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12th Place - 3rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1997)
A mixed bag--atmospheric in spots, but the mood breaks too often. It's a zombie/mad-scientist caper with a split protagonist, initially at least--you start out as Valerie, and shift to her boyfriend once Valerie meets her demise--but Valerie never reappears. There are a few well done creepy bits, but not enough to preserve the mood, and there are also simply way too many bugs. On the other hand, some of the puzzles are nicely put together, and even if the idea itself isn't especially fresh, the author has some fun with it now and again. It's far from a polished effort, but you might like it if you're a fan of this sort of thing.
-- Duncan Stevens
>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
I kept finding myself feeling frustrated, because every time I really got into the game, allowed myself to get interested in its tensions, a bug or a spelling error would come along that would shatter mimesis and deflate the emotional effect. The thing is, the game does a great job of building that tension. It's a b-movie all the way, no deep or serious issues here, but it's definitely got that suspenseful, creepy feeling that the best b-movies have. (Yes, I'm aware of the irony in that phrase, so you needn't bother pointing it out.) The sound of heavy footsteps approaching, or the feeling of driving rain beating against a worn, gothic mansion, or the sight of horrific creatures staring dead ahead (literally!), and similar gothic pleasures were all very well-executed in this game, until you hit the inevitable technical error. Still, better to have a good game with lots of bugs than a mediocre game executed flawlessly. Bugs are easy to fix. When Starkey fixes them, Zombie! will definitely be one to recommend.
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This game has a long prologue as a young woman who dumped her boyfriend. After the prologue, you play the boyfriend.
The boyfriend's game is nonlinear and interesting, as you explore a mad scientist's house. It suffers too much from 'flail about until something interesting happens' syndrome, though. Its hard to know exactly what they want you to do.
But the writing is good and there are several interesting and well-written NPCs.
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