IFReviewed by Grimm Sharlak
on 2005-10-31 05:58
As the leader of Alpha Beta Omega, a University fraternity that has spent four long years off campus due to struggling grades and bad behaviour. This year, however, you swear to get your fraternity reinstated, no matter what the evil Pi Pi Pi house and the elusive Dean have to say about it!
Do I even need to review this game? This follow up to the classic Ideal New England Prep School (HI) has been eagerly anticipated ever since NewKid announced its pending release, and it has generated more talk before and after release than any game in recent memory. It lives up to the hype, and is a great game, with tough but logical puzzles and not only hot, but innovative sex scenes with well formed characters. It certainly lives up to the name of “Ideal”.
The main puzzle you will face in this game is “how do I get Alpha Beta Omega reinstated?”
From this overriding task, you discover smaller puzzles to help you along the way, such as organising a party to grab new members, or helping fellow frat members with their studies. NewKid has managed to make the majority of puzzles relate straight back to the player’s main motivation. This means the player never truly feels lost, or more importantly, has to ask “why am I doing this?”
Aiding the player in solving the frat puzzle is an in-game character who will basically give you a laundry list of what you need to achieve. One early gripe with the game was the size of the play area. IPCU doesn’t feature just your campus, but also a downtown area and an opposing University’s campus. As TADS has no map feature, some found themselves getting lost easily.
However, this could be solved through extended play (I could find my way through the game blindfolded these days) or by having a look at the map that fellatrix_uk kindly provided. If you have yet to play IPCU, download the map as well to avoid some early frustration. The puzzles themselves, as stated, are fairly logical, and quite clever in places.
The only problems I had were with the finding the tequila, and making money, which leads me one of the only other real gripes with the game. Money is a driving force in one of the games larger events, and the only source is working for a certain party.
However, if you have money on you when you visit said party, they won’t answer the door and therefore won’t give you any work. So, you drop your money somewhere, so you can go get it later, right? No dice. The money disappears when you drop it, which is quite frustrating when first encountered. It turns out that this is by design (NewKid apparently doesn’t want you to have more than a certain amount of money at once), and it is not difficult to return to the source for more money when you run out Outside of this, however, the game plays like a dream.
There is little to no guessing of verbs, and there aren’t really superfluous items or red herrings to cloud the issue. There is also a decent learning curve in the game, with early tasks being fairly straightforward, while the deeper into the game you get, the more difficult and complex the puzzles become.
Well! Anyone who’s played previous NewKid games knows that he writes some excellent sex scenes, involving excellent female characters. The sex scenes in the game are often quite good, and at times quite humorous as well; Professor Bird and Bettina immediately spring to mind. NewKid has also brought some innovation to the sex scenes as well, with different positions eliciting different results. While this makes it slightly harder to score maximum points, it keeps the sex
varied and interesting, and considering how many sexual encounters are in this game, that’s no small feat.
I’ve already mentioned the money, which can feel like a bug, and outside of that I found no real technical issues. NewKid has pulled off some great programming with the different positions of the players affecting the sex scene, and found no errors in that regard, so the overall technical implementation is good.
Along with the fairly common “What’s your name?” at the start of the game, you can also enter your frat nickname; while it isn’t used very often by characters in the game, you set it each time you start up, so you can have some fun with coming up with ridiculous nicknames. Wombat calling me “Balls” was a highlight, that’s for sure.
NewKid has returned from a long absence with a great AIF game. Logical puzzles and straightforward gameplay aren’t always thought of as essential in AIF, but IPCU has these two attributes along with solid characterisation, innovative sex scenes and hot women to have them with. Not to mention a true challenge if you’re aiming for the full score. Now, NewKid, we need a version where you can get with Sarah!