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The Plant

by Michael J. Roberts profile

Espionage/Science Fiction

(based on 32 ratings)
9 member reviews

About the Story

You're on a business trip with your boss, driving down a deserted highway in the middle of nowhere, when the car breaks down. You set off on foot seeking help, but you soon find yourself in the middle of a shocking conspiracy in a dangerous industrial complex. Can you penetrate the decades-old cover-up and reveal the secrets that might forever change the world?

Game Details

Language: English (en-US)
First Publication Date: September 30, 1998
Current Version: 2
License: Freeware
Development System: TADS 2
Baf's Guide ID: 395
IFIDs:  TADS2-A94AFB10D704EF53BA57E9DE95B49422
TUID: 77rsl9mezn5iogto


Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 1998 XYZZY Awards

3rd Place - 4th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1998)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

Entertaining action caper that requires significant suspension of disbelief, but is well-crafted enough to be enjoyable anyway. Your car breaks down near a mysterious factory, and you stumble on some strange secrets. Impossible to die or otherwise render the game unwinnable, perhaps not the best design choice for this particular game (since the nature of the plot requires that you be in danger now and again, and the danger doesn't seem all that real if you know it can't do anything to you), but good for general player-friendliness. Lots of clever large-scale puzzles, lots of gadgetry to manipulate, and generally a well-built world with plenty of attention to detail.

-- Duncan Stevens

The Plant feels well-crafted as a whole; bugs are few, the writing is outstanding, and objects, even complex ones, largely do what they're supposed to do. That feeling of polish helps overcome the flaws in the story--or, more accurately, the flaws in the story don't detract much from its enjoyment because the game is so playable as a whole.
-- Duncan Stevens a.k.a. Second April
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

Probably the thing I liked the most about The Plant was its puzzles. I know there were several other games this year that were focused on puzzles, and some of the puzzles in those games were excellent. However, I liked The Plant's puzzles better precisely because the game wasn't focused on puzzles. Instead, its puzzles were very well integrated into its story, so solving the puzzles really propelled the narrative. It's much more interesting to solve a puzzle when it opens the door to the next piece of the story, rather than being just one of a roomful of puzzles that you have to solve to escape that room. The Plant was probably the only game in this year's competition to give me a feeling similar to what I have when I play Infocom games. I love that feeling of uncovering an exciting story by cleverly putting pieces together, using items in unexpected ways, or doing the right thing at just the right time.
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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
One of my favorites, February 8, 2017

I just played this through, and this is my favorite IF game next to Blue Lacuna. It wasn't terribly difficult but it was a lot of fun. The story and atmosphere managed to grip me, the characters (not a lot of them) were sympathetic, it is well-written, and the puzzles made sense. No 'guess the verb' or obscure item combinations at all. All in all I needed a hint only once, for an item I had not managed to collect. It was a bit short, though.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Like the statue with feet of clay and iron, February 3, 2016

There is an old story about a man who dreamed of a giant statue with feet made of clay mingled with iron, symbolizing strength mixed with weakness. This game really made me think of that image.

First, the iron: It is a mid-length game with three large portions to explore (though you can always return to a previous area). The implementation is good, and the story is pretty fun; I was excited when I first began to plan because I enjoy a good action game.

The puzzles seem overwhelming at first, but experimentation soon shows that the gameworld is more limited than it seems, which makes it easier to solve the puzzles.

The puzzles include a variety that I have never really seen in other games, especially in the introductory section.

Second, the clay: The game falls short in several areas. One is in length and size; the game feels unnecessarily small in the last two big areas. You almost expect an area about the size of Babel, but you end up with something a lot smaller.

As others have noted, the NPC implementation feels sparse after playing more modern games. Compared to Infocom games, this game does pretty good; however, having a travelling companion that has about one line for every 50-100 moves gets discouraging after a while.

I was stuck near the end, and used the walkthrough to make sure I had done everything up to that point, but somehow couldn't trigger a cutscene. I had to manually enter the walkthrough using the @ sign to get to the ending, which may have soured my reaction.

Thus, overall, I can only partially recommend this game. The first half made me ready to recommend this is another great hidden treasure, but the second half left me wondering.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Thoroughly Average, May 19, 2013
by Andromache (Hawaii)

The puzzles in this game were sensible and fair. I got stuck twice, but after discovering the solutions, I didn't feel too badly about not being able to find them. There are some red herring items that obscured some puzzles for me, and I'm not really sure why they were there when they're not really useful. Specifically, it made no sense to be able to manipulate them. I realize the point of red herrings is essentially to be useless. Made one puzzle more frustrating than it needed to be. The endgame puzzle was a bit incredible, however. Well-clued but who would expect it would have the effect it does? Couldn't suspend disbelief enough.

The story was a bit confusing and characters were pretty flat. Gameplay was good, but this isn't really a game I'd recommend to friends. This is definitely more for puzzle solvers.

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Noteworthy Games Which Can't Be Played on the Web by Walter Sandsquish
Because TADS 2 is still missing a TADS Web UI or Glk server or a JavaScript 'terp.


The following polls include votes for The Plant:

Games for Beginners by WriterBob
I'm looking for games that are suited for adults who are new to IF. My purpose is to share these games with friends and let them get experience IF without being frustrated by mazes or guess-the-verb issues. Please avoid children's games....

forgotten gems by Marius Müller
I'm looking for games that don't show up in the IF histories or recommended lists, for what reason whatsover. Old games that maybe weren't boundary-pushing or noteworthy, but still give you a fun play experience. If you ever thought...

Games where you can't screw up by Pinstripe
Sometimes, when I'm playing a game, I spend more time juggling my save files than I do reading the text. I don't want to have to restart because I picked up the green rod instead of the clay jug (with apologies to Zarf). So I'm looking...

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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 27 August 2013 at 5:02am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item