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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

There's at least one in every comp: a game with great potential, clever writing, and fun portions that dissolves into a mind-numbing bugfest at its end, apparently the product of a rush to deadline and a lack of patience. In Comp03, Gourmet is the first game of that type I've played, and the letdown is as stinging as ever. If interactive fiction ever got reviews in People magazine, the write-up for this game would probably end with, "BOTTOM LINE: Good ingredients, but undercooked."

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- Edo, August 19, 2021

- Zape, June 23, 2020

- Zoe Victoria (Under your bed), April 24, 2020

- Stian, February 7, 2019

- Superfreq (Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada), December 20, 2018

- Seth Fisher (Texas), August 14, 2018

- shornet (Bucharest), April 7, 2018

- Stas, March 28, 2018

- Shchekotiki, November 20, 2017

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Gourmet Night--Basil Fawlty should be so lucky, November 7, 2017
by turthalion (Winnipeg)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2003

This was another one I really got a kick out of, and thus, will have a shorter review than some of the others.

Gourmet is an enjoyable little evening in a gourmet restaurant that has you preparing dishes, dealing with customers, and generally having a great time. It's a game that, initially, I thought I wasn't going to enjoy. I thought I would find the tasks mundane, and too much like real work for my liking, but that turned out not to be the case.

There are a few oddities with some actions taking place behind the scenes, as it were, or fairly innocuous actions triggering a whole bunch of other things to happen. That wasn't too bad once I got used to scanning the text carefully to be sure I didn't miss everything that had happened.

Another oddity was the stack of first aid kits in the supply cupboard, which can't be referred to as 'kit' or 'kits' but only as 'bandages' or 'stack'. It led me to believe they were just scenery for quite some time.

And then the syntax for getting the sheet music out of the glass frame in the toilet was a little frustrating, as the game didn't recognise the word 'frame', so I couldn't 'smash frame'.

A few other line break oddities showed up as well, and the endgame looked like it was missing an rtrue to abort a default response, but otherwise, this was an enjoyable little game.

Author Encouragement:
I don't have a lot to say here. I think a little more beta-testing would be good, and would iron out a few of the formatting and synonym irregularities, but overall, a very enjoyable and well-written piece.

W: 4
The writing was great, with a good sense of how to impart the comedy of various situations without being heavy-handed. A nice treatment of the action scenes as well, which seem to fall flat in a lot of IF.

A: 4
I really loved going through the tasks required in this game, and really got the feeling I was running my own restaurant. I could feel the danger of having the whole evening crash down around my lovely chef hat.

B: 3.5
The score is a little lower here, just for a lack of extra synonyms and verbs, as well as the linebreak and formatting issues. I also had a little bit of an issue with the extended actions triggered as a result of some of my actions.

E: 4
I loved this one. Definitely one of the best I've seen so far. I think shadows on the mirror just, and only just, edges Gourmet out because of shadow's more polished feel.

WABE score: 7.75

Note: this review is based on older version of the game.

- Wanderlust, August 3, 2017

- lkdc, February 10, 2017

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A fun mid-length game about a series of mishaps in the kitchen , February 3, 2016

Gourmet is a fairly well-known game that succeeds in slapstick comedy while having some pretty hard puzzles.

You are a chef having a disaster of a night as a well-known critic comes to your restaurant. You have to pass a linear sequence cell of challenges to have a good review.

The game felt uncomfortably complicated when I started, but then I realized that you should just follow directions at first and not stress about all the stuff. As you go, the game teaches you more about you restaurant and the system.

Then it dumps you into one very hard puzzle that includes a lot of talking and psychological work on both humans and a crustacean. This puzzle is very difficult.

I enjoyed the game. I could not finish, due to the game having a weird error with serving the final course, but I would put this game in the top 20% of all games.

- Thrax, March 12, 2015

- Sobol (Russia), December 14, 2014

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- nosferatu, August 21, 2014

- E.K., January 9, 2014

- absentsock, April 27, 2013

- Edward Lacey (Oxford, England), December 24, 2012

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), May 16, 2012

- Corwin71, July 10, 2011

- Nemansphere, June 27, 2011

- Juleske, December 3, 2010

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