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(based on 36 ratings)
About the Story
"A trip into virtual reality: all begins with debugging a VR system, but then things get out of hand. Who is Morrodox, what has he to do with your colleagues, and what is going on?" [--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]
Language: English (en)
Current Version: 4
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 61
Nominee, Best Story - 1996 XYZZY Awards
3rd Place - 2nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1996)
Honorable Mention - The Top Five IF Games (Adventure Gamers, 2002)
Head games galore in this one. You're working in a Virtual Reality lab, helping to debug the next generation of sim technology, until a suave stranger forces you to confront the creeping air of inconsistency that's been in the corner of your consciousness. A dark one, with surprises up to the end, one of the coolest villains I've seen in a long time, and some quite impressive feats of Inform programming. The structure is unusual, with a nightmarishly looping midgame that resembles its frame in form but not in content. The puzzles are all clever, although a bit obscure towards the end. Has a built-in hint menu.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
One thing about C.E. Forman's Delusions that can't possibly be denied is that it's got plot. Boy, has it got plot--several stories' worth, at least. If your head isn't spinning by the end of it (for that matter, by the time the first few twists come long), you missed a lot and you should go back and replay it. Moreover, the plot takes on a variety of guises along the way--part science experiment, part techno-thriller, part mystery (well, sort of), part, um, metaphysical-technological thesis, etc. If there's one thing Delusions isn't, it's predictable.
-- Duncan Stevens a.k.a. Second April
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If you're willing to overlook the basic lack of originality, the tedious (to my mind) morality bits and the fact that the bad guy talks far too much, it's a well written and competently programmed game. The "Big revelation" doesn't come as too much of a surprise if you've been paying attention to what's going on, but that's a good thing rather than a bad one.
-- Matthew Garrett
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[...] undoubtedly will remain on the mind of the player well after it is completed.
-- Evan Dickens
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
Incredible game. Basically excellent in every respect — brilliant idea, (almost) flawlessly executed, great plot, well-thought-out puzzles. Just a gem in every respect.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This classic game is exceptionally well-written and implemented, together with a well-done hint system.
The game features a pretty small playing area that is packed with objects and several NPCs that take interesting actions.
The game is hard, and I had to rely on hints much of the time. The puzzles require creative uses of a large number of objects gathered from different areas, and some large leaps of intuition.
The plot is about the nature of reality, and it has several mind-benders, which is why I am not describing it as much.
Delusions was one of the very first IF-games I played when I first discovered the medium. The puzzles were way over my head back then, but I found the setting and the slowly unfolding plot fascinating. Except exploring rooms and examining objects, I used a walkthrough for the entire game, knowing I would once try again.
And now I have come back to it. Where before I would have given Delusions five stars for its story alone, now I have more experience with IF and I might offer a more nuanced opinion. I will have to be quite vague in this review to not spoil the overall story.
The story remains fantastic. It is a reworking of a tried-and-true science fiction trope, very well told and paced. Each of the three parts of the game sees the plot of self-discovery open up some more to its inevitable conclusion. Story-wise, there are many similarities to Babel. The way the player discovers the story through puzzles is different however.
The puzzles are very reminiscent of some mini-games in Gateway. You have to build a good understanding of your surroundings and the available objects to figure out a sequence of actions that brings about the desired effect. This will undoubtedly take some experimenting, failing and retrying. You can of course rely on saved games for this, but the game always brings you back to a fixed starting point to begin anew. (In the middle game at least. The endgame is not so friendly.) It is vital to play through the introductory puzzle attentively, because it is an easier version of the puzzle in the middlegame.
For the map-drawers and world-explorers there is not so much here. However, the setting is exquisitely suited to the plot, it adds to the trapped feeling and the big puzzle is designed to fit snugly in these few rooms.
Unfortunately, being more experienced I could also recognize more flaws. The unfolding of the plot relies on examining the same objects multiple times over the course of the game, to see how they change, or, more accurately, how your perception of them changes. Sometimes an object gives a default "not interesting"-response while you should still examine it later. One crucial action demands a non-intuitive (to me) command, making it a very frustrating guess-the-verb problem: (Spoiler - click to show)TAKE object WITH TONGS does not work, you have to PUT object IN TONGS. I also found a game-breaking bug: (Spoiler - click to show)do not SET WATCH TO [time]. It breaks of the playing session immediately. Just SET WATCH wil do nicely.
So, I am not so awestruck as the first time I played through Delusions, but it is still a very clever and well-written game. Highly recommended.
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