Reviews by Walter Sandsquish
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"The Plant" is an engaging game which plays off the silliness of high-tech conspiracy theories by whimsically contrasting current technology with that of a former, fictional, Eastern-Bloc country.
Players learn about this conspiracy by solving mostly-innocuous, but frequently amusing, puzzles in each of the three areas of the game, but each area also contains a challenging and ingenious puzzle which provides access to the next area of the game. The puzzles are well-implemented, but each area contains a non-interactive scene which changes the game-state to allow the set-piece puzzle to be solved, and one of these scenes isn't well-clued and could be easily missed.
Nevertheless, "The Plant" is an excellent text-adventure game, which is well-worth a player's time.
Two schools of thought (used to) define adventure games. One school says, "an adventure game is a story whose conflicts have been translated into puzzles," while the second believes, "an adventure game is a puzzle described in terms of a story." The difference is significant.
If you look at "Corruption" through the eyes of the first school, you will see a vastly unfair and agonizingly difficult work of interactive fiction. The game cannot be finished, or even understood, without experience gained through player-character "death." Much of the behavior required of the player character, like spying on his peers or breaking into his partner's office, will, initially, seem unmotivated and paranoid until the player gets stuck in a few dead-ends first. What's more, I can predict, a little smugly, that everyone will discover, just before he thinks he is about reach "Corruption's" climax, that he neglected to do something or other at the start of the story, and must replay the entire game. For instance, (Spoiler - click to show)I found out that I should have thoroughly searched the toilet sometime before the 15th move.
If that sounds irritating and tedious, this may not be a game for you. On the other hand, members of the second school of thought will find a mesmerizing, Chinese-puzzle-box of a game. "Corruption" is a giant riddle, and to decipher its meaning, you must play, and replay, each of its parts. Once the player has mapped out the movements of the non-player characters — who are deftly portrayed, and whose characterizations add much to the bitter, cynical atmosphere of this game — he will recognize a web of deceit and betrayal, and be able guide his character to paths that lead to a satisfying ending.
In short, "Corruption" is a well-written, bug-free puzzle fest, and the puzzles are strongly related to an interesting suspense story. Just remember to save early and save often.
Much better than would be expected, considering that this game was designed by committee. On the one hand, it contains a few genuinely creepy moments, some clever puzzles and bits of evocative writing. On the other hand, it contains way too many disparate settings and the quality of the design, writing and implementation varies widely between the different story segments.
This game channels the player towards a pivotal, brilliant, "gestalt" puzzle which requires the player to piece together a couple of different patterns that the narrative created through its repetition of the backstory. The fact that the puzzle works so well is impressive all by itself, but "Spider and Web" also features clipped, stylish prose that creates a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere and describes a sinister, memorable NPC.
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