Okay, here's the game situation. Suppose you are in a room, and you have a player character. Your character moves around in realtime using the keyboard. In some parts of the game, there may be monsters that move around in realtime as well which you will often have to move quickly to avoid, so you'll want to be close to the arrow keys. Ideally, however, rooms that require you to stop and think will be devoid of active threats, or will at least include safe spots.
In this room, there are some things that stand out to you. There is a deteriorating section of wall with a big crack in it. There is a statue of a warrior who looks like he should have been brandishing a weapon, but doesn't have one. There is also a locked door. In your inventory, you have a rather large and unwieldly hammer, a decorative sword, and a key.
Now, while you can choose to ignore everything in this room and move on if you want, you may also want to try and use a particular item on something in the room.
The question is, since you'll probably be having your fingers near or on the arrow keys most of the time, what's the best way to allow the player to select the item they want to interact with? Should this be done through the mouse with an inventory selection area, wher you click on something in the inventory, then click on the object you want to interact with? Or perhaps you click on the object in your inventory then navigate your character into the object you want to interact with using the arrow keys.
In The Gauntlet and Tomb Explorer, you interact with things either by bumping into them or by clicking on them. You never "select" an item to use, but if you have the correct item, it'll interact with the object in the room. I want to get away from this, because I think it takes a lot of the thought out of the game. You don't have to think about using the big hammer on the cracked wall, you just have to interact with the cracked wall and hope that you have the right tool for the job. If not, try the next object in the room. As Tom once pointed out, you can "complete a difficult dungeon rather fast by sheer luck" with that setup.
I'd just like to get some feedback on what people think would be the best way to allow interaction using desired item on a specific object. Its almost like an interactive fiction/adventure game using point and click, but I don't know if that would combine well with running around using the arrow keys to avoid baddies. Thoughts?