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About the Story
You wake up in a room with no memory of who you are or what you're doing there.
28th Place - 18th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2012)
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Number of Reviews: 4
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The Lift is a Twine-based survival horror CYOA that appears to be set in some kind of monster-containment facility (think Cabin in the Woods meets the Umbrella Corporation headquarters). With an amnesiac protagonist and scant background details, there isn't a whole lot of emotional investment. So far, so typical, which means it has to rely on its design to work. Unfortunately, author Colin Capurso seems more interested in getting to the action than building a sufficiently mysterious atmosphere to draw readers in.
In short order, players are expected to choose their weapon, and ride the titular lift to one of the building's four levels. Each floor has a different kind of archetypal (read: cliched) horror threat. Each option is played completely straight, without the necessary deftness or panache to create a unique experience. The end result is a repetitive set of semi-consequential choices that branch out in thoroughly linear style. (I didn't even bother to check if the seemingly gratuitous porn-and-tissue diversion proves to be some kind of Chekov's Gun in any of the other endings.)
In the hands of a more skilled writer, the basic premise might have led to a fun but derivative CYOA. Unfortunately, Capurso's work falls short of both the writing skill and game design savvy to pull it off. For what it's worth, if he ever revisits this idea after honing his craft, I would probably give it another shot. But until then, this lift is out of commission.
(I originally published this review on 5 October 2012 as part of my blog of IFComp 2012. This was the 6th of 26 games I reviewed.)
Unfortunately The Lift is not a game based on either 1983 Dutch horror film The Lift or its silly but likeable 2001 remake The Shaft.
"The cover art for The Lift looks like it might be good," I had thought to myself as I'd squinted at the postage stamp sized icon dispensed by the IFComp site. The same automated process which deleted all of the large sized cover artworks from the comp games and replaced them with shrinkies in 2011 did the same thing again in 2012. After playing through this hyperlink CYOA game which involves choosing one of four weapons and then either being killed or not being killed by some zombies and dire rats, I think its cover image (even in shrunken form) is the only part of it I can compliment.
The PC is an amnesiac who wakes up with the obvious goal of survival. After picking your weapon, the next important choice you have to make is which of the four floors of the building you will investigate in hopes of escaping. Give or take the odd exception, that's about sixteen outcomes, but there's next to no variation of choice within outcomes. More problematic is that the writing is bad to unremarkable, there are no dynamics, there is no atmosphere, no suspense, reason, or really any point of interest. The choice you have to make before making the second important choice is whether to avail yourself of some pornography or not. This is potentially a moment of inspired dumbery, but it also might not be.
I wrote a song about this game. It has three verses. One for each choice you make. So you can sing it while you play.
"Aaaah" noises in background throughout...last 2 syllables of each line repeated, except the final in the verse which is drawn out. BBAgg, GGGGDE
(Spoiler - click to show)
You must reach...the lift (the lift the lift the lift)/on the graveyard shift/if you get my drift/danger has been sniffed/
Zombies to be biffed/porn and kleenex gift/No time to feel stiffed/Your fate may be swift
Not much that's what-iffed/You just got short shrift/Hey now don't get miffed/now this song's adrift
This game swung and whiffed.
But seriously, this guy seems like a decent artist, if you google.
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