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Sam Shooter II: Through the Dimensional Rift Reviews

Author: One-Eyed Jack
Date: 2002

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 S. Welland

Overall Thoughts:
My overall impression of this game is that the author spent quality time thinking it through, step by step, creating the scenery, the mood and the sex scenes. It was very easy to get involved in this game. The humor was well placed and One-Eyed Jack took the time to add little jokes here and there, i.e. “A mime is a terrible thing to…” With one exception, which I will cover under PUZZLES, I was thoroughly pleased with this work.

Puzzles/Game play:
As I have mentioned in many of my Reviews, I like a puzzle-laden game. This piece of work lived up to my hopes, but I was crushed my first time through. I explored the Mustang and never noticed the glove box, as it was not mentioned, so I never thought to open something that wasn’t there. Okay, slight overlook, EXCEPT, inside the non-existent glove box was a tape that you must have to complete the game. You guessed it, you can't return to the car, so no matter how many times you saved, the ultimate reward in an AIF is presented to you…YOU GET SCREWED!!!!

Aside from the aforementioned tidbit, the game played out well. Conversations were well equipped with clues to allow you to progress fairly easily.

One-Eyed Jack wrote wonderful sex scenes, and included women that would not normally entice you, such as Paulina. It was obvious in the game that having sex with Paulina was a chore to help solve a problem, but One-Eyed Jack was able to keep enough erotica in the events to keep you going through them. As is the case in many AIF games, incest abounds. Not my cup of tea, but the scenes were still hot, sibling or not.

On the technical side I found a few grammatical errors, mostly in the form of verb tense, but very minor overall. My second time through, after digging Loverboy out of the car, I still did not score a perfect game. Why? Because after trying something 3-4 times and receiving the same response, it never dawned on me that if you tried those commands 8-10 times it would bring on the desired response, thus bringing some lovely lady to orgasm and boosting my points. Much like climbing back up the mountain 21 times to reach the top. I am able to overlook many things regarding realism in fantasy, but how in the hell do you survive a fall that takes TWENTY-ONE climbs to return from?

Final thoughts:
Had I not been stymied in my first attempt and found that all was in vain due to my lack of finding the tape, my fun meter would have remained pegged out while playing this game. I am by no means blaming the author for my own oversight, but would have liked to have had a little more hint in that area before continuing on. Maybe instead of Loverboy, the tape should have been, let’s say Kansas- Point of No Return?

Rating: B+

Reviewed by A. Bomire

Overall Thoughts:
This is the second game in One-Eyed Jack's (OEJ, for short) infamous Sam Shooter series, and for all intents and purposes really the first game in the rest of the series. It is the game that starts referencing the destiny of the protaganist (Sam Shooter) and his family, specifically his older sister Laurie, and the mysterious character "The Fury". If you compare the rest of the series with the one that started it all - Graduation Day - you'll see a remarkable change in character and story design. However, I'm just reviewing this game, Sam Shooter II - Through the Dimensional Rift, not the entire series. This game has OEJ's typical quirky, sometimes dark, humor, and plenty of sex. Hoo-boy is there plenty of sex!

Puzzles/Game play:
This game is very linear - as in, there are several places where there is a physical barrier to proceeding further until you solve the puzzle laid out in front of you. So linear that you almost exclusively use the East and West directions, with very little North and South. Yes, that linear! This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but some gamers may become frustrated if they get stuck and are unable to do anything until they get beyond the current puzzle. I didn't run into this problem, but others might. The puzzles in this game are of the "treasure hunt" variety, where NPCs are looking for an item that you need to find and give to them. One puzzle in particular will trip up some players, as it involves an item you need to acquire very early in the game. However, at the point at which you find out it is required, you are advanced in the story, with absolutely no way of going back to get the item. You are forced to start over. To any authors out there reading this review, please don't do this. Players find this very frustrating.

Another aspect of this game is that there are multiple NPCs who will accompany you on your journey. OEJ uses a technique whereby you can invite and dismiss characters from your "party", which is a nice way of handling it. Different characters are useful for solving different puzzles, and it was nice to see how this was incorporated into the game.

There's a lot of sex in this game - and I mean a lot of sex! As I mentioned in the game play section, there are several characters who can accompany you, and each can interact with the others sexually, which leads to lots of varied interactions. The sex is pretty well written, and varied, but there is so much of it that you may actually become bored with it. One-Eyed Jack made almost all of it unnecessary to winning the game, which is a plus as you can skip the parts you don't want to see. However, to achieve full points you'll need to go through every permutation. It does make for interesting replay value, as you can skip some parts and then play through those sections in another session. A large percentage of the sex scenes involve your sister, Laurie, so if you have a problem with incest then this may not be the game for you. (Although you can choose not to participate in those scenes, so it just comes down to being a voyeur while your sister engages in all sorts of lewd acts.) Of course, there are some who would argue that certain indicators in the first game of the series (Graduation Day) that point to you or one of your sisters being adopted. However, it is never spelled out, just hinted at with the discovery of some adoption papers in your parents room (no name on the papers, or sex indicated). I am going off the fact that Laurie refers to herself, and is referred to, consistently as your sister.

For the most part, the game is technically well done. There are the usual number of typos and grammatical errors, which isn't that bad. There was one point where you rescue your sister, Laurie, from a cage hanging from a tower. However, you can later go back to that tower which shows a description indicating that she is still in the cage (even though she may be standing right next to you). This was the only really major faux pas I found in the game. And with the invite/dismiss aspect of the game, there is a potential for many mistakes of this nature as it is sometimes difficult to remember where characters are at all times, and I was pleased to see that OEJ accounted for almost all possibilities (with the fore mentioned exception).

This game, like all of the games in the Sam Shooter series, is meant to have comedic aspects (it's not necessarily a comedy, but it is written with comedy overtones). Comedy is very subjective. Some of it is hit you in the face slapstick - such as the Mime which gets killed in this game, to which One-Eyed Jack says "a Mime is a terrible thing to – OH I CAN’T TYPE IT IN!". Other times, you may not even realize what you are reading is supposed to be a joke - such as some of OEJ's dark humor. I'll admit, a lot of the stuff that is supposed to be funny, I just don't get. However, that may just be my problem. It kind-of reminds me of the old Gary Larson "The Far Side" comics - I'd read one and laugh 'till I cried, while a friend of mine would simply stare at it, saying "I don't get it." The next day it might be the reverse. One-Eyed Jack's humor strikes me as being very similar.

Final Thoughts:
This game was enjoyable, as I found all of the games in this series to be. The best thing about this entire series is that each game more-or-less stands on its own. Having played all 4 game, no two of them are alike. However, I'm not reviewing the whole series, just this one game. As such, I found it to be a good game, with well-written characters and an interesting plot. I have to downgrade the rating a little for the one puzzle that I mentioned above, but otherwise it is a solid game.

Rating: B

Reviewed by A. Ninny

Overall thoughts:
One-Eyed Jack (OEJ) has created a sprawling adventure game in Sam Shooter II: Through the Dimensional Rift (SS2), one with outlandish characters, a great sense of humor, yummy extra content, and tons of over-the-top sex. The game is set in an alternate universe, nominally fantasy-medieval, but delivers hot flashes of modern sensibility that serve to hold a magnifying lens to modern societal views on topics like feminism, family values, and, of course, sex.

The writing of the game is very strong. OEJ is an expert at creating atmosphere and compelling, though cartoonish, characters. The scenarios he devises are extremely creative, almost to the point of being off the wall. Who else would have us jump off a cliff, fall for ages and ages, and only be hurt by our companions falling on top of us? As a result, SS2 is vivid, fun to play, and literally laugh-out-loud funny.

If I have a reservation about SS2 it has to be Sam Shooter himself. I feel that OEJ lost touch with the acerbic, selfish bastard Sam from Sam Shooter 1: Graduation Day who would lie, cheat, steal and even blackmail his own sister for sex and say his victims had it coming to them. The “new” Sam Shooter is, while still dispassionate (sucks to be the dwarf who got knocked into lava), fiercely loyal to Laurie, surprisingly considerate to his compatriots, and even (dare I say it?) remorseful (when temporarily subjugated by unknown and unexplained evil forces during the Dryad scene). I, for one, missed the ‘fuck ‘em all and they damn well better like it’ attitude that I expected from Sam.

Sex in SS2 is extremely available. Generally, if you are in the company of a female NPC you can have sex with her wherever you happen to be and whomever else you happen to have with you. There are also numerous scenes where your male companions get to have sex with the female NPC’s and there’s a threeway with you and two women. The sex is extremely well-written, varies nicely scene-to-scene and is very immersive. It also has an extreme overlay of violence to it. Every sex act description is riddled with words that could just as easily be used to describe a war or even a hockey game. Since this violence fits Sam’s personality and since OEJ is stylish about it, it actually adds a layer of interest and heat to the sex scenes.

SS2 is very buggy in places and very clean in others. For example, the Paulina puzzle and sex scene simply does not seem to work as OEJ may have intended because of programming bugs. At other times, TADS returns error messages instead of responses. During a play-through while preparing this review I ran into a TADS error that prevented me from progressing, and I had to restart. Still another oddity is that for some reason OEJ thinks that Sam Shooter has tits, so that if the player types ‘x tits’ he will be asked if he means to look at his own chest.
Despite these problems, I have to give OEJ kudos for being extremely technically ambitious, and for programming a game that is bug-free through significant sections of play. Sex scenes with three or more characters are notoriously complex, and OEJ delivers several.

Puzzles/Game play:
Players will quickly find that SS2 is totally linear. There are several instances during the game where you will not be able to return to your previous location. It is imperative, therefore, to make sure that you have done everything you need to progress. Usually you will be given warning that you won’t be able to go back, but there are still some surprises. Fortunately, there are not too many puzzles that require you to carry items with you for long periods of time. Aside from that, the puzzles are reasonable and game play is not impeded by lots of arcane puzzle solving or guess-the-verbs.

I can’t complete this review without mentioning the hilarious poetry OEJ has scattered throughout. Don’t miss it!

Final Thoughts
SS2 was difficult to review because it operates on so many different levels. If I tried to concentrate on one aspect of the game, such as the sex, I would quickly find it impossible, simply because OEJ will hit me on an emotional level with some other facet of his madness and redirect me to follow him through some other idea altogether. Sometimes I felt that the game is disjointed as a result, but when I reflect back it really feels like it works as a whole.

Rating: A-


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