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by David Welbourn

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by Charles Mangin


Web Site

(based on 12 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

It is pitch black. You are a grue.

Can you catch your next meal, or will you succumb to starvation and worse?

Game Details


54th Place - 23rd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2017)


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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A good enough first effort, October 2, 2017
by Sobol (Russia)

The game feels a bit unfair, but it's so short and your options as a grue are so limited that it isn't hard to win; in-game hints are also available. There are several nice atmospheric touches like referring to the human NPC as "it", the description of the starting location, some customized responses, etc. And even many standard responses - e.g. the infamous "hollow voice" - seem completely at home in this setting.

I'd like to see more parser games from the author. Hopefully with some more polish - this one doesn't list beta-testers and is kind of rough.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A clever Infocom homage marred by implementation difficulties, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game was fun and clever; I think a large chunk of judges found the concept fun and original.

You are a lurking grue, and you have to devour an adventurer.

Because it is completely dark, you have rely on your other senses.

I had difficulty getting helpful responses from going in different directions, and with the final verb.

Overall, if the feedback from comp judges is implemented, this would be a game that continues to get played for a long time.

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So that's how the other side feels!, September 8, 2023
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: IFComp 2017

You actually didn't kill too many grues in the Zork games. Maybe none. You just shone a light on them, and they scattered. Here, you are a hungry grue, tracking down adventurers before you starve. There's no standard map to this game. You need to use your senses. It's a timed game, as you starve if you wait too long, both overall and at the final conflict. But there is also nothing wild to do, or any intricate puzzle.

Sight is not one of them, of course. You start with your eyes closed, in your layer, and if you open your eyes, you lose your other senses: taste, feel, smell and hearing. All four of these are used as you stumble through caverns. There's some trial and error here, but the main thing is, if you use certain commands twice, the adventurer is alerted to your presence. They may flee or outright kill you.

It's a sparsely described game, with a tense if quick hunt. At the end, you corner the adventure, and this is where I hit a wall. Some deaths were expected--you didn't prep yourself enough, or you used the same sense twice. But the final one, I just assumed you used one verb first, and I kept trying to find ways to make it effective. (There is a preparatory verb. It makes sense.) I didn't think of skipping over a certain step. There's some cluing here, as the game asks you if you want to, before the adventurer kills you. If you manage to get to the point, though, you have a meal!

Grue is clearly well beyond Zork: a Troll's-Eye View in terms of realism and description and character development. It's fairly quick to go through. I suspect it slid down the rankings due to the guess-the-standard-verb frustration at the end, as well as some other things which seemed like beginner mistakes. However, I recognized the author's name from some Apple II programming groups, so he is no beginning programmer, and he was probably just blindesided by stuff he could fix easily once he knew about it. Inform can just be tricky that way. It's a good idea and worth playing, and it's quite surprising someone didn't do it sooner. It feels like it has some holes that could be fixed pretty quickly. But all the same, I'm very glad it's there. There are a lot of Zork tributes that rely on canon knowledge or are just another treasure hunt, and this is genuinely different.

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