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About the Story
A science fiction/horror game, set in an underground laboratory. Something is breaking free...
14th Place - Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Critical Breach puts you in the role of something like one of the low ranking scientists working for the bad guys in the Resident Evil games. The kind of white-coated underlings who do the dangerous lab work on the zombie DNA and are first to be torn apart when some giant mutant springs out of a petri dish.
The game has a core of two busy lab rooms sporting computers, scanners, medical miscellany and one specimen cage containing your charge, the horrible Scorpig. Your goal is to implant a chip in that little bastard, a procedure which does not go routinely. This main part of the game is very satisfying, coming on like a significant but not overly tough set piece from a larger adventure. There's good interactivity amongst the many props at your disposal, a fair bit to do and a fair bit to work out. The game successfully conveys a feeling of the dangerousness of the PC's situation without ever killing the player. I did get stuck once, at which point I consulted the walk-through and discovered that (Spoiler - click to show)a particular object which common sense had told me would never fit inside another particular object actually did – so I blame the game's failure to make clear the size of this object.
Unfortunately, the post-Scorpig section of the game is poor. It may also be short, but it dragged down my experience with its relatively lame implementation (EG a vital noun makes no appearance in the prose at any point), vagueness of purpose and possible bugginess. I was stuck in one room for ages, and when I turned to the walk-through, it didn't work – (Spoiler - click to show)nor did its instructions on getting either of the game's endings.
I was tempted to lop a star off my score for the messy endgame, but I felt that would fail to accurately reflect the fun I had in the laboratory section, which comprises the bulk of Critical Breach. I had also been expecting a small game from the outset, and wouldn't have minded if it hadn't continued beyond the lab anyway. It's a good and basically satisfying dose of puzzle in a sci-fi setting. An update to the endgame would be great, though.
I'm going to say right now that I really enjoyed this adventure. It's short- only two or three rooms- and few puzzles, but it's very well developed and maintained to keep a little horror in the main character. I will also say that the story is rather confusing during parts, but In my opinion, this adds significantly to the story. It's designed so that you are in constant 'fear' and in complete bewilderment, not knowing why things happened or where the heck you are. I mean come on, you're in a mysterious lab with frightening beasts, locked doors and other instruments, so it's bound to be a somewhat creepy story with unexplained happenings.
Critical breach is very linear, short and simple though. Puzzles are obviously aimed at the beginner so don't expect too much. What the story does have though, is fairly well done. The beginner will be pleased with the variety of tasks needed to complete the adventure, from finding a way to 'escape' the mysterious beginning to doing simple puzzles, and using the limited tools to solve problems. This adventure gives a toolbox of activities which will be needed for future, harder adventures.
It's no zork, but critical breach is perfect for the IF beginner
If you enjoyed Critical Breach...
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