Once Upon a Time: Baba Yaga

Adventure 1991 Dos Dosbox Coktel Vision Education

Fascinating trip into a story book world

For a fascinating trip into a world not often visited by video games, younger or retro-loving gamers would be advised to check this out. It's a sort of interactive book for children which tells the tale of the famous Eastern European witch Baba Yaga and which allows them to explore a grim world in both arcade and adventure game modes. It's not entirely successful, partially due to this mix of styles but it remains a curiosity which is well worth digging out. The story unfolds via two perspectives, with players exploring a series of screens from a first person view where they must use the mouse to uncover useful objects or battle monsters and from a third person view. This latter section plays out more like an arcade platformer where you leap around, collecting more objects and battling more monsters. It's all fairly simple stuff to be honest but despite this simplicity it all seems to work quite well. Perhaps this is because of the story which is rooted in such a dramatic and rich tale and which is brought to life in atmospheric fashion (depending on which version you play). It is a touch too light-hearted in some places which negates the impact and dark origins of the main character, with some of the graphics being too humorous, but this is understandable given the target audience. However, the first person sections are largely impressive with some nicely evocative scenes that help the story to stand out. The gameplay is undeniably simple and is unlikely to provide much in the way of lasting appeal but while it lasts, Baba Yaga makes for a compelling excursion in the world of fairy tales. Check out Abra Cadabra too for another similarly entertaining story book adventure.

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