The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

The Perfect Spy - Black Master

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 » Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:25 pm

The first thing I thought when starting this game was “effing hell, that’s one big wall of text”. As I was playing in a minimised window, the introductory wall of text I was hit with sprawled to just over five screens. Ouch. Hitting someone with *that* mother right at the start of the game just isn't a good idea.

After the wall of text – complete with numerous typos and commas in the wrong place – was past, I got on with the game itself. The storyline is a nice enough idea – scientists trying to create a super spy have discovered how to transform humans into various animals – but it isn't handled very well. Another huge wall of text when changing into a tiger is just so over the top that my eyes glazed over when I saw it.

There are a number of bugs, most involving changing back and forth between human and animal. As a mouse, I was able to carry around some tools (yes, very strong these mice) and at other times, exits would only become available if I was in one form yet be invisible in others. This meant there tended to be a lot of changing back and forth between various forms to see if there was anything hidden. In some locations, the CHANGE command won’t work and instead returns an error message, no doubt the author only intended it to work in certain places and didn’t account for people trying it elsewhere. Worst bug of the lot, though, and the one that really brought the game to a crashing halt, was the author’s strange decision to hide a key item. In one location, there's a certain item you need to take to progress further, only for a reason I can’t quite fathom the author has chosen to hide it away and not make it possible to discover. This makes the game unfinishable without a cheating look into the Generator.

Then again, the puzzle with the ball of yarn (yes, I've given away the name of the item there, but as you won’t finish the game without cheating this isn't likely to spoil anything for you) shouldn’t really be necessary anyway. I was able to change back into a human inside the hole – despite the room description assuming I'm still a mouse – so surely a fully grown human should be able to see off one little cat?

Overall, a bit disappointing. Not the worst game by a newbie I've ever played, but the puzzles need a good reworking and the text some serious rewriting before I could recommend it.
David Whyld
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