IFRO

The loyalties which center upon number one are enormous. If he trips, he must be sustained. If he make mistakes, they must be covered. If he sleeps, he must not be wantonly disturbed. If he is no good, he must be pole-axed.
Winston Churchill


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9 Stars IFReview Rating Kaged

IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 10:05 

Game Profile

Author
Ian Finley

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Tads2

Release Year
2000

IFR Overall Rating
10 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
Very nice all around. I'm not quite sure I like the story, of itself; it feels a bit pat; it doesn't go quite far enough in any direction (the surreal, the horrifying, the convoluted). (Although those elements are certainly all present). This is a small reservation. The game is very good.

The setting is a familiar one -- the opening text recalls Brazil, and of course there are many other examples in the literature. But I haven't seen it done in IF, at least not this well, and the complicity really does make a difference. Watching Brazil, you're constantly dreading what you'll see: how much worse can the world get?

But in IF, you (the protagonist) already knows how bad the world is. The question becomes, how much worse am I (my situation, the system which I passively support, myself) going to get? Very funky use of the protagonist/player tension.

Writing, excellent. I was particularly impressed by long sequences of similar rooms, each of which was nonetheless described vividly and distinctly. Yes.

The plotline is very focussed and well-hinted. Quite a large game, and I never looked at hints once; nor do your actions feel unduly forced. An exception is the conversation system, where your only choice is usually to talk or not to talk -- and important conversations proceed (over several turns) whether or not you use the "talk" command. However, this actually didn't bother me. I certainly prefer this system to long cut scenes (non-interactive), or to conversation menus (which give you choices, but in an awkward, immersion-shattering way).

(The other time your actions feel forced, I should mention, is if you restore and try to take a different path. There are options, but they rapidly converge back to the main plotline.)

Andrew Plotkin Profile

IFReviewer Rating
9 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Andrew Plotkin
Gender Male

Also IFReviewed by

Paul OBrian

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