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About the Story
"Another night, another job guarding a treasure-laden underground lair against ransacking adventurers..." [--blurb from Competition '99]
36th Place - 5th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1999)
An intriguing premise--you've been hired to guard a cave against a bunch of looting adventurers--but the implementation lets it down. The competition release was entirely unfinishable due to bugs, but there are still plenty of bugs in the latest release. The cave itself is large and well described, so if you enjoy cave settings you may enjoy this, but the game itself needs work.
-- Duncan Stevens
>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
Wow, now that's really too bad. As with The Water Bird, I knew that there was a fatal bug in Guard Duty before I started playing it. I didn't know what that bug was. Turns out the game crashes as soon as you take inventory. This crash occurs with both Frotz and Jzip. It doesn't occur with Evin Robertson's Nitfol interpreter, though that interpreter will spit a lot of errors at you during crash-worthy occasions unless you turn on its "ignore" function. So that gave me a decision to make. Do I rate the game based on its ability to function under my traditional interpreters of choice, or do I download a new interpreter, set it to ignore all errors, and play through the game (or as much as can be played) that way? I chose the former.
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This game received last place in the 1999 IFComp due to a game-crashing bug whenever the player takes inventory.
Pressing the "play online" button for this game currently takes to that version. The inventory bug doesn't happen on Parchment, but half of the rooms are in complete darkness.
If you download and play the version in the zip file, you will see that your character can actually see in the dark. This is the version I played.
In this version, the game is quite interesting. You knock on the door and greet a lich (your employer) who takes you to his study and asks you to guard his treasure. He then gives you a mysterious map and keys and then leaves.
The real game then begins. You can wander around a complex and interesting map with many treasures. Quite a few adventurers (4-6) are also wandering around independently, each with their own light source.
I played for about thirty minutes, obtaining many treasures. I experienced more bugs, like repeated "no parent of nothing" messages whenever an adventurer looked behind the clock.
I can only conclude that there are more bugs in the game, as the adventurers never tried to take anything. It's a real shame, because the game seems intricate and fun. If the IF community hadn't been so harsh on Jason Finx and had encouraged him and helped him beta test this game, it could have been spectacular.