Home About Me


The Home of Otter Interactive Fiction

Wes Garden's Halting Nightmare Reviews
Author: Jubell
Date: 2010

Reviewed by Lumin

This game. This freaking game. While Iím glad Jubellís going to get his free copy of Adrift and all, he really should have saved it for the Summer Comp...unregistered limitations and all, I think it still wouldíve given some of us more experienced Drifters a run for our money. I loved everything about this. Well, okay, I admit thought the whole íSoul Scytheí things sounded like something out of a cheesy action game, but everything else--the intro and the writing, the genuinely creepy rooms and mindscrew plot, and of course the amazing art and music, just blew me away. I even loved that I still had no idea what was going on at the end. Usually thatís something that would annoy me a little, but here itís a strength...I was SO glad it didnít all wrap up neatly with a pat íbut it was alllll in his headí or whatever ending.   

The limitations of the unregistered version did show up in a few cases, (mostly when I was getting drawn into a trippy room description but not being able to examine something that seemed prominent) so Iím really hoping that in addition to a sequel, the author might be able to go back and flesh this one out a little once theyíve got their shiny new full version. And though this oneís more a matter of personal taste, it also seemed like there was a lot of plot railroading, long cutscenes and such popping up every couple of minutes. Though once again, even though itís something I donít always care for, in this case I might call it a good thing because it allowed so much plot and content to be crammed in despite the limits and made the game seem a lot larger than it actually is. (I noticed you made good use of conversation topics as well, which is also a good trick in this kind of situation.) 

The one and only thing I would have to say I definitely didnít care for were the combat aspects - the fact is I simply hate hate hate Adriftís default combat system and have never seen it used in a good way. I found it yanked me out of the story here too, and finally after being killed half a dozen times in the first fight (my own hits never seeming to do any damage) I got frustrated and changed the opponentís stats in the generator, which let me move past that part but may or may not have caused a bigger problem later. 

For the second fight, I got the message saying I was being attacked, but nothing happened (I was alone in the room) and since I couldnít trigger the end of the fight I wasnít able to progress any further after that. I canít say with any kind of confidence that it was a bug, because thereís a good chance I broke something with my meddling earlier, but even if it was, the game up until that point was amazing enough to more than make up for it. Happily I was able to sort of experience the last few scenes by following along with the walkthrough and the generator anyway, and the ending did not disappoint. Really, really, REALLY looking forward to whatever this author decides to write next.

Reviewed by Lumin (2)

Maybe I'm just a sucker for mindscrew plots and hand drawn art and ominous music in an IF game. Made with the unregistered version of ADRIFT 4 (which severely restricted the number of objects, locations, etc.) and by a first time author to boot, I was absolutely not expecting this to be as entertaining and well made as it was. 

This game contains some really nice writing, the intro draws you right in, and there is just so much trippy, surreal imagery here that I'm not sure how a previous reviewer arrived at a comparison to 'an episode of Buffy'. Just about every location is so unsettling, disjointed, and...well, nightmarish, as the title implies, that I was literally half expecting a cop out 'but it was aaaaalll just a dream' at any point. As it is, nothing seemed fully explained, but there is a lot of plot to sort through and the ending points at a sequel. 

I did run into a problem with a segment that made use of the much-maligned ADRIFT combat system, definitely the weakest point of the game and a disruption to the pacing that took me out of the story (and cost the author a star), but in the end I still can't help but love this game for all the things it does right and how unique it is, and if Jubell really is working on a sequel, I'll be the first in line to play it. 

Reviewed by AmberShards
Sadly, Wes Garden's Halting Nightmare demonstrates the low quality that ADRIFT games are known for. I didn't start out thinking that; I was convinced of that as the game progressed. 

To be sure, it starts out interestingly enough, but half-way through the introduction, at the juncture between grandeur and mundanity, WGHN takes the tried and true path into the lands of everyday horror. The main character is a stock and unreal cypher (really, a teenaged male is not affected by a stunningly attractive female doctor?), and then the game requires the use of adverbs to play. Uggghhhhh. Examine isn't enough; no, you must CLOSELY EXAMINE. Then the grammar goes south and you become aware of the overuse and misuse of ellipses. It feels like the game is self-destructing before your very eyes. 

Next, the plot takes a pagan turn and your task suddenly becomes a mission to reunite Grecian deities (apparently they don't have the power to find one another, despite being gods). Right around here, you become aware of the plot-on-rails nature of the game. 

The game trudges on, introducing you to a nearly pornographic candy striper named Hope -- with stereotypical Southern charms. (Yes, Southern women are hawt, but can't you be a little bit more creative in communicating their appeal?). To move the plot forward, you get to play "guess the question". 

Then, everything hits the fan. It turns out that the only way to play this game is to play it under Windows, because the SCARE clones don't implement combat and guess what this game has? Yup, combat. Even using Wine won't help -- at least it didn't help me. 

From what I could see, WGHN ended up feeling like a Buffy episode. In fact, that's probably the best way to describe the game; as Buffy was goth light with stereotyped characters, that's what WGHN is.

Reviewed by Duncan_Bowsman

Wes Garden's Halting Nightmare is an interesting game with, if I recall, some surrealistic neo-pagan themes on identity, and its own "eye candy" graphical style (although it is clearly not AIF). Might not be everyone's cup o' Joe. Some of the interaction in the game is a little difficult or obscure at points, but for a first game I thought it was a stellar effort.

Perhaps I'm a little biased, as I did provide some assistance in beta-testing.

Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.

Any donation would be much appreciated to help keep the site online and growing.
To help make your donation quicker and easier just click the "Donate" button and you
will be taken to the secure Paypal donation page.
    Home  |  About Me