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Of Masters and Mistresses Part 1: Abduction Reviews
Author: Grimm Sharlak
Date: 2005
ADRIFT 3.9


What does AIF stand for? Adult Interactive Fiction. If you likely to be offended by games with sexual content, you are advised not to open these files.


Reviewed by A. Ninny (Inside Erin, Volume 1, Number 9 October, 2005)

Basic Plot: 

You play a private detective hired by a mysterious man to find a missing woman. This game is the first part of a two-part series; the second part has not yet been released. 

Overall Thoughts: 

This game has a promising backstory and compelling premise: you’re a private eye with a client whose face you never see; it has the hallmarks of most noir detective fiction: seedy settings, shady characters and damsels in distress. Grimm Sharlak is an author who can put together a sentence and a story. What he doesn’t seem to have been able to create here, and what this game sorely lacks, is robust implementation. The environments have barely minimal detail, most objects mentioned in the room don’t exist on their own, and some very unusual verb-object combinations are sure to trip up players. My general overall impression while playing is that I was following a script, lock-step. If I tried, for whatever reason to deviate from the script or try to experience something not connected to that script, I’d be walking into emptiness. When Grimm tried to inject some atmosphere into the game (a playground with parents and children, for example), he chose not to embellish these atmospheric touches with any life, nor did he ever let you interact with any of the atmosphere or even acknowledge its existence outside of the mention in the room description. 

As for the sex, several of the scenes feel very force-fit, like Grimm was struggling to make this AIF and made a few very unlikely - and generally irrelevant to the main plot - sex scenes fit into the game. Maybe he’ll tie them in in the second installment. At least, I hope he does. The final sex scene of this game is better – it does integrate with the main body of the story and sets up a decent cliffhanger for the next game. 

Puzzles/Gameplay: 

Many of the puzzles in this game are of the ‘ask about’ / ‘tell about’ variety. This makes sense in the context of a detective story – you’d expect to ask questions of people to increase your knowledge and solve the mystery. Most of these puzzles work reasonably well. There are a couple of object puzzles in which very unusual commands are required, classic guess-the-verb fodder. Helloooo, walkthrough. Also, considering the fact that you’re supposed to ask characters about stuff, a lot of sensible topics that may not directly relate to the story (may just relate to the game’s atmosphere, for example) are not actually implemented for them to respond to, and you’re expected to glean from minimal cues what to ask, and when (rarely, by the way, but occasionally required) to ‘tell’ rather than ‘ask’. 

Sex: 

The main problem I had with a number of the sex scenes in the game is that they simply had nothing to do with anything I knew about the character or his goals. They were classic examples of opportunistic sex with willing AIF strangers. As a result of this, and as a result of fairly uninspired prose, they did little for me. There was one exception: in the final scene, where the player’s relationship with the character in question has direct bearing on his mission and also features some good, fun, kink. It also has features S&M, so players who dislike this content are warned that it is there. 

Technical: 

The game is simply not implemented robustly. There are quite a few picky bugs and incompletely coded verbs. As a typical example of what I mean (and OMM is riddled with stuff like this): ‘strip chick’ isn’t implemented, but ‘chick strip’ is. *Insert forehead slap here.* My forehead was pretty red by the time I finished playing. Add to that some nasty verb guessing and you may end up with a few missing handfuls of hair in addition to that red forehead. 

Final Thoughts: 

Breakout demonstrated that this author can fill a game with a good story, a rich environment and get good technical results with ADRIFT. Somehow he fell far short with OM&M: Abduction. I think this game has a compelling idea for a story, and I do enough want to find out how it ends that I’m looking forward to the sequel. Unfortunately, this installment is saddled with random-feeling cardboard sex, inadequate environments and poor technical implementation. 

Rating: C-
 


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