The Day I shot Alex

by Marius Müller profile

Episode 10 of The Alex and Paul Series
Science Fiction

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Mostly for die-hard fans, July 19, 2018
by Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway)

Oh no, it’s ‘The Day I shot Alex’! :O On the upside, this means that we have a new ‘Alex and Paul’ game to play – the tenth in the series. And for the first time, we get to play Alex’s husband, Paul!

After a brief, interactive prologue, we’re in very familar surroundings, a party at Alex and Paul’s house. And everything seems absolutely perfect at first. But then we notice that Alex is missing, and the domestic story quickly takes a darker turn, more towards science fiction (cf. the previous episode, The Day time stood still).

Unfortunately, the game soon starts to feel like a long-running science fiction series – the type that has run out of original ideas several seasons ago. Cue lots scientific-sounding mumbo jumbo, some ‘applied phlebotinum’ and various other tedious plot devices. There are a few puzzles, but the actual story is often conveyed via too long info dumps.

So what about the puzzles? Are they any good? Well, they mostly make sense, but they’re not very original, and the implementation isn’t always fair. For example, one puzzle late in the game involves an action that physically makes perfect sense, but whose solution involve a different world model interaction than what is typically expected in parser-based interactive fiction. Another example can be found quite early in the game, where you can only advance the plot by using an exit that is 1) not listed in the status bar (which now, helpfully, lists rooms exits), 2) isn’t mentioned in the room description and 3) isn’t even one of the cardinal directions!

The best of the ‘Alex and Paul’ games are the ones that have lots of humour. This one is not one of those.

As usual for the series, the game ends with a sequel hook. Unfortunately, it’s more of the ‘let’s throw yet another villain into the mix’ type, which doesn’t give much promise for interesting story development. But, while I think the present game is mostly for die-hard fans, I always look forward to playing a new ‘Alex and Paul’ game. :)

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