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24th Place - 13th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2007)
Rezension zum IF-Comp 2007 (German)
Du wirst von einer mysteriösen Lichtgestalt aus der Todeszelle gerettet, durch die vierte Dimension befördert und auf die Mission geschickt, den Zustrom von der Wissensquelle zu einem illegalen Becken des Wissens abzudrehen, wobei du dazu durch ein Labyrinth finden mußt und von einem Monster verfolgt wirst. ...
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Number of Reviews: 3
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This was the lowest-scoring Inform game in IFCOMP the year it came out. As was common due to IFCOMP'S rules about updates at the time, it was only in the lowest place due to a game-crippling bug.
The version now on IFDB works fine with the Play Now button. So what about the game itself?
It is a surreal adventure, where a fourth-dimensional person takes you to their world to turn off a leak in the pool of knowledge.
The game is rough, and the interactivity is off. This is a game where that author knew exactly what they wanted a playthrough to look like, and coded only one way in. Plot progresses only by waiting around or by guessing precise sequences of moves to advance the plot.
Hiwever, the writing was evocative, if raw, and the surreal feeling made the game stand out. I would enjoy playing it again.
This is a game that would have been much better in Twine, and shows how people were trying to bend Inform to do Twine like things for years.
When I first downloaded all the comp games, I fired them all up and checked out the introductions to help me decide which games I would play first. When I read the opener to PETS, I thought that the game sounded great.
I wish I could tell you that it was great.... but I can't do that. In fact I can not tell you what happens at the end because I discovered a fatal bug that crashed the game. In fact, the bug was so bad that Frotz kept spitting out the error messages and there was nothing I could do except force close the file. Naturally, I have not and will not attempt to play this again.
The game begins as a condemned man is led to his cell the night before his execution. This is a very cool setting, and I had high hopes for it. You cell mate, Jimmy, wakes up and you get to have some conversations with him. Shortly after that the game takes off on wild tangents and transforms to a surreal mind game.
There are many problems with the structure of PETS that caused me undo grief. For instance, in a bathroom I was told all about a sink, a toilet, some wallpaper, and a light switch. 'X' sink and toilet did work. With the toilet I was told that it was full of water. 'X' water did not work. In fact, I was told I could not see the water that the game just told me I saw. I could not drink the water. I could not turn on the water in the sink. I was told I could not see the light switch. Flipping the switch was impossible.
In many instances the game would automatically scroll text before I had a chance to read it, sometimes clearing the screen. This was aggravating because I would either have to scroll back up to read it or, in the case of a screen clear, not get to read it at all.
I found myself wondering why I could get the same response for trying to kill Jimmy while I was blasting through 4D space at 1000 miles an hour that I got while trying the same action back in my cell.
And then of course, there is the fatal flaw. This happened after I had gone to sleep in master bedroom and was awakened later by the mysterious figure. When I typed "talk to figure" everything went berserk on me and I was forced to quit playing. I have not seen anyone else discussing this flaw and I wonder if it was from a strange combination of things that I had tried earlier.
Regardless, an error that crashes the game is unacceptable.
It looks like an inform game. Inform games looks dated to me for some reason but that is no fault of the author.
Did I have fun:
I wanted to have fun. I really wanted to like this game, but all the things that intrigued me about it in the beginning were ignored. A trip into the fourth dimension could be cool, but there needs to be a deeper level of implementation. I do not like games crashing, so that really sucked.
(I have rated this a 1 due to the fatal error that rendered the game unable to be finished to me. A game that can not be completed should not score higher than a one. It seemed that others were able to finish this game, but perhaps they did not encounter this bug. Since I did, the score stands. If the game were to be re-released without the bug, I would probably bump this up to a 2).
The plot, while there wasn't much of one, was rather interesting, and I was rather surprised when I was unable to open the Door to Knowledge, rendering the game unfinishable.