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The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

3 Quest Games

A forum where new and old games can be reviewed - an alternative to the reviews on the Adventures page of the main ADRIFT site. Also the place to ask for any assistance if you are stuck playing a particular game.

Postby David Whyld » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:36 pm

Interested in reading reviews of some totally amazing games? Well, don't read any further then because totally amazing games are *so* 2007. Bad games are all the rage these days and these three, I kid you not, are at the very height of that rage. Without further ado...
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Postby David Whyld » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:37 pm

"Sword Masters: Get Out Of The House" by emojo

The description for this game reads, and I kid you not, “this is honestly a great game”. My, but I love an author who is modest. So then, is this a great game? Honestly?

Well, here’s the description for the first room. Read it through and see if you think it’s “great”:

YOU ARE IN LIVING ROOM.
YOU CAN GO NORTH, SOUTH, EAST OR WEST.
YOU ARE IN THE LIVING ROOM.
THE DEATH BEARES HAVE TRAPPED YOU IN.

Hmmm… twice I'm told I'm in the living room. Then I'm told that the “death beares {sic}” have me trapped. Death beares? Are they similar to normal bears only deadlier on account of the extra E? Total mystery to me, I'm afraid. Despite the aforementioned death beares having me trapped, they can’t be examined, or fought, and don’t seem very inclined to start attacking me. That’s quality game testing right there and no mistake.

But wait! There’s more! I decided to play around and see what else I could do in this “honestly great” game. The room lists four exits, so I tried each of them, expecting to be moved into another location (this being generally what happens when you move in a direction). But not here. Oh no. Here we have:

> W
YOU SEE A PICTURE ON THE WALL.

> E
THERE IS A RADIO.
ON THE ARIAL IT AHS A NOTE SAYING:
TURN 180*

> S
YOU SEE A SMALL TAPPESTRY.

> N
YOU SEE A BARRED AND LOCKED WINDOW

So… in this game the directional commands seem to work like an examine command. Probably just as well really as the author, in his infinite (lack of) wisdom hasn’t seen fit to include descriptions of most items. Then again, the text is littered with so many spelling errors that trying to examine things would probably have me in tears anyway.

If all that wasn’t bad enough (and yes, it is definitely bad enough), there’s the game’s habit of telling you what to do next. You talk to the safe and a key appears. The game advises you to take it. You take the key and the game advises you to use it. Really takes the fun out of solving these “puzzles”, doesn’t it?

That was it. That was all I could take. To say the game was bad would be the understatement of the year. To say it was a steaming pile of camel droppings would be… well, an insult to steaming pile of camel droppings. It’s just *so* bad it’s a mystery that even the author could think it was worth releasing, let alone describing it as a great game.

Oh, and did I mention that the only capital letters used throughout the entire game are the ones included by Quest by default? Yep, the author apparently doesn’t think capital letters are worth including himself. Then again, he didn’t include a storyline or anything resembling gameplay either so I guess capital letters where they're needed was perhaps expecting too much.

Avoid this one like the plague.

1 out of 10
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Postby David Whyld » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:38 pm

"The Tavern" by Gamer

I must have been bored because recently I played an awful game and then, a few days later, I found myself wanting to play another. Now I could have been guaranteed a real stinker by picking one of the Sword Master games, but instead I decided to take a gamble and try a game by a new author. This ran the risk of me stumbling upon a decent game by mistake and being forced to write a review that was positive instead of negative, but I figured my chances were about 90/10 in favour of getting a truly awful game and about 10/90 in favour of getting one that was half playable. As it happened, this game fell firmly into the 90/10 category.

My god, but it’s bad. It’s not quite as bad as the Sword Master game I played recently, but it’s a definite 1 out of 10 stinker on any credible scoring system. Here is an author who at least has a reasonably good grasp of capital letters and knows that it’s generally a good idea to start a sentence with one. He’s not quite as experienced with full stops and putting letters in the correct order to make proper words but I’ll let those minor problems pass for now and move to his real strength: item descriptions. Yes, some games bombard the player with line after line of carefully detailed text, painting in their mind a vivid picture of the item in question in order that they can fully visualise it. Not here. Oh no. Here we are told that the bed “it’s your bed” and the bedside table “it’s a bedside table”. Brilliant! First rate! I can but only wonder at the sheer amount of time and effort that went into creating those masterpiece descriptions. The game weighs in at a hefty 5kb and methinks that as much as 0.5kb was expended on these truly stupendous item descriptions. Maybe 0.6kb.

(Funnily enough, this review weighs in at about 5kb as well which means I wrote about as many words telling you what the game is like as the author did in writing it.)

However, we are also bizarrely asked, upon trying to examine the bookshelf, which bookshelf we mean “the bookshelf or the bookshelf?” A quick perusal of the room indicates only one bookshelf but clearly I'm blind as the game insists there are two. Upon selecting one, my eyesight-challenged player is told “it’s a bedside table”. A bedside table that also functions as a bookshelf? That’s genius! I'm intrigued at the very idea and keep trying to picture it in my mind: is it a bedside table which is effectively nailed to the wall and then books are placed atop it? Or a bookshelf with legs that sits on the floor? The mind just boggles.

Later I try to read a book. I am particularly impressed by the level of spelling and grammar in this scene which tells me “seu rodo nothat desperate” which, if you squint, and if you have severe mental problems and are incapable of reading the English language, almost makes sense. Use of the book impressed me further as there's a puzzle involved here. No, seriously. I'm not joking. It really is a puzzle. It seems you need to throw the book at the door which causes the door to explode as the book is really a bomb! My god! What an inspired idea! Pity I need to USE BOOK ON DOOR to throw the book at the door instead of THROW BOOK AT DOOR but in a game that has been as rigorously tested as this one (I'm guessing upwards of five minutes were spent on the testing process alone) it’s easy to overlook such minor problems.

I should probably also mention that the book is really a super book. Yeah, y’see even after you’ve thrown it at the door and it’s exploded and you’ve been moved to another location, it’s still in your inventory! Well, it’s an exploding book so quite clearly the normal laws of physics don’t apply here.

By this time, I had satisfied my curiosity that this was indeed an awful game. I'm tempted to point out in one long sentence punctuated by commas the sheer number of things that the author had failed to cover – like you can’t open doors, you can’t read books, you can’t open cardboard boxes, you can’t put items on top of items that have surfaces, you can’t knock on doors, you can’t take certain items even though there's nothing stopping you, you can’t lie on the bed, you're told to take the pistol even after you’ve taken it, the first room description is repeated because the author has just tacked his own description onto the end of Quest’s default, it’s not “rumage” it’s “rummage”, there's no bleeding storyline – but that would be just mean, so I’ll finish off by saying that if you're in the mood for an untested piece of tripe that even the game’s author is probably embarrassed about (and if he isn't, he damn well should be), this is the game for you. While it doesn’t reach quite the depths of sheer godawful crapness that the recent Sword Master game did, it’s a worthy addition to the huge array of Quest’s games that can effectively be described as “stinkers, best avoided”.

On the crapness scale, this game is awarded a resounding 5 out of 5.
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Postby David Whyld » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:38 pm

"Doomed!" by Gamer

The last game by Gamer (great name for a game writer by the way) unimpressed me so much I just had to try another. Has he improved since the masterpiece of game writing that was “The Tavern”? Has he managed to write a game that could accurately be described as “not that cr*p”? Has he – heaven forbid! – written a proper item description? Welllllllllllllll….

The premise of this game is every bit as gripping as the premise of “The Tavern”: it seems an evul man has taken over a house and is planning to end the world. You can tell he’s a nasty piece of work by his refusal to conform to normal spelling conventions and be merely evil. A bad guy who thinks he’s evul is really someone to watch out for.

So… into the house you go to confront the evul man. At one point you're told to press a key or “people will dye”. I hesitated at first, wondering how many people would “dye” if I didn’t press a key. None as it happened. A full five minutes went by without anybody “dyeing”. Reassured by this, I pressed a key, breathed a sigh of relief when no one “dyed”, and proceeded to play the game in earnest.

One room has a clock in it which I am informed is odd. Actually I'm informed it’s odd twice, which goes to show just how odd it really is. This odd clock is, indeed, odd. Despite being of clock size, it’s impossible to take but when the minute hand is examined, you can be shot 1000000 times by a gun. (Which probably explains your inability to take it. 1000000 bullets must weigh a tonne.) Pretty good gun, I have to admit. Even though it shot me, I'm singularly impressed that any manufacturer of weapons can load it with 1000000 bullets. Even more so, I'm impressed that the gun goes ahead and shoots me 1000000 times, despite the fact that the first few shots surely killed me. Still, it’s good of the game to count that I'm shot exactly 1000000 times. Being shot 999999 times just wouldn’t be the same.

However, and here's where the game really starts to shine, if you examine the hour hand of the clock, a frying pan falls out of the ceiling. Haha! This seems to be one of those houses where frying pans aren't stored in the kitchen but in the ceiling which are accessed via manipulating the hands on clocks loaded with 1000000 bullets. Makes sense. Makes perfect sense. Pity it’s an invisible frying pan, though, as even though it falls from the ceiling upon examining the hour hand, it never shows up in the game. Bummer.

As a puzzle, this one is top notch. It’s impossible to figure out beforehand, will kill you if you select the wrong option, which, of course, you can’t possibly reason out, and if you get it right, you're rewarded with absolutely sod all. They sure don’t make puzzles like this anymore.

Remember the comment I made before about item descriptions? Curious to see whether they’ve improved? No? Well, me neither actually but I’ll tell you about them anyway. The fridge is described as “it’s a fridge”. The stove, on the other hand, the author has spent considerably longer on and has fleshed out the description to “it’s a dirty stove!” I have admiration for this lengthier and far more insightful description. Adding the word ‘dirty’ allows me to more accurately picture the stove in my mind, and the exclamation mark on the end just hammers home what a dirty stove it really is. Then again, this is the stove of an evul man, so it makes sense that he’s too busy trying to make people “dye” to worry about keeping his stove clean.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to encounter the evul man and save people from a fate worse than “dyeth”. He is, I am informed, behind a locked door, but by the time I reached this stage of the game, my sanity was dangerously close to breaking (this was the second game by the same author I had played in the space of 24 hours), and it was a case of either quit playing right then or suffer some kind of hideous seizure. I might even… gulp… have “dyed”.

Overall, I'm tempted to say it’s not as bad as “The Tavern”, but that’s a bit like saying that a mass murderer with 927 deaths to his name isn't quite as bad as a mass murderer with 928 deaths to his name. On a technical scale of competent game writing, with 1 being an absolute stinker and 10 being the kind of game that’s so amazing you'd cry if you ever managed to get hold of it, this would rank about… minus 5. Maybe minus 6. But definitely not a minus 7.

In terms of sheer crapness, it’s another 5 out of 5 corker.
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Postby Lumin » Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:28 pm

Ha, thanks for this! You just put a huge grin on my face right before I have to head off to work. rofl

It's weird, here I was just thinking, 'You know, David doesn't seem nearly as active as he used to be, ack maybe he's gotten a life outside of ADRIFT, he's going to abandon us oh no'. But now my fears have been assuaged with not one but three patented Sarcastic Reviews. :D

My only regret is the shortage of bad Adrift games means you've had to resort to mocking bad Quest games...never actually thought I'd see the day when I missed all the 2k masterpieces being regularly uploaded on the main page.
Currently working on: Nada. Zip. Zilch. [Check this space later.]
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Postby Campbell » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:13 am

Love it! rofl
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Postby J. J. Guest » Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:30 pm

Great reviews, David! If I ever get around to building that "Museum of Bad IF" website I've been planning, can I use them?
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Postby David Whyld » Sun Jan 13, 2008 4:09 pm

Sure, go ahead. I'm always happy to contribute to something that gives a bad game writers a hard time :)

Funnily enough, the author of "The Tavern" read my review of his game over on the Quest site and even thanked me for "a nice review". I can't quite decide if he's being sarcastic or he thought because I said it was 5 out of 5 on the cr*p scale, that means I liked it...
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Postby ElliotM » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:30 am

David, you must have had endurance of steel to have mucked through those 'gems'. :haha:

I've played a few quest games, if they could be called games, and I would have to agree with the overall assesment of the lot.
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