Denarius Avaricius Sextus is a text-parser adventure game similar to classic adventure games such as King's Quest I that takes place in the Roman city of Pompeii in 79 A.D., where you play the role of a wealthy Roman citizen Avaricius aka Avvy. Your mission in this game is basically to explore the city of Pompeii, during which you will encounter several obstacles which you need to solve in order to obtain your objective: escape Pompeii before the (historical) volcano eruptions destroys the city!
The game also has a built-in command menu which is a substitute for typing the text parser commands.
Everybody that's been interested in games from back in the days knows the biggest names in adventure games. The series by Sierra, the games from Lucasarts, and some even know the Hugo trilogy, but who remembers the Avvy series by Thorsoft? They weren't as big back in the days, but that doesn't mean they can't compete with them.
The first one in the series, is Avaricius, which takes place back in good old A.D. 79. You play as Denarius Avaricius Sextus, a man whose sole aim in life was to hoard as much cash as he could. He lives in Pompei, together with his nag of a wife, Arkata. Now... what is Pompei most famous for? Right. That's exactly the goal in this game. After a brief introduction in the game, where you'll meet such people as Gedalodava, Crapulus, Taxidermus the taxman and your arch-enemy Lupus, you will have to escape the city before it's covered in lava.
Avaricius' graphics might not be the epitome of digital art, but they serve their purpose. Sometimes, it even aids the humour in the game. You can't help but laugh when they introduce the sexy temptress Gedalodava in her full 16-colour pixelblob glory. They also do give a good feeling of the earliest graphical adventure games, so all in all, they don't substract anything from the game.
The game itself can be controlled by both cursors and mouse. Even replying to yes/no questions can be done with the mouse. Aside from the commands, the game also features a few keyboard shortcuts: F1 for help, F2 for sound, F3 to recall the last line, Esc to open the menu and F10 to quit the game. The game has a parser for giving commands, just like in the old Sierra games, but if you right-click, you open up the menu and can choose the necessary commands that way, so you don't necessarily have to use the keyboard if you don't want to.
The strongest part of the game is its sense of humour. It's not only in the names or in puns with them (Gedalodava and the woman Avvy's been sleeping around with, Adultera, quickly jump to mind, as well as telling Taxidermus the taxman to get stuffed), but in the general attitude of the characters and even the nagging of the (useless) registration (Yes, this game is shareware, but it's a full game) and the overall feeling you get that the makers of this game simply had loads of fun making it. Not that many games actually know how to transfer that fun, but this one is such a game.
Have you played all Sierra games? Did you get tired of replaying all Lucasarts games? Are you looking for something that combines the best of both? Then look no further and get starting on Avaricius.
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Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes, Demon's Forge, Detritus: The Daemon's Quest, Deja Vu 1: A Nightmare Comes True, Dragon History, Demon's Tomb: The Awakening, Discworld, Destination: Treasure Island
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