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About the Story
"Walking away from a picnic, you are suddenly caught in a country storm. You must protect a bridge from being destroyed. An ultra-linear game." [--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]
1st Place, Inform Division - First Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1995)
A deceptively simple premise: You get stuck out in the rain. This is one difficult little game, made of interlocking time-sensitive parts with ample opportunity to get things irrevocably wrong. Consists of two acts, one before and one during the all-important and landscape-transforming downpour. Well-polished prose. Excellent building of tension. Odd and twisty map. Very satisfying.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
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Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
For me the main obstacle was that certain puzzles require you to have a good idea of the 3-D topography of the game world. I'm not very good at constructing that kind of thing in my head, and the game, although decently clear, was not very good at helping me, and so there were several key actions that I never would have guessed without a walkthrough.
The parser is also limited, but that didn't really give me trouble.
What the game does do exceptionally well is build a sense of isolation and real dread out of what would seem to be an innocent scenario. The writing is excellent, not just in the sense of describing sunsets (though it does that too), but in that it maintains a subtle and seamless emotional tone throughout. Your friends are just across the river, but you nevertheless get the feeling that there is something serious at stake -- much more so than in most games where you are jumping off buildings and saving the world and so on.
My advice is to go in committed, spend some time, and try your best, but look at a walkthrough before you start to hate the thing. The solutions to the puzzles are satisfying but not worth banging your head against the wall for.
Much in this game is very good, but it has some really serious flaws that prevent me from rating it higher than three stars. Most obviously, the game is just too damn hard. I'm sure some people have solved it without any assistance, but those people must be veritable IF wizards. I got perhaps a third of the way through the game (Spoiler - click to show)(I managed to find the key, and take a nap in the Cave after I grew tired), but pretty much had to use a walk-thru for everything after that...and even with a walk-thru, I STILL found it somewhat difficult to solve! At no time is it even remotely apparent what the goal of the game is supposed to be, and thus to suggest that the later puzzles are under-clued is to be generous. You basically just have to do stuff that makes no sense, until it adds up to something that kinda does. But even then, the ending is very confusing. (Spoiler - click to show)Apparently, the goal was to save the bridge. And yet after accomplishing that goal, one gets the impression one's friends have located you, and are crossing the bridge...only to suddenly find one's self back in the Cave..WTF? And your friends are still there the next morning? I guess its a campsite?
The game is well-written in many respects, and the game contains a great (non-verbal) NPC, but the game just doesn't make enough sense to really live up to its potential. Its very difficult anyway, and that great difficulty is enhanced by a peculiarly vague and not very consequential goal (and a needlessly ambiguous ending). I really wanted to like this game, and part of me did, but overall, its tragically flawed. Yet its too close to the mark to warrant a rating below three.
This game was one of the two winners of the very first IF Comp. It is well known for being one of Plotkin's most difficult games, and one of the most difficult well-known games in general.
You play a loner who leaves a picnic/party to look around a secluded woodland area. Puzzles are hard due to:
1. Not knowing what your goal is;
2. Being able to put the game in an unwinnable state without knowing it;
3. Fast-paced timing.
Despite, or possibly because of the difficulty, this has remained a very popular game. Perhaps this is because the game has an inspirational feel. It is easy to identify with the protagonist, and the games understated writing gives you a sense of wonder.
The game was intended to be completed in 2 hours. You will certainly reach an ending within two hours.
See All 10 Member Reviews
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This is version 8 of this page, edited by Nathan on 9 September 2019 at 1:39pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item