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3 Stars IFReview Rating Four Seconds

IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-07-01 04:41 

Game Profile

Author
Jason Reigstad

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Tads2

Release Year
1999

IFR Overall Rating
3 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
Good story, made unplayable by bad implementation.

The "research complex" game is becoming a genre all to itself, like college games and apartment games. And there's always some catastrophe.... heh. A frame story is the added wrinkle in this game; you're an investigator, called in after the fact, probing the memory of the lone survivor.

The contrast between the real world and the recalled one is vivid. Both are populated by clearly (if sparely) sketched characters, and there are glimpses of earlier history as well. Then, well, catastrophe strikes, and you have to deal with it.

Unfortunately, there's basically no way to do that without the walkthrough. The game is implemented so inconsistently that it's impossible to get anything done -- at least, it was for me. Many objects can't be referred to by the names used in the room description; only an obscure synonym works. Not only does opening a container fail to list its contents, but "examine container" and "look in container" never work; you have to "look" to find out what you've found out.

The final scene, being chased around by -- something -- just doesn't have enough structure to be solvable. I can see how it ought to work; after all, I've written a chased-through-the-research-complex game myself. But the descriptions aren't clear enough to clue you about what to do, and many of them are contradictory, or just impossible. (I tried the elevator scene twice. Once I got a sequence of messages intended for the corridor outside. The other time I managed to walk out through a closed elevator door, rather negating the effect of being trapped inside.)

Needs way more programming work, basically.

Andrew Plotkin Profile

IFReviewer Rating
9 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Andrew Plotkin
Gender Male

Also IFReviewed by

Paul OBrian

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