Ill Wind

by Marshal Tenner Winter profile

Mystery, Horror, Humor

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Number of Reviews: 3
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
An average IF, with some defects, but some good points also, May 20, 2013

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

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explorington, May 18, 2013 - Reply
I didn't even try to look around. Thanks for pointing this out, I'll correct the review
Andrew Schultz, May 21, 2013 - Reply
I don't think your mirror comment is without merit. I think it's fair game to say that having your items scattered is a nuisance in stark contrast to having such a big holdall as your trenchcoat, and an item hunt is just no fun & interrupts the pace the story establishes.

That said, it's a minor point & good to know there's a way around. And I have to say, as (disclaimer) another tester for this game, I found the game had enough pace and enough to enjoy I didn't want/try to look in the mirror. But since I know it's there, I'll give it another look.

I better stop short of a review here, since fully reviewing games I tested gets sticky, but it's neat to see another tester's view--it's sort of tricky to talk about before the game's released.
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