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2 Stars IFReview Rating Neon Nirvana

IFReviewed by James Mitchelhi on 2006-10-16 05:14 

Game Profile

Author
Tony Woods

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2005

IFR Overall Rating
3 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
This was not a good start to comp05. First the half-hearted feelies suggest lack of care rather than added value. They hint at the nonsensical story-line to come. Are we to expect that the Director of Undercover Operations would give a big case to a detective he has nevermet and who has never been on an undercover operation before? And why is this an undercover operation when the objective is to arrest someone whose location is known? And any real club would be deeply ashamed to hand out flyers like the one included.

What follows is a chain of read-the-author's-mind puzzles and guess-the-verb puzzles. Sometimes both at the same time. I'll admit that I turned to the walkthrough early on and never left it. The implementation is patchy. While "x me" comes up with the default response, the author pays unswerving attention to the state of sidewalks in the area.

What's worse than breaking the fourth wall to give the player information? Not including the command you just broke the fourth wall to tell the player about:

>x graffiti
The litter is awful. It's scattered all over, and the graffiti reads "Type HELP for more information"

> help
That's not a verb I recognise.

This really is inexcusable.

The best that can be said about the writing is that it's there. At the plot level, the player falls through massive holes and is left wondering if even the author thought any of this was remotely believable. I'm led

to wonder if the author has ever actually been to a night club, or if the PC is just supposed to sound insane:

"Some smart-aleck hung black-light lamps on the partitions' walls, casting an eerie, demonic look on everything within range. "Neon Nirvana", indeed.""

Black-lights don't cast an eerie, demonic look on everything. Not unless the demon is from the sixties. Black lights are a relic of psychedelica, not the depraved invention of a "smart-aleck". Possibly the author is trying to emulate the neon-styled aesthetic of Batman Forever, but if I were emulating an aesthetic that's really not the film I'd have gone for.

This isn't even the worst of the writing. My internal editor almost wept: "Patrons sit at barstools with their friends Mr. Walker, Mr. Daniels, and Mr. Cuervo, all of them stored behind the bar under a large sign. What a considerable compromise from the darkness outside, the blue room to the south, and the blinding multicolored lights of the dancing and music to the west."

The red pen runs out. The most minor problem is that "compromise" is the wrong word. I think the author means "contrast", but it's difficult to be sure. It's slightly worse that the PC is describing a room he hasn't, in fact, been in yet. But a word of advice for the author: Setting up a metaphor where alcoholic drinks are thought of as friends of the drinkers is cliched and inadvisible, but once you've made the decision to do this you can't suddenly say that these people are stored behind the bar. And most especially you cannot do all this in the SAME FREAKING SENTENCE.

At one point the PC uses the word "w00t!" as an interjection. Enough said.

And can anyone explain this nugget of prose? "The key fits snugly in the lock. A quiet little tone fills the elevator. It seems to say to you, "Good job!". You don't feel as proud of yourself as the doors feel about you."

I really should stop this. The game is almost crying out to be MST3ked.

But I can't help including this quote: "You are aware that the club is silent, except for the loud music still playing."

James Mitchelhi Profile

IFReviewer Rating
3 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name James Mitchelhi
Gender Male