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The Home of Otter Interactive Fiction

In Darkness Reviews 
Author: GoblinBoy
Date: 2009
TADS


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 A. Ninny (Inside Erin: The AIF Community Newsletter Volume 5 Number 7 – July 2009)

Overview: It’s hard to describe this game without giving too much away. You start the game with no knowledge about the PC whatsoever and slowly, over several small episodes, the game reveals itself and
develops into a horror/mystery story.

Review: GoblinBoy, as usual, has given us a fully realized story, fabulously detailed sex, and realized deliciously complete technical achievement. The story is really frightening, and the PC’s confusion and
fear are palpable from the first moment of the game. Structurally, the game is set up as a series of flashbacks. You get transported to various points in the PC’s past (though not his memory – he has none)
in order to learn something about who he is and how he got where he is now. I found it a very immersive way to tell the story. I also felt like the game treated me fairly. I never felt like GoblinBoy was cynically
saying ‘I know something you don’t!’ I thought the PC was truly just as in the dark as I was. About halfway through I guessed the answer, and felt like the PC probably did as well – at that point it was more
like being drawn through the story by frightening forces unseen. There are two separate sex scenes in the game, both ably written, though not without GoblinBoy’s perennial mention of de-virginification that
peppers all his games, and, not without the phrase ‘anal deflowering’ which I can always do without. In his favor, he managed to write a detailed and highly explicit sex scene that really kept the game’s confused and
frightening tone consistently running through it, and that extra layer of emotion made it that much more hot.

Concept: A. A deeply frightening mystery story, wonderfully executed.
Writing: A. Excellent storytelling.
Characters: B+. The PC is a total enigma, but the NPC’s step up and fill in nicely.
Hotness: A-. Great characterization in the sex scenes, and I didn’t have my normal feeling with GB games that I’m watching the kind of porn where the cameras are too close and the lights are too bright.
Technical: A. I found no bugs, and the game was technically ambitious.
Enjoyment: A. A game with rich depth and great suspense, and, almost unnecessarily, pictures.
 


Reviewed by ExLibris (Inside Erin: The AIF Community Newsletter Volume 5 Number 7 – July 2009)

Wow, what a downer. Although looking at Goblinboy's other games, delivering a happy ending doesn't seem to be very high on his list of priorities. Actually, calling In Darkness a game is a bit of a stretch.
There aren't any real choices to make or puzzles to solve. The player merely has to work out what action will trigger the next 'page' of the story, making it interactive fiction in the most literal sense. It's somewhat
subjective, but I think that the storyline would have worked better as prose rather than a 'game'. IF has a much closer identification of reader with protagonist than traditional fiction does. Consequently as a player
I enjoy games where I feel in charge of the PC's destiny, rather than merely trudging towards a depressing and predestined fate without any hope of reprieve. While playing In Darkness you don't even get the
chance to struggle against the inevitable. The decisions the player makes don't have any effect on the outcome, things just happen the way they happened. It didn't help that it was fairly obvious how the game
was going to end from quite early on, which cast a shadow over what would normally be the fun parts of AIF. I'm not completely opposed to telling a story like this in IF, but because of the way it was executed I
didn't find it particularly enjoyable. On the other hand you do get to kill Mike... er I mean Jeff, so it's not all bad.

In technical terms, it's what we've come to expect from a Goblinboy game. That would normally be high praise, but after his nth well executed game it doesn't get him as much credit as it might. Actually,
something that probably decreased my enjoyment is how similar In Darkness is to previous Goblinboy games, primarily thematically but also in some specific ways. As I've already implied, Jeff is a similar
character to Mike from the School Dreams series. Additionally, the basic premise is quite similar to Ghost and the downer ending is reminiscent of The Casabian Virus. The difference here is that as the protagonist I
felt restricted, even more so than in The Casabian Virus or The Key to Eternity where the ending is predestined and the opposite of what the PC wants. When playing In Darkness I wasn't really conscious of
being able to push against the flow of the story at all. I felt more like a spectator than a participant.

One final nitpick. Although I'm no expert in American law, it doesn't seem that likely to me that the PC would get the chair for what are two textbook cases of voluntary manslaughter. More dramatic, yes. More
accurate, no. Oh, and the electric chair isn't actually used very much any more either. Suicide would have been a believable alternative ending, which probably sums up how depressing I found this game.
 


Reviewed by Gary Plume (Inside Erin: The AIF Community Newsletter Volume 5 Number 7 – July 2009)

Interesting start concept from initial scene and buildup of background to romantic love that goes beyond "You want to bone this textual chick because she's hot." Flashback device with objects were linear and not
too adventuresome but an understandable and effectively jarring device in the minicomp limitations. I appreciated the effort to make the flashbacks different, especially the braid, with some variation in how the
charms disintegrated afterward. The first sex scene felt very hot to me mostly because of the tentativeness and restraint of the PC and the corresponding flirtatiousness of the NPC. A delicate tug-of-war. The game
itself functioned like one of its talismans and transported me back to a time when I was a horny teenage virgin with nothing but fantasies. The part where the PC creams in his jeans and the NPC giggles was the
most memorable scene for me out of all the entries. Contributing to the heat was the challenge of doing/saying the right thing without getting too guess-what-author-wants, although I almost gave up getting
my pants off. The sad and mostly predictable ending was a boner-killer, but evoked in this reader the intended feelings of jealousy, betrayal, rage. I guess the author should be applauded for creating pathos,
but I would've just liked a happy ending. In fact, I was so inspired, that I am now porting the first sex scene into Inform, partly to see how difficult it would be to render the NPC. Technical: got stuck after touching
braid the second time since the replay didn't succeed in "ask jemma about friend" - kinda like getting stuck in the "friends zone". I somehow successfully did "fuck pussy" before final ending which made it
confusing as the plot seemed to depend on this being refused.
 


Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.

 

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