Number of Reviews: 8
Write a review
9 people found the following review helpful:
Babel, directed by David Cronenberg, November 12, 2010
After a few minutes of playing One Eye Open, I thought to myself, "I remember playing this game when it was called Babel." But after playing it for a good bit longer (much longer than the two-hour judging period), I decided that I liked it quite a lot on its own terms.
The similarities with Babel are legion. In both games, you play the subject of nefarious mind- and body-altering experiments performed upon you by uncaring corporate overlords. You're alone in a research facility in the aftermath of those failed experiments. You gather up the history of the experiments and the facility, piece by piece, (Spoiler - click to show)often by touching objects (although Babel's methodology for this is more organically tied to the story). In both games, you (Spoiler - click to show)fashion an antidote -- tragically never completed by the experimenters -- and have to safely enter a tainted airlocked lab in the northeast corner of the facility. So things may seem awfully familiar.
The primary difference is in tone. Babel is a science fiction/mystery story, with an emphasis on uncovering the truth of what happened at the station. One Eye Open is a horror story. There's a mystery here, but what you really need to know is: the experiment is really, really bad. Your job is to undo it as completely as possible.
There's no build up to the horror. It's all right there in front of you, almost from the first move, which runs counter to the usual horror imperatives of suspense and dread. What it lacks in those areas, though, One Eye Open makes up for in ickiness. The style is early David Cronenberg with the gore turned way up: meat and organs and orifices everywhere, pulsating behind everyday objects. It's agreeably revolting.
The game is a bit too long for the Comp. After two hours, most players will not have completed it (or at least they won't have gotten a good ending, I don't think), and the story is slow to unravel. When it finally does, though, it is very compelling. It's a testament to the storytelling skills of the authors that I persisted long past the judging to get a pretty good ending, and then finally found the best ending days later. Like with certain Cronenberg pictures (I'm thinking here of Videodrome or eXistenZ), I'm not entirely sure what it was I just saw, but I know that I couldn't take my eyes off it.
The coding was mostly solid, with a few minor bugs and annoyances. I wrestled with the parser to get past a certain locked door, had trouble (Spoiler - click to show)putting a vaccine in a syringe, and found myself stymied by files in cabinets. There were some walls of text that could perhaps have been trimmed down as well. But these are insignificant issues that can easily be addressed in a post-Comp release. Familiar as it was, One Eye Open stuck with me, long after Babel did.