“Bradford Mansion” is a classic adventure story using a custom parser.

Gameplay: The protagonist is a lawyer investigating a missing will that had belonged to a recently deceased client of his firm. Doing so involves investigating his mansion by solving various puzzles with objects found around the mansion. The obstacles are the standard ones: locked doors, a hostile animal that can be mollified by feeding it, and so on. The ultimate resolution to the story is a bit disappointing, with the character simply leaving the mansion with the unread will. (The walkthrough hints at a more elaborate ending, but I didn’t find it in my playthrough.) 4/10.

Mechanics: The puzzles are generally straightforward inventory puzzles, with the protagonist finding items in one place and using them in another. Despite the genre, there’s little adventuring or sleuthing involved; the story could just as well have been about exploring an abandoned or haunted mansion.

The engine is a custom one (or at least one I’m not familiar with), and it lacks many of the features of more common systems. Abbreviating LOOK to L isn’t recognized, and the command LOOK INSIDE [THING] is not implemented. TAKE THING AND OTHER THING or TAKE THING, OTHER THING are not parsed; items must be taken individually. Pronouns are not recognized. The game’s parser is usable, but its restrictions affect gameplay. 4/10.

Presentation: There are numerous typos throughout the game: “The style it was built in suggest…,” “…no need for his stuff anylonger,” “no will in existance,” etc. In addition to the parsing difficulties mentioned above, there are several guess-the-verb issues in the game. It’s clear, for example, what to do with a slab of meat the protagonist runs across, but neither CUT MEAT WITH KNIFE nor USE KNIFE ON MEAT is recognized; only USE KNIFE WITH MEAT works. 3/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You like old-school adventure games with some elements borrowed from mystery stories.

Score: 4

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