by Lenny Pitts
[Note: Baf's review above describes the other untitled SpeedIF4 entry, which I believe is actually Peter Berman's. If I am mistaken, I apologize. Below is a review of the one my review notes say Lenny Pitts wrote.]
I was impressed at first with the unique take of the required elements. The player is an onion, driving a Ford Nostradamus, with a chocolate Eiffel Tower and a balsa house with a bathroom. However, that's about all there is to the game. A description answers the puzzle, and you get an unsatisfying ending.
Nice setting (1944), simple puzzle, over quick. The encounter with your former lover points out the answer to the puzzle quickly. (I'm not sure why "Grandma" talks to me sometimes.) Vaguely humorous use of the onion. A solid SpeedIF showing.
I was certain this entry was unwinnable until checking the walkthrough. Unfortunately, what sets this one apart from the other SpeedIF 4 entries is that you have to be psychic or extremely persistent to enjoy. No narrative drive to speak of.
I took my review title from part of the "profesee" you must fulfill to stop Nostradamus' skeleton from killing people. This is a small "collect the items" puzzle with the possibility of making the game unwinnable.
There's some humor (I ate something I never imagined I would eat) but everything is placed for the sole purpose of making a puzzle. For a Speed competition, not bad.
The sense of inclement weather, even though briefly described, permeates the setting of "Tears May Fall." This, combined with the theme of inevitable disaster, lifts the work beyond the average SpeedIF. Throw in an street urchin and a filthy French bathroom, and you have the makings of an entertaining five minutes.
My favorite SpeedIF 4 entry. What works: the creation, in broad strokes, of a future society. Like "The Onion of Destiny," "Digging for Onions" gives the sense that the world is deeper than the three rooms and minimal plot involved here. Details like Thursday being a day of rest and phrases like "being struck by moonbeams" give life to the strange, new world.
Sure, Nostradamus popping up is unexplained and the ending is either profound or convenient, depending on your desire to (over)analyze it, but it gives the feel of a solid game. I'd be interested in playing more, and for me, that's high points for a SpeedIF entry.
All the SpeedIF entries show evidence of their quick writing, but this one, while humorous, feels more like a cobbling of pieces than the previous ones. It has the requisite appearance of the Eiffel Tower, Nostradamus, and a bathroom, but it has little sense of narrative or character; most of the setting exists because it has to exist.
All in all, a somewhat disappointing, even for a SpeedIF, with little to help it stand out from the crowd of other SpeedIF4 entries. (It does have the distinction of not being located in Paris, at least.)
I've decided that a SpeedIF, if it wants to rise above being a throwaway game, must distinguish itself somehow. FIRST WAVE does this by opening with footnotes.
Again you're off to save the world (see The Onion of Destiny), this time from an alien invasion.
Humor is often essential to SpeedIF because the author doesn't have time to invest the player in the game. The humor is FIRST WAVE is absurd and random, but I enjoyed it. There's only one real puzzle, as is the case with many entries in SpeedIF4.
A humorous diversion.
This is a strange game.
Every SpeedIF4 entry includes Nostradamus among its various requirements. Whatís strange, in this case, is after you meet Nostradamus, inexplicable prophecies, probably actual ones by Nostradamus, appear in place of many of normal action responses. They have no direct relation on the game, as far as I can tell.
Also, an onion appears in your inventory sometime during the game without warning.
Until consulting a walkthrough, I couldnít find the ending because I was navigating a series of vague oracles. Beating the game didnít clear it up any.
Certainly an unorthodox approach to including Nostradamus, but ultimately frustrating and unhelpful.
When I tried my first SpeedIF, chosen at random, I didn't know what to expect. Now I do: SpeedIF entries are quick, basic, and, at their best, a great five-minute diversion.
The Onion of Destiny is such a diversion. It rises above many of the other entries in this batch by giving the impression of existing in a larger world. To avert the end of the world, the player has to cut an onion with a ceremonial knife at the top of the Eiffel Tower before 10. It's a humorous set-up and feels part of a larger Ghostbuster-esque narrative.
A solid game for being made in an hour.