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5 Stars IFReview Rating MythTale

IFReviewed by Emily Short on 2006-08-01 04:43 

Game Profile

Author
Temari Seikaiha

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2002

IFR Overall Rating
6 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
Rating: 5
House or Office: House
Played to completion?: Not on the first pass, but eventually, yes.

Oh goody, I thought, when I saw the beginning: some interesting antiquity-ish stuff. How cool...

And then bump, there I was in my office, at home. At that point I quit.

Later, I felt guilty about how many games I'd summarily quit, and I came back to this one.

Some of the puzzles seemed rather arbitrary, especially the bit about having Artemis chase the spider — I don't know why we're supposed to assume that Artemis' chasing would manage to open a secret panel that your own searches would not. Likewise the puzzle with the cat-food device struck me as a considerable pain in the ass: time-consuming to play with and effect a result from, hard to figure out, utterly unintuitive. (Who on earth would want a cat-food device that worked like that?)

Here, as with Screen, I felt that the frame story didn't work: there wasn't enough explanation of what was going on or why, it wasn't that interesting, and the puzzles felt contrived. I did appreciate that the cat-related puzzles were in some sense related to the actual personalities of the relevant gods and goddesses, but still, the frame just didn't work for me. I think it is meant to explain how you come to be hopping from one bit of ancient myth to another, but actually, it doesn't: there is no sensible explanation within the frame world for how these pieces fit together, why you are becoming part of them, etc. (The business about your nightmares doesn't work for me since you are nominally awake for most of your... visions, experiences, whatever they are.) All the frame does is call attention to the contrivedness of it all and the lack of any explanation. Next time, I say, just pop me down in ancient Greece and make that the main setting. Come up with some internal reason to hop me from vignette to vignette, or, hell, be daring and don't give me one at all. But skip the framing device if it doesn't contribute anything thematically or in terms of character.

I mention the latter because I have the vague feeling that the author was trying for something with the characterization — at least, the final scene suggests this — that never really got off the ground. I like the idea of having multiple choices and multiple endings available (obviously), but it only really makes sense to me if you have some prior knowledge of the character and some investment in his choice. I didn't — in fact, I had no clue why he might be inclined to find one ending better than another — so out of instinct I tried having him choose to give the bowl to Artemis, and I didn't really check out the other possibilities.

So I'm still not sure what that was supposed to be about. But I think it's a clue that your frame story is out of place if the game ends not at the frame level but at the embedded level. Had the whole game taken place in ancient Greece, the conclusion might have made more sense.

Emily Short Profile

IFReviewer Rating
10 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Emily Short
Gender Female