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Author Topic: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]  (Read 11411 times)

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The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« on: 02 Sep 2015, 10:37 »
Download from: http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/site/games/game/1955/

EDIT: Uploaded a new version on 8th of September, fixing a baseline issue which could cause a character sprite to be displayed incorrectly.



A young girl and her father, struggling to make ends meet, are forced to seek their fortune amidst the treacherous rocks of the infamous Cold Hand Reef. But there is more to the reef than just mere rocks, and something evil awaits in the darkness.


I set myself an additional challenge of making a game that would never need a translator, and could work with players of all languages. As such there is no written or spoken english (or any other language) anywhere in the game. The game also sports a very simple one-button user interface, suited for even the Macintosh computer mouses of old. ;)

I hope you enjoy this short adventure. :)
« Last Edit: 08 Sep 2015, 11:58 by WHAM »
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #1 on: 02 Sep 2015, 10:39 »
I hope you enjoy this short adventure. :)

I know I did!!!

And I'm sooooo praying for a sequel already!

Maybe:

Spoiler: ShowHide
Where you play a certain character from under the water's surface?

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #2 on: 02 Sep 2015, 10:43 »
And I'm sooooo praying for a sequel already!

Maybe:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Where you play a certain character from under the water's surface?


Hee hee hee, you are more right than you think.
Spoiler: ShowHide
But the 'sequel' won't be about the character you think it will be about. ;)
« Last Edit: 02 Sep 2015, 10:46 by WHAM »
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #3 on: 02 Sep 2015, 14:33 »


Quote
I set myself an additional challenge of making a game that would never need a translator, and could work with players of all languages. As such there is no written or spoken english (or any other language) anywhere in the game.
There's a novelty (laugh)

Lazy devil (laugh)

Looks good (nod)

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #4 on: 02 Sep 2015, 19:39 »
Looks great WHAM!  The "universal language" deal is innovative; I'll check it out.

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #5 on: 03 Sep 2015, 09:52 »
Lazy devil (laugh)

Looks great WHAM!  The "universal language" deal is innovative; I'll check it out.

It was a surprising amount of work, actually, and made it extremely hard to keep track of in the code.
Where usually you'd use something like:
Code: Adventure Game Studio
  1. player.say("I love pie!");
I would instead have to use something like
Code: Adventure Game Studio
  1. Speakbubble(player.x, player,y, 2, 65, 68, 50);
  2. Speakbubble(player.x, player,y, 1, 77, 0, 40);

In hindsight, I could have planned this better...
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #6 on: 05 Sep 2015, 12:32 »
Argh... where's the save option? ???
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #7 on: 05 Sep 2015, 14:04 »
Argh... where's the save option? ???

The game lasts for 12 minutes. There is no save function.
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #8 on: 05 Sep 2015, 14:08 »
Do you mean it runs for it self? :P And is that with or without the long intro?
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #9 on: 05 Sep 2015, 14:25 »
That's without the intro (which automatically skips after the first startup of the game).
See what happens when the sun sets...
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #10 on: 05 Sep 2015, 16:03 »
It was interesting.Kudos for the universal language. A couple of bubbles are hard to understand
() but the game plays mostly fine and I'll relay it to the french forum.

I have a weird bug : on a few specific occasions, my cursor moves on its own up to the top of the screen. For instance, the first time I look at the back of the boat on the deck.

« Last Edit: 05 Sep 2015, 16:05 by Creamy »
 

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #11 on: 05 Sep 2015, 16:58 »
Creamy, don't think it's a bug but a "feature", that we fight against, to show the tasks to do. (wtf)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #12 on: 05 Sep 2015, 17:20 »
Creamy: Yeah, I found it really hard to convey certain concepts via symbols. The left one in your image is my universal symbol for "nothing found", ie. a couple of flies. The second one is a needle and some thread.

Cassiebsg is correct. The mouse cursor moving up on its own is meant to indicate to the player that moving the mouse up can be used to see what tasks there are to be done.
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #13 on: 05 Sep 2015, 19:27 »
Quote
Creamy, don't think it's a bug but a "feature", that we fight against, to show the tasks to do. (wtf)
Sorry, it seems so obvious now :-[

About the symbols : I see what you mean now that you tell me, but the resolution is so low that it could be anything.
For instance, I thought the first symbol was "sparkles", and the second one "a spoon, a plate and a cup".
 

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #14 on: 05 Sep 2015, 19:38 »
It's nowhere near perfect, but I hope the unclear symbols didn't ruin the whole game for you. :)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #15 on: 05 Sep 2015, 21:06 »
Not at all. I have been surprised by the depth of the game.
I have posted it on the french website.

Spoiler: ShowHide
Is there a better end than the "handy" one?


« Last Edit: 05 Sep 2015, 22:37 by Creamy »
 

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #16 on: 05 Sep 2015, 22:36 »
Spoiler: ShowHide
Is there a better end than the "handy" one?


Yes. ;)

EDIT: ooh, and thanks for posting the game on the french site! I didn't understand much of the post, but I got the "anglo-allergy" -part. :D
« Last Edit: 05 Sep 2015, 22:37 by WHAM »
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #17 on: 06 Sep 2015, 00:09 »
Nice one WHAM, just finished it. :-D

A couple things that I didn't like: The huge screen was annoying, as it filled my entire screen. I like only using about half of the screen. So this is a game more for those that like playing full screen.
And then the no "save" option. Even if it's a short game, I like having the option to stop and return to it later on. Specially since I was stuck in one of the puzzles. :P

Would be nice to polish the speech bubbles, they take quite some time before they disappear. Would be nice to be able to "cancel"/skip them by clicking the mouse, like when using text. This got a bit annoying in a couple parts...

But loved the art, story and ambiance in general. Very well done! Congrats (nod)(nod)(nod)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #18 on: 06 Sep 2015, 10:19 »
Thanks Cassiebsg, glad to hear you enjoyed the game, at least for the most part.

The game is designed at 640x480 resolution and I believe it defaults to scaling up 2x. You should be able to drop the scaling in the setup exe that comes with the game, although if you already beat the game, this is a bit of a moot point now. :)

The "no-saving" this is an idea I like to do with games that have time-based elements. I feel that if it is possible to just load back a couple of minutes, this allows people to practically ignore any time-based elements of the game, saving and loading to achieve game objectives in minimum time to ensure they have as much time left as possible. Then again, Cold Hand Reef was supposed to have a few more time-based actions that I had to cut due to the deadline, so...

Argh! Excuses, excuses! I could've done better, let's just leave it at that. :D

Lastly the speech bubbles: I had an idea about allowing you to skip individual speech bubbles with the mouse, but due to AGS restricting you from running a cutscene inside a cutscene, I decided against it. The idea came too late in the game's development and would have required me to go back to fiddle with code I had made at the very start of the project, and I dreaded doing that, fearing I might break something.

Well this post turned into me just defending my poorer design choises, so let me distract you with this picture of a lemur:

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #19 on: 06 Sep 2015, 10:39 »
No worries, the polish was just a suggestion in case you wish to polish the game after voting ends. ;)

I did remove the scaling in winsetup at first, but that made everything so small that was unplayable (for me anyway). Mostly the problem is all that black on top and under. Still is makes for a lovely scene when above... (nod)
But am not here to complain about design choices, just cause I don't appreciate them, doesn't mean they should not be there, in the end it's your choice. (nod) But then you most also wonder who your making your games for. (roll)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #20 on: 06 Sep 2015, 10:50 »
But then you most also wonder who your making your games for. (roll)

I've always been a firm believer in the "make games with features you would like to play" -school of game design. :)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #21 on: 06 Sep 2015, 11:00 »
Nice one WHAM! Really nice one!
I enjoyed it a lot!

And the bubbles thingie is brilliant!!
I appreciated it a lot as not native english speaker  ;-D

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #22 on: 06 Sep 2015, 11:54 »
Nice one WHAM! Really nice one!
I enjoyed it a lot!

And the bubbles thingie is brilliant!!
I appreciated it a lot as not native english speaker  ;-D

Happy to hear you enjoyed the game. Did you get the good ending or the bad one? ;)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #23 on: 06 Sep 2015, 15:19 »
About the ending:
Spoiler: ShowHide

I'm guessing I got the good ending... for the new family anyway, but not for the couple that lost their child... so good or bad, guess it depends on the POV. ;)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #24 on: 06 Sep 2015, 15:57 »
About the ending:
Spoiler: ShowHide

I'm guessing I got the good ending... for the new family anyway, but not for the couple that lost their child... so good or bad, guess it depends on the POV. ;)


You're correct.

Spoiler: ShowHide

I like to think that both endings are "happy", but the one withouth the hand is a bit more happy for the daughter. :)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #25 on: 06 Sep 2015, 18:33 »
WHAM, I think I got the bad one :P
I mean:
Spoiler: ShowHide

I think I was not able to complete the puzzles (i only found the map) and she committed suicide... so i saw her hand in the water before credits...
I dunno if I got it
but I wanted to play it again to find a way to solve the puzzles (I mean find the sail and the compass)

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #26 on: 06 Sep 2015, 22:25 »
Hmm, I might have been mistaken then, You'll know you got the "good ending" when there is happy music at the end and credits roll. Good luck! :)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #27 on: 07 Sep 2015, 08:34 »
I just got around to playing the game, it was awesome, the subtlety of the language spoke volumes. :grin:

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #28 on: 07 Sep 2015, 09:08 »
I just got around to playing the game, it was awesome, the subtlety of the language spoke volumes. :grin:

Happy to hear you liked it!
I haven't had a chance to play the other MAGS games yet, but intend to do so as soon as I can. :)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #29 on: 08 Sep 2015, 11:58 »
Uploaded a new version on 8th of September, fixing a baseline issue which could cause a character sprite to be displayed incorrectly.
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #30 on: 09 Sep 2015, 03:53 »
I think I got the same bad ending that some others got.

Spoiler: ShowHide
I don't know what happened to the old guy but he turned really dark and jumped off. Was that supposed to happen? was that good or bad? I found part of the sail and 2 cut pieces of sheets but I had no way to mend it. I turned the globe with the rotation arrows and then ended up back on the deck somehow in fog. The arrows remained on the screen and a bunch of guys came out of the water and a big hand appeared and the game was over. I never fixed the sail or found the compass


I don't really get what happened.

I'd try playing again to see if I get a different ending but there is no way to save, as people pointed out, so I'd have to start from the beginning again.

SHADOW
« Last Edit: 09 Sep 2015, 03:55 by Shadow1000 »

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #31 on: 09 Sep 2015, 09:19 »
Shadow:

The arrow buttons remaining visible is a bug, they should disappear when night falls and the bad ending cutscene is triggered. I'll fix hat one and upload a new version today.

Other than that, here's a little info about the sail:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Once you have enough cloth for the sail, you need to find a needle and thread to mend the sail.



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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #32 on: 10 Sep 2015, 07:17 »
I seem to have the opposite problem Cassie had. No matter what driver or filter I use, I can't increase the size of the game area. Is that how it's designed, or should there be some way of making it full-screen? (without the massive black border)

vertigoaddict

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #33 on: 10 Sep 2015, 10:58 »
Yeah Stupot, my current laptop does that with AGS games as well, apparently some computers refuse to get rid of the black borders/ refuse to stretch to fit screen properly, in an attempt to maintain the aspect ratio. My old laptop (that I still own) doesn't do that. Even when I go into advanced settings and choose not to have the boarders added on, they'll still be there; so it might just be your computer.

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #34 on: 10 Sep 2015, 12:53 »
I haven't been able to replicate the sort of issue you describe, so I can only guess that it's something with the engine (or engine version I use, I haven't updated to the latest alpha/beta builds yet) or your computer or some combination of the above.

Sorry, I can't really help you out here. :(
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #35 on: 10 Sep 2015, 14:57 »
Shadow:

The arrow buttons remaining visible is a bug, they should disappear when night falls and the bad ending cutscene is triggered. I'll fix hat one and upload a new version today.


So the reason I got that ending was because night fell and nothing I did to trigger it? Is there a way to prevent it from happening?

SHADOW

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #36 on: 10 Sep 2015, 15:54 »
Shadow:

The arrow buttons remaining visible is a bug, they should disappear when night falls and the bad ending cutscene is triggered. I'll fix hat one and upload a new version today.


So the reason I got that ending was because night fell and nothing I did to trigger it? Is there a way to prevent it from happening?

SHADOW

No, I'm afraid there is no way to stop the sun from setting, but you CAN escape the reef and sail away before that happens. ;)
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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #37 on: 10 Sep 2015, 16:08 »
No, I'm afraid there is no way to stop the sun from setting, but you CAN escape the reef and sail away before that happens. ;)

Ok so it's a timed puzzle but no obvious counter or way to know that time is running out and once it runs out, the game is over with no way to restore from a save point and no obvious way to know WHY the game is over (I had naturally assumed that I did something to trigger it without knowing what)?

SHADOW
« Last Edit: 10 Sep 2015, 16:14 by Shadow1000 »

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #38 on: 10 Sep 2015, 16:36 »
Ok so it's a timed puzzle but no obvious counter or way to know that time is running out and once it runs out, the game is over with no way to restore from a save point and no obvious way to know WHY the game is over?

Yup! :)
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Mandle

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #39 on: 11 Sep 2015, 00:18 »
Because of the universal language icons I think I'm going to use this game in some of my classes as a discussion tool... The story can get a little dark and scary at points though, but no darker than Disney really...

If used with kids I would talk with them afterwards though about how:

MASSIVE SPOILERS:
Spoiler: ShowHide

The father was trying to drown the daughter not because he wanted to kill her but because he just wanted to have her back with him, and did not realise the consequences of that until she reminded him about their (alive) life together by showing the family drawing. I guess his mind is in some kind of dreamlike state, not realising he is dead, until she snaps him out of it by showing him the drawing. (A nice allegory of parents never wanting to let go of their kids even when it's time for them to grow up and go their own ways...although this is just my own obsevation and doesn't need mentioning to kids)...

Kids will also probably ask what happened to the father character in the first place. My theory is that the drowned wife came for him because she wanted him back by her side in much the same way that he came back for the daughter later. This would be a good opportunity for discussion with children about what they imagined happened...


This is also just what I personally got from the story after a few playthroughs. Game author can confirm or deny?

MiteWiseacreLives!

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #40 on: 11 Sep 2015, 04:55 »
Shadow:

The arrow buttons remaining visible is a bug, they should disappear when night falls and the bad ending cutscene is triggered. I'll fix hat one and upload a new version today.


So the reason I got that ending was because night fell and nothing I did to trigger it? Is there a way to prevent it from happening?

SHADOW

No, I'm afraid there is no way to stop the sun from setting, but you CAN escape the reef and sail away before that happens. ;)
Hey wait a minute!
There must be way more to this game than I thought..
Spoiler: ShowHide
I went to grab a piece of sail from the water with the gaff, then the hands took me under 8-0
So is there a bunch of game I missed out on??

Mandle

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #41 on: 11 Sep 2015, 06:15 »
Spoiler: ShowHide
I went to grab a piece of sail from the water with the gaff, then the hands took me under 8-0
So is there a bunch of game I missed out on??


Yes...quite a bit more:

Spoiler: ShowHide
When the hand grabs the gaff start clicking the mouse to fight it. It's pretty easy to beat and then you can continue.

WHAM

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #42 on: 11 Sep 2015, 07:07 »
MASSIVE SPOILERS:
Spoiler: ShowHide

The father was trying to drown the daughter not because he wanted to kill her but because he just wanted to have her back with him, and did not realise the consequences of that until she reminded him about their (alive) life together by showing the family drawing. I guess his mind is in some kind of dreamlike state, not realising he is dead, until she snaps him out of it by showing him the drawing. (A nice allegory of parents never wanting to let go of their kids even when it's time for them to grow up and go their own ways...although this is just my own obsevation and doesn't need mentioning to kids)...

Kids will also probably ask what happened to the father character in the first place. My theory is that the drowned wife came for him because she wanted him back by her side in much the same way that he came back for the daughter later. This would be a good opportunity for discussion with children about what they imagined happened...


This is also just what I personally got from the story after a few playthroughs. Game author can confirm or deny?

You have just, pretty much verbatim, laid out the story I had written out for the game in the design doc.
It seems that I did manage to create a somewhat coherent story, despite the limitations in the tools with which to convey then.
Very good! :)
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Cassiebsg

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #43 on: 11 Sep 2015, 17:46 »
@Mandle
Spoiler: ShowHide

You do see the father at the end, together with the mother and "saying" that now it's just them two, no child. Thought that was somewhat sad though. :~(
so no need to guess that part. ;)
There are those who believe that life here began out there...

Mandle

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #44 on: 11 Sep 2015, 23:22 »
@Mandle
Spoiler: ShowHide

You do see the father at the end, together with the mother and "saying" that now it's just them two, no child. Thought that was somewhat sad though. :~(
so no need to guess that part. ;)


Yup,
Spoiler: ShowHide

...you do see them together at the end but I just meant that there is some ambiguity in exactly how the father ended up drowning. It could have been the wife coming for him, or one of the other drowned people, or the whole gang of them...

I also thought the ending was sad, but in a bittersweet kind of way: The father gets his wish to be back together with his wife but must lose his child to do so. I was then nervous through the whole flash-forward scene of the new happy family at the end that a cold, black hand was going to reach up and pull the little tyke under.

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Re: The Cold Hand Reef [MAGS AUG 2015]
« Reply #45 on: 12 Sep 2015, 07:19 »
@Mandle
Spoiler: ShowHide

I assumed he saw the wife and choose to save/join her by jumping in the water. But yeah, it could have been the others that pulled him in.
And I felt about exactly the same watching the happy kid in the water... 8-0
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