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Laboratory R.A.T.S.

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Postby David Whyld » Sun Oct 02, 2005 10:55 pm

Laboratory R.A.T.S. by C. Henshaw


One room games, of which “Laboratory R.A.T.S.” is such a thing, tend to be more puzzled-orientated than other games. Without a large area to explore, all the gameplay has to take place in a single location and so every puzzle you are going to encounter is there ready and waiting for you. And I've never been fond of puzzle games…

”Laboratory R.A.T.S.” involves several scientists at work deep underground in a laboratory. The idea is to get a microscope a work. Easy? Heck no.

Overall this is one mighty frustrating game. It might only be one room in size, but it's certainly a more confusing game than some I've played that have occupied fifty rooms. Doing just about anything is a pain:

> use microscope
The microscope is on, you just need to put your sample inside and take a look.

> put sample inside microscope
I can't put anything in the chamber while the cap is still on the air-lock.

> remove cap
I haven't released the cap of the air lock.

> release cap
I don't understand what you want me to do with the cap.

Most of my time spent playing the game was wrestling with guess the verb issues like this. What I wanted to do was mind-numbingly simple – put my sample in the microscope and examine it – yet every command I tried seemed to either not be understood or just produced another unhelpful response.

To make matters worse, examining the cap informs me that it can be rotated, but:

> rotate cap
I don't understand what you want me to do with the cap.

> rotate cap clockwise
I don't understand what you want me to do with the cap.

> rotate cap anti-clockwise
I can't turn the cap while the vacuum is on.

> turn vacuum off
I can't turn that off.

Is this the worst case of guess the verb I've ever come across? If not, it's certainly a close second. One command I tried – PUSH PUMP BUTTON – produced a message saying nothing happens the first time, but when I tried it again, it told me I had already pumped the chamber. Only after going through the commands in the Generator one by one was I able to make any kind of progress, and as that was about as much fun as watching paint dry, I resorted to banging out a command that, thankfully, the game understood: QUIT.

A couple of NPCs who interject amusing comments from time to time raised the quality of this game just enough to stop me giving it the deathly 1 out of 10, but until some of the guess the verb issues are fixed, I could never recommend “Laboratory R.A.T.S.” to anyone.

2 out of 10
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Postby Chenshaw » Mon Oct 03, 2005 1:34 am

To be fair David, you have to admit it was more 'figure out the sequence of tasks' than 'guess the verb'. All of which is explained in the descriptions of each component (sorry, I think a rating of '2' gives me a right to answer back!) ;/
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Postby David Whyld » Mon Oct 03, 2005 6:32 am

"You say po-tato, I say pot-ato..."

Fair enough. Unfortunately I really didn't like the game. Sorry. :)
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Postby red assassin » Mon Oct 03, 2005 7:19 pm

Just downloaded and played it, and although there were a couple of minor guess-the-verb bits, I reckon most of it was guess-the-sequence-of-verbs. Pretty good. (Any chance of expanding on the ending? I want to see what was up with it!)
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Postby Chenshaw » Mon Oct 03, 2005 9:14 pm

I hadn't really considered it. Mainly I had picked a puzzle to solve and make up a story around it - if I did make it into a fuller game, I'm not sure how this scene would play out.
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Postby timothybard » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:20 pm

I would have to disagree with David and say that Laboratory R.A.T.S. is one of my favorite games so far. The sequence of tasks does need to be completed in the right order, but after examining the objects and reading the descriptions after trying different tasks out, I didn't find it too difficult to determine the order of the tasks.
I do agree with David about the Rotate cap issue; it did take a few guesses to correctly rotate the cap.
Perhaps I am more inclinded toward puzzle games than David, but I enjoyed Laboratory R.A.T.S.
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