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23rd Place - 8th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2002)
A potentially amusing game about creating tortures for damned souls, ruined by poor implementation of the central idea. This is basically a simulation in which you, the demon, are given various torture devices and the ability to create new rooms in the map, and are then rewarded for torturing souls by a certain number of Penance points. Unfortunately, there is very little feedback about why souls respond better to one torture than to another, which makes it hard to make any intelligent choices, or, really, to do anything other than select tortures at random and hope they'll be effective. Quite a pity, because some rather elegant coding must have gone into this piece.
-- Emily Short
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
Maybe I'm missing some critical clue that would make it clear how to proceed. Given that the game provides neither hints nor walkthrough, it's impossible to be sure that this isn't the case. Nevertheless, what seems quite clear is that Hell doesn't do what it says it will, and consequently I have no choice but to regard it as an unfinished game. Please don't submit these to the comp.
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In this game, you pick your gender and characteristics and start building your own little corner of hell.
You have a catalog that you can buy stuff from, including new room types (represented by gemstones). You dig out rooms in any direction you want, then drop a soul in it. You get 1-3 points for each soul you place in a room. To get more points, you might have to buy a torture device or set a demon in charge of the person.
I went up levels pretty quickly, but eventually stalled. Many reviewers (and me) have come to the conclusion that the game is unfinished, and you can't actually play it in the intended way. This same author went on to wrote several more massive games with brilliant systems that ended up not being implemented.
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