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3 Stars IFReview Rating Domicile

IFReviewed by Emily Short on 2006-08-01 03:51 

Game Profile

Author
John Evans

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2003

IFR Overall Rating
3 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
Rating: 3
Played to completion?: No
Number of Saves: 0

First impressions: I am tired of Zork knockoff locations. The white house and all its parodic forms are getting on my nerves. And I also lose faith when I look for information about a game and the author has included a list of known bugs. That just seems like a bad sign.

Next problem: I get to a point in the story where I'm told to look at the accompanying image file in order to see some symbols. I assume this is important, but I don't HAVE an accompanying image file. D'oh.

And it goes downhill. I take the bust and put it on the pedestal inside the house. I gain access to a room full of furnishings I can't examine; a phone that has no handset or buttons and produces no particular result to "listen to phone"; windows I can't look through; a fireplace that's not implemented. There's a bust apparently identical to the bust I just carried around a moment ago, but now I'm not allowed to move it. What, did it gain fifty pounds?

There is a bronze key on the ground. I pick it up and go back into the main room, and try to unlock the locked doors with it, but both of them say that they are "not something you can unlock". Okay, maybe there's no key to them in the game, but if they don't have a keyhole (say), it seems like there should be a special message to that effect. If they do and the bronze key doesn't fit, then they deserve to have a statement saying that.

I wanted to like this game. I wanted to like it extra because the author's previous games (Castle Amnos, Elements, and Hell: A Comedy of Errors) all seemed to have some unfulfilled potential, and some adroit coding. Amnos was too long, Elements too uneven, and Hell gave too little feedback about how to win, but I found Hell the best of the three: I spent quite a while on it before sadly concluding that it wasn't going to be winnable. Still, this looked like an uphill trend, and I hoped that this time John Evans would have produced something I could whole-heartedly endorse. I have to admire his persistence, at the very least. Unfortunately, either I ran into a major bug that somehow cut off all interaction with scenery objects, or this game is more haphazardly implemented than any of its predecessors.

I'm not sure what to suggest. Get a collaborator, maybe? Or a team of ferocious, dedicated, experienced testers who will comment on gameplay as well as bugs? Mr. Evans obviously has ideas, and some of them are pretty cool ideas, so it's sad and frustrating to see them like this, not getting a chance to shine.

Emily Short Profile

IFReviewer Rating
10 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Emily Short
Gender Female

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