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About the Story
An entry in the 2007 One Room Game Competition. Your character is a soldier who was dragged into a bombed-out building by an armed NPC after sustaining a serious injury in a bomb blast.
Language: English (en)
Current Version: 1
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
Baf's Guide ID: 3074
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Number of Reviews: 3
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The premise of this piece is brave and ambitious: the protagonist is trapped in a building, pinned down by enemy fire, with another soldier not on his own side. It's up to him to overcome the soldier's suspicion and develop some kind of fragile rapport.
This is a intriguing idea, and it starts out well, with several neat exchanges and revelations. But ultimately the conversation is not entirely satisfying: the protagonist is under-characterized, the enemy soldier a little too unsubtle in certain respects. Some pieces of the dialogue could have stood to vary more with repetition or context, too: not all of the lines are equally appropriate in all the contexts in which they can arise.
Still, an interesting piece of work, especially for those with a taste for character-focused IF.
Urban Conflict is an ambitious project - the entire game consists of talking to a single NPC. Because of their nature, conversational games with little or no other content require that they are polished to almost perfection or they break the illusion and fall on their faces. Unfortunately this game does not quite reach the former group.
The protagonist is a peacekeeper trapped in a ruined building with an insurgent from one side of the warring parties. "Your challenge is to survive in the company of your companion long enough for the current battle to die down, so that you can leave the building," says the author. This is somewhat controversial, since (Spoiler - click to show)at first I tried to do exactly as the instructions said and got nowhere. Some topics made the insurgent considerably angry and ended the game very quickly so I avoided those and tried to stay on her good side as long as possible, but after a run of about 120 turns I had to resort to the walkthrough. Turns out you have to get her in a good enough mood, then bring up a topic that previously would have gotten the player shot in a matter of turns. That's just about impossible to figure out unless you happen to get the right sequence of questions on the first go.
The insurgent is deeply implemented as a conversational NPC but the character itself remains distant and is hard to relate emotionally. Part of the problem might be that the war itself is never identified. When the insurgent talks about it with vague terms like "the enemy" and "the conflict" and refuses to tell about the warring sides' political and religious motives, it gives the impression of them having a light debate over wars in general at the university café.
Personally I don't think conversation makes a good game or a puzzle by itself. If this NPC were a part of a larger game it would be very impressive but alone it's not enough. I did not enjoy Galatea that much either and this is very similar in comparison so those who liked Galatea will probably get more out of Urban Conflict as well.
Urban Conflict situates you in a bombed-out building in the middle of a war. You've sustained a serious injury, and your only companion in the building is sitting opposite you in possession of an assault rifle — and definitely isn't on your side.
I didn't feel this was really a one-room game so much as a conversational game along the lines of (the obvious comparison) Galatea. I couldn't interact with anything in the room, and I couldn't figure out how to move around within it; I got as far as standing up and sitting down again, but I couldn't work out any way to move towards or away from the NPC.
I'm not a great fan of conversational games — I didn't particularly enjoy Galatea either — as they make me feel as though I'm expected to read the author's mind. I actually managed to spoil the power of this one's ending by stopping my line of questioning slightly too soon, moving on to other topics, and then accidentally triggering the ending somewhat incongruously.
It's worth playing, though, especially if you already know you like this kind of thing.
One-room conversation games by Sorrel
I'm looking for a one-room game where the main focus is the conversation with an NPC. The kind of game where the NPC feels so realistic that you actually begin to feel an emotional connection of sorts. Something to the effect of Galatea.
AI developments, particularly NPC-AI by breslin
Doesn't need to be satisfying as a conventional game, but must be interesting as an experiment. The idea being that AI work in IF is something that still needs work. Name the games you think which are contributing to this area of genre...