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Goldilocks - Breaking and Entering Reviews 
Author: L.C.N.
Date: 2008
ADRIFT 4.0


Reviewed by David Whyld

Time to finish: fifteen - twenty minutes

Cheated to finish it? No need. It's easy enough that even if you're not very good at text adventures, you shouldn't have any problems with it. There are no real puzzles as such and only guess the verb is likely to slow you down.

Intro: You're Goldilocks, cat burglar extraordinaire, and you've come along to the cottage  of the three bears to-

Hang on. Doesn't that sound just a teensy weensy little bit familiar? I could have swore I played an ADRIFT game a few years back that had a kind of similar storyline to this one. But in the spirit of generosity, I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt. Two different authors coming up with the idea of Goldilocks as a burglar isn't that hard to come by, after all, seeing as that's just what she is. And the other game was a few years back.

The game begins with me, the aforementioned Goldilocks, standing at the locked front door of the three bears' cottage and pondering just how to get inside. Alas, despite being a cat burglar, I don't seem to have brought along any skeleton keys, lockpicks or any of the other tools of the trade that professional cat burglars often have with them (or so I hear anyway), so breaking in will have to be done the ol' fashioned way. On the plus side, I did remember my sack for all the loot I'm planning to swipe. Which is nice.

Considering my forgetfulness at bringing along anything useful to aid me in my burgling enterprises, it's quite fortunate that the three bears, despite having a new security system fitted complete with a keypad, have decided that the combination for said security system should be the same as their house number. Ingenious thinking there. I doubt many cat burglars would have figured it out but clever little Goldilocks got it right on the first attempt. Two seconds after arriving on the scene, her skill and ingenuity had got her inside. Thereafter the game becomes a standard case of finding certain items (i.e. your ill-gotten gains) and getting out of the cottage before the three bears arrive home. It took me several attempts to reach the end due to the game killing me off with the arrival home of the three bears and I did it with a less than stellar final score, indicating there are quite a few things I missed along the way.

As you might expect in a game by a first timer, there are a number of rough edges. Some are simple newbie mistakes that most people make before they learn better [1] [2], while others are just bugs [3] that even a newbie should have picked up on. Examining the sack once it's open (and, incidentally, you can put items inside the sack while it's still closed) reveals:

The beige burlap sack has seen better days. It has several loose strands hanging of it and a small hole in the bottom. empty1 The sack is open. A golden fleece is inside the sack. A typo (hanging 'of' it) and the variable EMPTY1 showing up in the middle of the description don't help matters. Strangely enough, the game lists three beta testers in its end credits - did they (and the author) really miss this one? Or was it simply a case of the author thinking "ok, it's an error but it's only a minor one and I'm not sure how to fix it, so I'll leave it in and hope no one notices".

Guess the verb is a problem at times [4] though it's never the kind of game-destroying problem I've seen elsewhere. Even when the most logical command didn't work (which is always a pain), it didn't take me many attempts to hit on the right one.

The game is on a timer, ending when the three bears arrive home, find you burgling their house and promptly dispose of you in some nasty (but thankfully unspecified) manner. My InsideADRIFT: The newsletter of the ADRIFT Community - Issue 37, April 2008 - 8 first play through the game I didn't realise there was a time limit and promptly died not long after they arrived home, unfortunately without saving my progress and, with ADRIFT's end game sequence not having an UNDO command, I had to restart from the beginning. Grrrr 6] A couple of other times, the game ended suddenly without me being told why. I'm guessing the bears caught and killed me (I'd earlier seen a message that they had entered the cottage) but this was never actually stated in the text. One time, even when the three bears had captured and killed me, I was told afterwards they were still searching around the cottage for me.

I wouldn't really recommend "Goldilocks - Breaking & Entering" due to its many, many rough edges but it's not a terrible game by any means. Fix the rough edges, give the text a serious proofread, sort out some of the nasty guess the verb problems and allow me to refer to items by just one word and not six or seven and there might be a promising enough game here.

[1] Most consist of locating an item (none of which are especially difficult to find in a game with as few locations as this one) and then finding a use for them [2].

[2] Also very easy. The locations don't really have a lot of things to do in them and so generally when you find an item, it's not hard to figure out where you need to go and what you need to do with it. The game even hints, strongly, that something floatable is needed to cross the sea in case you hadn't figured that out for yourself already.

[3] It uses the ASK [NAME] ABOUT [SUBJECT] format and while I managed to get a few responses (all lacking speech marks alas), none of them really seemed to change
anything. The biggest problem, though, stemmed from the NPC being referred to as Mr. McConkey but, due to ADRIFT treating the full stop as being the divider between one command and another, it's impossible to refer to Mr. McConkey as Mr. McConkey. ADRIFT sees "Mr. McConkey" and processes it as "Mr" and "McConkey" and thus throws a wobbly when trying to process the command. Annoyingly, attempts to engage Mr. McConkey in conversation still advise me to USE THE FORMAT "ASK MR. MCCONKEY ABOUT [SUBJECT]" even though this won't work. Unfortunately, the game doesn't understand "McConkey" either so you have to refer to him as "man" even when you know what his name is. See what I mean about the lack of testing?

[4] Bisquit (sic) ?

[5] I can't take the broom but no reason is given for this. content!

 


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