IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 08:06
A surreal little story, in which you witness three epochal events in the history of civilization. You start out as an arboreal ape of some sort; but your species and your understanding change in each scenario.
This is very clever work, with a number of nice touches. (At the beginning, you see the Others, your Enemies, and Rock. Later Rock turns into Useful Rock. Everything is personal. I like that.) The Edifice of the title is history reified, a tower with a stairway up the inside. It also provides hints, another clever touch -- murals on each level record what you've done and show what you might do next.
The scenarios themselves are concise and well-written. I solved the first with no trouble (well, almost no trouble -- see below.) The second ran me out of patience just a little early, and I went to the walkthrough to get the language straight. (I like the puzzle, I just feel like I'm in a hurry with 35 competition entries. Yes, it's a problem.) The third was harder; I didn't have much idea how to control what was going on, or what range of actions were possible.
(This is a general problem in this game; looking at the walkthrough, I saw commands far outside the range of what is "expected" in IF. "hide from enemies" and "look for food" are early examples. Those particular commands are provided entirely for color; it's not necessary to use them. So that's no problem. In the third scenario, however, you have to do some things which are pretty odd. I don't know if I would have gotten them without the walkthrough. On the other hand, I solved the puzzle using the walkthrough commands as examples; I didn't have to follow it step-by-step.)
There are multiple endings, or rather multiple denouments (which I think I prefer.) It's suitably open-ended and allegorical. Heh.
There were a lot of bugs, which I spent some time working around. In particular, the first scenario refused to register "solved" when I solved it; I had to go back and follow the walkthrough. I think this is a by-product of the detailed hint system; I did some early step in an unexpected way, and the hint system didn't track me the rest of the way through. In any case, this is fixable.