Sunday, 20 November 2016

Hugo III: Jungle of Doom - Final Rating

By Deimar

And for the last time we are here, rating a Hugo game. At this point it seems a bit unfair. When Hugo I was released Sierra was still doing games with the first version of their SCI engine, still using a text parser. Graphically, those games were already squeezing all of the EGA’s power and there were some even prettier coming from competitors, especially from Lucasarts. In spite of all that, Hugo’s House of Horrors could be considered a product of the time. Not something spectacular, but at least not that much different from other games in that or previous years. By this point however, and even in spite of the graphic improvements, Hugo III seems totally out of time for 1992. The idea of this blog has never been to judge the games by their peers in their time period, but to look at them from the perspective of 30 years of graphic adventures. However, I wanted to point out that in spite of the low score I am sure I will give this game, I think there are signs of improvement from David Gray and that the effort put into it might be hidden between what came in 1991 and what is coming in 1992. Although it will probably still be the worst game of the year, let’s be honest.

I am sure something similar happened to Amelia Earhart...


Puzzles and Solvability

Reading my score for Hugo II one of my main concerns was that there wasn’t enough items to make the game interesting. And to be honest that has not changed that much. If anything, it is even more obvious where to use the items. It is fine to give some hints to the player, but this game flatly tells you where to use some of them. Heck, it is even worse considering the hints are given for some of the easier puzzles but none is given for the hardest (banishing the ghost or escaping the witch doctor). And to round that up, the biggest problem is not even solving the puzzles as much as finding the objects when phrases like “look into plane” doesn’t work or you have to hit a random spot to get a book.

Not everything is bad. There is something better than in the previous games. Having the whole game happen in an interconnected setting allows more complex puzzles. More specifically, the elephant puzzle. This puzzle requires getting items from several locations, obtained by solving other puzzles and the puzzle itself is interesting because of the timing needed to execute all the actions. However, this alone is not enough to rise the score in this category, as the linearity of the puzzles and the other quirks mentioned above are enough to put it into the ground.

Rating: 2

I guess a wizard was reading by the piranha-infested stream and somehow forgot that it was in fact a piranha-infested stream

Interface and Inventory

Ok, this aspect has definitely not improved. It is the same old parser used in Hugo I and Hugo II. If anything, the addition of a Turbo mode is very on point, given that you have to walk a lot through the jungle and I really appreciated not having to wait for the slowest man in earth to cross every screen. Still, the descriptions of some of the items are really poor, there are very few things with descriptions in every screen and they are sometimes misleading. There two very clear examples of this. The first one is the so called hint system, which doesn’t even tell you it is a hint system, it is difficult to find and use and doesn’t really help that much (unless you didn’t know how to get items in the plane of course). The other example is crossing the bridge at the beginning of the game. This puzzle requires to tie some vines to it. However, if you try to look at the vines, or any other vegetation for that matter, the game tells you that you should forget about it. Damn you, David Gray. Damn you.

Rating: 1

So if there is no point in taking any vegetation why do you expect me to use it to solve a puzzle?

Story and Setting

Been there, done that. Character A needs rescuing and character B goes on to save her. It is the same story all over again. At least in Hugo II you had the added mystery murder thingy. Here the only thing changing is the setting. But it is a very good change. This jungle feels somewhat more alive than the houses in the previous ones. And it is more coherent also. Even though the natives do very little, it does feel like they could be living there due to the detail put into the village. However, there is no driving force behind solving the puzzles other than getting to the point where you save Penelope. I mean, there is really no point in getting into the witch doctor’s hut, but you just do it because it is the only way you haven’t tried and there must be something there even though Hugo has no motive to go there. I know, that could be said about a lot of other adventures, but here it just seems forced.

Rating: 2

I just love this village I don’t know why. Maybe it is because of the low expectations I had when starting the game...

Sound and Graphics

It is a Hugo game so... no sound at all. Some beeps from the speaker at the beginning that could be considered a melody. Graphically, the story is very different. I mean, it is still not that great, but I would say it is about King Quest III’s level of quality instead of below King Quest I’s. I just have to give it one more point than to its predecessors if anything for hiring an artist and not having badly digitalized pictures as background.

Rating: 3

Don’t you love those trees?

Environment and Atmosphere

If there is something worth mentioning in this game it is that the environment really feels coherent and cohesive. Big improvement over the mess that was Hugo II. However, the effort put into detailing the jungle and making it an interesting place doesn’t translate into a good atmosphere. I mean, I never felt like I was in any kind of rush or that there was danger looming over my head. It is just like a stroll through the park. A park full of piranhas, elephants, cannibals and ghosts but a stroll nonetheless. A small stroll even, as the whole game is just a few screens long, although it is commendable that I didn’t feel like it was a small place. Overall, a little improvement over the usual Hugo games.

Rating: 3

I am having a really hard time getting screenshots. The game is just so short it is very difficult not to repeat them.

Dialogue and Acting

There is some dialogue. It is not interactive but for the old man part but it is something. The writing is not very good and I would dare say that it has been played more straightforward, losing the charm of the corky dialogues from previous games, even if those were very few. I think it is fair to say that it is in tone with Hugo 2.

Rating: 3

No, it is not an elephant. I am just happy to see you.

Final Rating

2+1+2+3+3+3 divided by 0.6 is 23.33, making 23 the rating for Hugo III: Jungle of Doom. Hugo II had 18 but Hugo I had 24 so I am going to give this game two discretionary points because I think it is slightly better that Hugo’s House of Horrors in all aspects. That makes 25. Congratulations Joseph Curwen! You have correctly guessed the score for two Hugo games!


Cap Distribution

100 CAPs for Deimar:
  • Blogger Award - 100 CAPs - For blogging his way through the game for our enjoyment
25 CAPs for Joseph Curwen:
  • Penelope’s saviour award - 20 CAPs - For guessing the game’s score
  • President of Hugo’s fan club award - 5 CAPs - For guessing Hugo II and Hugo III’s score
15 CAPs for Illmari
  • Witch doctor slayer award - 10 CAPs - For playing this game with me
  • True adventure award - 5 CAPs - For having played and finished all Hugo games with the reviewers

6 comments:

  1. Uhh... doesn't 23.33 round down, to 23?

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    Replies
    1. I guess it does. Deimar is currently busy, but since he wanted this to score better than Hugo I, I'll just add another discretionary point.

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    2. >so I am going to give this game 3 discretionary points

      Uhh... doesn't 23 plus 3 equal 26?

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    3. It should have been 2... I'll fix it as soon as I am near my laptop again (or if TBD or Joe gets here first, either of them can do it).

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  2. I think I played this one through one of those CD-ROM's filled with shareware. Or maybe it was one of the prequels. Either way, I think I played more than what was appropriate considering the quality.

    ReplyDelete