Comp 97 reviews (mostly quite short)

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Adam Cadre

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Jan 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/2/98
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I played and rated all 34 games... a long time ago, so my memory of
some of them is unforgivably sketchy. Note: these are arranged in
order by score, but within any given score, they're randomly arranged.

10: The Edifice. This was my favorite game by a comfortable margin.
I found the setting instantly absorbing, loved the humor, loved all the
features that made playing it a comfy experience, but I think the two
factors that made me rank this #1 are (a) virtually everything I tried
elicited a non-canned response, and (b) the language puzzle. I hate
puzzles. I'm no good at them, and I'm usually not very interested in
them -- usually when I encounter one I can't solve right away I check
the hints, work through it, and get back to what I =am= interested in:
the story. The language puzzle, on the other hand, had me wishing it
would never end... every time I figured out a new word, or entered a
new sentence and got yet another fun and unique response, I wanted to
jump around the room giggling like a maniac. (Luckily, I managed to
restrain myself -- the orderlies at the local mental hospital are mean.)

8: Frenetic Five. By far the funniest entry, with prose that actually
had me laughing rather than merely noting to myself, "That was amusing."

8: Sylenius Mysterium. I was surprised to see all the low marks for
this game, and soon I figured out why. See, I spent 1:55 working
through the IF part of the game, which I found very involving and
well-done. Only in the last couple minutes did I get to the actual
arcade game -- just long enough for it to register as a really neat
concept, but not to actually try playing it. If there are flaws in
that portion, I don't know about 'em. For the part I did play, this
is #3 on my list.

7: A Bear's Night Out. Fun, well-done.

7: Sunset Over Savannah. Nice atmosphere, lots to do.

6: Zero Sum Game. Neat concept, and I loved the hack-n-slash
adventurer. "Wretched peasants! Die!"

6: Zombie! This grade is due almost solely to the wonderful prologue.
When I opened Valerie's purse and found birth-control pills inside,
I could not contain my glee -- what a wonderfully well-realized
segment! Unfortunately, that was the high point.

5: A New Day. Neat concept.

5: Glowgrass. Pretty good. A cut above the rest of the pack.

5: Sins Against Mimesis. This was the first game I played, and I
planned to give it a harsh grade for being so in-jokey. I did so. It
still ended up making my top ten.

4: The Tempest. Neat idea, nice supporting documentation, couldn't
get anywhere.

4: Friday Afternoon. There's a reason I don't work in an office. I
don't want to play games set in one.

4: The Lost Spellmaker. Apparently I missed out on this one. I saw
the word 'Spellmaker' in the title, and winced. I started up the game,
found out I was a dwarf, and winced. I played for as long as I could,
but couldn't get past the setting and ended up turning it off. I look
forward to playing the next game by this author which doesn't include
spells or dwarves.

4: Erden. I'm going to hang onto this game, because I can think of
someone for whom this would make an ideal introduction to IF. However,
this person is not me.

4: Poor Zephon's Almanac. Er, I don't remember this one very well.
Sorry.

4: A Good Breakfast. Not bad. Two problems. (1) It was unfinishable.
(2) The logic puzzles were just so unmotivated. I mean, c'mon, the
front door is locked by a set of gnomes? You need a spoon, and to get
it you have to play Lights-Out with a robot? Yeesh.

3: Down. Unremarkable.

3: The Unholy Grail. Don't remember this one. Had some water in it,
right?

3: She's Got a Thing for a Spring. Well done, I suppose, but so are
gardening shows on PBS. I still don't watch 'em.

3: Aardvarkbarf. Well, it was better than Orc Mage.

3: Phred Phontious. Enh.

3: VirtaTech. VirtuaEnh.

3: Babel. This was a shocker. I can't say I actively disliked this
game -- it just didn't interest me in the least. I was quite stunned
to find it showing up so high on other people's lists -- if it had been
one of those love-it-or-hate-it things, and I'd hated it, I wouldn't
have been surprised to see it among the big winners. But this game
struck me as so thoroughly unremarkable that I never suspected for a
moment that it'd elicit strong feelings either way from anyone. Nothing
personal.

2: Cask. To quote a player on ifMUD: "Man, Cask just keeps getting
worse and worse!"

2: Leaves. Appropriate name, because it blows.

2: E-Mailbox. Umm... what the heck was that?

2: Aunt Nancy's House. Look, I like puzzleless IF as much an anyone,
but if you're going to make a game of just walking around looking at
stuff, GIVE THE OBJECTS SOME FLIPPIN' DESCRIPTIONS!

2: Coming Home. Bad.

2: Pintown. Bleah.

2: The Town Dragon. New rule. Any game with a dragon in it can no
longer receive a score higher than 3. Any game with the word "dragon"
in the title gets a 2 or less.

2: Temple of the Orc Mage. The above rule goes for orcs, too.

2: Madame L'Estrange and the Troubled Spirit. Eeek! I entered a
command, and it shot eight hundred thousand screens of poorly-written
text at me! Aieee!

1: Symetry. Oof.

1: Congratulations! Hoo boy. How to describe this one? Cheerful
hallways and nice bedrooms... Baby cries!... my head hurts just
remembering this one. The pain, the pain. To quote another ifMUDder:
"It says a lot about the author that you can't put the baby in the
crib, but you can put it in the blender."

-----
Adam Cadre, Anaheim, CA
http://www.duke.edu/~adamc | http://www.retina.net/~grignr
"There is this guy named Adam Cadre that I've got to talk to about
making me eat my own daughter." --Marrissa in "Marrissa's Revenge"

LucFrench

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Jan 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM1/3/98
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Adam Cadre wrote some reviews.
They were funnier then any of the games I played.
I must say that this is bad news
For those of us in the contest.

I am not a contestant,
But I did test one.
And must say, friend,
I would rather go to Reston

Then play some of these games.
They made me sick.
The worst was CASK
By some accounts

But I wouldn't know
I did play Spring and
liked it, but I wouldn't
venture any sand

Upon Savaana.
(Wooo-haaa!)

Luc French
Member of Narnwatch
(Anybody looked up Quux yet for my predictions?)

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