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Author: Lying Bastard
Reviewed by Softiron (Softiron17@msn.com)
What initially struck me about Salvation is that no woman is mentioned in the introduction, and there is no hint at sex being a part of the game at all. In fact, I was able to play the game for a good twenty minutes before even encountering my object of desire (although I was eating dinner at the same time). Hence, I felt the game had a plot, or at least a purpose, outside of getting my rocks off.
Not that I have anything against the traditional fuck fest or Christopher Cole’s diarrhea of such games. But I was highly impressed that the author could immerse me in a character and a plot given the confines of the competition. By game’s end, I was able to envision the PC, a rough, war-tired mercenary, and look into his mind. I was able to see the NPC as a person. I was able to get a feel for the game’s atmosphere, and the setting that is taking place outside of the confines of the three “rooms”. In short, I felt like I was playing true interactive fiction.
Before I get carried away, the game does have its faults. The limitations of the ADRIFT parser and the author’s programming brevity are painfully evident. Many tasks require long periods of “guess the verb/synonym” before completion. Thankfully, all of the tasks are obvious and therefore the player knows what verb/synonym to start searching for. Also, the author does need to tighten the dialogue just a hair. Personally, I thought the PC spoke a little too often and too much given his characterization.
The other fact that disappointed me was the lack of alternate endings, although some may disagree. With the depth of the plot and the choices allowed to the PC, the game begged for more final twists at the end. Thankfully, the one ending still makes sense no matter how you play the game, so it manages to maintain continuity.
While Salvation left a lot to be desired, it was the only game in this competition that left me desiring anything. Such an effort from a first time author, with the time and plot constraints of the competition, is astounding. His potential as an author is exciting.
You heard it here first: if LyingBastard decides to release a full-blown game this year, it will be nominated for Best Game at the 2003 AIFA’s.
As one could guess, Salvation finished 1st on my ballot.
Reviewed by Purple Dragon
You are a mercenary, currently working a little war in Africa. There is a raid scheduled for tonight, but you have a bit of free time to kill this afternoon.
The thing that immediately struck me about this game was the amount and depth of background information on both the situation and the PC. The PC seems much more like a real person than do most characters, which is even more impressive when you consider that this was a mini-comp entry and thus, a very short game. I felt like I was given the opportunity to get to know him a bit before being thrown into the sex and it was a nice feeling.
The author tried to do the same thing with the NPC in the game, but I didn't feel that he was as successful here. If you take the time to talk to her you find out some about her background. Although she is currently a nun, she hasn't always been and her life before the church was not a happy one. There is a story there but it is not quite developed enough to show her motivation for what happens in this game. Listen to me talking about motivation for sex in an AIF game. What the hell was I thinking? It is actually a backhanded compliment since other parts of the game were so good that it got me expecting more here.
There was not a lot in the way of puzzles. You need to find and use a couple of items but they are not hard to find. One of the things you need to do is to gather your weapons and ammo for the coming raid. Even though you never actually get to that raid in the game the act of gathering the equipment in preparation of it again gives the feeling that the character actually has a life
that goes on after the game is done.
OK, the sex was good, well written, and engaging. However, I don't think enough time was spent dealing with the fact that this is a nun of ten years breaking her vow of celibacy. It is talked about at a couple of points, but not enough. Of course, since Maja had a life before becoming a nun, she does not go into this relationship a virgin, but it still seems like she is just a bit too eager. I can read between the lines and figure out a reason why, but it would have been nice to have a bit more information. It is clear that this is more than just sex for both people, that they have feelings for each other, but where these feeling came from is not made clear. Again, I'm being too hard here considering this was a mini-comp game but those are the things I was thinking about as I read through the otherwise extremely well written sex scene.
There weren't a lot of technical issues with the game. There were a few typos, but nothing very distracting. I did find a couple of odd things that might be worth mentioning. First, before you get to the actual sex scene, trying the sexual commands gives the response "I don't understand what you mean" which makes is seem like you're typing the wrong thing rather than just not yet to the point where you can do that. Also, when asking Maja to minister to your member the commands are "Maja rub cock" and "Maja suck dick." Dick and cock are evidently not synonyms so those are the exact commands that you must enter. In all fairness, the readme file does list these commands and it's a good thing because if I hadn't read it, I would have missed the blowjob altogether.
This whole review feels like I've been harping on characterization and plot points rather than discussing the nuts and bolts of the sex that these games are almost always all about. Of course, it feels like this because that is exactly what I've been doing. If you think I'm being too hard on the game then you are probably right, but you are also missing the point. The fact that I spent so much time thinking about the plot should tell you that there was a good one here to begin with. I feel that the author was hampered a bit by the restrictions of the mini-comp and that he had more to say if he had had the time. This game was written five years ago and to my knowledge, it is still his only game to date. However, I know that he is still around and hope that he takes my comments as encouragement to write another, longer game. I'm sure it will be well worth playing.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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