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10th Place - 9th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2003)
This could have been a really good game. The set-up is involving -- you spend most of the game wondering where exactly your loyalty lies, and under nearly constant threat of death -- there are a number of computer interface-based puzzles which could have been entertaining, and while the story deals with some fairly standard sci-fi tropes, there's a welcome sense of horror and desperation beneath it all. Unfortunately, all this promise is severely weakened by inadequate motivation, some questionable design choices, and an incredibly mulish parser.
-- Mike Russo
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
I have to say, I really can't figure this out. You take good idea, write an interesting story, make up some cool puzzles and such, then you put it together in such a slapdash way that almost nobody could enjoy it.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Atomic heart is a good game at heart, but with an annoying number of missing synonyms, unclear descriptions, and a lot of tedious commands. It prominently features a cable and socket system which reminds me of Jack Witham's later Final Exam.
You play a nanny robot protecting a boy. After a brief introductory segment, you enter a larger and dangerous world. With a fragile companion, you explore a landscape fraught with danger and cables.
A key object in the opening area gave me no indication of what I was able to do with it. One room had no description except for "This is Gary's room", or something like that.
If these flaws were patched up, this game would be pretty sweet. But as it is, it's an exercise in frustration.
The main character's nature makes the parser as game construct a useful representation of reality. Very cool! However, the game is poorly implemented and to this day, has not had obvious and glaring bugs fixed. Yes, the trainers are not shoes, even though Mrs. Go tells you to get the shoes. You still can't do anything with various objects, even though you refer to them exactly as the parser demands. It's frustrating beyond reason. I've read that even the walkthrough doesn't work, so I have no idea how you're supposed to finish the game.
If you enjoyed The Atomic Heart...
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