Love, Hate and the Mysterious Ocean Tower

by C.E.J. Pacian profile

2011

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Number of Reviews: 6
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
It's all about the characters, September 27, 2011
by Kenneth Hutt (London, UK)

Love, Hate and the Mysterious Ocean Tower is a short story, designed to be played in a matter of a few minutes. That, of course, imposes certain limits on its range. But within those limits it is polished and intriguing.

Consistently with Pacian's other work, the story's focus is distinctly, and one assumes deliberately, not about some of the things that "classic" and "neoclassic" IF focus on. The things that are hidden or hinted at in this game are not about place or object, so that the task is not to explore place or object. It's not about puzzles. Indeed, the story rather explicitly turns its back on those traditional elements: (Spoiler - click to show)as when taking inventory reveals that Nicky is carrying a pile of useless books or (Spoiler - click to show)where the discovery of an intricate puzzle-lock leads, almost instantly, to its summary destruction by Peyton. For most of the story it's obvious where you must go and what you must do.

But this does not mean that the characterization, either of the people concerned or of the location, is inadequate. Quite the contrary. The surreal world and the characters are sketched, with additional elements occasionally revealed, in a way that very convincingly shows, without telling, an intriguing back-story and environment.

Nor does it mean that the game is not about choice. On the contrary, it is very much -- in the end -- about choice. As Victor Gijsbers has perceptively said, choice is most important when the reader/player is explicitly aware of it. Despite the combination of melodrama and camp on the surface of the story, the result manages to be touching.

The aim of this story is evidently not profound -- no mixture of Indiana Jones and Rocky Horror could be -- but for all that it manages to be not just light fun (though it is that), but something a little more too. Highly recommended if you like short, strongly drawn pieces to while away half an hour or so.