with a well-reasoned review that gets pretty close to the mark.

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    3. Well said Joe.

      I always found rating the games to be quite challenging. After spending weeks in a game environment, it becomes difficult to compare it to something you played months or even years back. I did everything I could to be accurate, like going back and reading previous final rating posts, looking at screenshots etc., but in the end it's simply not an exact science. I can only imagine how difficult it is to compare a game to others that you haven't actually played.

      As Joe says, in the end it's not particularly important, as long as it leaves the game sitting somewhere about where it should. If Police Quest III is higher than Police Quest II, we might have a problem. If any of the Hugo or Les Manley games appear on the leaderboard, we definitely have a problem. Whether Conquests of the Longbow sits in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place...not so much.

      Delete
    4. I've never played the game mind you. I'll have to remedy that one day.

      Delete
    5. >It might be that we are a bit too afraid to use the high end
      >of the rating scale, since we are expecting A Still Better Game to come up.

      Some games I could see getting a 10 in a category of the PISSED scale:

      Puzzles: Day of the Tentacle (amazing time travel premise)
      Interface: Leisure suit Larry 7 (perfect blending of parser and point&click)
      Story: YU-NO: The Girl Who Chants Love at the Edge of the World (better than those overrated POS visual novels Clannad and Muv-Luv Alternative, which don't qualify as adventure games anyway), Gabriel Knight 1
      Sound & Graphics: Broken Sword 1+2, Curse of Monkey Island, YU-NO (has amazing music rivaling the works of Nobuo Uematsu)
      Dialogue: Curse of Monkey Island, YU-NO, Gabriel Knight 1
      Enviroment & Atmoshpere: Gabriel Knight 1, Grim Fandango

      Delete
    6. Oh and The Last Express would be a great contender for a 10 in Enviroment and Atmosphere too.

      Delete
    7. Thanks for the replies all. I wasn't sure how my comments would be received so I'm glad you've attempted to clarify things. The higher end is surely hard to rate. Maybe you guys can together work out a criterion amongst yourselves.

      Delete
    8. @Anonymous,

      First, thanks for commenting! We love feedback like this. It only helps us make the site better. And thanks for visiting. I'm very glad people are still coming here since Trickster moved on to greener pastures. It makes our hearts all warm and fuzzy, the way they get after a good longbowing.

      To your points, as Joe pointed out, we are trying to systematize a subjective scoring system based on the subjective opinions of someone who doesn't write for the site anymore. I did what Joe did, to a limited degree, and also based my ratings for Longbow on my ratings for games I have previously blogged. That said, when comparing my ratings to those of the upper-echelon games (Monkey Island, QfG I, and QfG II), I felt that Monkey Island was kind of overrated. I also felt that, if I gave Longbow--a 1991 game--10s in a bunch of categories, there would be nowhere for ratings to go when things get better, which they inevitably do, particularly in the graphics, sound, interface, and dialogue and acting categories. I mean, we could go up to eleven, which is one louder, something I am in total favor of, but that might throw the PISSED system out of whack.

      If I could score Monkey Island, quite honestly I'd give it the same score as Longbow.

      But to answer your question, what Longbow would have to do to score higher, I would say perhaps have: better graphics, QfG IV-level voice acting, slightly more difficult (but fair) puzzles, a little more variety in puzzles (enough with the clothes-stealing and tree-morphing!) and a few more opportunities to use the bow and quarterstaff-fighting interfaces (I know, I just complained about puzzle variety).

      Wow. What a long-winded response!

      Delete