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About the Story
This new mirror you bought really is something. But in the night, it has a life of it's own...
32nd Place - 3rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1997)
More horror in the distinctive Rybread idiom. A mirror tries to eat your soul, and the only way to stop it is by referring to an object that isn't even in scope until the moment it's needed. Amazingly buggy for such a small game. Has fewer misspellings than the author's earlier works, but that's not saying much, and at any rate it makes up for it by misspelling the title. The prose continues awful, even to the point of including out-of-place Cthulhu references. Has a hint menu containing much rampant irrelevance.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Oh, man. When I saw the title, one misspelled word, I began to feel the familiar dread. When I read the tortured sentences of the introduction ("Tonight will be the premiere of you slumbering under its constant eye.") the fear built higher. And when I saw the game banner, I knew that it was true: Rybread Celsius has returned! Yes, the infamous Rybread Celsius, author of last year's stunningly awful Punkirita Quest 1: Liquid and only slightly less awful Rippled Flesh. Rybread Celsius, who announced to the newsgroups that his games would suck, and proved himself extravagantly correct. Rybread Celsius: I hope it doesn't hurt his feelings if I call him the worst writer in interactive fiction today.
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Symetry is a short parser-based horror game by Ryan Stevens, or Rybread, published in 1997. It's about a posh aristocrat who has an encounter with a haunted mirror.
With a small game world and a completely linear story, the gameplay basically boils down to figuring out the next command that lets you progress; sometimes it's easy, sometimes hard. The design is usually not very intuitive; for instance, the first item you find is a letter opener, but you don't even use it to open the envelope that you are carrying. The worst part is (Spoiler - click to show)the finale where plot-critical clothing - a night gown - appears on your character out of nowhere in the middle of a frantic timed section. I don't think this section is impossible to figure out without a walkthrough, but it's still quite nonsensical and unfair to the player.
The writing style is both pretentiously ornate and riddled with typos, like a bad imitation of classic gothic horror. The poor writing and the pompous yet crude tone almost makes Symetry seem like some sort of a parody game. Who knows, maybe it is? But to the game's credit, some of the imagery is otherworldly enough that it does have a somewhat memorable or unnerving effect.
The game has some bugs too. On my first playthrough I somehow managed to turn off the lamp so that I ended up in complete darkness with nothing happening afterwards, although I no longer remember what command created this result.
The game comes with a walkthrough as well as some other "bonuses" which seem fairly random.
With a better implementation and writing Symetry could have been a decent horror title. But, as it stands, it's closer to a clunky curiosity. It could still offer some fun for 15 minutes if you're willing to accept a few design shortcomings and other peculiarities.
Rybread Celsius is an infamous author from the late 90s. His games were characterized by bad plotlines, poor spelling, and lame implementation. There is evidence that it was at least partially tongue in cheek.
This game tells you you are in the dark before you turn off the lamp. You Ellettsville in bed, and it tells you you are in bed, then you get in bed. The puzzles solution is a huge guess the verb problem. The story is disjointed; you read a letter, and face a mirror being.
This is version 3 of this page, edited by Paul O'Brian on 15 May 2008 at 11:25am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item