by furkle


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Number of Ratings: 34
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- fenic_fox (Boston), November 21, 2023

- biscuit, October 26, 2023

- Edo, October 8, 2023

- utero, September 1, 2023

- Drew Cook (Acadiana, USA), July 26, 2023

- Steve Evans (Hobart, Tasmania), July 22, 2023

- elysee, June 22, 2023

- Kastel, March 29, 2023

- Cerfeuil (Redacre, Virginia), February 15, 2023

- Passerine, January 25, 2023

- ArloElm, October 30, 2022

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Gonzo interactive fiction, October 29, 2022
by Doug Egan
Related reviews: Spy, “IF Comp 2015”

I published this review on another website in 2015. This is a game that deserves to be brought back to public attention.

"SPY INTRIGUE" (all caps) is a web based interactive fiction by furkle (no caps) entered in the 2015 annual interactive fiction competition. I chose this game because it was served near the top of randomized list of games and because it appeared to be less of a malware threat than the two games listed above it.

This game, for a while, felt like it was channeling Phillip K. Dick.

The writing straddles between corny mock-bravado and hallucinogenic meanderings. The player is rewarded for assuming their own cocky attitude, even if you're faking it most of the time. The main character is the only human in a world populated by robots (though I began to wonder if my character was really human). Just out of spy school, your job is to complete sabotage missions against rival corporations. Story is advanced by clicking on highlighted text, sometimes branching options, sometimes returning to earlier nodes, and sometimes boring down through a long series of single-choice choke-points. The graphics across the bottom were cryptic to me as a new player. They were explained in the intro-text, which didn't make a hell of a lot of sense either.

Eventually I figured them out on my own. The graphics can be used in place of hyper-links, to advance the story. Once I realized the "time backward" arrows could undo death, I was less irritated by how much this game likes to kill you. In fact, I later came to appreciate that the easy deaths in the first scene helped establish a greater sense of tension and urgency in the second scene, where the player is infiltrating a heavily armed compound. The second scene was my favorite, beginning with a series of tense encounters with armed guards, punctuated by moments of absurd comedy, and ending with a long philosophical encounter with the man-bot I've been sent to assassinate. The themes of mortality and human emotion examined from the perspective of a machine is what made me think of Phillip K. Dick. That and the raging drug abuse we're invited to role play in later chapters.

This is a fairly long game, and I would have been happier if the overall narrative arc had been as tightly designed as that second scene. The third scene was a visit to a drug den, and the fourth scene a trip to the moon to commit more corporate sabotage. These scenes seemed a little disjointed, and I wished that there was more holding it all together. Since I did not play through to the ultimate ending, some of my questions were unanswered. Am I really human? (By the end of the second mission, I'm pretty sure I'm not. Which might improve my chances scoring with the sexually objectified Secretary-bot back at the office). Is there an unseen plot-twist that I missed by not continuing on to the third mission? Will the author ever turn off his CAPS LOCK?

I recommend playing this if you enjoy macho drug-fueled science fiction, and perhaps even if you don't. It kept me entertained for two hours, and that's saying a lot during this busy competition.

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- Kinetic Mouse Car, July 31, 2022

- Bell Cyborg (Canada), July 1, 2022

- oscar-78, February 19, 2022

- Wanderlust, September 1, 2021

- Sammel, November 14, 2020

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Your gender has died of SPY MUMPS, September 12, 2020
by autumnc
Related reviews: favs

This game feels like the culmination of the genre of twines that started with howling dogs. It might be overstating to call it the apex of twine, but that's how I personally feel.

SPY INTRIGUE is a story with many layers to it, and somehow it works on each of these layers as well as all together. At the beginning it seems to be a wacky, vaguely sexually charged spy adventure. Then you die and see a story about mental illness, gender, relationships, living in A Society, and all that, all excellently written. But deeper into the spy missions, the themes wrap back around into full earnestness in a way that's difficult for me to describe. I usually bounce off video game comedy, but the humor in this game is genuinely funny. (Spoiler - click to show)For example, the best updog joke in video games. Hearing the word "mumps" still makes me want to laugh in a socially inappropriate manner; I wish I could talk about "SPY MUMPS" irl without being ostracized.

I love the interface too, especially the story map, which shows the current node and all the nodes leading out of the current node, annotated with colors for whether they lead to death, an aside, or story progress.

(Spoiler - click to show)One of the segments, the death scene where the protagonist tries on their parent's clothing, really got to me in a deeply personal way; I still go back just to read this one passage.

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- wohanley, August 16, 2019

Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
The Twentieth Entry

SPY INTRIGUE is one of the finest and bravest things ever produced in this medium: personal and true, technically masterful in both code and design, literary in the best sense.

Some people, I’ve seen, refer to it as raw. I wouldn’t call it so; I’d say it has a quality I prefer to rawness, an ability to present the most intense and traumatic experiences with such understanding that it offers others a tool to dismantle their own pain.

Yes, I am still talking about a game in which you can shove banana bread down the front of your spy pants. That game. Yes.

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- Emily Short, July 26, 2019

- Bartlebooth, July 18, 2019

- Liza Daly, July 17, 2019

- Laney Berry, September 26, 2018

- EJ, August 12, 2016

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