[COMP99[ Reviews for 4 games

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Wakoman

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
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I've taken the time to review 4 of the games played. I may review more
latter.

A note: I judge with 5 being the average game, 10 being
flawless writing or possibly very nigh-flawless,same with gameplay,
programming, story, and writing.A 0 would be Human Resources Stories,
only with worse gameplay,story,and programming. Also, my reviews are
incredibly rantish, with very little point. Read if you dare.


_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Six stories:

An interesting game, one of the first I've seen that seems to
have used HTML TADS to it's best, without crossing over to being an
adventure game that doesn't work quite right.

The voice acting (of what little there is) is good,although
N.K. Guy sometimes has a kind of Snagglepuss rasp. I kept on expecting
him to say, "Exit, stage right." Fugit the pocketwatch sounded like he
was reading from a script,and that took away from the general miasmia.

The writing, while a bit needing in a few minor places, was
very good. Quite a few verbs were implemented,and the parser was
great, although there were a few inappropriate responses,but nothing
too major.

The NPC's were good,a bit more detailed than I've come to
expect,but nothing too special.
However, ***Spoiler coming up*** there were a few moments when the
NPC's coments were'n't in the right order,such as the watch telling me
that he was happy to have given away the stone-when he hasn't yet.
</spoiler>

The only major fault was that the story seemed a little
clichčd at times,and the ending left a few questions unanswered. Not
unanswered in the good way where you think about them for a while,
more like, "Oh. That's it? Huh. Oh, well."

However, aside from that, a good piece of IF for a wintery day
when you just want to relax,and don't mind the occasional plot hole.

Gameplay: 6.5
Programming: 7.0
Story: 5.5
Writing: 8.0
Final Rating: 6.75
_______________________________________________________________________

A Moment of Hope:

When I started the game, it didn't look too promising.
However, I pressed on, and it exceded my expectations-moderately.

The writing,while not horrible, did contain a few spelling errors, but
aside from that it was pretty average.

The story was fine, although a few more plot points would have helped,
and a longer game to develop the story. (see coments on gameplay
below)

The author of the program obviously spent some time on it,and it had a
very nice parser.

My one gripe was the gameplay. The puzzles were far too easy, and the
game was very short,even given the two-hour judging rule. The ending
was extrememly disappointing and sudden; up until the ending and had
thought it was starting to really get somewhere,then Bam! The end.
However, I had no bugs or any inappropriate messages, and the game
recognized nearly all the commands I tried.

Not a bad game by any means,just one that needs to be improved.

Writing: 5.0
Programming: 7.0
Story: 6.0
Gameplay: 4.0
Final rating: 5.5

_______________________________________________________________________

Exhibition:

One of the first things I noticed and liked about this game was the
use of music. I consider sound to be part of text,whereas I have more
of a disdain towards graphics. I've long thought that music increases
both the miasma,and the general fealing of the game. The use of it
here was perfect. The writing was superb,and it entangled me in the
story,the characters,and even the non-descript,nearly all of the time.


The multiple character perspective was a refreshing change from the
single outlook games I've played through, and it was implemented quite
well. The different viewpoints gave new outlooks with each character,
and it was an enjoyment to use.

The idea was superb: an interactive art galery. It is implemented
wonderfully,although a few more responses to commands might have been
nice. I was very glad that the paintings were not shown. The
descriptions were superb. As I mentioned,it would have been nice to
have a few more responses, and in a few places the oh-so-everpresent
"What do you mean,the x or the x" bug happened. However,I did not find
many more bugs than that.

The story,of what I found of it, (I only found 2 endings) was
good,although a few things more should have been explained. Of course
they might have been,because I am sure I did not see all I could.

All in all, a good game for a day when you're not rushed, can't get to
a real gallery,and don't have multiple personality syndrome. Oh, and
when you want to observe people, but can't because of social taboos.

Writing: 8.5
Story: 7.0
Programming: 5.5
Gameplay: 6.0
Final rating: 6.75

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lunitix:

I *really* wanted to like this game. Really, I did. I think the main
reason is that I was yearing for the "good ol' days" of the Internet,
back when BBS's were a major entity. I have fond memories of playing
lunitix via my local dial-up BBS (www.lost-gonzo.com,I know this is a
cheap plug,but come on! They have 100+IGM's for LORD!;) and I was sort
of expecting a improved version of "Quest for the Red Herring" (Is
that the name of the IGM? Correct me if I'm wrong,Mike). Instead, I
got a half-decent game, _okay_ in programming, but lacking quite a bit
in story. The NPC's need to be improved, more things to interact with,
and a port to Inform, Tads, et al would be nice for those who despise
home systems. As I said, I found the story to be a bit short, it could
use some tidying up. I had to consult the walkthrough several times,
not because of hard puzzles either,but the kind of "If you don't
notice one small detail, you'll be stuck" kind. However, I think with
a bit of practice on the part of Mr. Snider, he could produce a very
good game.

Writing:5.0
Story:3.0
Programming:4.0
Gameplay:4.0
Final Rating:4.0


Wakoman
(a.k.a. Torgo3000)

Mike Snyder

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
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Wakoman wrote in message <38320195...@news.prairie.lakes.com>...

>I *really* wanted to like this game. Really, I did. I think the main

I really wanted you to like it too. :)

>reason is that I was yearing for the "good ol' days" of the Internet,
>back when BBS's were a major entity. I have fond memories of playing
>lunitix via my local dial-up BBS (www.lost-gonzo.com,I know this is a
>cheap plug,but come on! They have 100+IGM's for LORD!;) and I was sort
>of expecting a improved version of "Quest for the Red Herring" (Is
>that the name of the IGM? Correct me if I'm wrong,Mike).

It's probably been a loooong time since you played Quest for the Red Herring
(it has been for me as well). I remember the ultimate goal there was to
obtain the coveted Red Herring, which is its own reward. The language used
for QftRH (LunScript, which I *cough* invented) had nothing like modern IF
niceties (undo, command repeat, pronouns/synonyms) - at least, I don't think
it did.

>Instead, I
>got a half-decent game, _okay_ in programming, but lacking quite a bit
>in story. The NPC's need to be improved, more things to interact with,

I really should have developed more of a story. My focus was on creating the
PC, who appears periodically in the BBS (and online) versions but has never
really "participated" in the game. I wanted to show the game from his
perspective (something I've *never* done). One reviewer suggested that the
whole setting was to hide poor writing, and that simply *wasn't* my intent
at all. That's not to say that the writing isn't poor, only that I wasn't
trying to mask it in the scenario. ( I was trying to:

1) Build on a theme I've centered 2 BBS games and 1 online game around all
the way back to early 1995.
2) Define Dr. Hammer's personality by allowing the player to "become" him.
3) Enter it in the Interactive Fiction competition.

There are many situations here that were taken right out of the BBS and
Online versions. Diehard Lunatix players expect these things (my beta
testers were full of suggestions). Many I didn't add because they *only*
concern the patients and not Hammer (for example, fighting against shadows
in the closet). Having Dr. Hammer on a drug-induced trip most of the game
wasn't to mask the writing, but rather to build on themes from the existing
games. This was the wrong audiance for that. :)

This game, from the moment I launched QB to start coding the graphic
interface & parser, to the moment I zipped up the final version to send to
Stephen, took 30 days (of 3-hour nights and day-long weekends). If a game is
written in 1 day... in 1 week... in 1 month... in 6 months.... in a year...
it's irrelevent when it comes to evaluating it. It's the same game
regardless. Even though opinions on it are mixed (my "Standard Deviation"
was pretty high on the ranking table) I feel like I succeeded and I have a
personal sense of fulfillment that it was done in my spare time in about 4
weeks. :)

>and a port to Inform, Tads, et al would be nice for those who despise
>home systems. As I said, I found the story to be a bit short, it could
>use some tidying up. I had to consult the walkthrough several times,
>not because of hard puzzles either,but the kind of "If you don't
>notice one small detail, you'll be stuck" kind. However, I think with

>a bit of practice on the part of Mr. Snyder, he could produce a very
>good game.

Thanks! I hope to do just that! :)

>Final Rating:4.0

Like quite a few of the other reviews, your time and your honest evaluation
are *much* appreciated. Thanks!

Mike Snyder
Prowler Productions
http://www.prowler-pro.com/

Wakoman

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
to
In article <rOnY3.5186$H8.1...@typhoon2.kc.rr.com>, "Mike Snyder"
<wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:
> It's probably been a loooong time since you played Quest for the
> Red Herring

> (it has been for me as well). I remember the ultimate goal there
> was to
> obtain the coveted Red Herring, which is its own reward. The
> language used
> for QftRH (LunScript, which I *cough* invented) had nothing like
> modern IF
> niceties (undo, command repeat, pronouns/synonyms) - at least, I
> don't think
> it did.

I know the system was crap; that's why I said an _improved_ version of
QftRH. My point was that it had a fairly okay story, one that made me
want to keep playing despite a horrible interface.


> ( I was trying to:
> 1) Build on a theme I've centered 2 BBS games and 1 online game
> around all
> the way back to early 1995.

/TWO/ BBS games! It boggles the mind! Tell me, I know of Lunitix, but
what was the other?

> 2) Define Dr. Hammer's personality by allowing the player to
> "become" him.

If that was your goal, perhaps a regular day in the life of Dr. Hammer?
A patient escapes, you have to get after him, might have worked better.

<snip>
> Mike Snyder


Wakoman
(a.k.a. Torgo3000)


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Mike Snyder

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Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
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Wakoman <wakoman...@prairie.lakes.com.invalid> wrote in message
news:000b8d9b.3a3ef93c@usw-ex0107-

> /TWO/ BBS games! It boggles the mind! Tell me, I know of Lunitix, but
> what was the other?

Lunatix 1/2/3/4.xx. The original version was for DOS-based BBS's (Renegade,
Wildcat, etc). The 2nd was a complete re-write for the Worldgroup/MajorBBS
system (I believe Lost Gonzo uses Worldgroup). The third is a web game
(another complete re-write). It's all the same setting and situation (and
the core daily tasks remain the same) but I've improved upon each version
with extra features.

Mike.

Wakoman

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Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
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In article <80us1g$12k$1...@bgtnsc01.worldnet.att.net>, "Mike Snyder"

<mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
> Wakoman <wakoman...@prairie.lakes.com.invalid> wrote in
> message
> news:000b8d9b.3a3ef93c@usw-ex0107-
> > /TWO/ BBS games! It boggles the mind! Tell me, I know of
> > Lunitix, but
> > what was the other?
> Lunatix 1/2/3/4.xx. The original version was for DOS-based BBS's
> (Renegade,
> Wildcat, etc). The 2nd was a complete re-write for the
> Worldgroup/MajorBBS
> system (I believe Lost Gonzo uses Worldgroup). The third is a web
> game

Ah. I've played both types on Lost Gonzo. I remember when the elevator
was added, and the lab was added, too. Oh, and all those funky
inventory items. Actually, the inventory items might have helped make a
good IF game. The MBBS version didn't have graphics (aside from
ASCII), did it?

Maybe you should *cough*
createanewversionofLunitixsupportingRiptermgraphics *cough*

> (another complete re-write). It's all the same setting and
> situation (and
> the core daily tasks remain the same) but I've improved upon each
> version
> with extra features.
> Mike.

Mike Snyder

unread,
Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
to
> Ah. I've played both types on Lost Gonzo. I remember when the elevator
> was added, and the lab was added, too. Oh, and all those funky
> inventory items. Actually, the inventory items might have helped make a
> good IF game. The MBBS version didn't have graphics (aside from
> ASCII), did it?

Yeah, just ANSI graphics, and usually just for frames for design (few, if
any, actual "pictures" that way).

> Maybe you should *cough*
> createanewversionofLunitixsupportingRiptermgraphics *cough*

Lunatix 4.xx does support RIP. :) The are 4 RIP stock screens, and a nice
3rd-party replacement set is available which includes almost ALL screens in
RIP (plus music) -- http://www.prowler-pro.com/n-e-ware/lun1.html.
Worldgroup uses a "resource" file for most text which would make adding RIP
at this point a real pain (do-able though, definitely). If Lost Gonzo still
uses the original DOS Lunatix, that replacement RIP set can be added easily
(and for free). :)

Mike.

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