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2 Stars IFReview Rating Strangers in the Night

IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-07-01 04:53 

Game Profile

Author
Rich Pizor

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Tads2

Release Year
1999

IFR Overall Rating
3 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
This is an alley crawl, if I can use that term -- you play an urban vampire trying to get his fix.

The author says that the game is somewhat abridged, due to time constraints. That's certainly the way it feels. There are sixty-five outdoor locations, most entirely undescribed. (It takes nearly three hours of game time just to map them all. Given the eight-hour game time limit, that's an awful lot. It verges on learning-by-death, or rather learning-by-running-out-of-time-and-starting-over.)

Indoors, things are somewhat better, but still sparse. It's frustrating to go into a dance club and then discover that the game doesn't know the verb "dance". Heh. And half the places seem to be closed, even at the times that the doorman tells you they're open.

The background seems patchy as well. The author relies on the player's knowledge of vampire tropes, and doesn't really fill in anything to give the game a distinctive feel. (In the first few rooms, for example, I noted both that I'd been a vampire for "more [years] than most mortals can comfortably conceive", but I'd also apparently been living in the same apartment since I was alive. And the building seems to date from the 1930s, on top of that. Huh?)

The meat of the game, as it were, ought to carry all of this; unfortunately, it doesn't. All your encounters are entirely mechanical. You can pretty much walk in, bite someone, and walk out. The game describes your impressions of your victims' lives, transferred in the blood, but it's stiff and not convincing.

(Note: I'm dismayed to discover that growing up "in Silicon Valley amid engineers and Math Teams" is "supremely uninteresting" and barely counts as being a human being. I'd better get myself to a noisy bar before it's too late. Bye.)

Andrew Plotkin Profile

IFReviewer Rating
9 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Andrew Plotkin
Gender Male

Also IFReviewed by

Paul OBrian

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