Slouching Towards Bedlam

by Star Foster and Daniel Ravipinto

Steampunk
2003

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Number of Reviews: 18
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Still excellent, but shows its age, January 8, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)

Slouching Toward Bedlam shows up on a lot of top IF lists for good reason. It has a fascinating premise and excellent replay value. The steampunk touches made me keep playing. I especially enjoyed the (Spoiler - click to show)panopticon.

I've also studied my share of occult topics. The 19th century hermetic and kaballistic references were quite excellent and in context. The reveal of (Spoiler - click to show)knowing it's too late for the player character to get rid of the Logos and dealing with the consequences to drive the endings rather reminded me of the movie Pi.

What do I mean by "shows its age" then? The game feels rather unfinished in places. Notably, certain nouns weren't fleshed out that seemed obvious to me. Also, the parser didn't understand some verbs I expected. I had to look at the solution to get the verb for (Spoiler - click to show)wearing the noose, rather than seeing errors for "put on the noose" "put head in noose" or most annoyingly "hang myself". The latter especially got me when I activated the hangman, tried "kill myself", got "How, exactly", and neither "hang" nor "hanging" worked. I dearly wish the author would revisit the game after all this time and go through it with BENT (see Aaron Reed's book) in mind to flesh out the world, and also fix the parser issues.

That being said, this game is still very much worth your time to play. The core of the game is still sound even after all this time, and that's what counts.