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Ekaros

Worst puzzles - what to avoid

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I hate puzzles that make me think and move my mouse.

Just playin. I like hard stuff as long as there is a clue of what to do. I just hate it when I'm at a dead end in an adventure game and its because the next step isn't well indicated.

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Puzzles that are so deep into their own moon logic that we essentially have to guess the answer by trying everything we can until it work.

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I also am not a fan of timed puzzles, takes something of the fun out of figuring them out by having you click madly or be perfectly positioned.

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A puzzle where you have one key card that functions as three key cards depending on something like oh say.....the temperature of the card. :Kicks MGS1:

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Just so long as a puzzle has some sort of logical foundation. It doesn't have to be super obvious but I shouldn't be reduced to just randomly clicking on objects in my inventory an trying to use them on whatever object is currently blocking my path.

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A puzzle where you have one key card that functions as three key cards depending on something like oh say.....the temperature of the card. :Kicks MGS1:

Yeah, boils down to puzzles having some sense in them. That just sounds so illogical. On other hand if there were some easily attainable info about this it might be ok.

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I was just recently reminded of the single worst adventure game puzzle of all time, so I should mention it here.

The game in question is Codename: ICEMAN, one of Sierra's lesser-known productions, and by far their worst. It was a game that went from something initially promising to something truly miserable. You eventually end up aboard a submarine, and on this submarine, there is a particular sailor. There's no indication that this sailor is particularly notable, or that he has anything of great use to you. If you talk with him, he will play a dice game with you. This game is *extremely* frustrating, completely random, and also required to win the game. But you don't have to beat it once. Oh no. You have to beat it *five times in a row*. Oh, and you can only reload a maximum of 3 times while playing. Oh, and if you don't win the item during one single session of playing the game? You cannot play him again. Did I mention there is *no indication* that he has a useful item?

Yeah, that is the worst adventure game puzzle of all time.

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Yo! First post here from a proud $250 backer <3

What really puts me off puzzles is when there's only one possible next step. It sounds obvious, it's hardly even a puzzle then, but I was surprised to see how often this was the case when I started noticing it.

It's a bit of an odd analogy I guess, but I find the platforming in the Tomb Raider and Prince of Persia games to be a perfect example. It involves searching for anything that's within reach where you haven't already been (a ledge to grab, a horizontal flagpole), and going to it in the knowledge that it's your only option - hence it's the correct one. Most of the puzzles in Prey worked the same way.

It removes any sense of problem solving and the gratification of finding a solution, and there's no grand epiphany at the end.

I tend to enjoy puzzles when you have to go back to the drawing board, but eventually you get to a stage where you feel you are onto something and then it all clicks in a magnificent moment of eurekaness.

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Man, the "turtle puzzle" from The Dig was awful.

I have solved more than my fair share of Tower of Hanoi puzzles (I'm looking at you, Bioware!).

Puzzles that literally require the player to do math. (Obviously most puzzles have logical and mathematical underpinnings, but I shouldn't be whipping out my calculator at any point.)

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Man, the "turtle puzzle" from The Dig was awful.

what? how was that awful? its not very challenging but its also minimal frustration. its clear what youre trying to do, what you need and why youre doing it.

Ive just started replaying broken sword and just got past the ireland bit.

like someone said before, the goat puzzle is annoying. why?

1) the walkable areas are ridiculous. youre not allowed to step over some sandbags that literally reaches your ankles, also some bricks and some tufts of grass. just so youre restricted to two paths.

2)youre not sure if youre just not missing an item. and it takes a long damned time (pointlessly) to go over the wall again and back to the inn.

3)the fall animation takes a lot of time and george refuses to try to get up quickly or move quickly. _unless_ you click exactly on the thing youre supposed to at the right time. sluggish.

I think this puzzle would be okay if you had been locked in that area. for example if you were chased by the goat straight away when you come down off the wall, and the goat would keep you from leaving. at least then youd know that the solution is there on that screen and has something to do with timing or order of clicking.

another thing thats annoying in ireland is that you have to use a wet towel (that dries up, so you almost certainly need to go back all the way to the inn once more to wet it again) in the castle to carry water, EVEN THOUGH there are several pots and a PITCHER in the basement where you get the water. not to mention the glasses in the bar. but youre not allowed to use them. generally, useful stuff that youre not allowed to use sucks a bit. like a dartboard full of weapons...

and also stealing the string right in front of that guy is also silly, but ok I guess. its stupid that he sneezes and then the strings gone and there this guy standing there looking innocent and hes just like "oh well...probably sneezed it away."

and lastly. another annoying thing in MI2 is when that bit of paper keeps blowing away and being snatched away by birds and all sorts. its annoying to go through a lot of puzzles just to find out that it was pointless and the thing you wanted has moved. of course in terms of "proceeding in the story" its the same as anything else but it feels like being cheated. at least for me.

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Man, the "turtle puzzle" from The Dig was awful.

what? how was that awful? its not very challenging but its also minimal frustration. its clear what youre trying to do, what you need and why youre doing it.

It should be fairly obvious why it is bad.

We know the overall idea on how to solve the puzzle, but we're stuck dealing with a bunch of only slightly differently shaped bones.

It is perhaps the worst of all situations when you know how to solve the puzzle, but it is tedious and boring to get everything lined up perfectly so the game will accept it.

If you just search for "the dig turtle puzzle" on your search engine of choice you'll find a ton of people frustrated with the implementation of that puzzle.

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uhh...if youre frustrated with something that takes about a minute, how did you get through the rest of the game??

fair enough if many had problems with it, you have a point about the alignment thing. I bow to the majority. it wasnt obviously bad to me...and Im usually crap at AGs. (maybe Ive played too many quest games, like a beaten wife...)

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Man, the "turtle puzzle" from The Dig was awful.

Ive just started replaying broken sword and just got past the ireland bit.

like someone said before, the goat puzzle is annoying. why?

1) the walkable areas are ridiculous. youre not allowed to step over some sandbags that literally reaches your ankles, also some bricks and some tufts of grass. just so youre restricted to two paths.

2)youre not sure if youre just not missing an item. and it takes a long damned time (pointlessly) to go over the wall again and back to the inn.

3)the fall animation takes a lot of time and george refuses to try to get up quickly or move quickly. _unless_ you click exactly on the thing youre supposed to at the right time. sluggish.

I think this puzzle would be okay if you had been locked in that area. for example if you were chased by the goat straight away when you come down off the wall, and the goat would keep you from leaving. at least then youd know that the solution is there on that screen and has something to do with timing or order of clicking.

That's a good suggestion. But the other side of that problem is that, if the solution eludes you in a similar situation, you can't take a break from that puzzle to work on another. Not a big problem, but worth thinking about from other perspectives.

If you are stuck in a small area that you can't figure out, you feel even more stuck.

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Not sure if this has been mentioned, but one thing that really irks me is unconnected mazes!

You know.. the ones where taking the wrong way will send you jumping around to disconnected screens, or just warping you to the beginning or something.

For example, the jungle in Monkey Island 2. And that was pretty small.

I know I know.. their two strengths are 1) making it less likely that you'll accidentally solve the maze, or do it through trial and error, and 2) saving memory (in the old days that is).

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Musical puzzles in which you have to actually play out a tune even though you're tone def :D

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Dare to Dream 1,2,3. I think I had all three, and i would cycle through them trying to make some progress, but I couldn't solve any of the puzzles. But I feel justified; I recently read a GameInformer interview (I think) with some industry luminary that said the worst game he ever made was Dare to Dream.

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With all the hate for sliding puzzles being brought up that it's not sliding puzzles in and of themselves are not bad, it's just that they are very easy to do badly. In fact, the creator of Braid is creating The Witness, a puzzle-adventure game that is based entirely around hundreds of sliding, maze, etc. puzzles

About the Blue Mazes

Panel Art Update

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I don't think this pet peeve of mine has made the list yet: Puzzles that are presented before their solution is made available by some linear triggered event. For example, I find a door that appears to be locked because of an incomplete statue in front of it. I remember where two pieces of the statue are but not the final one. I go hunting for the one I didn't find only to discover I needed to trigger an event by collecting the first two before the final one appeared.

In general, forcing linear solutions to a puzzle is a problem for me, particularly when it isn't obvious. Sure, I need to get the cops to buzz off before I can free the criminal, but I shouldn't need to solve a puzzle to find a lost cat before I can get the key to his cell. This also has a tendency to feel like an arbitrary game extending mechanic because you need to backtrack over places you have combed several times just because a recent event could have changes some small piece of content there. Telltale has a bad habit of doing this from time to time.

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--BROKEN SWORD 1 SPOILERS IN THIS POST--

as I mentioned in posts above I was replaying broken sword 1 and now I finished it. heres some other stuff that bothered me:

* are there any clues that youre supposed to give the newspaper to the builder guy? I just got it on trial and error.

* getting rid of the gendarme in montfaucon. he was there before the clown got there, and still getting rid of the clown is what makes him leave. what? AND the solution to get rid of the clown is silly. at least if could have let you use the red clown nose on him directly to trigger the same thing. the clown only gets there later so you cant use the clown nose too early in the game. that feels like cheating.

//fix just add another item or something to the game thats only accessible at the right point, and skip the clown nose thing altogether. maybe something like reporting the slacking gendarme to your mates at the police hq.

*the thing that opens the window in the museum is undetectable. invisible pixel hunting? and even though I guess you arent supposed to see the sarcophagus from that part of the room, the guard usually walk in that area and still spots you usually. so what is the point.

//fix. make the layout clearer (where the corner is) and make the guard not walk in that area by default.

*dont like the way its cuts after you achieve the ultimate goal at some location. especially ireland. I never understood why Im even in those bloody ruins? then Im back at nicos?

*in spain, when you hide behind the armor, the gardner looks at you and says he sees you behind there. and then walks off. is this just badly presented or what is going on?

//fix. just have him not notice?

* in spain down the well its not actually that dark. you should be able to see okay. especially since he then (with the mirror) spots whatever it is at a _distance_ and memorizes it. thats poor.

// paint the background darker, or have the cavern longer (further from the lightshaft). put the mirror on the stones at the right spot and angle, instead of "memorizing"?

*all the hassle with the gem and the tripod is just to get the name of a city, which by itself isnt that helpful in the grand scheme of things. I thought this was fairly stupid as a "clue" to the treasure, after all that effort.

//fix - make it give a mysterious item along with the city name, which you end up using there. this at its most basic is puzzle-wise fairly meaningless but sits better in terms of story I think.

* on the train in england, after you knocked off Eklund, his gun is on the floor by him. but youre not allowed to pick it up or even kick it away. and when you get to your destination george says at some point "gee I wish Id brought a gun or something". what a lemon.

//fix: both doors on the sides of the train are open. just make the bloody gun fall out when he falls or something.

* also on the train at the same point, youre not allowed to untie nicole. the way to do it is to click the door to leave, THEN george goes and unties her and they leave. this is maybe a minor thing, but the game shouldnt do your actions for you, nor stop you in trying to do something obvious. its not a major hassle but I find this really brings you out of the game. also theres a fire-axe beside her that looks really useful for that or other purposes. just take it out if it seems too useful.

in the same vein youre not allowed to ask the priest about the bible quotations when hes right there, and then back in spain george says "oh, I forgot to ask the priest!"

agh.

also in regards to "the game doing stuff for you" there are other places where george moves automatically and its annoying. like picking up the gem in the basement in ireland. and using the torch in the ruins in ireland. and someplace else, I forget. just let the player use the items! thats what the gameplay is.

* items disappear at some points in the game. (flashlight amongst other things) dont resort to that to limit the player.

//just dont ok? flashlight could have run out of batteries or be broken.

* on the train the assassin reveals "I think those neo-templars will find the sword hard to wield" or something like that. but theyre bang on it straight away. they knew exactly what it was and how to use it. and how did they find it anyways since george has had all the clues they were looking for all the time.

//fix - I think it would have been better if they would have turned up after george and nicole had found the sword, and THEN it would go back to a similar ending. because...

why are you made to solve the puzzles to get into the church in england when the bad guys are already there? if youd have gotten there first thered been a point of solving the puzzle to get in as well. and it would explain how they found it too. through you.

* theres some items you get by the church door that you never use. anyone knows what the point of them are? the pen and the coin?

* at the very end its ridiculous how youre about to get shot (or whatever it was) and you throw the torch on the gunpowder and then the C4 on the flames, one of the bad guys is really close to the exit and the other bad guy is as far from it as you. yet you are the only ones to make it out before it explodes. w...tf.

//fix. make a bleedin effort

thats just some off the top of my head. I like a lot about this game but man...theres a lot of bullshit too. it feels really rushed and poorly thought-through in places. and meticulously crafted in others. Im sure a lot of this is due to deadlines or whatever...

I havent played the directors cut. is it better? I saw in an interview that it should be pretty much the same game except for the added part.

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All illogical puzzles, that have a solution that makes no sense at all.

I was going to say something like this too, but on reflection, sometimes puzzle like that have an odd charm to them. Using a monkey to shut off a water valve comes to mind.

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