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29th Place - 10th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2004)
In spite of its many flaws, this work has got potential: making the players repeatedly getting out of a room with seemingly no exits - only to find themselves trapped again in a slightly modified version of it - could result, if done properly, in a stylish and atmospheric game, which, among other things, would justify its title. Unfortunately, instead of consequently following this way, the author seemed to be carried away by "embellishments", burying a basically good idea under piles of underimplemented areas and obscure puzzles. Also, Stack Overflow has been criticized harshly for bad English, but I'd rather leave that to native speakers.
-- Valentine Kopteltsev
>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction
[A]fter a while of bashing at mysterious machines, I decided I was stuck, and checked the hint system, which let me type HINT <object> for whatever object I needed help with, and then issued utterly useless statements like "A little experimentation should probably be helpful for you" and "No giveaways on that one!" Groaning with frustration, I turned to the walkthrough, despite the game's insistence that I "shouldn't need it because of the revolutionary hint system this game provides." Snort. Guess what? The walkthrough didn't work either -- it expects objects to be present that are not. In my book, that's a fatal bug.
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This game starts out at your house, but quickly shifts locales. The main location is a 5-level space station.
The game is mechanically impressive, with forced input, ASCII graphics, a topology machine and other nifty tricks. These alone make me want to play again.
However, the puzzles are hopelessly underclued (including one that is only possible if you have experienced a certain Infocom game or its imitators).
The writing is also rough. Bugwise, there was one room where I couldn't leave and had to undo.
This game didn't call out to me emotionally. It was the lowest placing z-machine game the year it came out in IFComp, but it is much better than other last place games.
A messy alien abduction story with a bunch of puzzles that range from the interesting to the totally pointless. Nothing to write home about.