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Must Escape! - Intro Comp entry

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Postby Chenshaw » Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:08 am

Must Escape! Introduction for the Intro comp, by Robert Rafgon
Review by C. Henshaw

1. Does it set the scene?
The first paragraph is a bit awkward in its wording, but the laboratory description that follows on from it is compelling, and sets the scene quite well – a scene of destruction caused by you, with imminent consequences. Adrenaline on reading the beginning – high.

2. Is it well implemented?
There is nothing worse than not being able to examine everything in an introduction. I like to get into a game slowly, look at everything, think about what’s going on, what kind of game this is going to be, etc. Must Escape! ticks these boxes to begin with – I can examine most things in the lab, and the descriptions of static objects continues to set the scene of chaos.

There are problems with room interaction though, that starts to get frustrating; although there is shattered glass, pools of liquid, etc. on the floor, ‘x floor’ returns ‘The floor looks normal.’ There is no description for the walls or ceiling, which would help round out this important first-contact room. Also, there is nothing that can be taken or picked up in this room – it’s essentially an empty room (unless I missed something, and knowing me I probably did).

‘X me’ returns the bog-standard ADRIFT response – a bit disappointing considering I’ve just sabotaged an enemy base, trashing its laboratory. Also, I’m a bit surprised to be holding nothing, since, again, I’ve just sabotaged an army base!

Exiting the room to the west, the action begins. The explanation is a bit strange – a prescribed ‘you have to do this now’ scenario, which can be useful at times, but here is pretty obvious. There’s an enemy agent, and nowhere to go (except back into the lab). So you have to fight…

Now this is where this game gets interesting for me, because I’m highly in favour of trying new methods in IF to engage the player. There is a basic diagram of two stick figures, in a fight pose, with health levels underneath. You are given a series of commands, for right, left, punch and wait. When I first saw this I thought ‘what fun! Some graphic involvement!’ I give lots of credit for this. Left and right moves you across the screen (so its actually forward and back), and if you are too far away your punches miss. The graphics shows these changes in movement, and it shows who’s punching who. As it turns out, there’s not that much interesting about it, it’s slow, and the graphics are just too basic to be exactly riveting. However, I think there’s a lot of potential here (how cool would some old fashioned POW! and BLAM! balloons be!).

3. Do I want more?
Not at this point. This intro would need a lot more work put into it to make me want to keep playing. Although the idea is interesting – interactive fighting – it needs more character build-up, a more comprehensive narrative, and better graphics. The single-minded plot – to fight your way out of a tricky situation – would be fine if the interactive gimmicks were better implemented.

Score (each out of 10):
Scene setting: 5
Implementation: 3
Appetite whettage: 1
Bonus points: 5 for attempting something new in ADRIFT
Total: 14 (less than good in practice, but has potential in theory)
Beware, leonine fire dragon on the loose...
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