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About the Story
Your friend and fellow private dick, Jack Sullivan, has telegrammed you saying he's onto something big while investigating the Lanzetti murder and desperately needs your help. So here you are, two days later, in the Windy City of Chicago.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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Ill wind is the third IF of the author based on a Call of Cthulu scenario, featuring the same nameless detective present in the other two.
This time, the plot involves Chicago in the '20s; the PC is after a friend of his, who sent him a telegram asking for his help.
The game is quite short (with a walkthrough, it may be finished in about ten minutes or less), and the puzzles are not very hard. There are two or three times the player can die, without the possibility of undoing (which is bad); it is advised to save before entering the (Spoiler - click to show)theatre and after the (Spoiler - click to show)electrified gate.
Having played the author's previous IFs, I noted he puts a crescent amount of care (like more respect for the player, see below) in the newer works, although some rather important design features are, IMHO, not yet interiorized well enough: the major weak points are the dialog system and, arguably, the presence of strong language.
The latter is more abundant than in Castronegro (the author's previous IF), but it's mostly limited to the cabbie NPC; this can be a design choice oriented to a parody of the "gangster talk style" one can imagine was used in the '20s in Chicago, as another reviewer pointed out, so, in a sense, it can be acceptable.
The dialogs are the more evident problem of this IF. They are essentially one-way, from NPC to PC. In itself, this could be ok, especially if one consider that this game is an adaption of a module, not a totally original work, so the author should not invent info, but the presence of the interactive prompt during the dialogs somehow incourages the player to, well, interact with the NPC via "ask" and similar verbs. It would have been a better choice, IMO, to use a press-space-to-continue kind of prompt, if at all. In this regard, the cabbie NPC works well.
As pointed out in a comment, I was wrong in the following paragraph (in italic); I'll keep the paragraph anyway, otherwise the two comments to this review would make no sense for the reader.
Another weak point is the possibility to go in an unwinnable state, if the player does a very specific action in the south part of the theatre: (Spoiler - click to show)x the mirror. The empasse is immediatly recognizable as such, luckily, so the player just needs to reload.
End of edit
OTOH, there are some really good points:
not significant player abuse this time (the worst I encountered is in response to "put the lighter in the trenchcoat", to which the parser reacts with "it's lit, you silly goose"), and, above all, one thing I rarely encountered in other IFs: a NPC who, if you're stuck because you missed a now irrecuperable object, gives it to you, so there is no need to replay part of the game for that. Very useful! In this game, such NPC is the cabbie in the endgame, where the player needs two objects with him in order to pass a gate. If one or both of them are not in the inventory, just go north where our helpful friend is.
Due to the bad points, I'd rate Ill wind 2/5; for the care in the other parts of the implementation, 4/5; overall, considering also, as I said, that this is not a totally original work so the author is forced to a given script (which influences, somehow, how the story has to be told), I rate it 3/5
Disclaimer: I betatested this game
Our nameless detective strikes again, this time stalking the stinking alleys of Chicago - with gangsters! An inventively foul-mouthed cabbie serves to string the locations together and provide comic relief. As with the prequels, the game is not hard, though there are points where death can be sudden, so regular saving is encouraged.
Glancing over the other reviews here, I find myself agreeing with some of the points raised - the game is rather short, and rather easy, and free with use of 'bad' language - but for me these points count in it's favour. I don't need every game I play to be sprawling and require hours of exploring and a constant effort to remember everything that is said. I don't always need to deeply invest in characters and storyline. I certainly don't need an author to censor themselves, particularly when the insults and swears are clearly intentionally ridiculous and played purely for laughs. What I do need is to be entertained, and in this respect Ill Wind didn't let me down. It's a bit of fun - nothing more, nothing less - and for me that's enough.
Perhaps it's because I haven't read detective stories outside of old "Detective Comics" and a few Sherlock Holmes stories, but the actual plot and what I was investigating was rather boring to me most of the time.
The only thing I was honestly curious about was if someone was lying to me and what caused the (Spoiler - click to show)"mutilations". More insight into that (Spoiler - click to show)didn't come until later (which from what I understand is a common element of this type of game). When that happened, I was into the story again.
Then, I got stuck. Without a walk-through to follow, I asked the author for hints a few times. The author was happy to give me hints, but after revisiting the game 3 or 4 times a few weekends, I gave up.
The remarks from the cab driver were not funny to me, (in comparison to something like the GPS in Hangar 22) but the scene involving the (Spoiler - click to show)"gruff man by the fire escape" was very funny to me.
As far as actual game interpretation quality, there are various nuances that probably assisted in my final outcome with playing this. That is the main reason for the 2 stars. While the story wasn't for me, I did in fact read it and had some interest.
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