ADRIFT Forum


The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

Ectocomp 2008 Reviews

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 J. J. Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:15 pm

JUDGE: Duncan Bowsman

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Forest House 3: Sacrifice | Seciden Mencarde |
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SCORE: 4
Comments: Scope of story too large for 3 hour comp.
Falls flat. Screwdriver item unnecessary.
Fight scene with Beast feels ridiculous--
especially since character attacks unarmed
when armed with a knife (a standard dining
knife? vague-- butter knife? steak knife?).
Too much exposition throughout the story.
Characters don't feel sincere.
String theory elements come out of left field.
Mencarde has a good storyboard for the
Forest House series... now he needs
to go through & develop it.

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Drinks with Lord Hansom | James Webb |
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SCORE: 8
Comments: Well-written, subtle horror.
Best horror of the comp, best story of comp.


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Conversation with a Hitchhiker | James Webb |
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SCORE: 3
Comments: Confusing... seems to lack details that inform
player what needs to be done. Feels aimless.


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Salutations | Lumin |
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SCORE: 6
Comments: Good adventure with tight focus on multi-step
puzzle & frightening scenario. Unfortunately,
some coding issues-- likely from lack of
testing due to time limit-- broke immersion.
Repeating messages such as picking up the pack
Guess the verb issues with "pour the whiskey"
Flask of whiskey not openable
With a few fixes, could be a solid adventure.

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Blast | Richard Otter |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 3
Comments: Feels pointless... too few shots with guns.
Demons seem to attack too many times?
Demons attack & die upon sight after the first?
Might appeal to some, but just not my style.

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Return to Dracula's Castle II: | Mel S |
Revenge of Dracula's Castle | |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 7
Comments: Hilarious. Tone carried through the whole piece.
Good spoof with strong narrative voice.
Made me laugh out loud many times.
Had to open it in generator to beat it, but the
unrelenting lack of hints supported thematics.
Error: peyote is eaten, not smoked.
Game's exaggeratedly negative representation of
drug use/freak culture is somewhat worrying to
me...

---------------------------------------------------------
Del Sol | Albaniua |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4
Comments: Obviously, I did not go to the same high school
as this author. Nolsen is a "regular" student,
but spends his time sleeping through classes,
smoking dope, and having girls throw themselves
at him left & right (making out with them left
& right).
Player is instructed he/she may LOOK AT TEACHER,
but this task rarely-- if ever-- works.
The alternative reality/dream sequence scheme was
interesting, but executed somewhat poorly.
Use of ADRIFT's combat system did not help this game.
Overall, felt thrown-together & sloppy, writing
lacks unity of effect shown by the comp's stronger
entries.
As with R2DC, some representations seem worrying.
I respect I may not be this game's target audience.




Edited By The Amazing Poodle Boy on 1232407001
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Postby J. J. Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:17 pm

[This form was filled out by dswxyz [David Welbourn].]


---------------------------------------------------------
Forest House 3: Sacrifice | Seciden Mencarde |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 7
Comments: I find it startling that the Forest House series
has managed to extend itself this far. It's kinda like,
you find some kid's chalk drawing doodles on a sidewalk
one day. Then a week later there's more chalk drawings
similar to the first, but with the characters in different
poses. Then the week after that, the kid's starting to
use the sidewalk squares as comic strip panels, using
the tiles in sequence to start telling a story with the
chalk-drawn figures. It's still pretty crude, but you
can't help but be impressed with the progress.

I only found 3 of the 4 endings. Someone please tell me
what I missed!



---------------------------------------------------------
Drinks with Lord Hansom | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 8
Comments: Excellent story; shame the 3 hour time limit
forced most of it into two HUGE TEXTDUMPS.
Textdumps are not interactive, y'know. The puzzle was
fine, although it felt a bit shoehorned in there.
And I would've liked to interact with the gentlemen
and setting in the framing text. But excellent story.



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Conversation with a Hitchhiker | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4
Comments: I got to two of the three endings, but I'm not
sure why. I feel very fumbly-stumbly in conversation-only
games, groping for topics, and I usually miss some vital
topic and get stuck. I didn't get stuck here, but it
wasn't clear if I was making any progress either. It's
all question-response, with little to indicate if the
game world status has changed in any way. I suppose if
I played this over and over again I might figure it out,
but I'm not really motivated to.



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Salutations | Lumin |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 6
Comments: Not the best title; I keep forgetting which
game this is and reopening it to remind me. Oh yeah,
it's the spider web one. Okay. I liked the main puzzle,
and figured out what I was meant to do -- but I had
trouble telling the game that. There were little bugs
involving the pack and its contents, and some commands
that ought to have worked didn't; I had to go into the
debugger to get the right phrasing. I blame the 3-hour
time limit, though. I'm sure this would've been more
polished under normal development. And I was sad the game
ended so soon, so you did something right.



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Blast | Richard Otter |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 3
Comments: ehn. It works, I suppose, but randomized combat
with arbitrary weapons that just happen to be there, the
obligatory monster of the week, and the ho-hum office setting
all adds up to a colourless, cheerless playing experience.
I moreorless have already played this in "Jason Vs Salm",
and although this is a better version of that, it's still
not that much fun.



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Return to Dracula's Castle II: | Mel S |
Revenge of Dracula's Castle | |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 9
Comments: Oh my god. Totally funny. I can just imagine
the prequel, where 8-year old Dracula bullys you in
the playground, runs over your kid sister with his
tricycle -- insert crane shot of you yelling DRACULAAAA!
-- then we cut to Dracula at home, writing "Mrs. Arthur
Winslow" on his pencilcase and drawing little hearts all
around it.



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Del Sol | Albaniua |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 1
Comments: I gave up on this one pretty quickly.
The prologue mentions several specialized commands to use,
and none of them actually work. At least, not those exact
phrases. There's almost nothing in the inital classroom
to look at or interact with, so you're left with
guess-the-phrase right from the start. Not good.
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Postby J. J. Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:18 pm

Judge: Mark Tilford (ralphmerridew)

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Forest House 3: Sacrifice | Seciden Mencarde |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4
Comments: I'm not familiar with the previous Forest House games, and
this game appears to have been too
ambitious for a 3-hour comp; it runs out of implementation late on.



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Drinks with Lord Hansom | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 10
Comments:



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Conversation with a Hitchhiker | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4
Comments:



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Salutations | Lumin |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4
Comments:



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Blast | Richard Otter |
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SCORE: 2
Comments:



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Return to Dracula's Castle II: | Mel S |
Revenge of Dracula's Castle | |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 9
Comments:



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Del Sol | Albaniua |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 1
Comments: Don't be discouraged. Writing IF takes skill at programming
and writing, and to be able to do it
well in the three hours allotted for the comp takes a lot of practice.
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Postby J. J. Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:19 pm

Judge: Mel S


---------------------------------------------------------
Forest House 3: Sacrifice | Seciden Mencarde |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 7
Comments: I hadn't played the first two games in the series before playing this which did make the plot, especially near the end, a bit hard to follow but I still got drawn in and found myself enjoying it. My only problem was with the somewhat limited room descriptions and the lack of interactable objects, it takes you out of the story when you see something like a bed or a dresser in a room and aren't able to look at it. Other than that I had an enjoyable time playing the game and it definitely makes me want to go back and play the first two in the series.



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Drinks with Lord Hansom | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 10
Comments: Just reading the first few lines of dialogue for this game pretty much tells you all you need to know about it, James Webb is an incredibly, incredibly gifted writer. But not only that, he manages to craft some really ingenious puzzles to boot, and although the game only has two rooms, it's packed full of so much depth it doesn't feel too short or too easy, it feels rewarding to finish. I don't know if you could make a better game than this in 3 hours.

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Conversation with a Hitchhiker | James Webb |
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SCORE: 5
Comments: I don't think this is as successful as James' other game but it's an interesting experiment. Trying to talk to someone clearly unstable and dangerous is a fascinating idea but I never really felt like I was learning about the hitchhiker or having any impact on him, eventually I just had to open up the generator so I could find the topics I had to trigger to survive the ride. This is a great blueprint for a game and with more time I think it could become something amazing but I don't think it lives up to it's full potential right now.


---------------------------------------------------------
Salutations | Lumin |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 6
Comments: This was a very easy and short game but I liked the sense of urgency it created and gigantic spiders always gets a plus in my book. As a short little vignette of insect terror, I think it succeeeds.



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Blast | Richard Otter |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 3
Comments: Running around an office firing missles and AK-47's at a demon sounds like a good idea but this game unfortunately suffers from a lot of problems. There's hardly any description for the rooms, there's a lot of spelling mistakes (especially "trail of blood" repeatedly referred to as a "trial of blood") and it just ends up being frustrating instead of fun.



---------------------------------------------------------
Return to Dracula's Castle II: | Mel S |
Revenge of Dracula's Castle | |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 1,000,000
Comments:



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Del Sol | Albaniua |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 2
Comments: Wow. I guess the first thing to notice about the game is that it doesn't seem to have anything to do with Halloween at all, which is a bit odd considering this was a competition set up for Halloween games. But, judging it as some surreal nonsensical high school simulator, it's kind of fascinating in it's extreme weirdness. The game doesn't really work or make sense and there's countless problems with spelling and writing but I still kept playing just to see what bizarre thing would happen next. I've never played a game that allowed me to both repeatedly make out with a girl behind a band saw and battle satantic acidic sponges, and maybe human eyes were never supposed to witness these things together in a game, but there was still something oddly intriguing about it.
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Postby J. J. Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:20 pm

Judge: Alvin Echeverria


---------------------------------------------------------
Forest House 3: Sacrifice | Seciden Mencarde |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4
Comments: Glitchy. I got stuck in the furnace room and couldn't get the dumb furnace open
went up although I don't think I was supposed to...I liked the way the rooms worked, the movement was cool.
The ending sucked...



---------------------------------------------------------
Drinks with Lord Hansom | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 6
Comments: In the style of Edgar Allen Poe. The shifting between flashbacks was cool, well written.
very demure in its scariness...



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Conversation with a Hitchhiker | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 7
Comments: A high score only because it was the ONLY game that actually gave me a chill...had to use
the debugger to find it though.



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Salutations | Lumin |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 3
Comments: Impossible to play without the debugger?! I didn't even know that I was wearing a coat.
the spiders did eat me the first time, though.



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Blast | Richard Otter |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 5
Comments: It was fun running around trying to kill the demon. The limited amo was a nice touch of reality.
I couldn't find a use for the corpse so I just stuffed it in the filing cabinet.
I killed the demon but I didn't "win" the game. I ran around trying to find if there was anything else to do.
Finally just exited out.



---------------------------------------------------------
Return to Dracula's Castle II: | Mel S |
Revenge of Dracula's Castle | |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 8
Comments: HILLARIOUS. Never streched itself out too much. My favorite part was the gritty guitar solo in the intro.
I loved the luggage descriptions and the fact that I could take a 12 hour nap and still be able to kick Draculas butt.




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Del Sol | Albaniua |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: -10203957101239 points
Comments: The LAMEST game i've never played. I was going to have my high school kids play it ( I teach high school physics),
but I'd have to take the weed out...is it even winable?
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Postby J. J. Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:21 pm

Judge: Lumin


---------------------------------------------------------
Forest House 3: Sacrifice | Seciden Mencarde |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 6
Comments:

Looking back, it's interesting to note that all three entries in the Forest House series were written under heavy restrictions, so with this game as well as the others it's easy to forgive the relatively minor flaws it contains. (The most notable of which are the room descriptions that disappear once a certain event happens. Luckily this wasn't anything that kept the game from being unwinnable, and anyway I guess it's kind of a tradition...) In the end I think I preferred Return to Forest House over this one, but I'm left impressed by the sheer amount of plot (including multiple endings!) that Seciden managed to cram into a three hour game. (Even if all the magitechnobabble at the end WAS a little hard to follow... :-P )

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Drinks with Lord Hansom | James Webb |
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SCORE: 10
Comments:

At the time of typing this comment I'm only three games into the comp, but I think I've already found the winner. 'Drinks with Lord Hansom' may be a little light on the interaction front, but as fiction it's superb...not to sell it short as traditional IF of course, it DOES have a nice puzzle as its centerpiece, but for me the writing is where it really shined. Though the plots are entirely different, I was reminded somewhat of David's game, 'The Cellar', another short fiction-centric game I thoroughly enjoyed, and I'm thinking we could really use more IF in this vein.


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Conversation with a Hitchhiker | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 8
Comments:
I did enjoy the author's other entry more, but this is still an excellent game that more than any other in the comp begs for an expanded version - it's such an interesting premise, and while James (impressively enough, given the time restrictions) managed to fit in three distinct endings, I desperately want to see Ethan given the full Galatea treatment.

The only criticism I can come up with is that the pacing seemed a little off, at times I ran out of conversation topics and could only hit 'z' over and over until the plot progressed a little and I could ask Ethan about something else. (I was also unable to tell exactly what triggered one ending over another, but that in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing.)


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Salutations | Lumin |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 100,000,000,000,000,000
Comments:

BEST GAME EVER??? BEST GAME EVER!!!


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Blast | Richard Otter |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4

Comments: While there's nothing really objectively wrong with the game, (other than a big that made the demon keep appearing and attacking me after it was dead) to be honest I thought it was a little on the dull side. I've yet to discover an IF game where 'shoot x with y' could hold my interest for very long. A more satisfying ending or just a little more 'flavor' to the descriptions in general would have made up for this and been worth a couple of more points, but I suppose there's only so much that could be done within the time limit.



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Return to Dracula's Castle II: | Mel S |
Revenge of Dracula's Castle | |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 8
Comments:

There may not be a whole lot to actually DO here, but the writing is fantastic, I want to play a whole series of games written by the amazing, brilliant, and devastatingly handsome Arthur Winslow. ;-) Also, I just realized that this is the only Mel S game I've ever played. If the others are even half as funny as this one I definitely need to check them out, and soon.

The only flaw I could find with this one is that a short game is made even shorter by the fact that due to a task that apparently had no restrictions you can easily skip the only significant puzzle - I didn't even find out about the trapdoor until I checked the generator after beating the game.

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Del Sol | Albaniua |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 2
Comments:

Lots and lots of typos and spelling errors, even for a three hour game...though unfortunately typos aren't the worst of the problems - the premise is interesting (even if it barely fits the theme), but in practice the game is basically unplayable, at times bordering on incomprehensible when you're dealing like things like invisible gamblers showing up during physics class. As I said, I liked the IDEA of the plot and the decision (rather than object) based gameplay, but it clearly needed more than three hours of work to do it justice.
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Postby J. J. Guest » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:21 pm

Judge: Nick Rogers


---------------------------------------------------------
Forest House 3: Sacrifice | Seciden Mencarde |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 6/10
Comments:
Low key intro. Good room descriptions, but virtually nothing implemented. 3 hour comp, I guess. Because so little is implemented, the actual puzzles are harder than they should be, because I then assumed that *nothing* was implemented. But there are a couple of objects implemented, which are crucial to the solution. The fight with the beast is a bit of a let down. The beast will happily sit there and wait for you to beat him. No threat. There is a complex resolution involving multiple futures and dimensions, which mostly makes sense. Mostly enjoyable, but not scary.

---------------------------------------------------------
Drinks with Lord Hansom | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 7/10
Comments:
Interesting intro, lots of text, not much interaction, but it is a 3 hour game I suppose. Some absolutely horrible GTV with the dials on the casket. Had to open the game in the generator to work it out. Not sure if I worked the dial puzzle out the way it was intended, but a good story. I had a twinge of, if not fear, certainly morbid fascination.

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Conversation with a Hitchhiker | James Webb |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 5/10
Comments:
Not as straightforward as the author's other work in this comp, Drinks. This one is essentially just a conversation with the eponymous hitchhiker. The hitchhiker appears to be hiding something. The conversation is stilted, partly I think because that is the character of the hitchhiker, not willing to engage in real conversation. But it makes the gameplay a bit frustrating. There are three endings to reach, one ending you can get to in one move. Ending two is actually the easiest to reach, which is also the "good" ending. Ending three is hard to reach, because you have to go outside the conversation concept to reach it.
Not as engaging at Drinks.

---------------------------------------------------------
Salutations | Lumin |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 7/10
Comments:
Some good writing here. Plot is very Shelob-inspired. Some GTV - I knew the whiskey and lighter were to be used on the egg sack, but it wouldn't let me do it until after the spider was dead. I was surprised by the appearance of the knife, which isn't mentioned until you X BACKPACK. Actions are not entirely logical - killing the spider while attached to the web seems a bit impossible. You'd at least need to let it get close if all you have is a knife. Still, some good writing. I don't like spiders, and this probably came closest that any of the games to give me a chill.

---------------------------------------------------------
Blast | Richard Otter |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 4/10
Comments:
Basic splatter game, not much to it. There appears to be one demon, although the status line says "Kills", which I managed to get to read "2". No explanation given to why there are a variety of guns scattered around the office. No explanation for the demon, either. The descriptions are a bit bland, though. There's no fear in this, except for waiting for the demon to pop out. A few bugs (spellings, capitalisation, etc), but nothing showstopping.

---------------------------------------------------------
Return to Dracula's Castle II: | Mel S |
Revenge of Dracula's Castle | |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 6/10
Comments:
Hmm, could be a spoof. Yep definately a spoof. Oh, Mel S, right. Kudos for making me think, for a second, that I had missed one of Infocom's adventures. That was about the scariest thing about this game, though.
Bit of GTV with the rocket launcher. Some funny response to things. Pretty simple game in the end. Quite good for three hours.

---------------------------------------------------------
Del Sol | Albaniua |
---------------------------------------------------------
SCORE: 2/10
Comments:
Not sure if this is supposed to be scary or not. Some horrible intro text. Non-implemented instructions. Non-implemented objects. Uninspiriing writing. Not my cuppa. I didn't finish. I loaded it up in the generator to find out what you might actually have to do. There seems to be a drug-induced dream sequence, which again is not my cuppa. I don't like trying to play a character who is forced to do things I wouldn't do without any reason.
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