DOS - 1987
Description of Hollywood Hijinx
Matthew Murray's review says it all about this fun, "light" adventure game from Infocom:
"Though it could be viewed as simply another treasure hunt game from Infocom, Hollywood Hijinx stood out from the others, such as the Zork series in very distinct ways, not the least of which is the interesting, funny, and clearly-defined plot. Taking place in the mansion of a Hollywood B-movie mogul, the treasure hunt, which should end in your inheriting of your uncle's fortune, there are lots of period puzzles with interesting and unique solutions.
The flavor of the 1950s was very well captured, not only in the use of colorful anecdotes and descriptive prose within the game itself, but also within the packaging which, more than just about any other Infocom game, provided the perfect atmosphere for the game. Though Hollywood Hijinx is not a difficult game, there are a few places in it that might give some trouble to gamers who attempt this otherwise light, funny, and entertaining game."
As a bonus, Holllywood Hijinx ships with some of the most elaborate feelies of all Infocom titles this side of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, including a funny, authentic-looking tabloid magazine.
Review By HOTUD
Comments and reviews
archcorenth 2022-01-02 2 points
I've been playing through the old infocom and magnetic scrolls games. And thought they could use a few more reviews to encourage people to play them, since their screenshots sure aren't going to do the trick.
Hollywood Hijinx has great "feelies" that came with the game, and make you interested to see what's inside. There's your aunt, Hildegard's will leaving you her estate if you stay over night in her hollywood mansion and find 10 treasures by morning, a photo of your late uncle Buddy Burbank, star and director of B-movies (in particular the Fighting Mailman series), and, most entertainingly, a spoof of those celebrity magazines you see in grocery store checkout aisles that includes a retrospective on Buddy's life and work. These are all very well done, especially the magazine which is worth a read if you like the kind of humor in Mad Magazine. However...
The game does not really live up to the hype. I'm not saying it's bad. It's entertaining while it lasts, but it doesn't really develop the story. I was hoping for a mystery or ghost story I could uncover if I'm locked in a moldering mansion overnight, but you just search through your relatives' possessions, solving never-too-hard puzzles to get unlock them or new areas. It actually feels the same as Zork. The quest is the same (find so many treasures and bring them to the living room). The jokes are similar. It's kind of a Zork remix. I had wondered if perhaps this was one of Infocom's first games after Zork. Maybe they hadn't really grasped what text adventures could do that other video game genres weren't able to yet. And had just tried to see if recreating the same game in a different setting would work. But no, this one is quite late in their oeuvre. It's 23rd. Before this they made the entire Enchanter trilogy, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall and several of their murder mysteries. Perhaps the idea was to appeal to nostalgia?
There are a few things that are better than Zork, at least. The setting is a lot more coherent. (Zork's map is a complete hodgepodge: a modern day farm house, a hydroelectric dam, a rainbow, a labyrinth with a cyclops, Hell, all apparently off this tunnel or that in the same cave system) The writing is more consistently funny. And the puzzles are all well clued. Where it falls short of Zork is in AI characters. I think one of the things you can look forward to in Infocom games compared to other text adventures (and even modern games) is a character who seems to be in charge of himself. Be it the thief in Zork, the adventurer in Enchanter, or even yourself in Sorcerer, there is usually some character that moves around the map and does stuff and even interacts with you instead of the other way around. In modern games, NPC's stay in the same place, just waiting there for you to help them or attack them. In these text adventures, they play the game too, but with their own goals. This game hints that such a character might appear here, but that is not really the case, it's a rather disappointing lie, made doubly so by the game's disappointing ending.
This is actually the worst part of the game. It's ridiculous, especially when the rest of the game is more or less in a funnier version of the real world. I had thought when the ending was playing out that maybe I had stumbled onto a movie set, because that's the only way i believe any of that. (also, given the setting, a movie set would have been a lot more fitting.)
As for the puzzles, except for the maze (which is a good idea, but i won't spoil anything), they are all on the easy side with the only trouble often being doing things here and there in a precise order, which may require reloading save games. I ended up using hints once, and the hint wasn't useful because (and I think this isn't a spoiler) I thought the computer wasn't getting power, and I just had to type "turn on computer". This was not obvious to me because when you inspect the computer, the only features the game tells you about are a slot, some lights, and a button, and the button is not the on switch. Rant over.
But just because the puzzles aren't famously difficult, doesn't mean they aren't fun to do, they are quite a bit of fun while they last, actually, and so I won't say, "don't play this one." Because I think you'll enjoy fiddling with things and reading all the humorous description of props from stellar some of which, I'm sure, would have made great Mystery Science Theater episodes had they been real.
Beetle Bailey 2013-01-09 2 points DOS version
This is the first adventure game I succeeded in solving back on the commodore 64. I was hooked on Infocom ever since and still treasure my originals for my SX64 today.
In MY book. The best Infocom adventures was :
Hollywood Hijinx, Wishbringer and Trinity.
Purely based on atmosphere . The Zorks was to surreal in the puzzles for my taste.
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