A Dudley Dilemma

Adventure 1988 Dos Dosbox Multimedia novel

Let's explore Harvard!

If you like your text adventures light-hearted and with a bit of culture and fancy a break from Zork or The Lurking Horror, then this makes for an entertaining diversion. The Dudley in the game's title gives a clue as to the setting and when you fire it up you find yourself in the role of a student in Dudley House at Harvard University. As ever with text adventures, you have to explore a series of locations, interact with the various other characters that you meet along the way and of course solve a whole heap of puzzles that bar your progress. These are overcome by picking up items that you find lying around and then using them in the correct location, but which are rarely obvious and which require plenty of thought to solve. The parser system is pretty decent here, with a solid level of intelligence but which doesn't quite live up to the best of Infocom's efforts, although it is certainly good enough to avoid frequent frustration. The writing here is likewise nicely done, with a lightness of touch that shows this isn't a game to take too seriously. There are plenty of humorous situations and characters to encounter, with a few nods to the academic setting too to add some depth. The puzzles are generally well done, being logical and challenging but not overly frustrating although the much-maligned mazes which are a common feature of such games, rear their ugly head a bit too often. The overall goal of the game is also a bit vague and it requires plenty of figuring out in order to discover what you're actually supposed to do. Apart from this though, this makes a pleasant change from the usual sci-fi and fantasy games that dominate the genre.

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