“Treasure Hunt in the Amazon” is a revision of an interactive-fiction game released in 1985. While it’s interesting as an artifact from that era, the old-school design of the original game makes it difficult to enjoy for its own merits.

Gameplay: The original game was squarely in the first generation of interactive fiction games, and the updated version preserves the hallmarks of games from that era: a desultory plot, unfair randomness throughout, harsh inventory limits, hunger and sleep timers, and so on. Keeping those features in is an entirely reasonable design to choice to make, but the author kindly provided options to disable them for modern players. (I appreciated them, having died four moves into the game in my first attempt.) There are puzzles throughout the game, but gameplay is more about exploring the setting and managing supplies. As such, turning off the randomizer and removing the various timers substantially change the player’s experience. In either case, the game itself is simple: use inventory objects to kill off a few animals, use other inventory objects to solve some basic puzzles, and then grab the treasure. 4/10.

Mechanics: Even knowing that the game is a remake of one from the mid-80s, I find it difficult to put up with the most egregious features of interactive fiction from that era. Some of those can be turned off, but the game also contains a maze and a few bizarre, unmotivated puzzles (for example, killing a jaguar and eating it in order to find a key that’s in its stomach for some reason). 3/10.

Presentation: Like most games from that era, descriptions are sparse throughout. One typical room description, for example, is simply, “The ruin consits of a of a few walls here and there. There is some graffiti on one wall.” The Amazon could be an evocative environment, but the description of a jaguar is the terse, “It is a huge jaguar. Unfortunately, it looks very hungry.” The cartoons in the game, however, are entertaining. 4/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You’d like to try a Danish interactive fiction game from the mid-80s.

Score: 4

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