IFReviewed by David Whyld
on 2005-11-06 07:11
Another entry in the recent adult comp by Chris Cole and A. Bomire and, thankfully, quite a bit better than the previous game I had tried (Lauren’s Awakening). Sex Artist has a bit of a storyline – a rarity in itself as far as AIF games are concerned – and a style of writing that’s a big improvement on the norm. What, an AIF game written by someone who knows how to write? Ye gods…
You play the part of Buzz (no relation to the Toy Story character I'm sure) who makes his living as the ‘sex artist’ of the game’s title. This basically means you go around painting people having sex. Nice work if you can get it. Strangely enough, the intro to the game says that you're fed up of working with porn actors. Interesting admission from the main character in what is essentially a porn game.
Where Sex Artist scores is mainly in the writing. Better than usual for an AIF game. Room descriptions are nice as well and it made a refreshing change being able to examine most of what I could see. Where it loses out is in the main problems that seem to befall 99% of the AIF games I've played. I ran into quite a few problems early on in this game as I assumed, it being an adult game and attention to deal not being high on the writer’s list of things to include, that there wouldn’t be any items just lying around for me to find. Big mistake. There were quite a few. The environment isn’t as well detailed as it might be in a non-AIF game, but it was certainly more than adequate for what was required here.
Characterisation was poor. Believable NPCs in an AIF game might not be a necessity when the only interaction you're likely to engage in with them is removing their clothing, but they sure add to the depth of the game. The ones here could have given cardboard cut-outs a run for their money. I met a couple in the park who were having sex and, being the perv that I am, I decided to sketch them. They noticed me at one point but, rather than the guy lunge at me and try to beat the living daylights out of me for gawping at him and his girlfriend in an intimate moment, he instead invited me back to their apartment so I could sketch them having sex. And they'd pay me for it! If only real life was like this.
For once I’d have liked to see an adult game with believable NPCs but it seems I was to be disappointed. Oh well…
The first few puzzles the game threw at me – finding someone to sketch while having sex was one of them – I managed fine. Either I'm getting better at AIF games or the puzzles in this one were easier than the norm. But as soon as the first obligatory sex scene commenced (I was a voyeur and not a participant, alas), I quickly ran into problems. The first was that the commands required to get the characters to actually do anything aren’t specified and it was only after some trial and error that I hit upon the correct phrasing. There's no help or hints command in the game and the ABOUT command helpfully misses out the relevant information. Nice one.
But I persevered and the two had sex. Repeatedly. In a dozen and one positions. And two separate rooms. Was it a turn on? Well… not really. It was more hardcore than erotica. Reasonably well written hardcore as far as hardcore goes, but still not especially arousing. And after I’d seen the fifth screen of text flash past my eyes describing Jim and Liz’s sexual exploits, my eyes started to glaze over and I skimmed through the rest of it. Unfortunately, the game seems determined not to let you skim through things as it blocks the exit and won’t let you leave until you’ve commanded Jim and Liz to engage in all manner of sexual activity. Commanded? Yep, apparently neither of them knows how to have sex without someone standing to one side and telling them exactly to do so first you’ve got to get them to take their clothes off (they don’t seem to realise it’s better that way) and then tell them, word for word, what needs doing. Are they a bit, um, backwards in the old grey matter department?
By the time I’d convinced Liz to strip off (one tedious item at a time) and she was actually ‘doing it’ with Jim, any kind of eroticism the scene might otherwise have held for me had been drowned amidst a deluge of guess the verb problems and the game’s general unwillingness to let the pair just **** and be done with it. Funnily enough, when I tried to sketch the pair of them going at it like a pair of rabid beavers, the game told me that I was a bit too nervous to do that, despite the fact that I’d spent the last half hour telling them to have sex and describing exactly what I wanted them to do. Another time I attempted to sketch them and the game told me they weren’t doing anything very special. Hmmm…
How did the sex scene end? Beats me. Jim and Liz went at it for a while, I told them what to do, sketched them… but the damn game just wouldn’t let me go. I was able to endlessly repeat the commands telling them what to do, so that by the time I finally succumbed to the guess the verb plague that was beginning to take hold of me, the two of them had managed to fill up around 45 screens with their sexual exploits. Talk about stamina!
That was as far as I got with the game. From what I could tell, the main puzzles seem to be related to this long drawn out and tiresome sex scene, and as I was unable to reach a conclusion I was unable to get any further with the game. Pity. This had actually looked for a while like it might have been one of those rare AIF games: a good one. 5 out of 10
1st place on the 2005 CCAB Competition.
1st place Concept Category on the 2005 CCAB Competition.
2nd place Characters Category on the 2005 CCAB Competition.
1st place Technical Category on the 2005 CCAB Competition.
1st place Playability Category on the 2005 CCAB Competition.
2nd place Hotness Category on the 2005 CCAB Competition.
2nd place Enjoyment Category on the 2005 CCAB Competition.
1st place Creative Writing Category on the 2005 CCAB Competition.