Target

by Richard Otter profile

Espionage
2005

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Number of Reviews: 1
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Simple, variable assassination, August 13, 2011
by DB (Columbus, OH)

From the beginning, the game tries to help players along as much as possible, perhaps even too much. It's clear the author had some trouble setting up the game's primary NPC with a depth that both motivates and withstands continued player interrogation. The writing throughout remains functional, with a few sour spots.

The obvious star of the game here is the variability in the game's writing. While goals remain the same (in short, shoot somebody and make your best exit), the details of the event change with each play. This is interesting in the way that it resists the creation of a static, command-by-command walkthrough, ensuring the significance of the player's role as an interpreter in the story's action. Gameplay is otherwise straightforward. It has its puzzles, all solved fairly easily.

The less obvious star-- and, I think, the potentially more interesting one-- is the game's protagonist. Beneath the content of his actions on the job, the text frames the killer as a soft-spoken intellectual who maintains a family and loves gardening. This introduction gives some depth to this variably named 40-something professional killer, and the varying amounts of attention given to objects in the world also complement this character's mindset in a nice way. Remembrances of training, just snippets of quotes, bubble up to the surface of the killer's mind in the same way a song might get stuck in a person's head. The variable and replayable nature of the adventure suggests that the protagonist has worked for several gangland bosses, and that assassinations are, to him, a routine as straightforward as a game. Here the contradictions of playable space and linear narrative in the form of an IF ultimately serve the development of this likewise complex and contradictory character.

Admittedly, not everyone will be quite as pulled in by this one as I was, but for its compact size and play time you really can't go wrong giving Target a shot.