The Thirty Nine
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The Thirty Nine Steps

by Graham Walmsley


Web Site

(based on 10 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

The man on the floor was quite dead, a knife through his heart skewering him to the floorboards. At a quarter to eight, the train would take me from London, where people would be searching for me, into the moors and villages of Scotland.

The Thirty Nine Steps is a thriller, based on the novel by John Buchan, with original music.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2022
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Twine
IFID: Unknown
TUID: qcs8v2izmhkyuxl


13th Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)


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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Spy thriller with some fun mechanics, October 11, 2022
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 1 hour, IF Comp 2022

In this choice-based multimedia game you play a man who wakes up on his last day of vacation in London to find a dead man in his living room and you quickly realize that it is part of some conspiracy and like it or not you are involved. What follows is a cloak-and-dagger chase across the English countryside where you must plan your actions carefully at every step to avoid being caught by your pursuers. Many of your choices will be presented in the context of one of three main strategies: BE OPEN, BE CLEVER or BE BOLD. Choosing one of them will alter the text in future scenes. For example: being clever will mean the text draws more attention to suspicious things, but also means that it might make something seems suspicious that really isnít.

I quite enjoyed the mechanics of this game. Right from your first strategy choice the game tells you what it means to pick a certain path and will let you know when your personality alters later on based on your choices. I also loved that at the end of each chapter the game would give you the option to move on to the next chapter, or replay the chapter you just finished. Frequently, with choice-based games, I found that Iíve learned something for future playthroughs, but I still have to finish the game before I can go back and try the new thing. Sometimes I want to iterate on my path many times and that involves lots of clicking and not much reading. Being to take this game in chunks was lovely and made for a very pleasant replay experience. I also liked that at the beginning of Chapter 2 (Spoiler - click to show)the game told you that the chapter would end if you got caught and you would miss out on some of the story, then when I finished the chapter it let me know that I had seen the whole thing. Finally, I loved that the code in the game is a real cipher that you can decode on your own outside of the game, allowing you to take other productive actions during the game.

The game also has original music by the author, which was a nice touch in certain moments and at the beginning and end of chapters. I would also recommend reading the walkthrough that is available at the end of the game. It lets you in on things youíve missed and also made me realize how impressive the coding was for this game.

The game says that it is adapted from a novel. Iím curious was the novel is like, but I can say that the reason I didnít give this game four stars was the storyline. I just never felt invested in the characters, the plot didnít grip me from the beginning because it all seemed to come out of no where without any context as to why I should care, and I felt like the end came too suddenly and too easily. So, only three stars for this one, but I hope the author writes another game like this with some of the same mechanics, Iíd love to play it.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An adaptation of a spy thriller, October 27, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

I really am not sure how to review this one, because sometimes I think it's excellent and sometimes I think it's a bit choppy.

This is an adaptation of the book The Thirty-Nine Steps. I haven't read it myself, but from Wikipedia it looks pretty cool, about a man on the run who is hunted down everywhere he goes.

This adaptation adds a good deal of additional content, and allows you to focus on being Bold, Open, or Clever. Interestingly, the choices not only increase your ability in that area, but they also affect the way you see the world about you, making you more paranoid or clueless, etc.

The game gives you a lot of freedom, but I feel like, due to that freedom, I missed a few essential plot points, such as never really learning about the people I'm pursuing. A couple of other things I feel like are confusing without context (late game spoilers:(Spoiler - click to show)I pushed a fireplace rod and a bunch of steps disappeared in a cloud of chalk. Why? What's the purpose of such a mechanism?).

So I'm wavering between 3 and 4, but I'll round up to 4.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Can you outwit your pursuers?, October 9, 2022

I enjoyed The Thirty Nine Steps. You play as a man trying to evade capture as he moves from London to Scotland. It is fairly tense, with well-written details, and is easy to navigate. I thought I had made some good choices, considering how successfully I overcame each obstacle. However, on a second playthrough, I made different choices, but the results only altered slightly. This makes me feel like my choices might not have mattered, which takes away from the satisfaction I felt on the first playthrough. I also wouldn't mind if the story was expanded on a little more. It's nice that this game can be played without too much time investment, but I would be willing to spend more time on it if other scenarios were added.

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