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9 Stars IFReview Rating The Edifice

IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 08:06 

Game Profile

Author
Lucian P. Smith

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
1997

IFR Overall Rating
9 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
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.

Andrew Plotkin Profile

IFReviewer Rating
9 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Andrew Plotkin
Gender Male

Also IFReviewed by

Paul OBrian

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