I, Damiano Download (1985 Adventure Game)

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An interactive fiction game based on a Bantam fantasy novel by R.A. MacAvoy, this was released at a time when book publishers were dipping their toes into the text adventure game market. You play as a young warlock named Damiano Delstrego in a fantastical version of the Italian Renaissance. The angel Raphael gives you lute lessons, while his evil brother Lucifer plans the downfall of your city Partestrada where the villainous General Pardo is about to start a bloody war. Your goal is to find a sacred stone which contains the secret of life in order to save the city.

Through the text parser, you type in your actions and your talking dog sidekick who calls you "Master" will give you feedback and hints on your progress. Through a good-evil meter at the top of the screen, you can measure how honorably you are acting or whether you have to resort to accepting Lucifer's help.

How many games start with you meeting Satan himself? Well this intriguing text based adventure named I, Damiano does.

The game is placed in the medieval Italy and you're the main hero by the name of Damiano. You start in hell and the game does include archangels (both fallen and un-fallen). So far, so good.

The game features PC speaker sound (which isn't all that annoying) and CGA graphics with some animations. The graphics are quite nicely done actually. The main part of the screen is reserved for the text. The pictures are there mostly for the visual effects and are thus quite un-functional (still they are a nice addition). Unfortunately this game has a very limited vocabulary (only two words at the time). This really takes away much of the gameplay, because you can't give more complex orders, so the puzzles can't be all that complex either.

The main focus of the game seems to be the gauge between the pictures and the text. This shows you weather your good or evil. This is very important. You started the game by meeting Satan and if you don't wish to end up in his realm, you need to stay on the good side.

To help you succeed I provided a walkthrough. If you feel like you're stuck, you might take a look at it.

All in all I think this is a solid text based adventure, but not complex enough. I do like the idea of the good vs. bad gauge that replaced the score you could achieve in some other text based adventures, but it's not as helpful. In other games you at least knew that you did something right, when your score increased. I'm giving this game a rating of 4. They did try to make it good (solid plot line, nice graphics with even some animation and quite enjoyable sound), but they didn't take enough care of the gameplay itself.

A unique and vastly unknown interactive fiction game based on underrated Damiano fantasy novels R.A. MacAvoy. Curiously enough, the European publisher Firebird didn't mention developer's name Bantam Imagic anywhere on the European release box. Despite the unique setting and some novel ideas, the game unfortunately falls flat from poor parser, average writing, and almost nonexistent puzzles that will disappoint IF fans.

The game starts out promisingly enough. You are Damiano Delstrego, a young witch who lives in a different but very evocative Renaissance Italy (fans of Umberto Eco's novels will have much to like here). Your life is soaked in magic: the angel Raphael drops by from time to time to give you lute lessons, while his evil brother Lucifer scheme with his cohorts to subvert the city of Partestrada. As in the novels, you must find a way to save your beloved city from Lucifer, as well as from evil General Pardo who is about to start a bloody war. Bantam took a bit of liberty, though, no doubt to make the game more puzzle-oriented: your specific goal is to find the sacred stone, which contains the secret of life (uh-huh), that has the powers to save the city.

Gameplay is standard, with a limited parser that can't understand complex sentences. The game's response to your input is presented as thoughts from Macchiata, a talking dog sidekick from the books who calls you "Master" and offers advice in sticky situations. There is a good-evil meter at the top of the screen that keeps track of how "pure" you remain throughout the game (i.e. whether you refuse or accept Lucifer's aid). Puzzles, however, are disappointingly sparse: even more so than Bantam's earlier Sherlock: Another Bow, you can solve most "puzzles" in the game by simply answering "no" to Lucifer's questions (since answering "yes" usually lead to an untimely death. For example, as the game begins, you are bargaining with Lucifer himself (standing on his palm, no less), who is offering you aid in vanquishing Pardo. If you accept, you immediately die, and it's game over. This false sense of freedom of choice is shattered very quickly, and this makes the game very linear and limiting.

Overall, I, Damiano is a below-average IF title that is worth a look on the merits of its original premise alone, and really nothing else. The good news is that the game's lack of challenging puzzles makes it a good choice for IF beginners. But then again, you could instead play Brian Moriarty's clever Wishbringer if you want a good beginner's game.

How to run this game on modern Windows PC?

This game has been set up to work on modern Windows (11/10/8/7/Vista/XP 64/32-bit) computers without problems. Please choose Download - Easy Setup (1.48 MB).


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