Apollo 11

by Brooke Heinichen


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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
One small step for man, one giant leap into the trash heap, June 24, 2008
by Ryusui (Out in the middle of a field!)

This is the second one of Mr. McCall's student projects I've had the dubious honor of reviewing. I had no illusions of Cortes's Creed(sic) being the worst of the lot; unfortunately, not only is this game worse than Cortes's Creed(sic), it is embarrassingly so. While Creed was written by people unclear on how to write an IF, Apollo 11 was apparently written by someone unclear on the very concept of IF.

The first thing you must do in the game is suit up. No, you don't "x spacesuit", "take spacesuit" and then "wear spacesuit". In fact, there's no actual spacesuit to be seen. You just "suit up". This informs you that you've magically donned your spacesuit, which changes neither your inventory nor your appearance. Next you must "check in", which is accomplished not by talking with any of the nearby NPCs (among which is the legendary Buzz Aldrin) but by simply typing "check in". The game proceeds in this fashion, intercepting the player's commands and shifting the state of the game through flags and variables but not, curiously, through the object model. You can sit in the chair aboard the Columbia but not get up from it, you can enter a door that you're told is closed and locked, and rather than skipping ahead to the moon landing after you hit the launch button, you have to wait repeatedly (mercifully skipping several minutes at a time) until you reach your orbit window (which, as far as I can tell, is not actually enforced by the game). For the grand finale, the shoddy implementation falls apart completely as you must "enter lm door" (yes, the game doesn't recognize "lunar module"), "configure launch", "confirm launch", and somewhere in all that confirm that you want to "land on sea of tranquility" (with that exact phrasing) and not on those nice soft boulders. Detective was better than this.

In conclusion, I have this to say to the author: if you've got it in your head that you're going to be the next Nelson/Plotkin/Short/Cadre, please look at some real Inform 7 source before you attempt another project. Preferably some written by one of the aforementioned authors. In lieu of that, the Inform 7 Manual is there for a purpose, and among other things it describes the built-in mechanisms for keeping track of whether the player is sitting down or not.