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I play Zeke, who's the coolest guy in school. He's super-smart but a classic under-achiever who opts out and sells homemade drugs from the trunk of his beat-up car, and basically has fun riling all the teachers.
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3 Stars IFReview Rating Timeout

IFReviewed by Paul OBrian on 2006-07-20 09:48 

Game Profile

Author
Stephen Hilderbrand

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2001

IFR Overall Rating
3 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
I'm in a dilemma about this game. I played through once, found some things to enjoy about it, and reached an ending that was pretty clearly not optimal. Not having a clear idea about how to reach the optimal ending, and running short on time, I pulled out the walkthrough, and it showed me something about a particular item that I hadn't really understood (due to the game's vague description of that item): it had a subcomponent that could be examined to yield more information. However, when I did so, the interpreter crashed with a fatal text buffer overflow error. Now, I've developed a pretty strict rule about unfinishable games -- I give them a 1, write a short review explaining the problem, and move on. The question is: does Timeout fit that category or not? I did finish it, so in a sense it's not really unfinishable, but on the other hand, it seems impossible to reach a more optimal ending. What to do?

Here's what I'm deciding. I won't give the game a 1. I was able to play through successfully (well, for one value of the word "successfully", anyway), and that's worth something. That first experience had some good points -- there were some funny spots in the writing, and some sort of fun cut scenes. On the other hand, it was mostly a negative experience. Timeout's implementation is maddeningly shallow, leading to lots of encounters like this:

You can see a trash can (which is closed) here.

>open can
That's not something you can open.

Or this:

A steel door is set in the north wall, and a passageway heads west,
back to the hallway.

>x steel door
You can't see any such thing.

>n
The door is locked.

>unlock door
You can't see any such thing.

Trying to get immersed in such a world is like trying to scuba dive in a puddle.

There were other problems too, including a NASTY FOUL IT'S/ITS ERROR, which is becoming my version of the Olympics' "mandatory deduction" items. And then the fatal crash. All this comes together to make a game that's not really worth my time in its competition version.

Paul OBrian Profile

Name Paul OBrian
Gender Male

This IFReviewer IFReviews

- 1-2-3...
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- Ad Verbum
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- Al Otro Lado
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- Amnesia
- an apple from nowhere
- And the Waves Choke the Wind
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- Augustine
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- Being Andrew Plotkin
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- Bio
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- CC
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- coffee quest II
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- Colours
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- Comp00ter Game
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- Death to my Enemies
- Delusions
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- Don't Be Late
- Down
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- E-Mailbox
- Elements
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- Episode In The Life Of An Artist
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- Escape from Crulistan
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- Exhibition
- Fear
- Fifteen
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- Fine Tuned
- For a Change
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- SURREAL
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