Author Topic: Death traps with no warning?  (Read 17494 times)

Offline shadyparadox

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Death traps with no warning?
« on: September 22, 2010, 03:49:32 AM »
"You can't say I didn't warn you about getting in over your head, Graham." OK, but you didn't warn me about these.

Obviously, death is not as serious an issue in this game as it is in some others due to that convenient "retry" button, which I do appreciate. However, there are still a couple of death traps in this episode that bothered me.

First trap:

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

This one would be easy enough to fix. Just

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

Second trap:

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

I have two problems with this trap (and any other no-warning trap like it), despite the existence of a "retry" button:

1) I did not feel like I actually made a mistake. It just felt like a "haha, i gotcha" message from the developers. Maybe you did, but you might as well periodically drop an anvil on Graham's head for no reason and be done with it. There is no warning in either case. Remember the infamous "invisible hole in the boat" puzzle in King's Quest V? This falls under that category.

2) It detracts from the realism. Why is Graham going through all that trouble? Why is he

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

Because he died on his previous attempt? How does he know? The only evidence that it's a trap is the death itself.

Fixing this one wouldn't be too hard either. Just give a warning of some sort without actually triggering the trap. Usually a warning comes in two forms:

1) It's implicit from the situation. Obviously, walking into the sea is not a good idea. It would also seem unwise to

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

In this case, you could for example

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

2) There is a direct warning from the narration or dialog. This is somewhat rare, but it does occasionally occur in KQ6. For example, trying to open the guard room door in the castle basement the first time gets the narration, "Alexander can hear the clear sound of guard dog voices coming from behind the door. He decides opening the door wouldn't be wise." Then only on the second click does he actually open the door and get caught. Another example would be throwing Rotten Tomato. The first time you click it on Stick, Bump gives you an explicit warning. Only when it's clicked on Stick a second time does Alex throw the tomato himself and ruin the game. (Yeah OK, neither of these actually cause death or even necessarily make the game impossible to complete, but they're the only examples I can think of at the moment.)

In this case, you could

Spoiler (mouse over to reveal):

It's perfectly fine to have both types of warnings (walking into the sea is obviously dangerous but it also gets an explicit warning) or just one or the other, but having neither, to me, is a problem.

I acknowledge that KQ6 has some deaths without warnings too, but that doesn't mean they annoy me any less. The second trip to the Isle of the Mists unprepared, walking too close to the clinging vines, and probably a few others I don't recall off hand. These bother me too.

Now, you guys are saying you're done with Episode 2, so you're probably not going back to change anything and I can live with that. But I still wanted to give my opinion on this matter, because if anyone agrees with me, then I hope this will be given consideration for similar situations in future episodes.

Offline KQ5Fan

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 04:43:36 AM »
Nope. I disagree. Death traps were something that were in the previous KQ games, and the fact that they're back make it feel closer to home.

Offline shadyparadox

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 05:33:01 AM »
Nope. I disagree. Death traps were something that were in the previous KQ games, and the fact that they're back make it feel closer to home.

Well, if you want "closer to home", then maybe they should do away with the "retry" button and instead throw in some scenarios where the game is still playable but impossible to complete.

Offline KQ5Fan

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 06:54:59 AM »
But if they did that, people would be here complaining!

:P

Offline rowee

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 08:46:47 AM »
I agree -  but the only one that really annoyed me was the "hand in the hole" trap.

100% of players will always die at that trap.  As a narrative Graham should figure out it's a trap and then find a way to beat it all in the same timeline.

The retry button does help alleviate any frustration of a cheap death, but doesn't fix the logic behind the puzzle.




Offline wilco64256

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2010, 08:59:29 AM »
I agree -  but the only one that really annoyed me was the "hand in the hole" trap.

100% of players will always die at that trap.  As a narrative Graham should figure out it's a trap and then find a way to beat it all in the same timeline.

The retry button does help alleviate any frustration of a cheap death, but doesn't fix the logic behind the puzzle.

Most of the testers actually did not die here, and I didn't even know you could die here for some time.  Maybe I'm just used to trying to get things out in the open before trying to pick them up.
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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 09:07:41 AM »
I didn't die there. (I figured out the magnetic part before the vine part, so it didn't even occur to me to try to get it out by hand).

Offline waltzdancing

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 10:37:55 AM »
I died there. As soon as I clicked the hand icon on the key I wanted to stop the action because I remembered the magnet. I was kicking myself, should have known better.  :D

Offline Jujuba

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 10:40:32 AM »
I agree -  but the only one that really annoyed me was the "hand in the hole" trap.

100% of players will always die at that trap.  As a narrative Graham should figure out it's a trap and then find a way to beat it all in the same timeline.

The retry button does help alleviate any frustration of a cheap death, but doesn't fix the logic behind the puzzle.

Most of the testers actually did not die here, and I didn't even know you could die here for some time.  Maybe I'm just used to trying to get things out in the open before trying to pick them up.


Well... because of Magnetic I assumed the trap. (nothing is useless in an adventure game! :) )

Offline wilco64256

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 10:42:02 AM »
I will also come back and mention that on several rushed playthroughs for testing I made the mistake of trying to grab the key that way.  So I didn't die there initially but did a number of times later.
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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 10:45:07 AM »
I prefer the lack of warning deaths as opposed to the "Cedric-style" deaths when you do something wrong and THEN get warned when you can't do a thing about it.
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Offline Lambonius

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 01:50:05 PM »
No, shadyparadox is absolutely right.  Graham should be able to figure out it's a trap before he gets killed.  Trial and error deaths are lame and smack of weak game design.  A specific message when clicking on the unblocked hole with the Look icon would be all it would have taken.  "Upon closer examination of the hole, Graham notices the gears of an unknown mechanism in the back."  Or something like that.  Logic dictates that the player is going to try and pick up the key by hand once they solve the puzzle to get rid of the clinging vines.  Anyone following standard logic WILL die here without warning.  Lame lame lame.

Offline wilco64256

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2010, 01:54:43 PM »
No, shadyparadox is absolutely right.  Graham should be able to figure out it's a trap before he gets killed.  Trial and error deaths are lame and smack of weak game design.  A specific message when clicking on the unblocked hole with the Look icon would be all it would have taken.  "Upon closer examination of the hole, Graham notices the gears of an unknown mechanism in the back."  Or something like that.  Logic dictates that the player is going to try and pick up the key by hand once they solve the puzzle to get rid of the clinging vines.  Anyone following standard logic WILL die here without warning.  Lame lame lame.

Adventure games are anything but logical.  Plenty of people haven't died this way, and not every trap is always extremely obvious.  Maybe this wasn't the best trap ever, but games do kill people in unexpected and unpredictable ways all the time.
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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2010, 01:57:06 PM »
And I really feel the fact that there's a "Retry" button available to take you back to before you died, thus saving you from even failing to 'save early, save often', rather negates a lot of it anyways. Even if you think the death is unfair, you immediately get to go back to before it happened.

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Offline shadyparadox

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2010, 02:17:48 PM »
I hope you guys understand where I'm coming from. I have no problem with having a death trap there. I do have a problem with the death itself being the only indication that it's a death trap.

Now, it looks like some people figure out the magnet part first (I assume they figured the magnet was the method to get around the vine), which gives them the message that the vine is in the way. So later when they figure out how to get past the vine, they think "OK, now I can use the magnet." But that doesn't fix it, in my opinion. Why punish those that figure out the vine before the magnet, and not the ones that figure out the magnet before the vine? Especially if the vine is supposed to be solved first anyway?

And I've already explained why it's still a problem despite the "retry" button. Here it is again:

Quote
1) I did not feel like I actually made a mistake. It just felt like a "haha, i gotcha" message from the developers. Maybe you did, but you might as well periodically drop an anvil on Graham's head for no reason and be done with it. There is no warning in either case. Remember the infamous "invisible hole in the boat" puzzle in King's Quest V? This falls under that category.

2) It detracts from the realism. Why is Graham going through all that trouble? Why is he dropping coins to attract a magnet over to the key instead of just taking it? Because he died on his previous attempt? How does he know? The only evidence that it's a trap is the death itself.

Offline snabbott

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2010, 02:35:53 PM »
I agree that it's an illogical and unpredictable death. For the most part, TSL avoids these; I look at the ones like this (and yes, there is at least one more that I know of) as an homage to the original KQ games.

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Offline atec123

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2010, 02:38:40 PM »
I agree that it's an illogical and unpredictable death. For the most part, TSL avoids these; I look at the ones like this (and yes, there is at least one more that I know of) as an homage to the original KQ games.
true.  only it doesn't ruin your game if you forget to save.

I save all the time though.  really excessively with huge amounts of savegame files. (in the older games I would always run out and the games would complain at me before I was even half way through the game) :P
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Offline shadyparadox

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2010, 03:24:45 PM »
Adventure games are anything but logical.  Plenty of people haven't died this way, and not every trap is always extremely obvious.  Maybe this wasn't the best trap ever, but games do kill people in unexpected and unpredictable ways all the time.

I'm not sure if you're trying to excuse a faulty design just because "everybody else is doing it" or what. Why hold yourself to the same standards when you can exceed them? Plus, no one's asking for the trap to be "extremely obvious". Any subtle clue, either visual or audible, would have fixed it. Then I'm the one at fault for falling for the trap, instead of being an innocent victim of unreason.

Offline wilco64256

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2010, 03:47:26 PM »
That's where we'll have to disagree then I suppose - I don't believe that it is faulty design to have something unexpected happen as the result of reaching into a random hole.  Personally I always err on the side of caution in any game.  Death sequences in earlier adventure games (like this one is patterned after) were frequently unexpected and often even amusing.  If every death came with all kinds of warnings then there wouldn't be any point to them at all.  Some examples:

KQ6 - try to go inland at the Isle of Wonder.  Whether you're adequately prepared or not makes no difference, you'll be pinned into a life or death sequence far more complex than getting this key out with no warning at all.

KQ5 - Don't throw the shoe at the cat.  Not only does it cause your death later, but there's also a good chance you may have to start the entire game over again if you don't have a wide variety of saves.

KQ1 - Go through the hole in the isolated area between the rivers without the mushroom, another warning-free game destroyer.

Space Quest - Dozens upon dozens of ways to die, typically with no warning at all that you're about to do something dangerous, despite it looking perfectly safe.

This isn't justification, I'm just stating that we're following an established pattern in adventure gaming that you shouldn't ever assume something is safe just because it appears that way.
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Offline atec123

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Re: Death traps with no warning?
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2010, 03:52:05 PM »
Quote
KQ5 - Don't throw the shoe at the cat.  Not only does it cause your death later, but there's also a good chance you may have to start the entire game over again if you don't have a wide variety of saves.
that was the worst thing in the whole game.

All the other stupid stuff in that game is amusing, that one is just stupid.

ruined my game many times.
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