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Author: David Whyld
Reviewed by Stewart J. McAbney
A princess, a blue monkey with a hat, and civilised witch culling!
Games with humour are either very poor, or hilarious, and when the latter rings true it's testament to the ability of the author. Y.A.D.F.A. is one of the few ADRIFT games whereby the humour uses subtlety to win over the player: jokes are cleverly inset within descriptions and responses to tasks as opposed to using the techniques of exaggeration and surrealism that novice writers may implement.
Locations within the game are numerous, extending to both internal and external scenes, all of which are reasonably varied, and not without some humourous purpose. Take for example the 'Castle Gates' where "You are just outside the main gates of the castle, fifty foot structures of steel that keep the populace of the land (i.e. the poor peasants) from the sight of the aristocracy (i.e. everyone else)." Here, we see an example of the author's esprit, and everywhere it is present transforming what would be a boring fantasy game into a fun and witty adventure.
Objects are everywhere: in the scenery, lying around, or on display in the local bakery, although the majority - if not all - of the interactive objects are dynamic. When stuck, trying to manipulate static objects such as trees, graves, and the local inn (yes, I tried to take it with me!) result in typical system responses such as 'Take what?' and 'You kick, but nothing happens.' when it would have been more expert to have a response for each of these static objects. Once again, when described, the objects are likely to force a snigger from the player - and sometimes a groan. Examine a pack of nuts and get the response "They're about twenty years old and are prone to give you indigestion by just carrying them." but then examine a fish and be prepared for tired - although tongue-in-cheek - puns.
Characters are of varied description, rank, race, and breed. In the world of Y.A.D.F.A., humans, dwarves, ogres, and pigs occupy equal shares of the land although "The pigs were just put into the location description to add a bit of depth. They don't actually do anything." Conversing with characters is different when compared to the ADRIFT standard. In lieu of using the widely accepted 'asl [character] about [subject]' the game uses its own tasks to allow the player to 'talk to [character]' and 'say to [character] [response]' which, albeit interesting in its approach seems to let the game down slightly. At one point - in the inn - talking to the barkeeper who, incidentally is "a rotund, balding fellow with a face like a pig (and those are just his good features)," returns a response regarding drink; answering no, sadly, returns a response that had me bartering with an elf - that I didn't know was there - over a knife. Although this conversational system seems flawed, the player is warned in the game's introduction that the game works in this way, although trapping the phrase 'ask [character] about [subject]' would have stopped characters being so ignorant.
Guess the verb, the bane of interactive fiction players, is minimal in Y.A.D.F.A. and therefore adds to the continuity of the game, although there are
some things I'd never have thought to do (i.e. unbend nail.) The way in which the author has designed the game is clever in that he uses the 'wildcard'
function of ADRIFT for the majority of his tasks, and these not only help when guessing the verb, but for those who accidentally exclude letters from words.
Overall, the author has presented an attractive game (HTML is used for all room descriptions, and it is funny) that rises above the majority of so-called 'comedy' games written for ADRIFT. The acronym Y.A.D.F.A. actually stands for Yet Another Damn Fantasy Adventure, although you can be reassured: it's not yet another damn fantasy adventure - they shall forever remain the speciality of the novice.
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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