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I Am the Law Reviews
Author: djchallis
Date: 2008


Reviewed by Abbi Park

I Am the Law, by djchallis  (7 rooms, 9 objects, 11 tasks, 3 events, 5 characters)

1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?
I thought it might be fairly involved even though the restrictions kept it a small game.  It was, to a point, as far as asking characters about things.  It was begging to be more involved as far as objects, but, as we know, it could not be, for this competition.

2. How did the author do within the restrictions?
The game suffered from not being able to have enough objects to cover all of the ones in the story.  It's not very fitting for a detective to refuse to examine something that could lead to a clue.  However, that makes it quite convenient for players because it means we know what to focus on more than the objects.  Everything but the objects was fleshed out very well in keeping with the restrictions.

3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?
The only "puzzles" were saying clearcut subjects to characters.  Simple.  Aside from some typos, the storyline was very well-written and made me curious to find out more.  I kind of liked the ending and kind of didn't, because something seemed partially unfinished.  But it made sense and was described very nicely.

4. What did you like best about the game?
Somehow my favorite part was finding out what the mystery was that I was supposed to solve.  It was a downward spiral from there.  No, just kidding!  The rest was good too.  The explanation of what happened was what made me switch from passively interested to actively interested in hearing more of the story, though.

5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?
The paragraph/sentence spacing, or, rather, lack of line spacing.  It would be much easier to read with one blank line between every line/couple sentences/whatever instead of long and short lines strung together into a long sort-of-paragraph.  Also, there were too many screens before the game started.  No wonder the author asked if intro/title screen tasks would be included in the task count or not.  It would have helped the game to have them.

6. What stood out most to you from/about this game?
Wow, that's a lot of text for a small game.

7. How did this game compare with the others in the competition and/or what set it apart?
Most in-depth mystery.

Any other comments?
Djchallis, you shouldn't worry so much about disappointing us with blandness or emptiness!  Your story carried the game well.


Reviewed by revgiblet

I saw that coming...but not that.

AWARD:  The "Would Make the Best Full Game" Award

An independent investigator called in to solve a murder that takes place on a space station?  I started designing a game with exactly that setting.  No really, look!  Here's my notepad.  I made about six pages of notes - maps and everything.  And now I can't use it because someone else beat me to it.  I was going to make it conversation driven as well!  It was going to be about finding clues in the things that people said!  But, I never really figured out how I would make that work.  I suppose that using text formatting to highlight important clues is not a bad idea.  Well, OK, it's a pretty darn good idea actually.  I wish I'd thought of that.

This was another entry that surprised me with the amount of game fitted in around the limitations.

The author is clearly a fan of story-driven IF, so we have that in common.  There's a shed-load of text to read in this game, and as someone who watched all of the cut-scenes for Metal Gear Solid I get quite excited thinking about the prospect.  The story is also pretty decent.  I don't want to give too much away, but I guessed the identity of the killer quite early on in the proceedings - though the motive for the killing was not something that I predicted and I thought that it tied things nicely together.

It would have been nice if the notepad you carried around with you kept a list of all of the 'blue text' that you had discovered, as there was quite a lot to keep track of.  I also found that a couple of topics I tried to talk about didn't get the responses that I thought that they should.  I would put both of those down to the limitations of the competition.

One thing that I found distracting throughout the game was the fact that I was invited to put myself into the shoes of Joshua Kent, but was then forcibly detached from the character by being told what I should be feeling.  For example, a couple of times I was told that I 'admired' the responses from some of the suspects, though I confess that I didn't really feel it.  My immersion in the game would have been greatly improved if I had simply been told what was said and left to explore my own emotions about it.  Am I Joshua Kent, or am I an omniscient observer?  If I am him, then don't tell me how I feel about the situations that I am encountering.  Let me feel it for myself.

Despite this, I would be lying if I didn't say that I enjoyed playing this game.  I'm a sucker for story-driven IF, and this was probably the most solid example of the genre in the whole competition.  It's a very good game, and a great example of what can be done with ADRIFT within a very tight set of restrictions.  I expect many more positive reviews, and hope that the author finishes Project Clocks and goes on to write more IF.

This entry seemed fairly ambitious, and I think that the foundations are here for a great full game.  Well, of course I would think that.  I had the same idea after all.


Reviewed by Dan Blazquez

A meaty whodunnit with an obvious nod to an old classic. I Am The Law makes great use of ADRIFT's built-in conversation system, highlighting possible subjects in a blue color. While at first I found this a nifty idea, during play I realized that this color-coding just lessened the impact of the game and made it a little *too* easy. The lengthy introduction does a fine job of easing new players into the fray, but also comes off as annoying or overbearing. These two points make up the bulk of complaints against this interesting work and are ruthlessly stomped by its gauntlet of strengths:

First, I Am The Law is big, considering the restrictions. Weighing in at double the size of the nearest contender and quadruple the size of the average entries in the comp, there is a lot of dialogue in this game, most of it well written and integral to the progression of the story. Ultimately that is what I Am The Law does best - it tells a story, and a good one at that. I saw the twist coming early on, as did other reviewers, but that did nothing to bar my enjoyment of this detective romp.

The setting, characters, and events are fleshed out and the writing, although long and plentiful, is interesting... I never found myself wanting to skim over the text dumps, although the bright blue subjects contrasted jarringly with the rest of the text and kept catching my eye while I was trying to read! I played through this in one go and was enthralled by the plot's linear, logical progression. I felt that inner fire that you can only get from reading a good piece of literature.

The implementation of few objects made the game feel bare in that respect, although with the focus on narrative and characters this is a minor quibble. The game practically plays itself. Between the barrage of info screens at the outset and the color coding of important subjects (which is the only way to progress in this game) the adventure is over way too quickly and with too much hand holding. Obviously the author strove to wring a good story out of meager restrictions (and did so brilliantly... this is excellent as a narrative driven story) and while the story shines brightly the game struggles as a highly interactive work.

Arguably the best use of the restrictions as a good yarn unravels here. Very polished and professional feeling, if a little too easy. I'm eager to see what the author has in store for us next, as this game demonstrates a level of cohesive



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