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Identity

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 davidw » Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:25 am

Game: Identity

Author: Dave Bernazzani


Games starting in cryotubes seem to be a fave amongst IF writers for this year's Comp as this is the second one in a row I've played. I wonder what the fascination is? Hey, if you see one called The Cryotube Game in next year's IFComp, you'll know I've succumbed to the urge.

Identity has you, the player, awakening in his cryotube as, yes you guessed it, an emergency has begun and the spaceship is on the verge of being destroyed. Kind of makes you wonder why anyone in their right mind would ever set foot inside a cryotube… Your aim is, basically, to survive.

So out of the cryotube you go. Or not as the case may be. Getting out of the cryotube highlights one of this game's annoying flaws: tedious puzzles. No simple "open cryotube" or "unlock cryotube" here. Examining the cryotube informs me that it's still latched but not even "unlatch cryotube" will work. Now if there's one thing I've never been especially fond of in IF games, it's ones that start you in a locked first location and you have to really struggle to escape. It just seems so… oh, I dunno… boring. Give the player something nice and easy to begin with, to make them play your game and perhaps even enjoy it. Don't hit them with a boring puzzle from the word go and expect them to thank you for it.

I almost quit. Almost. But in the end I had a look at the hints and just typed in the commands from there to get me out of the cryotube. Cheating? Yes. But then this review wouldn't have been very complimentary if all I'd had to base it on was the first location. Does that justify cheating? I'll let someone else decide.

Once out of the cryotube, I expected the game to open up a bit more. Unfortunately I was disappointed. I'm in another locked location (or two locked locations this time actually) and faced with another struggle to get any further. Back to the hints. In all fairness, getting out of this set of locations and to the escape pod (another locked location!) isn't that hard and even for someone who's never been much good at puzzles I doubt it would have presented too many problems. But - and here's the real kicker - I just couldn't find the willpower to explore all the options that would have led me to the escape pod. I've never liked games that you have to literally claw your way out of one location only to find yourself in another location that's equally as hard to get out of. It's just not the sort of thing I've ever been fond of.

So while I can appreciate that this game is reasonably well written and has a couple of good puzzles to its name - the one with the goat is a nice one to say the least - I just couldn't find any kind of enthusiasm for it. I play these sort of games for enjoyment value and, to me anyway, a struggle to simply leave the start location is too much like hard work for my tastes.

4 out of 10
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