Fool's Errand, The Download (1989 Puzzle Game)

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One of the classic puzzle games. Tells the story of the Fool, who wanders throughout the land solving puzzles to break the enchantments, discover the land's treasures, and undo evil. Features word searches, cryptograms, jigsaw puzzles, anagrams, a Tarot-based card game, and lots of other bizarre puzzles. Also includes an animated intro, and extended finale animation as separate executables (but you have to win before it'll let you run the finale)

The Fool's Errand hit the gaming scene in 1989 and quickly came to be considered one of the most innovative games of its kind. This unique little puzzler is based on the esoteric mysteries surrounding the Tarot, and as such, you play the part of the Fool as he wanders his way through the land. There are four kingdoms you must explore, and predictably enough, they are the Kingdom of the Wands, the Kingdom of the Cups, the Kingdom of the Swords, and the Kingdom of the Pentacles.

Each of the four Kingdoms has lost its most precious treasures, and being the greedy Fool you are, you hope to find them and keep them for yourself. Given a mystical map by the Sun, you commence your quest for fame and fortune.

However, things are never as simple as they should be, and of course your map is corrupted by a mystical enchantment. It only tells you where you've been, and is furthermore completely jumbled up. Welcome to the first of the puzzles presented by this mind-bending game.

In order to advance, you must solve all manner of puzzles. Word scrambles, picture scrambles, logic, math, you name it, Fool's Errand has probably got it. The order in which you solve them is entirely up to you, and more puzzles become available the more you solve. Each puzzle is accompanied by a clever little blurb about the Fool's encounters with the various denizens of the realm.

In addition, each puzzle you complete will reveal a location on your map, and eventually, to beat the game, you must put all the pieces together in proper order in order to reveal its secrets.

All in all, this little game is highly addictive. You will probably weep with frustration more than a few times as you try to figure out the various solutions, some of which are maddeningly difficult. The game is on par with Solitaire and Minesweeper as a quick and easy time-killer, but it has the added benefit of a clever (though at times boggling) story to go along with it, as well as being quite a bit more mentally challenging.

If you like pushing your mind to the limit, and enjoy a good fantasy plot, this game is definitely for you.

The Fool's Errand is a very strange game, unlike everything else. The different elements of the game might not be very original, but the way they are put together sure is.

What The Fool's Errand basically is, is a puzzle game stringed together with a story. As you start the game you have access to some chapters in the story about a fool that goes on a quest around the kingdom. Each chapter has a puzzle connected to it, which in some way has to do with what has happened or is to come. When you solve the puzzles you gain access to new chapters. The puzzles range from easy to very hard and they're quite varied. There are a lot of word games. Find a number of words in a mass of letters, piece together words from some given letters. There are also some jigsaw puzzles, ranging from the ordinary "put the picture right" to the more challenging ones where the pieces have letters on them and in addition to having to put them together correctly, they also have to spell out one or more words. There's a lot more kinds of puzzle available too. While some might be a bit boring for some people (I've never liked anagram puzzles, so I didn't like those), there's enough variety too keep you interested. And since you have access to several chapters at once, if you get stuck in one you can just try another one for a while. All progress is saved when you leave a puzzle, so you don't have to worry about redoing a lot of work. The interface is fast and you have instant access to every chapter that you've unlocked, with markers to show which ones you've solved.

The writing in the story isn't perhaps the best in the world, mostly because the chapters feel so unrelated. But it's very nice to have some sort of link between the puzzles, and in several puzzles the writing is an integral part in solving the puzzles.

There aren't really very much graphics in the game. There are a few puzzle interfaces and then there are the puzzles where you have to rearrange pictures. But what there is looks good enough. Sound is just a few subtle beeps from the PC speaker, and that's probably for the best.

The Fool's Errand is a great puzzle game with a difference. The varied puzzles and the cool ways they are connected into the story make this a must play for anyone who enjoys a little brain gymnastics.

Designed by Cliff Johnson, one of the best puzzle designers ever, the concept behind Fool's Errand is so original that it defies categorization. Suffice to say that it is part devilish puzzle collection, part novel, part adventure and an all-around classic.

While the game would deserve classic status on the merits of unique puzzles alone, it is the masterful blend of puzzles with an enchanting, well-written story (a medieval Fool who runs errands for people) that evolve, that makes Fool's Errand a uniquely original game. When each puzzle is solved, the player gains access to more story (with more puzzles to solve). In a master stroke unmatched in creativity to this day, Cliff even designed an uber- puzzle-- a big puzzle that can only be solved once all the smaller puzzles are solved and all the story pages are revealed. Solving this overarching puzzle requires careful re-reading of the game's story, as clues are hidden between the lines and old paragraphs take on new meanings.

Puzzles in the game are wonderfully diverse. Some, such as the card game you will play, are downright original, and even the derivative ones (such as the dozens of word puzzles) are hardly ever boring. Characters in the story, which sounds as if they were plucked from Alice in Wonderland, are fleshed out with great detail and confidence. There's really no fault I can think of for this game, except that you will be sorry to see it end when it does. See for yourself why I think this game deserves to be on every "Best Computer Games" list; if you are even remotely interested in puzzle games, Fool's Errand is a must-have.

How to run this game on modern Windows PC?

This game has been set up to work on modern Windows (8/7/Vista/XP 64/32-bit) computers without problems. Please choose Download - Easy Setup (2.10 MB).


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