Savage Island is probably the most ridiculously difficult computer game ever made.

I'm not joking. I'm not exaggerating. I'm telling you that no matter how hard you think a game is, this game is harder. This is a text adventure where you have to know to dig in the sand in the first location, or you can't find the bottle of rum you need to finish the game.

The entire objective of Savage Island Part 1 is to get the password for Savage Island Part 2. Except to get the password you have to survive a hurricane, a bear attack, escape from the crater of a volcano, build a raft, and then set sail for another island entirely. You will then be eaten by a shark that shows up at random before you get to the second island, because it's not just islands that are savage, the ocean is too.

Eventually, you will get the password for part two. Then you get to take on alien spaceships, swap bodies with a Neanderthal, meet a robot pirate, and etcetera, all so you can... um... start the human race. What?! Oh, I see... that apparently explains why the stone head on the starting island looks like me.

On reflection, this shares some elements with the television series Lost. The important differences are that so far we have not seen a spaceship or robot pirate in Lost, and that if Lost was set on Savage Island all the survivors would have died in a hurricane five minutes after Oceanic Flight 815 crashed.

I never actually got off the first island. It took me years just to make it through the hurricane alive. I know what happens in the rest of the games because I read a walkthrough. It began with the writer saying "I'm making this walkthrough so you don't have to play the game". The fact that Savage Island was made in 1982 and I first found a walkthrough in the year 2007 should show you how bad the situation is. If you ever find yourself held at gunpoint and ordered to play through Savage Island, just tell the sadistic monster to shoot you. Bleeding to death involves less suffering than playing Savage Island.

There's a story that runs like this: "The Babel Fish puzzle from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game is convoluted and devious." The truth is, it's not. You can solve that one with some trial and error and reloading of save games. Savage Island has an entire sequence involving figuring out how to get through a vacuum without dying. There are no space suits. This puzzle involves knowing a word that is obscure by interactive fiction standards, which no-one would believe is in the parser because, well, this is a pre-Infocom text adventure and it has trouble with words longer than "get" or "dig".

I kept trying to complete this game, right up until I got through the hurricane with enough fallen palm trees to build a raft - A task made all the more difficult because palm logs only seemed to fall down if I walked around the beach in the worst of Hurricane Alexis, instead of being safe and sound in my volcano full of starving bears. Upon boarding my hastily constructed craft I found that the next task was figuring out the right word to move the raft. I quit in disgust, and resolved to never play it again.

This is the epitome of a bad game - one with no need for problem solving skills whatsoever, but instead expects the player to try everything in sequence until they hit on the proper commands or actions to win. Essentially the same reason why the insanely boring "boss battles" of many modern games frustrate me. However, in Savage Island the final boss is the entire game.

Savage Island, I hate you - and I was one of the lucky people to have both copies. Can you imagine what people must have thought if they'd bought the second part before the first? This apparently happened. Though I suppose that's their own fault for being so stupid.

You can play it here if you want to suffer. Don't blame me.

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