The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

Madam Spider's Web

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 » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:28 pm

Madam Spider's Web by Sara Dee (Inform)

Sara Dee’s entry in the IFComp 2005 was my second favourite game of the Comp but I wasn’t half as keen on this one. It started off quite well – with me being addressed by a spider. Literally a spider. The Madam Spider of the title in fact. But after that, I didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as I felt I should.

The aim of the game is to put Madam Spider’s house into some kind of order. There’s a snake in the bath, something living inside the wardrobe and a distinct lack of music coming from the music room. Sort them out, warns Madam Spider, or else. The last serving girl was quite tasty…

The setup of the game was interesting and while I was playing the early stages of it, I got quite involved in it. But at the same time, I didn’t find myself enjoying as much as I thought be. Weird. Maybe the problem stemmed from some of the guess the verb problems I was running into – seriously, I’d have never got into the attic without the walkthrough – or the non-obvious puzzle with what keys to play on the piano (was it clued in some way that I missed or just as non-obvious as it seemed to be? I suppose through trial and error, mixed with a good dose of dogged persistence, I might have figured it out eventually, but even so…)

On the plus side, I liked the style of writing. I liked the way some of the puzzles were handled. I liked the general creepy feeling of the game. But like I said before, I didn’t like it as much as I kept feeling I should.

The ending was… unsettling. I wasn’t too sure what to make of it, although I’d guessed early on that the events in Madam Spider’s house might well not be happening the way I was imagining them. Apparently there are five different endings, some better than others. The ending I reached was definitely a bad one, although as I followed the walkthrough as closely as I could (unless I missed something vital along the way), I'm not sure how I could have improved on things. Maybe I was just doomed no matter what.

So… mixed feelings overall. Good parts, bad parts. I’ll call it an average game and score it 5.

5 out of 10

Edited By David Whyld on 1163683782
David Whyld
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