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Edge of the Abyss Reviews
Author: Tony Ash
Date: 2002
TAG 2.0

Reviewed by David Whyld

Not strictly speaking an ADRIFT game, The Abyss is actually written using TAG, a pre-runner to ADRIFT. While TAG has a few nice features - a full screen mode being a good addition - it lacks many of the things that make ADRIFT so easy to use - autocomplete, mapping, no scrollback feature allowing you to page back up the screen and see what you've done… But enough of the Runner, what of the game?

There's no real background to The Abyss and so it's difficult knowing just what you're supposed to be doing. Examining an item found close to the start of the game gives a clue that an object of miraculous power capable of saving the entire world is to be found in the city of Abyssville and you, apparently, have been despatched to retrieve it. Quite what this item is or why the world needs saving or how the item in question is to go about doing this is never really explained.

Locations in The Abyss are fairly detailed and atmospherically written, although under the confines of TAG they are often little more than a few lines long. Guess the verb strikes in a few places, particularly in regard to the newspaper which cannot be read at all, merely examined. One puzzling thing I found annoying was the random appearance of items around the game: enter the newsagents the first time and there is nothing there. Try looking a few times and suddenly a newspaper is there, though no explanation is given for its sudden appearance and no matter how hard you try you won't find the newspaper any other way. Thus a relatively simple and straightforward game (there's even a walkthru available by typing "walkthru" for those who get stuck) is made more complicated by the program's strange way of handling items.

The Abyss isn't a game that has much in the replay value: the gameplay is too linear and lacks the freedom that makes you want to play a game again once you've finished it the first time. Also the ending is unsatisfying and quite strange and led to me scratching my head in confusion and wondering if I was missing something. Ultimately The Abyss isn't a bad game but it's let down quite often by the weaknesses of TAG and its own shortcomings (lack of background, little in the way of a storyline, no character interaction, etc.) Rewritten - and considerably expanded - with ADRIFT and there might well be a fairly decent game here.

Logic: 7 out of 10
Reasonably logical although an explanation as to what the game was about would have been welcome.

Problems: 5 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
The random appearance of the newspaper left me baffled, as did attempting to go west in the location with the statue and being told "You can't do that… yet!" Why?

Story: 5 out of 10
No background and precious little to go on.

Writing: 6 out of 10
Well written within the confines of the program. The locations were adequately described which was one of the game's saving graces.

Game: 5 out of 10
More a novelty value because it was written with TAG rather than ADRIFT, The Abyss is reasonably engaging but the one thought I kept having time and again was "this could have been so much better written for ADRIFT".

Overall: 28 out of 50

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