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Desert Heat

by Papillon


(based on 8 ratings)
5 reviews

About the Story

"WARNING. This game is intended for mature readers and may contain explicit sexual scenes and/or questionable consensuality depending on play. It is possible to complete the game without encountering these elements; however, the reader is assumed to be proceeding at eir own risk.

The sound of windblown sand smoothing the dunes and scouring the city walls is the only song nature produces in Hajima. You have seen representations of colorful and exotic birds in your brother's books, creatures who are said to produce music more easily than a musician's flute, even found in the market rare insects and reptiles that chirr or hum in pleasing tones. But sandsong is not kind to life. The beasts bred for desert work are thick-skinned, dull, and plodding. There is no beauty in them.

The men who drive them are little more appealing, wrapped in the rough, colorless cloth that is all they can afford to protect them from the blowing sand. Brutes and slavers, suitable for nothing more than labor.

Perhaps it is this attitude that has kept you unmarried and untouched, despite your brother's urgings. Even in the slender courtiers with their gold and silks you see reflected the hateful black eyes of the drovers.

You are Aika Sabakan, a free woman of high social class, and no one can force you to do anything against your will, not even carry on the family line." [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 1
License: Freeware
Development System: TADS 2
Baf's Guide ID: 1070
IFID: TADS2-64F496336D95832A1581CC2B2A2A8E84
TUID: ddw7exaodcxdbuiv


28th Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide

A CYOA tale of intrigue and sexual slavery--you're an Arab woman at the center of some nefarious plots and romantic entanglements. The branching usually doesn't go very deep--most of the branches rejoin the main story before long--but there's enough variety to justify several trips through the story, and the choices you make do affect the text you see later on. The sexual content is fairly explicit, though, I thought, not gratuitously so, and it does reflect the story. As with any CYOA story, there's not a lot of interactivity here, but it's still a pretty good story.

-- Duncan Stevens


With the very first sentence, mood and setting are already firmly in place, a setting which is only enhanced (and never contradicted) by further room and event descriptions. And best yet, although the game does tell you "this is who you are, this is what you can do", it never seems to do it in a way that felt limiting (to me), though ultimately, of course, it was rather narrow in scope.
-- Tina Sikorski
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There are dozens of endings to be found and several major branches to follow. It is well written and filled with well developed characters, including yourself.
-- Dorothy Millard
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

In the final analysis, it was probably a combination of factors that made me say, "Nice try, but it didn't really work for me." I still think a CYOA could work in the comp, but the lesson of Desert Heat is that such a game would not only have to be well-written and very well-plotted, but also wide enough and with enough available choices to provide a feeling of freedom at least somewhat comparable with parser games.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An early CYOA dealing with a medieval Arabic setting and femininity, June 27, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game contains erotic themes, but you’re told you can avoid anything explicit. I found that to be true, and played to two pleasing endings without encountering anything shocking.

Papillon was a prolific author around this time, producing several excellent games before moving on to visual novels.

This game involves you, an Arabic noblewoman, experiencing violence and oppression in the city. You are required to enter a brothel in the game (although one early ending doesn’t require this), providing most of the opportunities for erotic choices (which, again, you need to choose).

The main drawback I felt was that the game felt like it could have developed more. It would have done better as a Choice of Games novel, but such tools were limited or unavailable at the turn of the millennium.

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This is version 5 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 23 March 2013 at 9:40am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item