Chuk and the Arena

The most powerful entity in the universe is a corporation, and its head has appropriated our moon for a starship decoration. But now he's gone and put out a call for a gladiatorial tournament, promising a huge prize to the winner, and we're entering in hopes that the prize will be the moon. Only problem is, we're ... well, kind of squishy. We can change the colour of our skin, and that's about it. But of course, there's more to this tournament than meets the eye.

It's a pretty long game, presented in point-and-click hypertext, though I associate much of its puzzle sensibilities with the more open world of parser games. Different colours are used to distinguish the sort of links we find in the text: one colour for exits and places we can visit, and another for things we can manipulate or examine. It's a cool innovation that saves the player from accidentally wandering off, though if I have to click them, I think I'd prefer to have them separate from the text somehow.

I have to say I enjoyed this a lot. The NPCs were well drawn, with distinct personalities, and the overall plot was woven into the gameplay quite well. The nominal challenge, that of defeating the warriors in the arena, required a bit more brainpower with each new opponent, and it never felt stale. And though the final denouement was a bit on the wordy side, it was written with sufficient humour and a fast enough pace that I sped through it easily. Not to mention, I found it thoroughly satisfying.

This is the breakfast of champions. I'm thinking kedgeree infused with coconut and maybe a side of blood sausage, and English Breakfast tea. A little bit spicy, a little bit exotic, traditional and yet I rarely find it on any breakfast menu, and with a touch of good old colonialist appropriation. A good helping will fill you right up.