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About the Story
She wanted answers. He wanted a cure. You just wanted to live.
Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2010 XYZZY Awards
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 5
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I was definitely intrigued by the beginning of this game, and up through about half an hour in I was totally into it. I loved the setting and the story, and even though it was fairly linear, I was enjoying the interactivity. If the beginning of this game had been submitted to IntroComp, it totally would have won. However, after the first act, the game opens up completely, and I was lost. I quickly learned what I shouldn’t do, but I had no idea what I should do. I did a few things. I resorted to the hints. I still couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t have the energy (or the time) to start over and use the hints from the beginning.
I totally recommend that you play the beginning of this game. It is very much worth it. And then just decide to end the game when you’ve escaped the house. Pretend that that’s the end of the game and call yourself a winner. It’s OK; you have my permission. (Of course, this is subject to change if/when a post-Comp version is released.)
I was very deeply conflicted, on a few levels, as to how to rate this game.
On one level, this game has a beauty, an allure... a sensuality running through it. A spell. I felt like I couldn't stop with it, and this is the first comp game in a long time where I remember going far in excess of the two hour mark. I wanted to find the end. I cared.
That said—and there's unintentional metaphor here—the critical ingredient of the spell that binds you tightly and draws you through the game? The bit that makes it possible to find its ultimate conclusion? The walkthrough. I honestly don't see how you could get through this game without it.
At first blush the game is silly and on rails, but then suddenly it grows sinister and seductive and opens up in such a vast way that the interactor has no clue where to go, what to do. I tried an attempt without the walkthrough—and got far!—but could never have found the end alone. I'm not sure how this could have been mitigated, either. On the one hand, I enjoyed the agency it gave me, but it gave too much, too quickly. I drowned.
I said I was deeply conflicted on a few levels, and I've only touched on a couple. I should move on with that.
There are other things this piece does really, really well. For example, it does a great job of show—don't tell—with accents. By the time I was half-way through, I was reading dialog in my head that dripped of humid Southern nights laced with cicadas. This was done exceptionally well, without misspelling everything to hit you over the head with it. Maybe I only picked up on this due to having spent a lot of my time in the South, though. I'd be interested to hear others' views on this point.
To continue with respect to the writing: it is this lovely mix of succinct matter-of-factness, evocative descriptions, and eloquent dialogue. This is what hooked me fairly early on, kept me going through my initial dismay, and teased me far enough along that I couldn't let go.
Also, we begin with this sense of being a slave, of being directed, and gaining volition... earning it. That was well done, though (as mentioned above) I think the author loosened the reins just a touch too quickly.
(Spoiler - click to show)I've been asked what I thought of the Voodoo. It is, at its core, the sensationalist sort of voodoo you get in horror novels and Hollywood. But that's what this is meant to be, despite the author's research. It's obvious he knows a bit about Voodoo, though if this is because he's spent time in New Orleans or just read a lot of articles on Wikipedia, I'm not sure. I'm completely unfamiliar with Louisiana Voodoo.
But I know enough of Voodoo from a trip I made to Haiti and books I've read since that trip and research into some of the artifacts I brought back with me that I understood a lot of the terminology used in this piece of fiction. It was interesting to compare and contrast what I knew of Voodoo to this. I'm not sure if the areas where things diverge are on account of Louisiana culture, or just the sensationalism.
It's a work of fiction. It's probably pretty offensive to some. But I took it as a work of fiction, and I enjoyed it.
I didn't realize (for some reason(!)) until after I'd completed the game, that there was a hint menu. Maybe that would have been enough. Maybe I could have gotten through without the walkthrough. Maybe I could have found my way without feeling led. That's really all that held me back on scoring this very, very well. But I rather doubt that to be the case. Some of the things in the walkthrough felt so. poorly. cued. I stand by my original statement: I don't see how you could have gotten through this game without the walkthrough. If you did, please leave a comment. I'd love to know.
I wanted this to be more. Really wanted it to be more.
I should probably give this a 3, but I enjoyed it too much, and thus gave this a 4. That is, admittedly, a bit of a gift.
Gris et Jaune was the first IFComp 2010 game I played, due to the writeup over at JayisGames.com. In effect, they said: "We'd hate to spoil even the beginning for you. Just play."
So I did. And I think you'll enjoy it best that way, too, so I'll keep my comments brief.
The beginning grabbed me in a way that I haven't experienced since parts of ANCHORHEAD.
I've never seen this setting before in IF. It begs the question: why hasn't someone set a piece here before?
There's a lot going on emotionally. More than you'd expect from a work featuring (Spoiler - click to show)a zombie.
That said, I'm not sure how much of that emotion was conveyed clearly. I had a lot of questions about a certain character (Spoiler - click to show)--Mama John-- and how things fit together between some characters. (After emailing the author--whom I found very congenial--about it, it sounds like we may see some changes in the post-comp edition; hopefully the emotional links will become more clear.)
Gris et Jaune isn't perfect. But there is something very special about it. Play it. You'll feel the heart that went into it.
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