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20th Place - 15th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2009)
The first part of the game is a ramble through a vast yet barren and monotonous maze. The few puzzles you need to solve on this stage require even more rambling, and often are of the "read the author's mind" type. It gets better (at least, somewhat more dynamic) in the second part; still, it left me with the feeling "why bother".
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It all starts with the PC sitting on a tour tram through Everglades National Park, Florida. Except for a few obscure references in the introduction to the game and a mysterious item in your inventory, you have no clue at all to what you‘re supposed to do in the game, and until the first puzzle is solved, the PC’s motivations and identity, too, will remain perfectly concealed to the player (though, presumably, well known to the PC).
The first part of the game is all one puzzle. It’s quite possible to put the game in an unwinnable state here: to work the puzzle you need to know a few things about the game world and you also must take precautions against certain (predictable) future complications. The puzzle is not too bad, if you feel for a bit of old schoolish puzzle-working, but it does involve a lot of extremely tedious wandering about in the (labyrinthine) wetlands of the Park.
Then, all of a sudden, the game changes character totally and in almost all relevant respects. It is revealed that the PC is … well, since the author obvisouly thinks the player should not be aware of it, I guess this calls for a (Spoiler - click to show). It seems that you’re really a pilot in a giant robotic alligator fleet called Gator-On dedicated to environmental protection cheap animated cartoon super-hero style. Specifically, the evil Pyth-Nor Real Estate Development Consortium has constructed a giant robotic python, which you and the rest of Gator-On have to engage in combat...
From there on the game is just as weird as that. This concluding part of the game depends heavily on non-standard commands. However, the text of the story generally (though perhaps not invariably) gives you sufficient clues to them.
This game is split into two parts. The second part is pretty cool; you are a power-ranger sort of person who gets a robot and can form a Zord type of thing.
The first part, however, is incredibly dull, having you trudge through swamps requiring 15 or 20 movement commands in a single direction (like n.n.n.n.n.n.n....)
If the first half were shorter, this would be pretty fun.
GATOR-ON, Friend to Wetlands! on IFDB
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This is version 1 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 4 October 2009 at 3:10am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item