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The Dinner Party Reviews
Author: Blue Meanie
Date: 2002

Reviewed by Evil Bacteria

As much as I hate knowing that someone is using a Beatles reference in regard to pornography, Blue Meanie has indeed crafted a fine specimen of a game in The Dinner Party. While it's the standard "do your sister plus a few other people" plot, the scenes are interesting and the game is well written, with a few easy puzzles thrown in for good measure. 

The Good Points: 
First of all, this game has puzzles that I can actually figure out. It took me a bit (I suck at IF) but I managed to complete them all. This in itself is impressive, since most puzzles in AIF are either too difficult or uninspired to bother with, or too badly written or too ludicrous for normal people to solve. The Dinner Party doesn't have this problem, and if you get stuck, you can always ask the NPCs for a hint or two. While the plot itself has been done to death, the NPCs are fairly interesting characters to deal with, and there are a large number of them.

You can do a variety of things with each character, and the scenes are well written and lengthy enough to be worth the effort. The Dinner Party doesn't disappoint; the sex scenes are some of the best you'll find in AIF. The puzzles aren't perfect, but they're certainly not bad; most are straightforward enough that you shouldn't have any trouble with them, and I've always liked having to earn the sex scenes, rather than just having them handed to you. Besides, if you get stuck on any of them, you can usually skip it, since most of them aren't necessary to complete the game. 

The Bad Points: 
There are really only two things I don't care for in this game: helping your sister with her homework, and the overall pace of the game. Helping with her homework requires a very unintuitive use of the computer you find in the game, and several times the game jumps from sex scene to sex scene without anything to interrupt the pacing. Remember, the largest erogenous zone is the brain, and to ignore the brain is to bore the brain. 

Altogether, The Dinner Party is one of the better AIF games to be offered, combining a skill with words and a wide cast of characters. Your attention will be held throughout the game, but there are a few parts that get kind of repetitive, since you just skip from one sex scene to the next. Of course, this is true in most AIF, so it's hard to consider this a severe negative, and overall, it's a damn good game. 

Reviewed by A. Ninny

Overall thoughts:
I came away with very mixed feelings about The Dinner Party. It definitely has its strengths and weaknesses, which Iíll address Ė strengths first. I found it to have decent story writing and object descriptions, a plot that, while hard to believe, was at least internally consistent, and it provided some very fun romp-ish sex. The game moves along quickly for the most part, and, with a notable exception, doesnít tend to hang the player up too much over puzzles. I found the game to be quite funny in several spots, which I think led me to enjoy it more than I would ordinarily Ė given the content. Iím actually neutral on the quality of the characters in the game. While they are undeniably flat, they arenít flatter than I expected, especially given the type of game (a short romp) that it is.

The main, glaring negative is the massive guess-the-verb sequence that comes smack-dab in the middle of the game and can really be frustrating, even for repeat players. Iíll discuss that in more detail in the technical review. Other negatives include the lack of any real depth to the characters and that some players may have a hard time enjoying the three incest sequences (one sister-sister and two brother-sister) that are, according to the way the author presents them, the highlights of the game.

The sex in The Dinner Party can best be described as unchallenging, but thereís nothing really wrong with that, especially in a romp. Sex act descriptions tend to be short, and the (mostly) one-time-through coding formula are designed to get the player to move from sex scene to sex scene without spending a lot of time with any one of them. By design, the constant barrage of sex allows the game as a whole to be hotter than any one particular sex scene, though the scene with the twins is a standout.

This is where The Dinner Party really falls flat. The game simply is not up to snuff, technically. The main problem every player will encounter is one single central puzzle in which every action (there are several in the puzzle) requires you to guess the single correct command. Even Blue Meanie must have realized that he has a problem, because after the player fumbles with the commands for a great while, an NPC will finally pipe up and tell you what to do (Iíd be interested in knowing why he didnít eliminate the problem in the first place). Aside from this one main giant showstopper, the game is best described as glitchy. There are numerous misspellings, grammar problems and problems with clothing, minor bugs with sex commands and similar issues that get in the way of playersí enjoyment. I also recall that there was a crashing bug in the game (during the twins scene), but didnít encounter it while playing the game for this review. It could be that I updated my ADRIFT Runner in the meantime, or that the game was updated to correct the bug, or I accidentally missed issuing the buggy command.

Puzzles/Game play:
None of the puzzles are difficult to solve. Even the showstopper puzzle isnít a hard puzzle, which makes it more of a frustration that you have to work so hard to crack it. Assuming that you are lucky enough to guess the verbs the first time through (rush out and buy a lottery ticket NOW!), youíll find game play to be pretty easy, accommodating the playerís move from one sexual conquest to the next.

This game is an advertisement for beta-testing. I donít know whether it was beta-tested, but any tester worth his or her salt would have at least flagged the guess-the-verb puzzle.

Final Thoughts
While I certainly cannot wholeheartedly recommend The Dinner Party, I canít in good conscience advise readers of this review to avoid it either. Keep in mind that the guess-the-verb puzzle will cause you problems, but I still think most playersí overall impression of the game will be positive.

Rating: C+

Reviewed by A. Bomire

This game was released during a relative flood of games involving incest, and so was quite a common theme at the time it was released. As such, for its time it was one of the better games, which says more for the other games that were released than it does for this one. For all of its problems, however, it is still a decent game and the average player will enjoy it.

Puzzles/Game Play:
Most of the puzzles in this game are pretty straight forward, without a lot of head scratching on what the solution should be. The head scratching comes in when trying to puzzle out the exact wording to do what you want. There are quite a few "guess-the-verb" puzzles in this one, and a few puzzles that are order specific. What I mean by this last is that if a puzzle is to pour a cup of tea and set it on a saucer, you have to put the cup on the saucer before you can pour tea into it (this is an example, there is no such puzzle in the game). You can't, for example, pour tea into the cup and then put it on the saucer. This leads to some confusion in some of the puzzles as you try something that should work, and when it doesn't you're not sure why not. In a few instances, the author helps you out with friendly messages such as "You need to do this first".

On top of the above mentioned problems, there are a few other technical glitches. For example, you go into a room where a PC is mentioned as being on the desk. However, "turn on PC" returns "You see no such thing". But, if you examine the desk, the PC shows up and is now accessible. This sort of thing can be annoying. There are also the usual number of items that are in the room description but don't show up. There is even a case where if you go to the wrong room at the wrong time, you'll completely mess up the timing on one puzzle and miss a scene.

The sex is fairly well written; nothing really exciting, but not as bad as some games out there. It is varied enough from person to person such that some characters will do some things, and some others will not. Most characters in the game are pretty generic, although there are exceptions. One warning: This game involves a lot of incest, so if this isn't your type of thing you might want to skip this game.

Final Thoughts:
This game is pretty run-of-the-mill across the board. If you are just looking to spend a few minutes playing a game, without any heavy plot or anything, then you might enjoy it.

Rating: C

Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.


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