-comp98- Brief reviews

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L. Ross Raszewski

Nov 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM11/17/98
Well, what with everyone else posting reviews and all, I thought I'd throw my
hat into the ring.

Please keep in mind that none of these are meant as personal attacks
(although there were some games that made me want to personally attack the
author), and I think ALL of you should keep writing (though some of you may
want to reevaluate your IF philosophy first)

These ratings are in the order comp98 gavethe games to me, which is not
nessecareily the order in which I played them.

And before you ask, no, I didn't add a point for including my name in the
credits. At least not consciously. Though it didn't hurt.

oh, if you didn't include hints or a walkthrough, I tended to give up as soon
as I got stuck. If you didn't, and I still rated you high, take it as high

I reserve the right to consider the documentation, graphics, etc when rating
the games.

Most of these reviews will tend to be short, since I didn't bother to do an
in-depth analasys of many of them, and therefore won't do the discredit of
selling short those I didn't examine as closely.

Enlightenment : 7 A fine game, for a one-room dilly based around a single
puzzle. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast I worked out the point -- I'm
usually not so good at those things. Some of it was a little
over-complicated, but in a baroque, old-school sort of way.

Mother Loose: 8 This was just plain fun. Again, some of the puzzles were
overly complicated, and the NPCs could perhaps have been better, but it was
still a fun trip.

The Plant: 7 If I had been some other reviewer, I'd have complained at having
to download a newer tads runtime to play the game. I might even have
complained at not being able to play in console mode because I couldn't find
the dos interpreter. But I won't. What I will complain about is the bugs.
Following the transcript pretty closely, I found that several times, some of
the triggers just would not go off. Nonetheless, I liked the plot and story,
however contrived.

Little Blue Men: 2
Boring, hard to follow, and the grammar got in the way. Not to mention that I
just don't like office games very much. Sorry.

The Commute: 2 2 is about the lowest rating I'll give out for negligence; I
have to really hate your game on principle to rate lower. I don't know if the
commute got better or not; the parser was so amazingly bad, synonyms so
sparse, and interaction so nonextant that I ran out of patience fairly early.
Also, "helmet" is misspelled (while you may have noticed that my own spelling
may be a little nonstandard, I would NEVER release a game that had not gone
through a spellchecker and some betatesters who know how to spell better than
I do. Sorry Ryebread)

Where Evil Dwells: 6 I don't know if this is a spoof or not. The author tries
so hard to be Lovdcraftian that the results are a little laughable. The
player, a private investigator of some sort apparantly "just happens" to have
a wide knowledge of the arcane and black arts. Also, due to a small bug, it's
not nessecary to detach the prototypical curs'd book from the table, as you
can just take the table with you wherever you like. Sort of fun, though, and
I liked the device of the journal (a favorite device of my own). Too many

Downtown Tokyo, Present Day: 7 I liked it, though I think this is the sort of
thing you can only pull off once. I'd have liked it more if it hadn't been so

Arrival: 5
Some people would use arrival as an example of why IF shouldn't have graphics.
Since it was a spoof, I'll forgive it. As a spoof, I didn't like it as much as
Tokyo, and as sci-fi, I didn't like it as much as Plant. It had some good
moments, but when you're writing a game around the cliches of -bad- movies,
you've set yourself out for a difficult task.

Human Resource Stories: 1 Wish I could have rated it lower. Common commands
were disabled for no better reason than to inconvenience the player. The CYOA
interface could have been used well, but wasn't. In fact, this wasn't a work
of interactive fiction, but some sort of quiz. No narrative, no story, no
plot. Not even any real interactivity. Couple that with some self-rightetous
prattling by the author, who seems convinced that the IF community at large
is focussed entirely on fantasy (when, last I checked, high fantasy was just
about the last thing anyone praised around here), and that his own work is
somehow "reality based". Absolute rubbish. Worse than cask even. And, quite
frankly, it was too long by about tenfold. Gee, why can't some people get it
through their heads that the comp is about SHORT games? But, i didn't rate it
1 for the interface, or for the length. HRS committed the one sin which I
can't forgive: it was NO FUN WHATSOEVER. The phone never ring.

Trapped in a One-Room Dilly: 7
I had to fireup jzip to play this, which meant I only got to undo one layer
deep, which wasn't a crippling problem,. but it did make things harder for me.
Also, I just plain LIKE using frotz more. Otherwise, it was a nice game, and I
liked it.

Research Dig: 3 Wasn't much fun. some of the nessecary actions seemed a
little pointless, and some of the scenery wasn't as fleshed out as it should
have been. Exactly what the conflict is, and the nature of your villain
remains ambiguous. Feels like a good game, cut short due to budget

Four-in-One: 6 Silly, happy-go-lucky fun. Nonetheless, not much better than
the noninteractive transcript

Acid Whiplash: 2 Disorienting, disjointed. An interview thinly veiled as a
game. It did have all of the whimsey characteristic of Ryebread's work,

CC: 1
No fun. Verbs and nouns sorely lacking. The title character made little if any
sense, nor did the entire game. Lots of wandering around, and "stumbling" into
the story, what little sotry there is.

Fifteen: 3
A puzzle thinly veiled as a game. Somewhat buggy. Very dull.

Lightiania: 4
I just couldn't get into it, though I can't fault it for anything

Persistance of Memory: 5
Reasonable. Some of the grammar gets sticky.

Photopia: 10 Absolutely magnificent. I wasn't thrilled with the main
character's fate, since a more pleasant one could have been inserted without
damaging the narrative irreparably. Sorry, I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Spacestation: 4
Um... any game that tells me something is uniplemented smacks of sloppy
programming. The game was a little embriotic, which is expectable, being based
on a transcript

The Ritual of Purification: 7
Very strange. I didn't really "get" most of it, but the prose was quite good.

Purple: 2
Couldn't get into this one either. Sorry.

I didn't know you could yodel: 1
Positively inane. Parser that makes the CYOA games we used to write on the
programmable calculators look advanced. Ludicrous plot, and a bathroom puzzle.

Cattus Atrox: 3
It had some good moments, but it just did not make any sense. Not making any
sense is just about the second worst thing a game can do in my book. It has a
lot of potential, but it would need a lot more backstory to flesh it out.

In the Spotlight: 1
Short, bizarre. Unlike some of the other low rated games, I hold no malice
toward the game, but there simply wasn't enough there to rate

Informatory: 8 Neat idea. Vaguely reminiscent of Lists and Lists, though with
a more interesting setting. On the minus side, it lacks the "real"
compiler/interpreter of the older game. It ends up being a fun game, which I
hope is of educational value

Muse: An Autumn Romance: 9
Good. I actually felt that the scope was too broad and too deep for the comp,
and I feel bad that I didn't pay it the attention I probably would have if I
hadn't just played 26 oter games, several very bad.

The City: 4 Any game which disables standard verbs for my
inconvenience^H^H^H^H^H^H^H mimesis is bound to bother me. Any author who
curses the fact that he can't disable interpreter-driven undo will bother me.
Any game which says "THe player will", is bound to make me say "oh no it
won't!" But, as I've said, the interface will never get you below a 2. The
story wasn't bad, and it WAS a neat experience. If the author hadn't gone
disabling save and restore, or told me I would enjoy it, I'd have probably
rated it higher.

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