(comp03) Reviews 2 of 3: the middle third

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Daphne Brinkerhoff

Nov 16, 2003, 12:35:02 AM11/16/03
Next, the middle ground.

Internal Documents--The premise for this game sounded interesting
enough, in the "Film at Eleven" kind of vein. I even liked interacting
with the computer (er, the computer in the game). I got a real sense
of taking down the bad guy through technological means. But holy
jojoba, the basement was just so very unnecessary. Chasing the guy
randomly around the house hoping he'd open a crucial locked door...
boring. Dogs who hate you for one minute and fawn over you forever
more. Whole bunches of rooms that have nothing to do with the game.
On the plus side, the villain's dialogue was well-done. I felt his
oily evasiveness. (4)

Sophie's Adventure--If you're going to have a big world, and lots of
characters, and lots of things to do, you're going to have to give
me some kind of direction. The conversation menus couldn't keep up
with what I already knew. Everything was way wordy. There was a
sense of style which I can praise, a knowing irony, but after I
got stuck, I realized I just didn't care what happened next. I kept
meaning to go back and try to finish, but in the end, I was too
distanced from the story. (4)

Caffeination--Again, I didn't even know where to begin. I made
some really bad coffee and then my time kept running out. I just
have to admit that coffee is not a big motivation for me, so it would
take a really well-written funny game to keep me playing. "Coffee
Quest II" was not it last year, and this isn't it this year. (4)

Bio--When the first room contains an unimplemented object (or, at
least, a poorly implemented one that doesn't know its own name), I
get suspicious. When this same room has a grammar mistake, I get
even suspiciouser. Later I got the message "A quick look in your
pants tells you that this is the wrong bathroom" when trying to enter
a women's room. How was I supposed to know I was male? This is a
game where you can't "turn screws", you must "unscrew" them. And not
one at a time, either. (4)

A Paper Moon--Oh, why will people throw a dozen silly elements
together and call it a setting? I ask you, why? Also, "fold paper"
gave me a really misleading response. I assumed I couldn't do
anything origami-ish until I went to the walkthrough. Okay, the
biggest sin was that the walkthrough has you burning things with an
unlit torch. That doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence. (5)

Adoo's Stinky Story--Not quite as bad as naming yourself "terrible.
gam", but close. The whole premise here was kind of mean. I mean,
if I'm going to play a selfish immature brat, why not go further with
it? Certainly I'm immoral as well, since I don't mind abusing the
family pet. Really, come to think of it, the tone of this game was
at odds with its content. (5)

Erudition Chamber--I was a little disappointed that the promised
"final puzzle" the game mentions doesn't exist. That is, in the
next-to-last room, someone says, "Or go on to the final test and,
pass or fail; you may never leave the Keep again." Well, there is
no final test. Otherwise, I guess this game played fair. Puzzles
for their own sake. And the different endings really weren't
different enough to worry about. (5)

Domicile--I floundered around and got a little ways into this
game. But the magic system just didn't get enough explanation.
When I read the hints I thought, "How was I supposed to think of
*that*?" There were cool scenes in the parts I did see, but they
just didn't fit together at all. (6)

Adventures of the POTUS--I have to say I really liked this game.
It was... It was like a cave painting, trying to be simple and
iconic. Of course, the puzzles were impossible to figure out, and
that's okay. And a longer game with this style would be no fun. (6)

Sardoria--I like the auto-resurrect feature. But I didn't like an
incredibly arbitary command for the first room. And I would like
to say that when confronted with an owl, most people will think of
wisdom. The puzzles were mostly solveable, except that arbitrary
command thing. (6)

Shadows on the Mirror--This was a conversation-based game, except
there wasn't enough information to go on. I didn't know what to
ask or tell about. And then, why the time limit? Couldn't we
have just kept driving until I figured out what was going on? Not
that I'm entirely sure even now. (6)

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