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#87145 - 04/11/01 04:26 PM The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
Grumpy Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 03/25/01
Posts: 71
Loc: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
I believe that someone asked about this game, and since it is older and perhaps not so well known - here goes, for what it's worth:-

This is an older DOS adventure game, originally from Sanctuary Woods, and while it does not have all the bells and whistles of newer games, it is surprising how good and detailed the graphics are, considering the technology available at the time. It has an interesting and captivating storyline, challenging {indeed in places very difficult} puzzles which are well integrated and mostly meaningful to plot development, and a satisfying conclusion.

I ran it on an MSWindows 95B platform, but did not use "restart in MSDOS" from the shutdown dialog box, but selected "MSDOS prompt" from the `programs' list. {I do not know if the game has been re-issued in a new version for WIN95; my CD-ROM [1 disc] came in a set of games most of which were of no interest to me, apart from Master Lu and JPII:Buried in time. No hard copy manuals, they are on the CD.} It installed and ran without problems (system info. of the computer that was used available on request.)

This is actually a "Ripley believe it or not" adventure, and you control Robert Ripley (using the mouse) as he travels around the world with his assistant Mei Chen, trying to solve the mystery of Master Lu, and ultimately get to the Imperial Seal of Emperor Chin Shih Huang-di before assorted villains get there, or manage to eliminate him and Mei Chen. {Fortunately there is an "auto-resurrect" feature, and if Ripley does happen to get killed he is returned to the point just before he made his fatal mistake !} The action takes place before WWII - about 1936 - under the threat of Nazi domination, and the Emperor's Seal holds powers that would assure total victory to whoever has it.

Ripley visits half-a-dozen or more locations around the world, and can come and go as he pleases {this is not a linear game, one can go to locations in any order and revisit them if something has been missed that is required at another point in the game,} making reservations at the various "Posh Express Offices", where he also exchanges money for foreign currency, picks up and sends mail or telegrams, and gets information from the local clerks; there are important exchanges of information here, as also, of course, from talking to many of the characters that he meets - sometimes Mei Chen has to act as his interpreter.

On his travels he must also collect {buy, barter, or "appropriate"...} curiosities or "oddities" for his Odditorium in New York, in order to stay in business; these are either sent there by mail {by Posh Express,} or may be taken there by him on a trip back to the Odditorium in NY, where the game actually begins {apart from an inrtoductory sequence.} Other objects to pick up will be required to gain access to some locations, or solve "puzzles" that either provide needed information, or get Ripley out of trouble, and make it possible to get to another site - the goal ultimately to locate the Great Seal.

I take a long time with games {only get to play 2 or 3 times a week for a couple of hours, and not even every week,} so am not a good way to gage playing time for most Gameboomers - I believe the manual suggests upward of 50 hours for average players, whoever they are. However, I found some of the "Puzzles" {eg how to get into the secret lab. - and even more so how to get OUT} extremely difficult and time consuming [ and be sure to save the game just before entering the lab, otherwise Ripley may never get out again ! The puzzle must be solved to get out, there is no other way.]

One caveat, the cursor is very finicky, at least it was when I played it; for example, if an object such as a stick has to be placed in a hole, it has to be held in exactly the right position, or it will not work - so you might think that it actually is not to be used at that point in the game - but carefully repeated attempts will finally show that in fact it does go there. This can be irritating {but I have found similar problems in other games.} I am not fond of mazes and as far as I can recall there are two, one of which is not too bad, but the other, inside a temple, I found quite frustrating. On the whole, however, the puzzles are manageable although sometimes extremely difficult {at least for me !}

Although perhaps a bit dated in appearance, I found that the game not only had a certain charm {I was always amused at the little old fashioned aeroplane that flies Ripley across a map from one location to another,}but it was also both entertaining and gripping, so that I was always looking forward to the next trip. I was amazed how much was packed onto a single CD-ROM, but perhaps that is one advantage of DOS games !

An oldie, but recommended

[nb I could no longer find it on the Sanctuary Woods site, but it can apparently be purchased online at 2 or 3 sites, from $5 to $20, - I suspect depends on packaging, manuals, etc.]

Grumpy
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Grumpy

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#87146 - 04/11/01 04:42 PM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
Don M Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/07/99
Posts: 2376
Loc: St. Helens, OR
Hi Grumpy,

Nice review! This is one of the few games I was never able to load. It's still sitting on the shelf. I tried every method known to the techies and it's been a no go on five different systems. The game gods just don't want me messing with this one.

Don
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#87147 - 04/11/01 04:59 PM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10312
I love this game! I played the Mac Version way back. It was by Santuary Woods who put out many wonderful games.

This game does load well on Win95 - but I haven't figured out how to get it to load in Win98. I wanted to replay it recently and couldn't get it running.

The graphics remind me of Rose Tattoo. I thought they looked great at the time and still do. Of course the character movement is a little dated - but the story and puzzles I thought were unique. I loved al the varied locations and characters.

I am so glad you picked this game to review and I think you described it perfectly.

Laura
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#87148 - 04/11/01 05:00 PM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
lexxy Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 04/02/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Southern Exposure
Don,
I know what you mean about the installation nightmare. I tried so many times w/o sucess that I had almost given up and for some reason. I can't explain, I did something right ad there it was. I have played AT IT for about a year and won't uninstill it until I finish as I fear I won't be able to get it up and running again. I am enjoying it so far and I do plan to finish it before Christmas. BTW a very nice review.

[This message has been edited by lexxy (edited 04-11-2001).]
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It doesn't cost a dime to be kind
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Currently playing Companions Of Xanth

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#87149 - 04/11/01 06:55 PM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
Marian Online   content
Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 20936
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Nice review, Grumpy. I was able to get this game running under my Windows 98 system by shelling out to true DOS. I had no problems at all with the installation. I wish we could figure out where the problem lies for those of you who could not get it to run.

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#87150 - 04/12/01 09:15 AM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10312
Marian,

In my case it is that Windows 98 really doesn't give you a decent DOS set up. Mine doesn't recognize my DVD/CD rom drive as loaded and can't locate it. I had a great boot disk that the Sierra Tech helped me set up for Win 95 - but I have forgotten most of what those incredibly patient folks told me. This was 4 years ago and as Homer S says: "Every time I learn something new, it pushes some of the old stuff out of my head"

I think with my next PC - I am going for a partition drive with a chunk loaded with Win 95. Makes for much easier defrags and enables older games with ease. My sister did it and she never has a problem with any software now. Plus no all day de-frag on a huge multi gig hard drive.

Course if there are any great walkthroughs for setting up a solid working boot disc for Win98 - I would love to get it. When I say walkthrough - I mean itty baby steps - I am technologically challenged. LOL
Laura
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#87151 - 04/12/01 05:15 PM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
Marian Online   content
Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 20936
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Hi Laura,

Sierra actually helped me once as well also with a boot disk for Betrayal at Krondor, and they were very patient about it, just as you said.

I think I was fortunate in that Hewlett Packard set up my Win 98 system in such a way that DOS has all my drivers loaded when I shell out of Windows. I cannot take credit for any serious technical expertise in this regard.

Perhaps a suggestion posted here will help you---I hope so.

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#87152 - 04/14/01 11:35 AM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
Debra Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 05/30/99
Posts: 2237
Loc: Central Texas
I loved this game and played it with the help of a walkthru (as usual). At the very
end and I mean the very end the game crashed
and I have never been able to see the ending.
What a bummer. Some day I will try again.
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#87153 - 04/17/01 10:52 AM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
mignonne Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 11/27/99
Posts: 205
Loc: USA
I just got this game. Well, it's on it's way to me. Where do I get the patch?

Had server busy trouble trying to get this patch from gamesdomain but I did manage to download it from gamespot.com



[This message has been edited by mignonne (edited 04-17-2001).]

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#87154 - 01/11/02 10:37 PM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
Scout Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/17/01
Posts: 1118
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Great review Grumpy!

I finished this game a few months ago and it is still one of my favorites. Sure there are clunky little sprites and oddly stiff dialouge but it is sooo quirky, I loved it. And the puzzles were very challenging.

One of the things I've never seen mentioned anywhere is the responses you get from the monks in the Sikkim location. Obstensibly you are trying to solve a prayer drum puzzle prior to entering the monestary and out of about 16 monks and their answers there are something like 6 that directly address that puzzle. But write down EVERY response the monks give you, even if it seems irrelevant. You'll have 9 or 10 "extra" responses. They may seem to mean nothing but if you refer to them as you play in other locations you'll see that the game developers have given you a pretty comprehensive hint guide. All the responses that don't apply to the immediate puzzle refer to OTHER puzzles in the game. I got out of the difficult Baron's Lab puzzle by refering to one of the monk's replies. Oh and Mie Ching's lisp drove me wild. (I didn't realize I had a thing for lisps until I played this game...)

Mike

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#87155 - 01/12/02 11:00 PM Re: The Riddle of Master Lu - Review
Mad Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23605
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi.

I really enjoyed your excellent review, Grumpy.

Riddle of Masterlu is one of my all time favourite games and I have re played it many times over the years, so I know just how accurate your review was laugh

Please give us more reviews of this calibre.....I'll definitely read and appreciate every one laugh

Cheers.

Mad wave
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