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Locked vs. Shadowiii
Locked I solved the puzzle! I'm so smart.
Download: 21 KB
Play Time: 0 hours and 10-20 minutes
Review # 55 for Shadowiii I solved the puzzle! I'm so smart.
Them's Fightin' Words
    I gotta say, I enjoy puzzle/adventure games quite a bit. I liked The Fox and the Eight-Six (besides the menu system was a little screwy and the original file lacked a good save system), and I also enjoyed Iblis' Locked. The game, which kinda popped up out of the blue, is an interesting and rather fun 21KB file, where you take the role of a girl who is locked inside of a house, and you try to find your way out. The system is simple, a lot like an old Roberta Williams game Mixed Up Mother Goose where your goal is to find the right item for the right person/place/object, upon which you obtain ANOTHER item, where you use somewhere else to get the next, and so on and so forth. I actually liked Locked a bit more then Hachi and Charbile's The Fox and the Eight-Six, simply because the objects to use the items you found on where a little less obvious (though still obvious enough to be noticed), and the game was generally shorter and the maps better organized. Locked is also presented in true 8-bit (with a tinny NES sounding song to accompany it), which just adds to the enjoyment even more.
    Graphics are fantastic. In fact, it was the graphics that first pushed me to downloading the game. Iblis made the entire game true blue retro 8-bit, and it looks great (think Spellshard. The heroine consists of three colors, and blends nicely with the various backgrounds. Overall, the graphical presentation is certainly above average, and is very professional looking. I liked them a lot.

NPCs: Again, there was really just the heroine, along with various items that were put here and there. Overall, they blended perfectly with the background, so it worked out well.

Maptiles: I love these! Again, done in pure 8-bit style, they blend nicely with everything. And when I say "nicely" that's an understatement, they all fit together perfectly. There is also quite a bit of detail in the maps, even if most objects only use around 3-4 colors.
    There really isn't one, and, after I thought about it, I'm glad. Though a story would certainly explain a lot, adding one would also lose that retro NES feel to it. It fits right along with those types of games. The princess needs to be saved from Ganon (or Bowser). Dracula needs to be slain. Jr. needs to save daddy Kong. And our heroine needs to get out of the house. Work's for me.

An interesting thing I'd like to note is that I didn't get bored. Though there wasn't really any story to "keep me connected," simply unlocking new doors and discovering new puzzles was interesting enough for me.
    Locked really shines when it comes down to the gameplay. The game's system is simple: find items that you'll later use on objects in the background (ie keys to open chests, oil to open drawers, etc.). It involves lots of backtracking to items you didn't use before, and lots of thinking to figure out which items to use where. You rarely get, say, two or three items to use on two or three different things. It's generally linear, get one consumable item, use it once, get another, etc. While this system doesn't exactly make the game all that difficult, it does make it a lot more fun (in my opinion), as well as generally easier.

Myself, I only got stuck once, and that was because I was underobservent. Sometimes the game leades you into a "corner", where you'll have to go backtrack and look at older objects in order to continue. It wasn't difficult, in retrospect, but I did have a great time playing it. My only complaint was that I wanted more when I was finished. I wouldn't mind a sequel (or a continuation, for that matter). What I am getting at is that I wasn't bored of the game when it ended, which is by all means a fantastic thing. I wanted more (so I replayed it :P).

The only downside to Locked is that there is no alternate route. The game is very linear. That being said, the replay value is pretty much shot to hell after the second time through. You'll know the puzzles by heart, so the game is pretty much a "one time through" deal. Which is really too bad, because the first time was great fun.
  Map Design
    I liked this game better then The Fox and the Eight-Six simply because the maps were way easier to navigate, and generally more interesting. You start out with pretty much one main hall, and various rooms branching off. Most are locked, so you'll have to find the keys. Rooms are memorable enough, so I knew where I was heading to from the main hall if I wanted to go to, say, the kitchen. Map design is overall quite good.  
    One song, which fits the theme perfectly. Then again, my score on this is a bit biased, because I played through the first half of the game with no sound (speakers were off for some reason). After turning the music on, I thought it fit the game nicely, and I really didn't get sick of it. If the game were lengthened, however, it might need a new song. Also, I wouldn't have minded a new song when I reached the second floor, just for variety's sake. However, I still thought that one song was quite good, and it fit the theme of the game very well.  
    I liked this game quite a bit, actually. I didn't get sick of it, and when I got stuck I got raging mad because I wanted to continue the game. That's usually a good sign with OHR games (the desire to continue even when confronted with an annoying obstacle). The game is interesting and clever enough the first time through. The second time wasn't as fun (because the element of puzzle solving was pretty much lost), but I still enjoyed it. I probably won't play it a third time, however, as I've exhausted it and could probably do it in my sleep by now (as said, it isn't a hard game after the first time).

Overall, I had a blast, and I'm pretty sure you would too.
Final Blows
    Anyways, keep up the good work. It's really paying off. If this review hasn't convinced you to get this game, then I'll offer one final argument. It's only 23k! That's micro-small! Even a 28k modem could handle that!

Seriously, though, Locked is a great game. Iblis did a fantastic job with it. The graphics, puzzles, and (one) song work very well together to create a fun and interesting game. Though it is a bit short, it's certainly worth playing through once, even if you are a horrible, shallow person and just look at the awesome graphics.
Hmm, that book looks normal. Yeup, totally normal, no problems there...

Hmm, that book looks normal. Yeup, totally normal, no problems there...
Final Scores
Graphics: 10/10.0
Look fantastic. I really couldn't ask for much more, so how can I grade it less then perfect? It fits all my expectations.
Storyline: 1/10.0
Don't be fooled by the low grade. There technically isn't a story, so I can't really give it a score. But the game works WAY better without one, so it works out perfectly anyway.
Gameplay: 8.5/10.0
A very simple system, kinda like a dumbed down Fox and Eight-Six or Mixed Up Mother Goose. However, I liked it better then both of these games, just because the concept and overall placement of items and puzzles was not only more subtle, but generally done better.
Music: 7/10.0
One song, and it works well, though I'll admit I was pretty bored of it after the second time through. Wouldn't mind just one other song to break the trend.
Enjoyment: 9.5/10.0
I had a blast, I'll admit. Maybe I'm simple minded or something, but I thought this game was great. I highly recommend grabbing it. Even if you don't enjoy it, it's what, 23k and 10 minutes of your life?
Overall Grade: A
Final Thoughts
    8-bit goodness! Certainly worth your time, and it's only 23kb. Get it, and enjoy a few minutes of pleasure out of your ordinarily mundane, humdrum life.  

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