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Pathway To Destruction

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Postby David Whyld » Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:23 pm

Pathway To Destruction by Richard Otter


Pathway To Destruction: winner of the Finish The Game Comp I organised, and my personal favourite out of the comp entries.

What's it about?

You're a worker at the Institute of Transportation and about to embark on an experimental mission that should, in theory, teleport you from one side of the planet to the other. Only, of course, something goes wrong and you actually find yourself in a desolate ruin of the world you once knew.

I felt Pathway To Destruction made very good use of the source material, although in a completely different way than I envisioned when I wrote the source. I had had in mind something along the lines of a medieval fantasy adventure with a swords & sorcery element thrown into the mix, but Pathway To Destruction's sci-fi setting seems to fit in remarkably well with the mini-game that was already written, and at no point did I feel that it was out of place. Full marks for that. A frequent failing of the author's games in the past has been the shallow NPCs and their wildly implausible dialogue, something that Pathway To Destruction is mercifully free of. There aren't any NPCs here, just the main character, and the game is much better for it. (Although saying that, there are bits when the player, despite being alone, speaks out loud which are pretty implausible themselves. Would he really tell himself what to do next after throwing a certain item at another item?)

My only real complaint with the game was the difficulty factor of some of the puzzles; or, if not difficulty factor, then the fact that some of them are so unobvious that it's hard to imagine people ever figuring them out without resorting to the hints. Why would I want to push a lamp post over? Why would I throw a certain item at another item? Why would putting one item on top of another make the second item work? (The second item, incidentally, has a slot in the side which I spent a while trying to put the first item into. It never occurred to me to try putting it on top.) Getting inside the author's mind, or being psychic, is a good requirement for finishing this game. It also didn't help that sometimes seemingly obvious solutions to puzzles didn't work and there wasn't any real explanation for why. I needed to use one item to get the jewel but another item I had, a bar, didn't work. Why?

But overall I thoroughly enjoyed Pathway To Destruction. It wasn't a perfect game, and there were bits that could have done with improving upon, and some of the puzzles could certainly have been better clued, but those issues notwithstanding it was the best game in the comp and definitely the best game the author has written to date.

7 out of 10
David Whyld
 
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