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About the Story1899: On the way to your well-earned summer vacation, the Orient Express gets stuck in a snow drift – and there is a murderer on board. Time to get out of your coffin and investigate!
1st Place - Ectocomp 2011
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Number of Reviews: 3
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Bloodless may not be hugely surprising, but is a solid, short game, with light-hearted, bare-bones narration along with relative straightforward puzzles, of a variety familiar to IF.
Bloodless, being set on a train, has a spatial layout similar to the long, featureless corridors so beloved to this genre, but grouping rooms into carriages chunks them into more memorable sections. Bloodless is a pretty entertaining, bite-sized riff on the vampire genre.
Related reviews: vampire, dracula, horror, genre, train, setting, Victorian, oldschool, minicomp, speedif, ectocomp
Written in 3 hours for Ectocomp, in which it placed 1st of 8, this is essentially a speedIF. That considered, it's an impressive piece of work, if not a hugely distinctive one. It's designed along unadventurous but very solid lines; gather some inventory, assess the situation, solve a straightforward puzzle. The map is well-organised, the puzzles are easy to pick up without being obvious, and you are deftly turned away from red herrings. The terse efficiency failed me at (Spoiler - click to show)lighting the stove, where failure responses don't really signal the correct action; otherwise, for a game written this quickly it's remarkably robust.
Genuinely horrific effects take time to build and a lot of fine-tuning, and few Ectocomp games really attempt to create them; Bloodless is no exception, and mostly feels like a neutral-affect oldschool piece. It does, however, manage to develop a strong, atmospheric setting in a few minimalist strokes; I got a good impression of the creaky, dimly-lit, narrow environment of the train carriages.
You awake from your coffin on a train to discover that a passenger has had their blood drained--and not by you.
This game has many of the usual speed-IF problems (undercluing and underimplementation), but it is in the top 10% of all speed-IF, and quite enjoyable.
If you enjoyed Bloodless on the Orient Express...
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