bishopsreviews (bishopsreviews) wrote,

  • Music:

IFComp 2009: "The Duel that Spanned the Ages"

This is a game from the 2009 IFComp.

The Comp's other "duel". We are having some weird patterns this year. Actual dueling is, unlike in the previous "duel" game, conspicuously absent. It's also an "Episode 1", a subtitle which, more than anything else, seems to guarantee that a sequel is not forthcoming.

The opening textdump: good Lord is it long. It's stylistically about in line with what the title prepared me for, though; in fact, it, and the title, remind me vaguely of Ben Bova's Orion, which I haven't actually read in a decade. On that front I reckon it works, but I think of long as generally bad, and it doesn't help that it is apparently unrelated to anything that follows. The first scene is well-implemented, and from there things get slightly odd: why are all the room names in the second and fourth scenes lowercase? That's a bit nonstandard, although it's consistent enough that I'd entertain the notion it's intentional.

There are a couple of odd technical issue.Technical writing errors are minor and infrequent, but there are a few. "STAND" doesn't work, although "STAND UP" does. The voice-recorder files are clunkily handled. These are minor issues. For the most part, this is a game of appropriate scope, with an intelligently crafted narrative voice, and well-considered and thought-out puzzles. And yet, for all that, it never really grabbed me as such and made me want to keep playing. Some of that might have been the intro and cutscenes, which I imagine were meant to heighten the mystery but mostly just annoyed me.

All in all, though, despite not exactly hitting my sweet spot, this game does many things right and nothing serious wrong. This I can respect.

Tags: if, ifcomp 2009

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