DOS - 2000
Description of Ad Verbum
One of the cleverest IF you'll ever play, Nick Montfort's Ad Verbum is a masterpice of wordplay puzzles that has more puns than you can shake a stick at.
The game's puzzles are so clever, so well executed, that the storyline becomes a secondary concern. The game basically is a a treasure hunt: your goal is to collect various objects from different rooms. All puzzles involve numerous variations of clever wordplay, which means you'll need a strong grasp of the English language to win without peeking at the hints. Those whose native language isn't English will still tremendously enjoy the game, though. English is my second language, and I found myself just marvelling at how clever the game is.
There are, for example, entire room descriptions that begin with the same letter. To interact with anything in those rooms require that you type commands that begin with the same letter. In an "E" room, for example, you'll have to type EXAMINE instead of LOOK, and ENTER instead of GO THROUGH. Imagine typing a 200-word paragraph in which every word begins with an "E," then multiple that by the number of puzzles you'll have to come up with, and the response to player's commands, and you'll appreciate the amount of work and ingenuity that went into the game.
Overall, Ad Verbum is to puzzle-oriented IF as Rameses is to story-oriented IF: great games that excel in what they are, and never pretend to be otherwise. If you love puzzles, especially English-related puzzles, Ad Verbum will keep you occupied for hours, and you will be sad to see it end. Infocom's excellent punnish game Nord and Bert pales besides the mighty pen of Nick Montfort. Beware of the difficult difficult difficult door ;)
Two thumbs up!
Review By HOTUD
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