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Are you crazy? Perhaps. Your father started rambling about aliens when he went mad, and now the same aliens are apparently giving you a series of intelligence tests in a simulation of your home town. A short Twilight Zone-ish story with a convincing rural Appalachian setting, a strong element of mystery, a back-story that's revealed over the course of the game, and a tricky double twist ending. It is possible to lock yourself out of victory by solving a certain puzzle too soon.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
It's hard to believe that this is the very first serious game about aliens. Oh, there have been the pulp sci-fi offerings ("LGOP," for instance), and the typical plot-forming UFO abduction (as seen in "Waystation," "Plague Planet," and "Lost"), but I can't recall ever seeing a work of I-F that deals with the anomaly from a standpoint that does justice to the phenomenon. [...] C. E. Forman
[...] How well Alien Abduction? works is a function of the player's expectations, I suppose - it's certainly a well-written game with some suspenseful moments and good deal of atmosphere, and if you're someone who enjoys IF that emphasizes setting and mood, and who doesn't care overmuch about being able to solve the puzzles without reliance on hints, this is definitely for you. [...] Duncan Stevens
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"Assuming you haven’t lost your grip on reality, you are Isaiah Knott, a twenty-seven year old man from the Appalachian mountains". The question is, have you lost your grip on reality? Your partner thinks you have, and the whole town is sure your dad was crazy. And it's all down to those darn UFOs.
Alien Abduction? is not a huge game - one good Mastermind-like puzzle, some mechanical manipulation and a little lateral thinking will get you through. But the characterisation of you-as-Isaiah is very strong, the mystery and ambiguity are both compelling, and the NPCs are amusing, if not perhaps as interesting as your own motivations.
It's a game that could have been truly great given a little more implementation. There were way too many stock responses that inevitably become annoying for the diligent IF player. For me, if something is important enough to be described in scene-setting, it should be important enough to be at least recognised by the parser. I get very tired of exchanges such as this:
You are wearing your comfortable jeans, a thick flannel shirt, and hiking boots.
I don’t know the word “jeans”.
Still, I think its age means that Alien Abduction can be forgiven somewhat for this, and its conversation system is a little more fleshed out, in that it can deal with concepts as well as objects (though you still can't ask anyone about "UFOs", unfortunately).
This game was entered in the 1996 IFComp, where it took 9th place. In this game, you play a backwoods fellow who is convinced that aliens have been messing with his brain, just like they messed with his father.
You are abducted, and forced to pass a sequence of tests. They start abstract, and then become immersive. Some reviewers and I had to use hints frequently, but the story and setting are quite interesting.
The scenery is often unimplemented, which may be frustrating for those used to more recent games.
Interesting for those who'd like to see an alien abduction game.
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