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ESS Chance: Reactor 1 Reviews
Author: Justahack
Date: 2009

Reviewed by James Webb (revgiblet)

Long story short - Reactor malfunction. Ship explode. You prevent.

Although this is more standard IF fare, justahack's second game still has CYOA elements. Different actions can be taken at different times, but when you select a certain action you are set on a path that you can't come back from. Like Mr. Fluffykins, it's well-written, though it contains randomness. Now, I like randomness as much as the next man but this is one of those games where the randomness dictates how you complete the game. Essentially, there are several ways to complete the game but some of them don't work all of the time. I'm not really a fan of games where completion of the game is taken out of your hands, but justahack has mitigated this somewhat by including a fail-safe, always-works option.

This was the entry that most endeared itself to me in the shortest amount of time. There are hints of an interesting back story and its enjoyable to play as well as well as gripping me in a way that Mr. Fluffykins didn't. However, I was unable to complete this game due to a few bugs. For example, selecting the computer option to raise the shields took me back to the conversation tree with the Chief Engineer. Another game-breaker was an inability to take the pulse rifle, meaning that I couldn't even complete the game in the idiot-proof way.

Having conferred with my fellow judge, it seems that ESS Chance falls foul of revgiblet Syndrome, where I discover and are thwarted by bugs that none of my contemporaries have problems with or even find. It happened with Beanstalk and Jack and now it's happened with ESS Chance. Once again, I blame the scapegoat - Vista - for filling my .taf files with non-existent bugs.

The good news is that, due to this, ESS Chance is probably even better than I think. Another fine entry and a deserved winner.

Reviewed by Duncan_B

1st place: ESS Chance: Reactor 1, by Justahack.

Not without its problems, the player might notice spelling errors like "greenhouse affect" even from the introduction, and one of the endings especially had a few sections that obviously lacked some proofreading. Dialog with the Chief Engineer worked out a little strangely in that if one didnít expressly quit the dialog, one was assumed to still be engaging in dialogÖ this could interfere with trying to raise the shields, since that action shared its command with a dialog option.

As revgiblet says, I report no trouble with the pulse rifle.

For the strength of its story, its slick presentation, & its execution, ESS Chance: Reactor 1 stole this competition from the very beginning. Itís the only game in the Spring Ting that I felt was unquestionably worthy of a sequel (although any others who wish to make a sequel should not be discouraged). Command input was signified in a way that made the game accessible even to first-time players, and the sense of time, place, and above all urgency came on strongly (I specifically recall feeling alright about "greenhouse affect" because, hey presto, it's science fiction). Itís a tight game with few rooms, but several possibilities, and all a bit flabbergasting for a first game release. Two thumbs up, recommended.

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