Inform: code (1) I really do not have much to say about this game. It apparently involves two programs, one on a large piece of paper which seems to be the actual C program and one on a small piece of paper which could be a header or something. I have no idea what they are supposed to do but I think they involve cracking DVD codes or something. I did not enjoy it and only spent a few minutes with it. There did not seem to be much to do. My suggestion to the author is to remain anonymous. TADS: trip (2) I did not like this game. I never left the hotel room, and found two spelling errors and too much prophanity. It did not seem like it was going to stop, and in fact kept getting worse. I will not continue games with extreme amounts of prophanity, no exceptions. I did not see enough of the game to give suggestions or opinions to the author. Inform: bestman (6) I really liked this game. I wanted to give it a higher rating but there were some problems. Note that most of them came after the two hours so they are not reflected in the above rating. The premise and story were good and I liked the writing. While the puzzles do not remind me of Infocom, the writing does. I felt like I was playing an unreleased Infocom game. Most of it was obviously well tested and had no serious problems. Some puzzles had multiple solutions while others did not. For those which did not, there was a good reason why. So, what did I not like? The end was really not tested enough, and I ran into several bugs which I could not get around. I finally gave up because of too many problems. One of them involves doing a certain reasonable action which should work with multiple enemies but does not. I sent the bug report to the author. Also, while not a bug, one critical puzzle is a real pain and was made more difficult than necessary. It involves getting several objects from all over the train, but there are limitations on traveling and how much can be carried. Also a lot of moves are wasted adding one solution to another to get a certain result. I suggest using the hints when encountering that puzzle so you can get it right in one turn. The background magazine was nice but not necessary. It did not add that much to the game and what it mentioned was not clear enough anyway. However, it got a bonus because of the effort the author put into the background material and trying to do a nice game package. I have one suggestion for all authors who include background material. Please, please use either plain text or HTML, not PDF or other formats. HTML can still do nice page designs, and actually would allow better linking to articles within the magazine. Also, for the blind like myself, I have to try to convert the PDF to text or HTML, and this usually does not work too well. For example, the final article in the magazine was split up so only one word appeared on a line. Over half of the file was this way. I almost took off points for this but I was not sure if it was a conversion issue or not. Inform: 123 (3) This was certainly an unusual game. The trend seems to be on games involving disturbed characters, and this is no exception. However, it did a good job of scene and player changes. The writing was fair, but interaction with the characters was poor. Also, "x me" did not always change when the player changed. Although the walkthrough suggested talking to various people, "talk" was not implemented. Considering the type of game this is, it should have been, somehow. The writing was not bad but did not flow well in parts. It appeared that the game was not tested at all, and if nothing else I would suggest having beta testers to at least improve the writing. I guess the reason for the lower rating was that I just did not enjoy it. Initially, I was going to give it a 4 but did not feel it deserved that much. This is puzzleless as far as the story, but there are still other puzzles which the author had not intended. You really may only follow one path through the game, and the author usually gives you very obvious clues which path that is. The puzzles come when trying to interact with characters and the parser. The parser does not always recognize objects when examining them. Here is a brief sample (made up) of the problem with talking to people. talk to bob (parser does not recognize "talk" verb) bob, hello "Huh? I think you meant something else." You think you should ask him about cheese. ask bob about cheese "It is very good. An essential part of life." (The walkthrough at this point would say you should ask about bread.) ask bob about life (for background) "Huh? I think you meant something else." (see above) quit My suggestion to the author would be to fix the NPC interaction and give them more to say and do. Also, try to be a little clearer who is who. Finally, explain the introduction a little more since it appears to have little to do with the rest of the game. This is the end of my reviews for this year. If I have offended anyone, sorry. Also, I would probably be considered hypersensitive by some because of my very low opinion of prophanity. However, as the voting results indicate, "Kaged" did very well this year but had no prophanity that I encountered. Likewise, "Ad Verbum" did very well and had almost none. I think the only instance which I can recall was in one of the quotes, not written by the author. There was also a sex reference in one of the books in the library, so I still feel justified with my score. If you are missing any parts, you may get them for a limited time from: ftp://baechler.net/rev.zip
I will probably keep them there until some time in December. If someone wants to archive them elsewhere, be my guest, but please ask before putting them on CD. No commercial distribution is allowed.