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Notice Me Reviews
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 David Whyld (Inside Erin: The AIF Newsletter, Volume 2 Number 1, January, 2006)
Notice Me is a fan-fiction game set in the world of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. Never heard of it? Me neither. By the look of things, it seems to be some kind of generic fantasy world with flying horses (pegasi) and some semi-human races living alongside the human ones, only the semi-humans don’t like the humans on account of them being fully human. Or something along those lines. It might have been a nice idea to have a bit of background included in the game for those people not familiar with the setting, or at least have a lengthier introduction to set the scene. Admittedly, there are a few lines in the accompanying README file but these are too brief to really give you a feel for what's going on.
To begin with, it was possible to forget I was even playing an AIF game. There's a sex dream at the start but after that’s out of the way, it’s onto the game proper. A number of locations are presented to the player, none of them particularly detailed or interesting, and there are a few characters to interact with. Problems present themselves with things referred to in room descriptions being either invisible or just missing from the game. I found some stables yet wasn’t able to go into them or even examine them until they were open. Attempting to head in the direction the stables lay in before they were open hit me with a message saying I couldn’t go that way. Wouldn’t it have been better as YOU CAN’T GO THAT WAY UNTIL THE STABLES ARE OPEN or something along those lines?
Part of Notice Me seems to involve getting into the stables and to the pegasi within, yet once I managed to get the stables open I couldn’t find a way to do anything else. Can I ride the pegasi? Move them from the stables somehow? Feed them? I tried as many different verbs as I could think of, yet none worked and so in the end I concluded that either the pegasi can’t be ridden at all or there's just some really obscure command needed for them.
As is usual with AIF games, there are no hints or walkthrough so if you get
stuck… you're well and truly stuck. I seemed to make pretty decent progress through Notice Me until the time I was told to eavesdrop on a couple of the
characters and found the command wouldn’t work. After that, I reached the proverbial brick wall and couldn’t figure out how to get any further.
A few small pictures of the characters in the game are in an accompanying ‘images’ folder but I couldn’t help think it would have been a better idea to have included them in the game itself. What might have been a better idea still would be for the images to have been converted to JPG format and shrunken down a bit for those poor folk still using a dial up modem. Seriously, there's no need for 800+ KB of BMP images, particularly as they don’t even feature in the game itself.
Puzzles are generally easy enough to figure out without really thinking about them. Talk to one character and they will give you an item. Give this item to someone else. Repeat a few times. That’s essentially the puzzle solving aspect of the game out of the way.
I never actually managed to reach a sex scene on my own, but after becoming horribly stuck I decided it was high time to post a message on the Yahoo! AIF Archive and ask for help. Which I did, and promptly received a response. I'm still not entirely sure the puzzle I was stuck on – eavesdropping on Mordecai and Lethe – was a particularly fair one, but after that I managed to progress to the end of the game in short order.
And, lo and behold, I found a sex scene as well. And a better one than usually features in AIF games. This sex scene just progressed from start to finish without me having to guess the verb with relation to which part of the body I'm sucking/licking/screwing first. What a refreshing change. Although, saying that, I'm probably not the only one who read through the near-sex scene with the cat (a transformed woman thankfully) without experiencing a slight feeling of distaste.
Technically, the game’s above average for the AIF genre, although there are a number of areas in which it could clearly use some improvement. Numerous items mentioned in room descriptions can’t be referred to; dialogue with most of the characters is repeatable – wouldn’t a different dialogue set have been better for the second and subsequent times you speak to them?; talking to Letha after she's moved to the lawn results in “Letheconvo 2”. Definitely a bug. A fatal one? Who knows? I wasn’t able to finish the game, so maybe. It’s certainly proof that the game hasn’t been tested anywhere near as carefully as it should have been.
There’s also a minor bug in a Lethe conversation when she mentions meeting you in the stables, and you respond that the stables are always locked… even if you’ve managed to open them previously.
The aim of Notice Me is… to have sex. Actually, that’s a guess as it’s never stated anywhere in the game what the point of it is, but as it’s an AIF game it’s a fair bet having sex plays a large part in the game. A few puzzles will no doubt be thrown in along the way to give people something to do while they're waiting for the next sex scene, but sex is likely to be the be all and end all of the game.
Notice Me isn't a terrible game by any means. With more time and effort expended on making the characters come to life, better care taken with regard to the finer details (examining your surroundings might not be a big deal in a game concerned mainly with sex but it’s sometimes the little things that make all the difference) and some thorough testing, not to mention a clearer indication of what the objective is, there could be a pretty fair game here.
Reviewed by A. Bomire (Inside Erin: The AIF Newsletter, Volume 2 Number 1, January, 2006)
This game is fan-fiction based upon the Nintendo game Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. I wasn’t familiar with the game and had to look it up online to determine that it is the latest in a series of Fire Emblem strategy/RPG games released by Nintendo. According to the author, this game is a small between-the-scenes outtake from the overall plot. You play the part of Jill, a wyvern rider from Daein who has been accidentally thrown into the midst of her erstwhile foes, a species of hybrid men/beasts. She discovers that not only are the people she's been fighting not monsters, but that she actually has developed feelings for one of them, Lethe - a catlike person who has the ability to shape shift into an actual cat. Jill must overcome her own prejudices, as well as those of Lethe, to find what could be love.
The author points out in his readme that this is an extremely short game (one which he has written in a single evening). He is correct - this is possibly the shortest game I've ever played outside of a mini-comp. You may in fact spend more time reading this review than actually playing the game. The focus in this game is more on exploring the feelings Jill has for Lethe than on typical AIF or even IF themes. In this aspect, it achieves this goal - you definitely get the feeling of someone overcoming her own prejudices as she falls for someone she formerly considered an enemy. Players looking for good puzzle solving or steamy sex scenes will be disappointed, however.
There really isn't much in the way of puzzles in this game. As short as the game is, it is almost linear in its completion. You "TALK TO" the individual characters, who quickly inform you of what they want done and even at times what you need to do to accomplish your goal. I will say that I got stuck for quite a while because I hadn't picked up on the verbal clues provided by the author, but a careful reader will not experience this problem. There are puzzles, but they are of such simplicity that the game is more of a piece of erotic fiction than a truly interactive game.
Much of the puzzles and game play are accomplished using non-standard commands, which can generally lead to guess-the-verb problems. However, the author goes out of his way to give you broad hints as to exactly what commands to use and where to use them to help avoid this problem. Most players who did get stuck were stuck not because they didn’t know what to do, but where and when to do it. (At least according to the help questions posted online.)
The sex is almost completely non-interactive. At various points in the game, you issue a command to start the sexual scene and the entire scene is played out without any interaction from you. This is similar to the cut-scene sexual interaction many games use - only taken to the extreme. The sexual interaction is also pretty tame, once again focusing on the feelings being experienced by Jill and her soon-to-be lover, Lethe, instead of attempting to build burn-up-the-screen hot scenes. Did I mention that in one of the scenes Lethe (a cat person) is completely shape-shifted into the form of a large cat? This may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Technically, I could not find much wrong with this game. The author points out that attempting to repeat the "TALK TO" command using again causes some sort of problem, but I didn’t find this to be the case when I played it. Many ADRIFT games which use "TALK TO" have a problem that when you exhaust all of the talking points the game reverts to a generic "Use ASK character ABOUT subject" error message. This game is no different, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that unlike most games Wotan-Anubis has programmed in responses to using "ASK/ABOUT" for his characters (albeit simple "I don't have a response for that" type of messages).
Included with this game is a set of pictures of each character taken, presumably, from the Nintendo game upon which it is based. None of these pictures are actually seen within the game itself. The author has included them to give the player an idea of the appearance of the characters from the game.
As I finish this game and this review, I find myself conflicted. I couldn't find anything inherently wrong with it, and I am tempted to give it a higher score than I feel I will because of this. However, from a strictly AIF game viewpoint, I cannot find anything very good about the game either. The story is told fairly well, but there is no real “game” here. Overall, I think this would have been better suited as a piece of erotic fiction.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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