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About the Story
In a desolate outpost, you are the backup program, code of last resort as it were. Communications with the outside world have been severed; encrypted data is flowing across your network; political separatists are invading your base. As the about blurb states, "Backup is a game about killing."
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Number of Reviews: 3
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In Backup, you play a computer that is in charge of a high-tech (but unfinished) base under assault by terrorists. You get to inhabit plasma sword wielding drones in your attempt to kill them all -- although that's not quite all there is to the, admittedly short, story.
Let us talk a bit about the combat system first. Unlike Gun Mute, Backup's combats are not won through solving puzzles, but through choosing the right actions within a consistent system. In this respect, it is a little more like Slap That Fish, although that game too quickly started using puzzles. In Backup, combat is more straightforward: every turn, you get either to attack, to parry, or to feint. Your opponent gets to do the same thing, and each of the nine possible combinations has a certain determined outcome. It's not much of a spoiler, but let me nevertheless hide the pay-off matrix: (Spoiler - click to show)Let the first letter give your action, and the second letter that of your opponent, so that A/F means that you attack and your opponent feints. Then you die in the cases A/A, P/F and F/A. You win in the cases A/F and F/P. The other outcomes are neutral.
In itself, this system allows for no tactics, but only pure guesswork. Now it is, I believe, possible to predict what your opponent is going to do based on the flavour text that is shown prior to your turn; and if you predict rightly, you can choose the optimal action. That is what you have to learn to read in order to consistently win -- but I found the game a bit too short to get the hang of this.
Not that this matters much, since dying isn't much of a punishment, and combat can even be mostly avoided if you dislike it. As the story progresses, you are called upon to make a choice between four different possible endings -- some of these require the solution of a small puzzle, but the difficulty is very low.
All of which makes Backup an accessible little story with some non-standard gameplay that will keep you interested for the short time it lasts.
As the author's site points out, this game gets a lot of inspiration from Gun Mute. It's very linear, especially in the beginning. I think that the combat is especially reflected in this work. But instead of a gun, the PC wields a plasma sword, akin to a lightsaber, but very well thought out. The combat works on a system of blocking, attacking, and feinting. It works well, too. You get training with your sword and think, "Hey, this is pretty easy." Things soon become more challenging, but not overly difficult. It's only problem, to me, was trying to figure out when to do what.
I found the beginning to be slightly overwhelming. There were a lot of things to examine and lengthy descriptions to read. It took a lot of mental effort to wrap my mind around where and who I was, and what I was supposed to do next. After that, though, I breezed right through the game. And I was sad to see that it was so short a game. The "puzzles" weren't hard at all, and even were a bit too predictable when I came across them, but the puzzles weren't the point of the game.
As the game ended, it seemed like the implementation was getting more sparse. A small gripe that I encountered several times, because I kept dying, was the lack of synonyms. But the new verbs were well hinted at and the proofreading was thoroughly done. The quality of writing was good, too.
Where I thought the major focus of the game, though, was in free will. You come across two significant choices(Spoiler - click to show): which side you're on and whether or not to kill. The consequences of those choices could have been a little more apparent, to me. It seemed like I could have done whatever I wanted and my life barely changed at all.
Overall, it's a fun game. The style of combat worked well and it was great to play as a computer. I'd look forward to playing a longer game along the same lines.
My first combat game I've played in interactive fiction, and I quite enjoyed it. The adventure is very short and linear, but somehow manages to fabricate a nice little story in such a short space.
at the beginning I'll admit I was overwhelmed with all of the instruments, but as it turns out, only the drones were needed to win.
I was really impressed by the fighting format. In time you would learn all of the hints which pertained to the move your opponent was going to make. It took a few dead drones, but eventually it got pretty easy.
This is a great game for those just beginning the fighting format of interactive fiction, but honestly it would have helped if it were longer and had even one or two simple puzzles. I struggled a bit with the terminology at the beginning of the game, and it refuses to except some simple commands.
All in all though, it was well done and recommendable to the begginner