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The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

Vespers

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 David Whyld » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:22 am

Vespers by Jason Devlin


I wasn’t too sure about Vespers to begin with. A game about monks that starts with a quote from the bible? Hmmm… not my cup of tea to be honest. But I played it for a while longer just to see if it managed to capture my interest…

… and got hooked.

Vespers is a murder mystery. You are the high priest of a monastery, close to a village named Rovato where a deadly plague has infested the populace. You’ve closed the gates of the monastery to the dead and dying in the hopes of saving yourself and your fellows monks… but to no avail as the plague has reached you all the same. The game begins with all of the monastery’s monks beginning to show signs of the plague. The future looks bleak.

The murder mystery side of things comes about before long, with the monks at the monastery turning on each other. Have they been driven mad by the plague? Or is something more sinister at work?

It took me a while to get anywhere in Vespers due to the game being the kind that has a series of staged events that each have to be reached before the next one goes ahead. So a lot of time was spent wandering from location to location until I hit upon the correct series of events required to trigger the next event… and so on. But once things start moving, Vespers turns into a very interesting game indeed.

The only aspect of the game I didn’t like, and one which annoyed me more and more the longer I played it, were the frequent pop-up windows in the middle of the screen containing biblical quotes. I'm not sure if these were supposed to add depth to the game (if so, they didn’t succeed) or provide clues (which they didn’t) or there they were for some other reason. Whatever the reason for their appearance, they annoyed me with the way they would often appear right over the text I was trying to read which meant bashing return a few times to shift the text up the screen a bit and allow me to read it. I'm assuming this is some kind of flaw in the Inform program and not the game, but it was still a pain.

I felt some parts of Vespers were a little unfair. There's a scene whereby you can be murdered in your sleep if you don’t take precautions before going to sleep to protect yourself from this sort of thing. Only you don’t know before you go to sleep that you might risk being murdered so it’s only after you’ve been murdered and started the game again that you know to take the precautions the next time. (Of course, I just hit UNDO and took the relevant precautions but that’s neither here nor there.)

I liked the author’s entry in the IFComp 2004 but I think Vespers is a better game overall than Sting Of The Wasp and will certainly be one of the top three games in the IFComp 2005.

7 out of 10
David Whyld
 
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