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Winner, Best Individual PC - 2001 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Mr. Wheeler seems to be a man of extremes. His works, which are often submitted under a pseudonym, have scored both low and high in various competitions, and they include 'Being Andrew Plotkin', aka 'BAP'. While 'BAP' is an in-joke laden spoof that is most popular among the authors and IFMUDders at the core of the modern IF community, 'The Tale of the Kissing Bandit' is at the other end of the accessibility extreme -- a complete novice to IF should have no trouble playing this story through to the end while appreciating every word along the way.
The game was apparently written for a target audience of one (Wheeler's significant other), and anyone who's tried their hand at writing IF can sense the Herculean lengths the author went through to ensure a smooth playing experience. You won't be "guessing the verb" in this one... indeed, I suspect the game could teach you a few synonyms if you inspected the source code.
Some might say that this game is 'for girls', but this should not be an issue for anyone who's gotten past the 'girls are icky' stage of growing up. Though the final ending is perhaps a bit too personal to satisfy everyone, the story leading up to it is like a good G-rated movie: fun for the whole family. It is cute, original, and violence-free, and the player character is so memorable that it's easy to see why it won the 2001 XYZZY award for Best Individual PC.
'The Tale of the Kissing Bandit' should be a fun diversion for any player who wants a light-hearted break from their busy day, and an instructive example for any author who wants to see the impact of a gold-standard grammar implementation on playability. Take the time to try it out; you won't regret it.
The Kissing Bandit is extremely linear, and basically runs on rails, with little real interactivity. What saves it, tough, is the hysterical writing, which are sure to make you smile throughout the game.
There are no puzzles as such, and you don't even have to pick up anything during the game (but do examine your inventory!). While many 'original' verbs are implemented, several items mentioned in the room descriptions are not, and the autocompletion could be smarter. For instance, typing 'climb' outside a tower offers the not-so-helpful (but somewhat amusing) completion 'climb (the maiden)'. The author does acknowledge the somewhat spotty implementation, caused by lack of time before the submit deadline, and it would be nice to see an expanded and improved version released.
All in all, I think the humour and the overall cuteness of The Kissing Bandit does make up for some of its shortcomings, and since the game only takes about 10 minutes to play, it's well worth spending those 10 minutes.
You play a young man in costume who goes about a ball stealing kisses from young women.
This game was part of SmoochieComp, which I've seen a lot from recently. It was a veil tines day themed comp.
The game tells you what to do for each next step, but gives you some freedom. The setting is in the olden days, probably a ball.
The game has a twist at the end, which made me feel a bit better about the premise. Going about kissing girls against their will is unpleasant. But the ending makes it more charming.
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