A Stranger, Unregarded by Watcher55

You wake up in a strange land, with nothing but your wits to help you first survive, then gather tools and treasure, learn magic, discover your destiny: and win your goal or die trying.

This is a fantasy adventure in the old style. You will find a few nods to some of the classic adventure games, the odd science fiction reference, and many original puzzles with difficulty ranging from the simple to the mind-bending. It is an extensive game with over 300 locations to explore, ranging from sunny beaches to dark crypts!

The game is designed to be tough but fair: you can be killed, but not by randomly choosing the wrong thing or just entering the wrong room. You are always given clues, though they can be subtle: so if you die, it is because you've made a mistake that could have been avoided. When you start the game you can choose one of three difficulty levels (rather than the middle, standard level, novices might prefer more numerous warnings and protections from fatal errors, while seasoned adventurers might prefer the excitement of the more fatal gameplay at "Lion" level).

Hints and Tips:
Clues can be subtle and can be anywhere, and the things you need now or later can be anywhere - and their purpose mightn't be clear until you need them. So it is wise to explore everywhere you can that isn't obviously fatal and take anything you can carry. But above all - pay attention and think.

Type "help" for basic game help. If you type "help what" in the presence of an object "what", then if any help is available re that object (e.g. how to get past it), you will receive a clue.
If you make a mistake that isn't instantly fatal, type "undo" to undo it (will not work if you chose Lion level).
It is wise to periodically Save the game so that if you die you can resume from not too far back.

The game is most enjoyable if played by typing in commands, as that gives you more flexibility and creativity in what you do. However to make it easier to play on tablets or phones, it can also be played by clicking on hyperlinked items and options. Note that just because an option is shown it doesn't mean it does anything useful, or that doing it won't be fatal. As clicking on hyperlinked options can only have a noun and a verb, it is less useful where you have to do something to something else. Often, you will be presented with a short or long list of possibilities. But in most cases the "Use" command is best: the game attempts to "use" the object involved in the most sensible manner in the context of where you are. For example, if you use a particular key, it will know you mean to try to unlock a locked object; if you use a multi-use item like a sword, it will try to work out whether you want to kill something or perhaps force a lock.

During the game, you are shown your current score (you get points for collecting treasures and solving puzzles), your percent health, how hungry and thirsty you are, and how far you have progressed in the game. Note that the last is just a guide and you do not have to visit every location in the game to win; but if you don't, you can miss out on treasures, points, or even what you need to finish the game.

Many things affect your health, including how hungry and thirsty you are and whether you are running or fighting. Your health naturally increases each move, but if you get too sick, that will stop and even reverse. Some magic can increase the rate at which you heal naturally, or heal you instantly.

Automated Actions:
Running: When escaping from danger, you automatically run; once the danger is passed, you stop (there is no facility to run or stop deliberately).
Use: When you select "use" for an object, the game tries to work out what you mean. So if you are at a gate and try to use a key, it will try to unlock the gate using that key. Some items have multiple uses, and it will try to work out which one you mean. It is best to rely on "use" only when playing by selecting options from the pick lists: when typing it is better to say exactly what you are trying to do (e.g. "unlock gate with brass key" rather than "use brass key").
Unlocking: when you unlock an item, it will be opened as well and you will see what is inside it.
Insert: if you don't specify what to insert something in, the game will try to guess which object you mean. Again, if typing it is better to be precise: "put diamond in box" rather than "insert diamond".

Carrying Objects:
You can only hold three small objects or one large object plus one small one in your hands at any one time. However some items can be worn (you might need to be wearing something else appropriate first), and small items can be stored in the sack once you have one. If you try to hold too many things at once you will either be warned or automatically drop one. You can see what you are carrying, wearing or have stored at any time by typing "inv" (inventory). While this affects complex actions, most simple actions such as unlocking a door assume you can manage to juggle what else you are carrying while you use the key.

Most items that can be stored in the sack are automatically put there when you pick them up. You can also try to explicitly "hold", "wear" or "store" items.

A map is generated automatically as you go, but it can be helpful to keep your own notes (e.g. where something is). There are some mazes in the game and it can be very helpful to draw your own map of these, as directions in mazes are complicated. However the rooms in mazes are individually identified, so you do not need to drop objects in them to identify them. The best way to map a maze is to not rely on the on-screen map (though it is a good guide for your own) but draw each room, marking each exit that exists, so you can be sure that you have checked every exit from every room.

Owing to the size of the game, the need to maintain the map can slow the game down. Note: if any parts of the map become invisible, the rooms can be made to reappear by experimenting with re-scaling the map.

Known Issues:
Owing to the size of the game, it can slow down during play. If it is too slow online, downloading it can work wonders.
If it is still slow, these commands might help:
* clear: this will clear the text history (downside: you will not be able to revisit past output: copy it first)
* clearmap: this will clear the onscreen map (downside: you lose the map; and if you revisit old rooms they won't show)
* remap: this will redraw the room you are in, so can help with the downside of clear map (downside: the "section", or larger coloured area the room is in, will be redrawn at the same level and can cover lower levels).

A related issue to the last: on reloading a saved game, the room you're in is redrawn in the centre of, and the same level as, the "section".

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If you log in before playing, you'll be able to save your progress - which means you can come back later and pick up where you left off.

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Review by m1n1m
29 Jan 2017
Suggested verbs, objects, directions make the game easier than its retro forebears like Zork. None of those helpers were available in most text adventures back in the day. For experienced players who know the "secrets" of adventuring (take anything you can, look at everything, use undo and save often) the first 50 rooms feels like following a tour guide. The game is fair if you know these "secrets". There are reportedly 300 rooms so perhaps there are greater challenges ahead.

In a large map, back-and-forth to take the found key to the locked door etc. is more tedious. I think the graphical map helps the sense of movement. Some games allow teleport between distant locations.

Some dead ends can't be reverted by undo so save often.

Review by Lighnagain
03 Aug 2016
FINALLY FINISHED! I really enjoyed playing this game, although I struggled mightily. Great appreciation to the author for being active in forums to quickly address bugs and offer advice. Bonus points for the thinly veiled clues that still allowed adventurers to puzzle it out themselves! I had one point of critique that immediately I had to recant because it ended up playing into the story a short time later. (No spoilers!) It is a difficult game, and sometimes the verbiage is not very intuitive, but with copious use of the forums and comments, I have defeated the enemy, and survived to tell the tale! (Who is Shazza?)

Review by Stella S.
19 Jul 2016
It's an amazing game. Very well written. Good job! I haven't played much games that are this good, and I can see you've put effort into it. So far, this is the second game that scored a One in my list of best games I've played.
1. A Stranger Unregarded, and Lost in the Shadows of Time.
2. Deeper
3. (Nothing)
-4. Everything else

Amazing work. Just with one play, that lasted five seconds, I knew this game was worth 5 stars.

Review by Krilliams GIMS
13 Jun 2016
Love this game! Your choices make sense, there's good descriptions, and the puzzles are clever. All in all, I'm really enjoying it.

Review by Nutjitzu
04 May 2016
It's good but i'm kinda going round in circles...

Review by DavyB
13 Apr 2016
As the author’s profile picture suggests, this is a game to take slowly, perhaps over a glass or two of wine. I, unfortunately, rushed too much, without the recommended alcohol support, and so occasionally ran into trouble. For example, I didn’t read the (relatively long) game description thoroughly before starting and missed some useful points, such as using the “help object” command. Also, because of hyper-links, I found it difficult to have the discipline of reading the surrounding text before clicking, which is a pity, as the writing is excellent. The game design is also outstanding, and I completely support the author’s claim that it is “tough but fair.” This is based on me playing in ‘chicken’ mode, which seemed to protect me from some problems but by no means all. For example, the game happily let me eat or destroy items that were essential for a later stage! It meant that some experimentation was needed, with a traditional ‘save’ beforehand. This is where the game tested the limitations of Quest. Often parts of the map were obscured when restored, and the game seemed to run more slowly. It was helpful that I was often left "close to death," rather than being killed outright, giving me a chance to type 'undo'. Overall, this is a well-crafted game, with relatively few wrinkles considering its substantial size, and I strongly recommend it.

Review by Cyril
08 Mar 2016
Beautiful game. Really enables me to enjoy text adventure games again. Nice story line and over 300 rooms to visit. Not bogged down by the number of items you can carry with you. Some of the puzzles are extremely difficult. I had a hard time getting the Vampire to stop following me but he finally got the point. Waking up the sleeping man in the maze was a real treat. Felt like such a ding a ling when I figured it out. That maze was a breeze compared to the rainbow maze. Only making my own map helped me through that one. And I really had my hands full handling the Spire. Whew! After that it was easier until I got to the Demon Lord. I'm presently 94% complete and can't figure out what I have missed or what I'm doing wrong. Any hints would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Review by kpaquette
02 Mar 2016

Review by She.Gamer
21 Feb 2016
Me likey !
So far it has been a really interesting as well as challenging experience.

Review by Gosia
14 Jan 2016
I enjoyed the game.

I like the gender choyce at the start.
I love detailed descriptions of locations and items.

I explored everywhere I could.
I experimented with magic, which was not good in one case, but I was curious what would happen.

I not consider myself good at solving puzzles, but this time I had no problems mostly.
Hints in the game were sufficient for me.
The only time I had problem with an obstacle was because I didn't examine some item.

The one part of the game where I could use a walkthrough are the mazes.
I wish I have some way to memorize them.
The mazes are my bane.

I would like to see more background information in the game.
There some tricky prophecies, but I would like to read some backstory about the land and the Demonlord.
The ending was short.
I hoped for some sort of epilogue about what happened after the battle.

I will replay the game just to read some texts again.

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Written for Quest 5.5
Published 16 Dec 2015
Updated 16 Oct 2016