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Monsters(Release 2) By Tech - 2 out of 10

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Postby Cobra1 » Sat Aug 28, 2004 10:02 pm

Well, I'm back to give this reviewing thing a try again. My target this time is the second release of Monsters by the Drifter "Tech". My first instinct was "He went back and FIXED things!"...okay, my first was really "What was so bad with the first one?", but I digress. Unfortunately, there are several things he missed in this release...

Did I tell you could do that?

When it starts, you are in a day bed in "Sissy's" and your bedroom. Naturally, you're laying in the day bed and know that there are monsters lurking about in your room. You must defeat them to save yourself and your family. Taken from the point of view of a young child's imagination, the concept is unique. It sadly devolves from a different POV to a nightmarish chore. First off, the commands can and WILL have you fighting with the game until you break down and look at the game in the generator. For example, reaching Sissy's bed requires you to "jump from the edge of your bed"...Okay, I tried "jump edge Sissy's", "jump edge", "leap edge" and "move to edge"...I even tried just "edge" to no avail. I found out that just typing "jump poster/Sissy' " would work. Well...WHY was the edge of the bed mentioned at all if it's not crucial to the command? Oh, and that wasn't a typo. The game didn't accept Sissy's with the s on the end.

Speaking of Sissy, you oddly are not allowed to shake her awake unless you are on her bed...no clue why, but the game seems to force this. Your character is completely incapable of waking her on the floor.

There's another scene where you can hit the light switch on the wall by standing on the chair, or at least that's what they tell you. You can stand on the chair and flail at the light switch all you like, but it will not activate no matter what. Apparently he put it in the game then forgot what he wanted to do with it...Despite the game telling you that you can use it when you "x" it.

Then, there are the missed ideas entirely...one more scene tells you that you can unlock and open the door while another tells you that the coupe in the room can be driven. Where these two things collide is that you can head down the hallway WITHOUT unlocking and opening the door! You would think this was crucial, but the magic of the coupe allows you to coast straight through the door unheeded. In fact, I didn't know I should have opened until later...

Unaffected by death

The good and bad thing about this game is that you can never be killed. Many times I triggered a monster in this game and was "taken back to <my> day bed". However, the game once again tells and doesn't. You can wander nearly ANYWHERE and not be truly affected. Enter the closet without killing the monster in there, take the light and chair then exit again just fine. The game will say you've been attacked, but you will be in the exact place you should be with all items intact. Sadly, this later causes into one of the strongest game stoppers I've seen. If you head further down the hallway later on, past your parent's bedroom, you will be trapped in the hallway north of your bedroom with no way back to the main hallway. This can be frustrating if you defeated all of the monsters prior to this, only to be trapped by faulty programming.

So what exactly is going on out there?

As I wandered, I questioned more and more about the game. Electric lights are being used, the mother is sleeping, the hallways and all are dark...Yet, the shades let in sunlight and you are on your day bed. You find a flashlight that destroys on monster, but it doesn't kill the monsters in the dark hallway. You wake up Sissy and she asks you "what's up", yet you do not reply(despite the game speaking for you in several other cases). She is standing half-asleep, yet she can pedal full power down a hallway...I'm just looking for a little consistency here.

Also, when the final monster dies, the game doesn't end...you have to go to a specific room and TRIGGER the ending. A room that usually kicks you out of the game when you go there early...Why would you go there when you are done? Shouldn't there be some victory speech as well? You kill several monsters, but evidence of their presence(goo, how things look) is still there.


In all, I was rather disappointed. To go over the game and STILL miss this much is just wrong...The concept was great, but it's a shame the execution was so sloppy...


2/10(monster bait)
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Postby davidw » Sat Aug 28, 2004 10:55 pm

Nice review.

I haven't played the second version of Monsters as I assumed it was just an updated version of the first with a few bug fixes, but it looks like the bugs have grown to Monsterous proportions. :8

I seem to think the first version had a few problems with guess-the-verb - the bed was mainly referred to bed but you had to type "day bed" to actually get anywhere.

Looks like the new version didn't just fix the existing bugs but introduce a few more into the mix.
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Postby LapTop Tech » Sun Aug 29, 2004 5:01 pm

I'd like to thank you for playing through Monsters no matter how frustrating it appeared to get. Monsters was originally written for a mini-competition. See the entire results here http://www.shadowvault.net/comp-1.htm . Monsters is also my very first piece of IF released and it placed last, so a rewrite seemed necessary.

I found out that just typing "jump poster/Sissy' " would work.

The whole bed puzzle has been a problematic one. The original implementation brook down the bedroom into several different rooms. Mosters r2 put everything in one. The idea behind the puzzle is that you couldn't get down directly on the floor for fear of the monster under the bed. The only way was to travel over the floor by jumping to the other bed. I suspect that this puzzle is problematic for any player because of 1) poor implementation of all commands that could be used to jump and 2) the presence of two common objects in the same location (the beds). There was some attempt to make sure that they could be disambiguated by making one a poster bed and the other a day bed; however, couple that with the use of an apostrophe and reason #1, well, now we got some issues.

Speaking of Sissy, you oddly are not allowed to shake her awake unless you are on her bed...no clue why, but the game seems to force this. Your character is completely incapable of waking her on the floor.

This was meant as a second puzzle because your sister sleeps so soundly. My take on your response is that this is an annoying puzzle. I would also say that implementing the sister NPC a little more straightforward AND interactive would have made this more enjoyable.

There's another scene where you can hit the light switch on the wall by standing on the chair, or at least that's what they tell you. You can stand on the chair and flail at the light switch all you like, but it will not activate no matter what. Apparently he put it in the game then forgot what he wanted to do with it...Despite the game telling you that you can use it when you "x" it.

I really think that this is a big old mistake. Shame on me.

Then, there are the missed ideas entirely...one more scene tells you that you can unlock and open the door while another tells you that the coupe in the room can be driven. Where these two things collide is that you can head down the hallway WITHOUT unlocking and opening the door! You would think this was crucial, but the magic of the coupe allows you to coast straight through the door unheeded. In fact, I didn't know I should have opened until later...

You are right. This idea is crucial as the puzzles were meant to be solved in order. Each solution unlocked the next puzzle. What went missing here is a critical restriction that the task of unlocking the door was not checked. Ouch. At this point, I'm blue and purple with bruises.

The good and bad thing about this game is that you can never be killed. Many times I triggered a monster in this game and was "taken back to <my> day bed". However, the game once again tells and doesn't. You can wander nearly ANYWHERE and not be truly affected. Enter the closet without killing the monster in there, take the light and chair then exit again just fine. The game will say you've been attacked, but you will be in the exact place you should be with all items intact. Sadly, this later causes into one of the strongest game stoppers I've seen. If you head further down the hallway later on, past your parent's bedroom, you will be trapped in the hallway north of your bedroom with no way back to the main hallway. This can be frustrating if you defeated all of the monsters prior to this, only to be trapped by faulty programming.

Shame, shame, shame. This is the same issue as the coupe. No restrictions checked. I think that I have more than bruises now.

As I wandered, I questioned more and more about the game. Electric lights are being used, the mother is sleeping, the hallways and all are dark...Yet, the shades let in sunlight and you are on your day bed. You find a flashlight that destroys on monster, but it doesn't kill the monsters in the dark hallway.

The light coming in from the shades is light from the neighbor's back yard light. Thinking rightly about this, I agree. More tasks should be introduced to show why the other monster's are not affected by the light/flashlight.


Also, when the final monster dies, the game doesn't end...you have to go to a specific room and TRIGGER the ending. A room that usually kicks you out of the game when you go there early...Why would you go there when you are done? Shouldn't there be some victory speech as well? You kill several monsters, but evidence of their presence(goo, how things look) is still there.

At this point, I think mimesis is dead. You (and I) are very tired from the lack of polish. This paragraph may not have even occured if some of the ealier issues were not in the game. Your whole reflection on this is shaded by your experience up to this point.

Since this was an entry for a mini-comp, I don't believe that we'll see another release in ADRIFT. I really appreciate the feedback and think that it would be best applied on new projects.
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