Colossal Cave is a title that practically harkens back to the archeology of video games, when text-based adventures were still king and obvious hardware limitations hampered video game development. In fact, we are talking about a title that was originally a text adventure, described through scripts that appear on the screen, to which the user responds by typing the actions to be performed. All this was then transferred to this remake with a new graphical look that changes genres, which is close to a kind of 3D graphic adventure. We no longer encounter text and interaction, but three-dimensional environments to explore, solve puzzles, and use the right objects in the right places. The Giant Cave has no real story, replaced by some sort of backstory. Simply put, a legend says that there is a magical cave where treasures, dangers and pieces that defy the laws of physics are hidden. Like a good adventurer, our mute hero decides to explore the place in hopes of finding its riches and getting out safely. The story ends there, but the game nevertheless offers a very interesting fairy tale atmosphere. The narrator accompanies the entry into certain places or the discovery of things, and in general the absurdity of the places constantly creates the feeling of being in some kind of underground wonderland.
Colossal Cave continues the typical graphical adventure loop in a way, but with notable differences. In fact, we find ourselves in a large three-dimensional environment divided into separate parts, where we interact with certain points or solve puzzles using objects found in places, sometimes combining to solve certain puzzles. Therefore, the goal of the game is to sink into the cave, overcome the obstacles presented by the various rooms and collect the treasures that increase the score in case of death. In reality, scores that serve a purpose other than record-setting. Based on that, Colossal Cave delivers it all. Some rooms have simple obstacles to overcome using objects, while in other cases the player faces realistic environmental puzzles where you have to find a solution to get out of said room. So we may have to catch a bird and give it to a snake that blocks the way, or we may find ourselves in a maze of similar rooms and find a way out. The ideas are really plentiful and original, and if that’s great, on the other hand we see the ever-present frustration with the dangers of the cave when we don’t know what to do for a while.
From old to new.
All this is linked to excellent management. If, in fact, the movement is limited to going in four directions (up, down, left, right), using the cursor, on the contrary, is difficult and unpleasant to look at because of the location of the giant eye. a typical indicator used to observe with precision. Added to this is an interaction command that deserves more flexibility. Before interacting, you need to change the indicator from eye to hand. A very difficult method indeed, but it will be more fluid by allocating different keys to the two movements. Then there’s the equally clumsily managed inventory, items that must be tossed into large boxes to be used or thrown away. It is the use of objects that, moreover, is associated with certain puzzles that sometimes seem illogical, but lead to changing everything in the inventory. In other words, Colossal Cave is based on a game structure that is certainly interesting, but nevertheless very outdated. In fact, we are talking about a title born to be a text adventure, which has been “translated” into a three-dimensional version, environments that can be visited in the first person, and puzzles that take mechanics from a graphic adventure. be implemented. The result, as pleasant as it is, remains a video game characterized by a slow pace, a complete lack of clues, and the need for a lot of patience from the player to explore the rooms, find the objects and solve the necessary puzzles. to get all the treasures.
Mechanisms like very limited inventory, the need to store items in specific places to avoid losing them, mass withdrawals, and the general use of menus really don’t do justice to a title published on the Internet. The desire to provide an old-school experience is certainly understandable and appreciated by some players, but for most people the result will probably be slow and boring. The technical section of Colossal Cave is literally new. In fact, it is a true transposition of the original text adventure presented here with a true graphical section. Therefore, we see unfortunately bare environments, surrounded by poorly developed animations and general cursor weight. Obviously, this move to 3D also changed the gameplay of the title, making exploration one of its strong points. Fortunately, this exploration is graced with a respectable art section that delivers a grand and fascinating atmosphere, separated by absurd pieces, along with fantastically delicious special elements. Finally, the audio section is perfect. On the one hand, we encounter a storyteller who does a great job, and on the other hand, we encounter memorable, rare music.
Colossal Cave is a video game from the past, presented here with a new look that inevitably affects the gameplay. The result is certainly welcome for those who appreciate longevity and a typical old-school challenge with nothing to offer the player. For most palaces, Colossal Cave remains a slow, uninspiring and difficult experience due in part to unfortunate design choices. It should only be taken with an awareness of what you are getting into.