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Intro Comp Reviews

by David Whyld

Posted 8 August 2005 to

I didn't get round to playing Negotis or Weishaupt Scholars but here are reviews of the other games:

"Deadsville" by William McDuff

Now this one I liked.

Deadsville is the story of a zombie who's recently been returned to the land of the living by some Goth who has the idea of creating for himself an army of the undead. Corny? Hell yes.

This is a game you're probably going to love for its childish humour, or hate (mainly for its childish humour). The idea is simple: kill the Goth who's just brought you back from the grave before he realises you're 'damaged' goods. You see, he messed up the whole resurrection thing and now you're uncontrollable. As soon as he realises this, he's likely to send you back where you came from. Unless, of course, you can deal with him first... Only this isn't as simple as it sounds because he's got a gun and you haven't. Trying to attack him is amusing as your arms aren't quite as durable as they were while you were alive and have a tendency to break off at the elbows.

Deadsville is quite a sick little game in places. Most of the humour is tinged with a fair amount of gore (the scene with the Goth after you've knocked him down, for instance, comes complete with a rather unsettling description of you eating his brains... hmm, nice) but, having said that, it is funny. Very funny. It might well depend on your sense of humour as to whether you like this game for what it is—a very funny comedy tale—or just find yourself wincing at the admittedly childish humour. Personally I loved it.

Do I want to play the full game? Definitely.

8 out of 10

"The Fox, The Dragon And The Stale Loaf Of Bread" by David Welbourne

If nothing else, this game will certainly win the award for Longest Game Title Entered In The Intro Comp 2005.

As you can probably gather from the overlong title, The Fox... is a comical fantasy game. You're some fellow looking for something to cook for his dinner. Simple background, but nice enough.

The first would-be meal I came across was a fox. As I was a hungry fellow, I tried eating it. It spoke to me, offering to help me later on if I decided not to eat it. Being a bit on the bloodthirsty side, I decided to eat it anyway. Which might well have stuffed up the game for me as I ran around for a while after that and couldn't seem to make any further progress.

Another time, I spared the fox, freed it, and then came across a baby dragon. Figuring out what to do here was a bit harder than with the fox due to (ha!) problems with the Inform parser. Now I'm quite used to people beating up the ADRIFT parser because of its weaknesses so I got a kind of perverse pleasure when typing REMOVE NAIL WITH KNIFE and being told I ONLY UNDERSTOOD YOU AS FAR AS WANTING TO REMOVE THE RUSTY IRON NAIL. No matter what I tried, I couldn't seem to get the parser to realise what I was trying to do.

That was pretty much as far as I got with the game. Nicely written for the most part, just not very interesting. The animals speak in a kind of storybook language that reminds me of the stories I used to read (or have read to me) as a kid. Okay if you're into that sort of thing I guess, though I can't say the game really gripped me.

Do I want to play the full game? No.

4 out of 10

"The Hobbit" by Serhei Makarow

This was the first game I had a crack at in the Intro Comp 2005. Why was this the first? Well, I was always a big fan of The Hobbit as a kid, both the book and the game version, so this was a natural choice to start with.

Bad choice as it happened.

The Hobbit doesn't really seem to have much in common with the previous version of the game I had played or, indeed, Tolkien's novel of the same name. It starts with the player stuck inside a mountain where everything is dark. And... well, that's about it. I wandered around, had an annoying message constantly flash on screen telling me THIS IS NOT A MAZE! and at some random point I just died. I'm not sure just why I died as the game didn't seem to think the reasons behind my death were important enough to relay to me. The highlight of my game playing experience was taking a drink from a pool of water.

I tried again. The game advises me to GROPE about. I tried it. Groping each of the main compass directions tell me that YOU FEEL NOTHING UNEXPECTED. Same goes for the floor. The walls apparently don't even exist because you're told you can't see them. Then again, as you're in total darkness that's perhaps to be expected.

The game doesn't come supplied with any hints as, the author unhelpfully informs me during the game, he has a No Hints Policy unless people actually ask him for them. Hence my Not Playing Bad Games Policy comes into effect.

Then I died again. Good. Saved me the hassle of typing QUIT.

(As an aside, does this game even qualify as an Intro? It's set during chapter 5 of The Hobbit and seems more like an Excerpt than an Intro.)

Do I want to play the full game? No.

2 out of 10

"Somewhen" by Bryce R. Rhaiz

I often start reviews with a little blurb about what the game is about. This one is different. Why? Well, I'm not entirely sure what it's about. You play the part of a journalist who has to get dirt on... something or other.

The game starts with your boss handing you a digital voice recorder and then rushing you out of his office. Unfortunately, the digital voice recorder then disappears from your inventory. Is this needed to make progress in the intro? If so, that would certainly go a long way towards explaining why I never managed to get anywhere.

There isn't a whole lot to do in Somewhen. In fact, there's nothing to do in Somewhen. You can wander around a few locations—some of which have been properly written (hinting that if this was a full size game, it might actually be something special), some of which haven't (i.e. you get a line of text compared to the lengthier descriptions elsewhere)—and that's about all you can do. There are some bellboys in one location but I was neither able to speak to or examine them. Then again, I wasn't able to examine a single thing. Is there anything to do here or is this the sole sum of the intro?

To be honest, this isn't the sort of game that should have been entered in the Intro Comp. It should have been entered in the Game I Started But Got Bored With After Five Minutes And Gave Up Comp. Some nice writing can't hide what is otherwise an intro that isn't even finished.

Do I want to play the full game? No.

2 out of 10

This article copyright © 2005, David Whyld

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