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About the Story
"An ancient evil threatens to invade a decadent mountain town, yet all that concerns young grave robber Avandre Varick is hitting on gorgeous babes." [--blurb from Competition '99]
31st Place - 5th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1999)
Schizophrenic in the extreme: in the first half of the game, you're at a bar trying to pick up chicks, but in the second half, you're a grave robber. It's not clear whether the sole reason for this is to provide for some dreadful jokes in the first half--e.g., you tell some of the women in the bar that you hang around with a bunch of stiffs--or whether there was something more to it, but the two halves really don't belong together. The other problem is that you're one of the jerks of the title, and it's hard to get all excited about being someone as thoroughly repellent as you are here. (There are hints at there being something more to you than sheer jerkishness, but they're not well developed.) The writing isn't bad, and it's almost poetic in places, but the author hasn't put his writing skills to their best use here. The competition release was extremely buggy; the latest release is cleaned up, though the split personality remains.
-- Duncan Stevens
Graverobbers have been done; singles bars have been done; but graverobbers at singles bars? That's a new one (and a fricking *great* one.) I didn't even mind the left turn between the bar scene and the cemetery scene. But things do fall apart a bit after the bar scene draws to a close; the cutscene is just ridiculously overlong, and the sequence that follows is sort of a train wreck -- but hey, at least that implies the existence of a speeding train, rather than a Ford Aspire sputtering up a hill. And it is nice that so much of the game is character-based rather than centered around fixing air conditioners and such. The fact that the characters come off as characters rather than switch statements is an especially nice bonus.
-- Adam Cadre
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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
Yecch. After an hour of playing Chicks Dig Jerks, I feel like I've been swimming in sewage. The PC and his friends are some of the most repulsive human beings I've ever seen described, and spending time looking through their eyes was pretty sickening. Now, it's clear that the author is aware of this fact. The game begins with a big banner reading, in part, "There are absolutely no role models in this game." Fine. But if it was intended to be some sort of satire, it didn't work, at least not for me. Perhaps some reader smarter than I am will explain how in fact the whole game brilliantly skewers the emptiness and horror of its protagonist's life, but for me, that didn't come across. Instead, it just felt like living some stereotyped nightmare for no particular reason.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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Interesting ideas, poorly executed. The main strength of Chicks Dig Jerks is in the long passages of dialogue rather than anything that involves the player, so this might have been better off as a short story, or part of a novel, than interactive fiction at all.
The characters are such broad caricatures that I just can't buy it when they have moments of profundity. Also, there are too many lines that only seem to be there because the author thought they were funny, rather than because they were something that the characters might actually SAY; since when do obnoxious jockish bros casually drop D&D references? I found the idea of a group of obnoxious bros being graverobbers much easier to swallow than that.
The puzzle you need to solve to get into the graveyard works on pure cartoon logic, and even in a game with a tone as inconsistent as Chicks Dig Jerks', it manages to clash badly.
The language is just unpolished enough that I'm not sure if "mediocracy" was a deliberate malapropism, but that gave me the biggest laugh of the game regardless.
A lot of effort went into having a large "lexicon" of names to choose from when spawning a new girl to hit on at the tavern where you spend the first half of this short game. There is also a list of various personalities for the girls, complete with a multiple-choice system of things to talk about in an effort to get the girl's phone number. Among those personalities are the usual college stereotypes (milf, control freak, ex-nerd, goth, neurotic, etc.)
Too bad not nearly as much effort went into some decent writing. For one thing, you are carrying a pager. If it beeps before you had examined it, you will have missed your chance to find out what it looks like. Beyond that point, all you get when you examine it is what's on the display. There is a tremendous amount of dialog between your character and his sidekick, a "shifty heartthrob," and a lot of it is just awful. The author seems to have been as drunk as the characters in this game.
Then, all of a sudden, after a barfight, you're in a room with a few other guys, getting ready to go grave-robbing. The story kind of nudges you along from here until you either live or die at the end. There are really no puzzles to speak of, save for figuring out how to scale the fence to the cemetery.
So what makes this game memorable? The first half, the bar scene, has plenty of replay value. Be advised though, there is some sexuality in this game - but then, if you didn't quit after one minute, then you're probably not the type of person that would care.
According to my rating system, I'm giving this game 2 stars. Here are my criteria:
-Polish. This game has several holes in implementation, enough to be annoying.
-Descriptive. This is where this game (and all of Sherwin's games) really shines. The game puts as a shallow gravedigger who only thinks about picking up women and digging up graves. You are extremely shallow and the game depicts that well.
-Interactivity. I think the game does well here. I felt like I hide control.
-Emotional impact. I didn't like all of the sex, and it made it harder to enjoy the rest of the game.
-Replay. I don't intend on replaying.
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