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IV: Children of the Damned Reviews
Author: One-Eyed Jack
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 BBBen
Sam Shooter wakes up in a desert other-world after the end of SSIII. He finds his way to the gates of Hell, and must go through them. Sam’s older sister Laurie goes after him.
“Sam Shooter IV is done and really bad” (or words roughly to that effect) was how One-Eyed Jack advertised the release of the fourth instalment of Sam Shooter’s wild and amoral (or immoral)
adventures. Obviously the AIF playing public disagreed with OEJ, because this game won seven of the 2004 Erin awards, including “Best Game”.
The Sam Shooter series is almost certainly the single most popular series of AIF games, and is also probably one of the most distinctive. No one else has written AIF games with the same insane,
loony-tunes evil themes, let alone written them so well. That Sam Shooter ended up in Hell seems almost inevitable, considering the character and the course of the series. I’m really glad it did too,
because I loved the setting (and once was planning to write a Heaven and Hell themed game myself, in fact).
I must say that the story of SSIV is actually a good read. I wanted to keep playing not just for the sex, but also to see what was going to happen next which is perhaps what was most satisfying
about the game. The story was intriguing and a pleasure to read, not something that had to be ploughed through for the sake of the sex.
One thing that makes SSIV special is the fact that the player takes the role not only of Sam Shooter, but also of his sister, Laurie, for periods of the game. Laurie pursues Sam through the
depths of Hell, and in the process encounters her own sexual adventures.
The game does, however, have the feel of a series of separate mini-chapters strung together in a linear way and at times slightly tenuously. You find yourself in an area that is a few rooms in size,
and there will be some sex in this area as well as a puzzle to get you through to the next area. It feels slightly formulaic in that respect, and does not really surprise the player. It’s a little hard for
me to explain this objection, but perhaps it can be best explained by saying that while playing, I was able to see the puppeteer’s strings.
One point that OEJ mentions in his readme is that the game may seem a little short on actual sex scenes. This is, I think, because he has a number of sexual sequences that are simple linear blocks,
rather than full SSS sequences. However, there are a good number of SSSs to satisfy players, and the non-interactive sex scenes are very good.
In fact the sex is of course the most important thing in the game, and as with any AIF game that is centred on a core of great sex scenes, this one really works well. I would say the sex is surprisingly
rich and written with great energy, except that at this point OEJ’s skill is no longer surprising, just gratifying. The sex in Sam Shooter IV has succeeded in maintaining real fire and is as detailed as
The game is nicely slick, though I should probably point out that the rather linear nature of the game does mean it is not especially ambitious. It is much easier to make a technically polished
game when it is not technically ambitious, however I can’t fault the game too much from a technical standard.
This game is genuinely funny. I don’t tend to laugh out loud at things I read, but SSIV did definitely make me feel genuinely amused. At times I wished that it was being played out as an
animated film because the writing seemed to come across that way (particularly in the flash-back where Lucifer fights with Sam’s ‘father’).
SSIV: CotD is a really good AIF game, and my only real complaint is that I think I can see the result of OEJ struggling with the project at times. I know the feeling well. It is a really enjoyable
read and has particularly hot sex scenes, and can’t really be criticised on too many levels, apart from those few I have already mentioned. I can see why the game did so well in the Erins, and it
did win on its own merits rather than riding on the back of the popularity of the series. The first Sam Shooter remains, for a couple of reasons, my favourite Sam Shooter game (and one of my top
AIF games of all time) but SSIV manages to come in at a solid second.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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