Old CD’s: Games, Encyclopedia, Apps.

Reviews About Old Software on CD-ROM from the 1990’s

Riddle of Master Lu, The March 14, 2009

Adventure & Mystery

The Riddle of Master Lu

The Riddle of Master Lu (Sanctuary Woods) is based on a premise that is as revisionist as an Oliver Stone movie. The disc suggests that Robert L. Ripley, creator of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (a Sunday funnies feature before Jack Palance applied his heavy-breathing hosting skills to the television series of the ’80s) was really an Indiana Jones-type globetrotting adventurer, complete with swooning women and supernatural intrigue. The idea is based, somewhat loosely, in reality. Mr. Ripley did travel the world in search of curiosities, and he did have a fondness for women, especially of the Asian persuasion. Put a little spin on the truth, like Sanctuary Woods did, and you end up with the larger-than-life hero of this disc. You play the dashing, brave, capable, kind, and handsome Mr. Ripley. Travel to exotic locations around the world with your companion Mei Chen (an Asian woman) in search of a mystical Chinese talisman that’s in danger of falling into the wrong hands. Graphics are excellent and production values are high; the premise is enjoyably pulpy, and the settings are imaginative – so why is the disc not really that much fun? Perhaps it’s because some of the puzzles are, simply put, far too difficult. The game thuds to a stop when a diabolically challenging situation presents itself and you fail to get past it. We know you’re not stupid; you know you’re not stupid; but the game seems to think you’re stupid, and doesn’t exert itself to help you. Also, dialogue on the disc tends to comes in bulk and suffers from sub-par delivery, which does not exactly speed things along. Devoted adventure gamers in need of fresh torture will find a lot to like here – most of the puzzles, including the too-difficult ones, are skillfully executed – but regular people, who might like the game’s romantic and nostalgic imagery, will find themselves stymied and disappointed by the actual game play.

– February 1996

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