One Eye Open

by Caelyn Sandel (as Colin Sandel) profile and Carolyn VanEseltine profile


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Number of Reviews: 8
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Meat., November 21, 2010
by rach
Related reviews: if comp 2010

This is a biggy. One Eye Open is meaty, and I likes me some meat.

A bold and imaginative setting, uncompromising writing. Even after a lot of play and catching up on backstory, I couldn't explain it all with any certainty, I hope it wasn't too important. (Spoiler - click to show)We collected dozens of scraps of paper, but there were too many of them, and I lost track. Handling the notes was done slickly, but could have been even better with some way of sorting them (or, again, simply fewer of them). I had no difficulty suspending disbelief about finding notes in random places. Once your fridge has turned into an abdomen full of viscera, it's easier to suspend disbelief about things like that.

I loved exploring this world, and found it consistent and solid and full of exciting mysteries, most of which turned out to be well worth investigating. The scope of the map was perfect, enough locations to get stuck into and fascinated by, but each one fully implemented and meaningful. There was a little humour here and there, but blackest black, which is the only humour that can be tolerated in such a game. As well as the odd IF reference, of course, but tastefully done. (Spoiler - click to show)We
liked "Pick up the vending machine and die" :o)

The game handled some out-of-game things really well _in-game_, such as (Spoiler - click to show)"You add the pages you are carrying together and classify them all inwardly as your notes." rather than letting the parser take it with something like "[You can refer to the papers collectively as NOTES.]" as is common. There's nothing too wrong with that, but having the narrator handle new ideas instead of the parser, which is so slick, and surely reducing the interruption of the parser is very worthwhile.

One location caused frustration ended only by external help: (Spoiler - click to show)
The morgue was a problem because of the worst door design in and out of the world. It was bad in-game as I simply don't believe "There's no visible lock on this side", I mean, what? And it was bad out of game because the door release was timed, but the timer was connected to nothing door-related (presumably it was related to the fight):

"After several seconds of empty silence, you hear a click from the door to the south.

There's no visible lock on this side, but you try the door anyway. The hidden lock releases under your hand."

If you have to trap the player in there, and I think you do, then I'd have preferred something more convincing and better clued.

Did killing the zombie from the autopsy room require prior knowledge? It required something, we went over it several times and died horribly a lot.

We were unable to reach the ending we wanted and which seemed to be clued to us, even after consulting all the help available to us. We were also, possibly relatedly, unable to (Spoiler - click to show)play with the chemistry puzzle, presumably because we couldn't find all the drugs we needed. There were other mysteries left over after extensive play, too, such as (Spoiler - click to show) what the deal is with the vending machine? It has such a juicy description, it really felt like it should mean something.

Screen effects are used brilliantly, subtly, to haunting effect.

Wonderfully solid and slick game, ambitious and well-executed in scope, but flailing in puzzle resolution towards the end, possibly the backstory was over-told (or the same bits told over and again). Loved it.

[This is a review of the competition release, IF Comp 2010.]

Comments on this review

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Danielle, November 21, 2010 - Reply
I, too, am looking for help for a positive ending. I've gotten 3 so far, but none are what you'd call "Winning."

Location of the meds/ingredients: (Spoiler - click to show)I searched the shelves full of Rx bottles to find most of the meds. The Formaldehyde is in Cross' office, IIRC, and the infected blood is in the hazmat area.

If only I could find the (Spoiler - click to show)Sandepam! I have no clue how to find it.

I liked One Eye Open, but I'm not sure I would have placed it as high up in the Comp as it did...mostly for roadblocks like these.
Victor Gijsbers, February 22, 2011 - Reply
About the Sandepam: (Spoiler - click to show)You can find it in the broken flower pot in the ante-chamber, at the very end of the game (after you have pushed the button).
Danielle, February 23, 2011 - Reply
Many thanks! I'll have to load my savegame now!
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