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Author: David Whyld
Reviewed by Grimm Sharlak (Inside Erin: The AIF Newsletter, Volume 2 Number 1, January, 2006)
This, the next game in David Whyldís ever-expanding series of adult choose-your-own-adventure series that began with Choices and continued with Options and Decisions, sees you reprising the role of Melissa Shelton. Our favourite vigilante lesbian has had some harrowing experiences over the course of the three previous games, but just when she thought all was resolved, she receives a letter indicating that someone knows of the lengths sheís had to go to preserve her and her girlfriendís safety. And they want revenge.
Sequels always deserve special mention here in AIF, as outside of Crossworlds and Sam Shooter, we donít really have a recurring theme/character setting. This is the fourth game in this series, so the first question we must ask is Ė is it an improvement over the previous titles? Does it offer anything new?
To be perfectly frank, I approached the game with some trepidation. In each game so far the object of your affections, Susan Harris, has had some part of her dark past come back to haunt her and youíve had to save her arse, usually at the expense of your own. Reading the introduction to the game had me rolling my eyes at yet another similar setup. Gladly, the plot does deviate from previous efforts later, so it stands up in that respect.
So, on the other hand, does the game offer anything new, gameplay-wise? This becomes especially important in these CYOA games, as the mechanics are going to be exactly the same every time. With your average text adventure, you can have different types of puzzles and situations, whereas with this type of game itís always going to be selecting from a list and seeing what happens. This means that if youíve played the first three games in this series then this one is more of the same old, same old. And as each game has gotten bigger, replayability has suffered due to having to play through sections youíve already seen just to make that one different choice. Iím not kidding when I had over twenty separate save files on hand when reviewing this game, and prodigious use of the undo command was also required. If youíre after a game where you get to see everything in one
go, then steer clear.
Again, this is a choose your own adventure game. Read some text, look at the choices and make one. In some cases there are many choices, in some only one. This means there are no traditional AIF puzzles to speak of, but you have to think about where your decisions might take you, and of course, undoís are going to be prevalent and frequent saves recommended.
All this leads to quick, easy gameplay, but the game can become frustrating in certain areas where your decisions have no obvious effect. However, such issues have been a problem even in CYOA books, so itís more a case that if you like this genre youíre going to put up with these things.
Sex again is pretty sparse, and sometimes even used as a punishment rather than a reward. Melissa can get raped if you go down the wrong route, but in other cases you can have sweet little scenes if you do things right. As with the rest of the series, my complaint with the sex scenes is that while they are longer this time around, they are still rather short. There is more interactivity than in previous versions, however this only extends to the choice to ending the scene or continuing (which in some cases is a very important decision).
Another seeming problem with the growing size of these games is the growing number problems you encounter. For one, at a handful of points the game referred to choices Iíd made; but indicated the wrong choices. For example, at one point I could storm out, or punch one person or another in rage. I chose to leave, but barely two paragraphs later I was being chastised for how Iíd punched someone out. At another point I was with one character, but then I left the area via a decision and it says I was accompanied by a different character Ė one I hadnít even met.
I also came across one game-killing bug in my playthrough. At the previously mentioned scene, you meet up with a recurring character from the other games in the series and after your conversation with him, you leave. And the game doesnít end, it simply prints out a paragraph with no following decisions and no input outside of system commands are accepted. While I understand that games of this nature are complex and hard to test, such things make a) the game unfinishable in some cases, and b) make the player feel like the main gameplay crutch, the choices you make, irrelevant.
Considering the various terrible situations sheís been in previously, the game begins with a simple choice; are you still the happy go lucky girl from Choices, or have things changed you? Itís a nice start, and does affect some of the text in the game, which I thought was a good feature.
Consequences apparently ends the Choices series, and while I enjoyed the games, they are becoming too similar and the play style is becoming a bit long in the tooth, so I welcome the end of the series. Things wrap up rather well with the various endings, so thereís no complaints there. However, if you play AIF just for the sex, or didnít enjoy the gameplay offered in the earlier games of the series, this isnít the game for you.
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