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Video.Tape / Decay Reviews

Author: T.D.S.
Date: 2007

Reviewed by Eric Mayer

Comments: This is a massive game, considering the time restraints. It makes good use of Adrift's control panel and map features. It seems to be a fairly straightforward search for useful objects, with some extra locations appearing and a bit of added difficulty showing up as you progress, which is a nice design. The location descriptions alone are enough to hold one's interest. I admit, even though I've managed to accomplish a lot, I am stuck, so I may be missing out on some important aspect, or have overlooked some objects, even with the help of the control panel. (Particularly since I'm not sure what the title has to do with the game) I will have to await a walkthru. A pretty amazing three-hour entry indeed.

Reviewed by James Webb a.k.a. Revgiblet:

SCORE: 5.5 (if I must go for an integer I'll go for...5)
Comments: This started really strongly and, for a while, I was sure that this would be my favourite. It began by quoting Augustine (out of context - for purely dramatic purposes natch), which is an easy way to get the nod from me, and was the only game to include an 'about' section from the start - suggesting that TDS had thought a lot about presentation. It also had the most interesting name, so I had been looking forward to playing it.

This game is a lot bigger than the other three, mostly due to the fact that TDS took advantage of rbaseal's 'generic town' module and built his game around that. This, for me, was where I began to wonder what score I was going to give. Although TDS didn't break any rules by doing this, it felt 'wrong' to me. It felt that this game was in a different category to the others, like it shouldn't be in this comp. It made it look like (though I am sure that he didn't) TDS had taken more than three hours to put it together. I think, in future, that three-hour games should be built from scratch like the other three in this comp. The other problem is that in this comp you don't have time to write detailed descriptions for every item - which is a problem when you have so many locations and so many items in the room descriptions. When you write 'x so and so' fifteen times and only get two custom responses it gets a bit difficult to be movtivated to keep examining everything. It's then becomes easy to miss something, which I must have done because I got stuck and couldn't finish the game. This led to another problem. There were no hints and TDS (I do understand why) password locked the game, so there was no way of me finding out what to do next. I would recommend that, for all comp games, if you're going to password lock your game then you should include a walkthrough. I don't know if it's possible to finish the game, and to be fair to Seciden's game I have to drop a point from this. One way to help would be to give more clues in the game itself, like letting the player know how many relics he has to find in total.

However, there was a lot to like about this game. There were various plot hints as your progressed - a nice touch - and plenty going on. Using the jukebox had a whole 'Silent Hill' feel about it which appealed to me. TDS also encourages the player to use the ADRIFT map, which makes this game a lot more playable as there many identical room descriptions and no 'exits' listed in them. This caused me no grief because I was using the map, as instructed. For a while I was unsure whether to give this or Robert's game my highest score, but in the end I went for the more polished, less ambitious game because I enjoyed it a more and felt less frustrated by it. It gets a 5.5 but would have a 6.5 if I could finish it.

Reviewed by Ren Rennington

Comments: Phew. Interesting. Very, very old-school in its unfair hardness. At times, seemingly random implementation of objects and unguessable tasks. Fairly bonkers story. But, very atmospheric, big for the time period, and always interesting, even during the head-bashing moments of difficulty (really, how was I meant to know the briefcase had a combination lock, why would I search scenery that has no description?). My favourite game of the comp.

Reviewed by J. J. Guest

Comments: For such an enormous game, the writing is quite atmospheric and although let down by a few strange grammatical errors; "the curtains have fell", "there are blood on the walls", it evokes very nicely the feeling of an abandoned city. I wonder, though, whether it was necessary to create such a gigantic map? The repeating descriptions of the streets, without directions, give the game a maze-like feel and make it utterly reliant on Adrift's graphical map. Gameplay is old-school in a good way. You are left with no doubt of your purpose in the sprawling metropolis; it's a classic trophy-case game in the great Brian Howarth tradition with some good logical puzzles and one quite illogical one which I was nevertheless able to solve. All in all, even given the use of modules, a very impressive three hours work!

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