Deadline Enchanter

by Alan DeNiro profile

Surreal
2007

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(11)
4 star:
(27)
3 star:
(16)
2 star:
(3)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 56
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
A strange case, February 22, 2008

Deadline Enchanter falls into an unusual category: it is a work I found frustrating, flawed, and incomplete -- one which I nearly didn't finish myself -- but which I nevertheless would recommend more people play.

DE deservedly received mixed reviews and ratings in the IF Competition. The environment is sketchy; many objects are unimplemented and don't respond to investigation; the plot is mysterious and takes some time to unfold; the writing is highly stylized and may annoy or put off some players; and there is very little by way of puzzle, except perhaps for the meta-puzzle of understanding what is going on and why this work is interesting in the first place.

On the other hand, DE also features many strange and memorable images and a genuinely novel setting; it plays new and interesting games with the relationship between the player and the work; it does ultimately have a good reason to be interactive fiction rather than a story on the printed page (however long it may take you to understand this point); and the oddities of writing eventually prove to be part of a strong characterization within the work. What's more, the final state of the work is surprisingly moving and even beautiful, I thought.

So: absolutely not everyone's cup of tea, but a piece well worth exploring, especially for people who are interested in the boundaries of interactive fiction.


- Tyrog, December 14, 2007

- Neale Grant (Hove, England), December 6, 2007

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Quite, quite nonstandard; won't appeal to everyone, but I liked it, November 21, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Alan DeNiro, ****

I didn't think I was going to like this game when I started playing it, but now I'm extremely glad I gave it a go. I played it over again as soon as I'd finished it the first time, and enjoyed it as much if not more on the second go-round.

A number of reviewers have mentioned the sketchiness of the implementation, and some have suggested this may have been a purposeful choice, or at least one explainable within the world by the narrator having been in an understandable hurry. Now, given the backstory of the game, I have absolutely no problem with most nouns and actions being unimplemented; the problem I had was that when I got a reply from Inform, rather than from my narrator, it was jarring. Something as simple as a comment in the narrator's voice, rather than letting it fall through to the default parser response, would have alleviated this - just something that kept me immersed in the world.

Also, I didn't find the implementation sketchy so much as inconsistent. In some places, examining things brought the reward of another section of the story; in others, it was just pointless and frustrating. I think if the responses stayed in the narrator's voice throughout, it would make players more likely to examine things, rather than just mechanically work through the in-game-provided walkthrough.

And clearly this author can write! One excellent example, after you see the narrator do something that a human would never, ever do: "It hurts, but it also feels like someone is stroking your hair." (Actually, that doesn't look so great in isolation. It's better in context, but I don't want to give spoilers.) Also - "slickening"? Best portmanteau ever.

I thought the ending was disappointing. The random, nonstandard prompts were interesting, but the actual ending (well, endings - two are possible, but both have the same flaw) was generic to the point of meaninglessness. (And yes, I did notice the cues that explained who both the people in the final scene were.)

I want to make it clear that I did like Deadline Enchanter, and I do think it's worth playing; I wouldn't go on about the flaws at such great length if I didn't like it. There were typos, but I actually didn't care, for once. I just really want to have been able to give it five stars, but the inconsistent implementation and the disappointing ending meant I couldn't.


- Leland Paul (Swarthmore, PA), November 19, 2007

- Benjamin Sokal (Elysium pod planting enclosure on Mars), November 16, 2007

- Wesley (Iowa City, Iowa), November 11, 2007


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