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The Plague: Redux

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Postby David Whyld » Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:25 am

The Plague: Redux by Cannibal


The idea of zombies attacking the living seems a popular theme for the past few years, what with the remake of Dawn Of The Dead, a pastiche Shaun Of The Dead and then George A. Romero’s (very disappointing) Land Of The Dead, and here the idea makes its way into a text adventure. With pretty impressive results, too.

You play the part of Stacie, out for the night with some of the girls, who gets caught up in all the chaos at a subway station when the undead start turning on the living. Your friends become lost and you are trapped in the subway station, weaponless. It’s just you…and a horde of ravening zombies.

The bulk of The Plague: Redux takes place in the subway station as Stacie, the aforementioned damsel in distress, struggles to get out in one piece. Along the way, she encounters a few other survivors (including some pleasant chap who tries to rape her (not a game for kids clearly)) and, yes, zombies galore. The writing is excellent for the most part and does a good job of evoking the scene of a terrified young woman in mortal danger of being killed by zombies.

Unfortunately there are some serious errors that let things down. I found some zombies feasting on a corpse in a cubicle and options were displayed on screen to either [F] Fight or [E] Escape. Neither worked. Nor did attacking the zombies work. In fact, I wasn’t able to do anything at all about the zombies, and worst still, when I typed LOOK, I was alone in the cubicle without the zombies. Worse was the fact that when I left the cubicle and re-entered, the zombies were back. This time, however, I wasn’t given the option of [F] Fight or [E] Escape, but just killed them straight off with a weapon I was carrying.

Elsewhere I found a woman who had been mauled by zombies. Even though I didn’t know her name, the game helpfully referred to her as Kate. After some struggling to help her, I figured out what needed doing but ran into a problem in that the game wouldn’t accept my GIVE [OBJECT] TO KATE but only GIVE [OBJECT] TO WOMAN.

If there are any faults with The Plague: Redux (gameplay faults, that is, and not outright errors or bugs like those mentioned above), it’s that the early parts are far too linear. The intro seems to take an age to get through and involves little more than the main character and her friends fleeing from a horde of zombies. There's also the problem that, despite zombies running around and killing people all over the place, it’s possible for the player to take as long as they want in getting anywhere. And the threat of the zombies themselves is somewhat weakened by the fact that the player – a young woman armed with a metal pole – is able to kill them without too much difficulty. How has the zombie threat progressed this far if they're so easy to kill? (Then again, it never made much sense in the films that unarmed, shambling corpses who can’t think for themselves could overpower soldiers armed with machine guys…)

A large portion of the game has the player wandering around the subway station trying to find some money for a bottle of water from a dispensing machine. Why? Because she’s thirsty. This struck me as a pretty flimsy excuse for what is – due to the way the money is actually found in half a dozen or so different places, some of them not very obvious – a very lengthy and time consuming puzzle. I must have spent a good hour wandering around the subway station searching for a few extra coins for the water… all the time wondering just why I didn’t simply go into one of the many shops scattered around the place and help myself to some. Unfortunately, the water is required for an event later in the game and without it you won’t get anywhere, so it’s not a case of you being able to miss it out if you don’t want to.

Examining items and looking under and behind them is often a different thing entirely in this game. Something that I discovered after examining just about every item in the subway station, not finding much, and then realising I had to go over the whole place again to find what I needed. A little README file indicating that examining items was different from looking under and behind them would have been a good idea.

But the problems with the game (aside from the errors with the disappearing zombies in the cubicle) are relatively minor ones and, with a bit of perseverance, can be overcome. Overall, The Plague: Redux is a great text adventure, and certainly the best ADRIFT game I've played this year.

8 out of 10
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Postby Damien » Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:24 pm

I agree with a lot of this. I think it does give the impression across really well.

Some of the bugs where show stoppers, I.E I never needed to do the water mission, never could kill (or find) the zombies.

Went down escalator adn zombioes where meant to be at the bottom and were not.

I never had the F or E option.

Importantly like you said the zombies where easy, and never was the sense of danger. More of them, and more danger elsewhere would have been could. Since the point of the game is to survive that should have been harder.

I think its a very good game, if the bugs where fixed and a bit more added in terms of zombies and danger (i.e make harder) then it would be great! :D

I like the start though. I think having such a linear start does the game well
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Postby Damien » Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:52 pm

(this forum needs an edit button)

The thing about this game is it so good, but has so much potential. If the above issues where corrected and the game was longer i think it would be one of the best adrift games i ever played
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Postby ralphmerridew » Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:31 pm

re the "F or E" thing, I looked through the source and there are many tasks related to it; I assume the combat was something Cannibal took out when the deadline got too close.
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
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Postby David Whyld » Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:18 pm

Damien wrote:(this forum needs an edit button)

The thing about this game is it so good, but has so much potential. If the above issues where corrected and the game was longer i think it would be one of the best adrift games i ever played

The forum has an edit button, but you need to be a registered member to use it.
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Postby Damien » Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:07 pm

Really? I am a registered member. Or did you mean adrift? In which case I forgot my key a lonnnnnng time ago. I cant remember my username, password or log in details other than this forum account
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Postby David Whyld » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:01 pm

If you log in to the forum via the link in the registered version of the Generator, the member level under your name will change from Members to Registered Members.

Supposedly. I've heard a few people say it doesn't work properly.
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Postby Damien » Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:25 pm

yah, thats the problem. I have been on mac now for two years. The Generators long gone :(
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Postby J Hall » Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:15 pm

It hasn't worked since February 2005, apparently.
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Postby Cannibal » Tue Jan 24, 2006 8:51 pm

Thanks for the review and comments.

I'll be the first to admit there are quite a few bugs within the game. The only one that wasn't a coding error was the inventory limit. In truth, I had no idea that Adrift's default was 10 items. I never checked it. So it was my fault but you know what I mean.

I was rushed with the game because I was moving house in May (last year) and I knew that whatever game I was working on would be lost to the mists once I moved and was unable to work on it for a period of time. The game was vastly overambitious with a fully built in combat system and an original map four times the size of the finished game. I was also very unhappy at the actual lack of danger in the game and the slight "there is blood here" overkill. However, overall, I rate it as a good game with bugs and some weak puzzles but an improvement over my 2 previous Adrift works - which is all you can strive for - to write a better game each time.

Thanks again!
Games:
The Plague (Redux), The Woods Are Dark, The Night That Dripped Blood
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Postby Damien » Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:57 pm

For a ambitious project you did get so close though
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Postby cchillindawg » Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:51 am

David Whyld wrote:If you log in to the forum via the link in the registered version of the Generator, the member level under your name will change from Members to Registered Members.

Supposedly. I've heard a few people say it doesn't work properly.

Got to try that...
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