you can see from the cover of the game, The Very Big Cave Adventure was meant to
be silly. You can tell because there is a troll doll sitting at the table
instead of a real troll. I think you can also tell because the dragon is using a
joystick the way dragon's never do. And a snake is coming out of the monitor
which just seems really wacky.
The Very Big Cave Adventure does not suffer from being
needlessly hard. It does suffer from being needlessly wacky. Or perhaps that
wackiness isn't needless at all since it's really the main point. A game that
parodies a game that didn't really have much of a personality of its own. So it
really kind of makes it hard to parody.
Instead of a good idea, the game is just a bunch of really bad
groaners. The puzzles don't take a lot of thought because the objects you find
seem to be useful in only very certain situations. Although I did only play the
first half of the game so maybe the second half was a bit tougher [It wasn't
even close! I Did end up playing the 2nd half!].
I would have played the second half of the game if I had been
able to find it. I was able to find two copies of the game online in zip files
and both only contained the first half of the game. I do have both halves of the
game for the Spectrum Emulator but, like Mindshadow, I don't think I want to
play through the first half of the game again on the Spectrum only to find I
don't know how to start the second half. Perhaps after I review another few
games down the line, I may look into it.
I did look into it and I'm a moron, just like Part Two says I
am! Part Two was actually included on the disc that had Part One. But when
firing up the disc to run the program, it would default to Part One. I needed to
see the directory on the disc and load up part two separately, then run it.
Reviews and thoughts on the puzzles in Part Two will follow the reviews and
thoughts of the puzzles of Part One!
The Puzzles (Part One)
Most of the puzzles are not going to make you throw in the
towel. The game does rely on a few items that aren't used (at least not in the
first half of the game) and some locations that seem like maybe you can do
something there but eventually don't turn out to be important. It's these Red
Herrings that could make you spend most of your time in game running around
unsure of what to do. If you don't want to get too many spoilers for what to do
in the game, you could just glance at my map and see which locations lead to
more locations. That would mean if you can't get through a room but the map
shows more rooms after it, there is a puzzle to figure out.
SPOILERS (Part One)
The only place I had a bit of a rough time was in Gotham. The
fact that the Art Gallery robbery is a timed event threw me for quite awhile. It
wasn't until I returned to Gotham once (after leaving by swearing) that I
noticed I could enter the Art Gallery (since Gotham resets every time you come
back. I first beat the game by going to Gotham and foiling the robbery, then
getting the tiara and swearing. I then headed back and foiled the robbery again
but this time I got the Nail File and still made it back in time for a ride from
That Man). After noticing this, I realized you only had a limited amount of
turns to do everything you needed to do before entering the Gallery and stopping
This also helped in solving the final puzzle to get both of the
last treasures while That Man is occupied in the restroom. I knew that I didn't
have any extra time to solve a puzzle before the robbery, so the two items had
to be retrieved after the robbery. From there it wasn't too difficult to realize
the Bat Splodge Signal needed to be utilized.
In the end, the game was just all over the place. The
domineering mistress guiding you through the caves might have been a nice touch
if it had been consistent and her voice was used more often. As it is, most of
the time she's not present and then suddenly she'll say something to insult you.
Perhaps that's what it was like at St. Brides, working away at your desk when a
teacher would suddenly come up and insult your work.
Unless St. Brides wasn't an all girl school full of nasty
computer sluts like I pictured it the whole time I was playing and was really
just a company with a weird name.
THE PUZZLES (Part Two)
In the second installment of a game that didn't really need a
first installment, the puzzles became even easier than the first part. It
might simply be because the hardest part of Part Two was deciding what items to
bring along from Part One! Two of the items were probably easy to decide on
since they were never used in Part One and seemed to important not to bring. And
the other two items hadn't been used either, so maybe that would have been an
easy decision as well! It wasn't hard for me to decide because I made sure I
knew what to bring with me because I didn't want to run around Part Two
wondering if something else was needed!
There's probably only one difficult puzzle in Part Two and I'll
spoil that for you immediately after the break. Also, here's the MAP of Part
SPOILERS (Part Two)
The only puzzle which had any chance of being difficult was how
to utilize the utility belt. And even this was only difficult if you didn't
immediately try to DIAL a SLEDGEHAMMER since one of the words is HEDGESLAMMER.
So if you're brain locked up on you and you thought you needed to use the words
they were giving you, you might have had a problem. Otherwise, it's pretty easy.
Although you still have to know what PARAQUAT is!
Again, most of the silliness was just silliness and not really
very funny. Although I must admit to laughing upon entering the Dark Room while
holding my lamp.
Another place someone might get stuck is where you need to WAVE
THE ROD to make a bridge appear. It sounds like this was something you did in
the original adventure since the game apologizes for being out of Crystalline
Bridges. So maybe it wasn't too tough. I only thought of it because I waved the
rod at the figure and the screen reloaded. Which it normally doesn't do. So once
the bridge and figure were gone, I remembered that waving the rod did something
odd and tried it here.
I don't have much else to say about this game. I did like that
Trixie allowed you to kiss her hand when you try to kiss her. But you should try
to kiss her before getting out of the first horror themed cave. I think you get
a different result. Unless the different result was from Part One!