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I-0 (Jailbate On The Interstate) Reviews
Author: Adam Cadre
What does AIF stand for? Adult Interactive Fiction.
If you likely to
be offended by games with sexual content, you are advised not
to open these files.
Reviewed by Christian Baker (SPAG
#20 -- March 15, 2000)
When I first started up I-0, I didn't know what to think of the game. It starts in the front seat of your fantastic new car, which has broken down on the way home to celebrate Thanksgiving. The game has a gimmick, or rather, two gimmicks. The first one would be that you can take all your clothes off, and it really is fun to watch the NPCs react to partial or total nudity. This makes you want to classify it as a Leather Goddesses type game, but it isn't really. It's just about fun. I for one would love to see the reaction of other people if I started stripping in a garage.
The second gimmick would be the fact that you can take multiple paths. There is more than one way to win. It is quite easy to win, but I don't really think the point of the game was mind-bending puzzles (Adam has shown his love of non-puzzle games with Photopia.) I-0 is a very good (and funny) game, but there are a few things lacking. The NPCs seem a bit stereotyped, but there is a good bit of conversation from Larry, the loveable truck driver. The writing is very good and always shows the funny side of things, as shown here:
You'd like to be able to say you're in the middle of nowhere, but that would be wishful thinking. You're stranded at least fifty miles away from the middle of nowhere.
The entire landscape is nothing but barren desert dotted with scrub. Being a desert kid, you're well aware of how much danger you're in. The scenery may be beautiful in its own way, but the sun is beating down like it's got a personal mission to melt you into goo, and you're well aware that out in the desert everything is either poisonous or covered with spikes. Not to mention what could happen to a pretty girl all alone on a deserted highway...
As for this particular spot, well, a barbed-wire fence lines the roadside, and Interstate Zero itself stretches endlessly to the east and west. There's a sign here, too, and its twin is on the other side of the freeway directly to your north.
I thought the inside of Taco Junta could have been used better, as it seemed a pretty useless location to me. The game isn't particularly big, or particularly difficult, but it doesn't give you any "You can't do that here" messages, and everything is very detailed. It lets you roam free, it doesn't let you sit there and have the plot stuffed down you throat. Adam, a darn fine piece of work.
I'm about to praise a game that I feel is already, to a certain extent, overrated. There's one major, major problem about this game that prevents me from truly enjoying it: it's too short. Way too short - you'll have this game won in fifteen minutes easy. But despite its brevity, I feel that this game is paving the way for future interactive fiction. At the present time, it has become acceptable for authors to spend several months hard at work on a game of interactive fiction, meshing out code, writing out the story, fixing bugs. In rare cases, sometimes up to a year is spent on a single game. But this, I feel, is nothing compared to what we will be seeing in the years to come. Like the most dedicated and talented novelists and filmmakers, writers of interactive fiction will continue to push the limits of their medium. They'll want to make games that function in larger, more realistic environments - they'll want the games themselves to be larger, longer, and better. In short, eventually there will be a few text adventure games that took not months, but YEARS to make. These games of the future will include alternate endings, lots of scenes and characters that serve as "digressions" for the player that have no bearing on the true game plot, and just in general more complex and developed storylines. But this is still a long way off. People have got to convince themselves that their IF "artistry" is worth giving up a small portion of their lives for without hope of much commercial compensation. So where does I-O fit into this picture?
Well, it's like this: though a very short game, I-O can be won (played) several different ways. In each situation the protaganist is faced with, the game recognizes and accepts several different approaches. It's quite possible to play the game in the most perverted way imaginable. You can get naked. The game will recognize it, and there will be a reactive circumstance. You can solicit. You can masturbate. You can do all sorts of nasty things, you sick bastard. Of course, it's also quite possible to play the game in a completely "PG" rated way, too - it's completely up the player how he wants to play it. That's power, and I loves it.
The game puts you into the high heels of Tracy Valencia, a first year college student who turns eighteen tomorrow. You're going home for your birthday. Crap happens. Can you get home, defeating those villains and evil circumstances which will try to circumvent you? This is a very straightforward game. In fact, if you happen to be brand new to the realm of Interactive Fiction, I might well suggest you play this one just to get started! It is easy. There's no getting around that. It shouldn't take anybody more than twenty minutes to solve. But it's a rare sort of text adventure game in that it can draw the player back to play it again and again, to try new approaches and to see what happens. There is, after all, more than one way to play this game or any other game in fact. Three cheers to Adam Cadre for recognizing that!
Simple Rating: 8/10
Story: 4/10(It's actually not that good.)
Puzzle Difficulty: 5/10
Parser Responsiveness: 10/10(This is I-O's greatest strength. Few games recognize so many different varied approaches and commands as this one does.)
Special Ratings For This Game
Complicated Rating: 42/50
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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