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The Drunken Harlot
Author: kkennon
Date: 2012
ADRIFT 5


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 The Blue Satyr

Overview:

You are a handsome, silver-tongued bard on the run from his latest trail of broken hearts. As luck would have it a ruckus inn called The Drunken Harlot looms ahead at the crossroads. Inside will you find a lovely lass to warm your bed or will you find a fate not fitting for a strapping adventurer such as yourself?

Author:

Kkennon is the author of The Drunken Harlot. I don't recall his name before so this may indeed be his first game.

Protagonist:

The bard! What could be more fun to play than a bard that can make the women swoon and turn the most vile lie into the most honest truth anyone has ever heard? Anyone familiar with the roleplaying games Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder will know
exactly what I am talking about.

The protagonist's character is glimpsed during the game introduction and it is enough to determine that he is one selfish son-of-a-bitch. Hey, most bards are, that is what makes them fun. With so many conquests behind him it is obvious he can seduce almost any lady he desires. And it sounds like this bard is constantly running from trouble he created. No problem, with a skill set like a bard he is confident to make a full recovery and most likely at some poor gullible sod's expense!

At the start of the adventure you must input a name for your bard. Argh, really? I find it easier to get into my character if the protagonist already has a name or if he is presented as the nameless Everyman type. However, that is just my opinion.

Characters:

The two other characters are given life through their actions and what they say. Both have many options to interact with, although less so with Arsya the barkeep. While their descriptions are left a little vague they are long enough to give a visualization of the character. Each one has a distinct personality and motivations, kudos to kkennon for that, it helps bring them both to life.

Sex:

The main course for the bard is a blonde hottie with big tits named Cherise. Although the author didn't mention she is attractive it was obvious by the description. Cherise is not much of a challenge to get in the sack, especially for a bard, but the way in which all the men in the room looked upon you with jealous scorn really made me feel good at completing the seduction.

The sex is nicely varied in one regard, depending on what items you use before the sex commences. These items can unlock extra sex actions like the blowjob and anal. And they also unlock different descriptions of some of the sex acts. On the other hand each sex action has a limit of only one description per game. If you try to repeat a sex act (except for kissing) you are greeted with a message that says you have already tried that. Grrrrr. That is one of my pet peeves, I like more freedom in my interactive sex.

To do anything with Cherise you must write her name in the command like 'suck cherise's tits'. OK, annoying. In the readme kkennon said he did this on purpose so to practice for coding threesomes. Actually I think kkennon should be practicing more one on ones first and drop the person's name in the command. The easier it is for the player the more enjoyable the game play.

Overall though, I'd say the sex is pretty darned good. Kkennon wrote the descriptions of sex very well thus making for one hot lovemaking session. I'd just wish he'd included more body parts and more detailed descriptions for Cherise's body parts.

Writing:

The game is polished and I found the writing to be a treat. Good descriptions without being too long are what I think is a trademark of good IF writing. The world was immersive, convincing me that this was a fantasy world and you were inside a wild, sinful inn. I felt like I was a part of the fantasy adventure so I give big props to kkennon for that!

I do have one complaint, not enough peripheral descriptions. What I mean is things like room decor, minor objects and clothing items worn by characters. I love to feel fully immersed within a world and although TDH did a great job of selling me the fantasy world atmosphere it came up short with the little details that seal the deal for players like me. For instance when I examined Cherise's stockings I expected to see a description of her lovely legs encased in stockings. Instead I got the generic message telling me the game didn't know what I was trying to examine. Curses!

Technical:

I didn't find many typos at all. Out of the few I found the most glaring one was in Cherise's description.

The game uses the commands greet, compliment, impress and 'talk to <person>' as means to communicate with the characters. I found this to be a delight. It is simple, straight forward and helps you to get to know the other characters through their responses. Since I like variety I thought the game would have been better if the impress and compliment commands could be repeated (like the' talk to' command) instead of just the one time limit imposed on the player. The' talk to' command is a great tool to help the characters chit-chat so you can learn about their thoughts, desires and personalities. It generates
random responses from a list and you can repeat the 'talk to' command until you read them all.

As much as I liked the above commands for communicating I found the lack of conversation subjects to be unfortunate. With a little more time and devotion to fleshing out conversations I think kkennon could have made his characters really pop to life in the player's imagination.

Bottom Line:

To all you people out there with ADRIFT-envy whom badmouth it whenever you can I give you this game as exhibit one. The Drunken Harlot is a strong game with few to no technical mistakes and my choice to be the dark horse that finally has the chance to hand Goblinboy his first defeat. That is no small feat to accomplish. For even with the surprisingly lukewarm reception of GB's game this year his vast numbers of fanboys will be hard to defeat at the ballot box.

TDH really hit a soft spot in me. I love old school IF adventure and I hope to see more games with our bard friend in a more expanded adventure world.


Reviewed by Deus ExLibris

To begin at the beginning, the game opens by asking you to name the PC. Fortunately there's a readme file that contains enough information to work out what sex the PC is supposed to be. I think it would have been better if it had included a description of who the PC was and/or the basic concept of the game (or asked the player for a name after the intro, although I'm not sure if ADRIFT can do that). However, DH (as I'm going to abbreviate it from now on) gets a gold star for having a readme file at all, since it's something that's been missing from a number of recent releases (one of my many pet peeves).

For the most part the puzzles are rather uncomplicated. It's mostly a case of doing what the game tells you and searching a few objects. The only thing I had difficulty with was getting the blindfold (once I knew it existed), which would have flummoxed me if the task list wasn't accessible via the debugger (I guess that's an ADRIFT 5 'feature'). I also had some trouble getting Cherise to come up to my room due to overlooking the straightforward answer.

However, once you reach the final scene the puzzles start to become more interesting. Different combinations of actions produce different results once the sex actually starts, as well as different endings, and it's fun setting them all up. The sex scene itself isn't as interactive as I would have liked, with only one response per action (although that's partially excused by the fact that the response varies according to how you've set up the scene). Having to specify the character's name for every action is a little bit annoying, although poor object disambiguation has been a feature of a number of ADRIFT games I've played recently, so I'm more inclined to blame the authoring system than the author.

The quality of the writing is more than acceptable. Objects are described in a way that makes them seem believable, and there's a fair amount of background 'colour' that lifts the gameworld above being merely generic fantasy. My one criticism is that although the game's skeleton is solid, it could have been more fully fleshed out. In particular, I would have liked more dialogue. Although the background colour is interesting, there's nothing that the player can interact with or ask about. The readme specifies half a dozen topics, and the game itself tells you to ask about a couple of others, and that's apparently it, which doesn't really bring the characters to life.

A more minor quibble is that the endings seem a little inconsistent, both with each other and with what's happened in the game. In particular, I was surprised by the sudden personality change the PC undergoes in the 'canonical' ending although that's possibly just a result of all the magical plot devices that are in play.

Be that as it may, of the four games I've played so far, DH has been the one that's given me the most enjoyment overall. It's polished and painless to play, with gameplay that's interesting without being frustrating. So cheers for that.
Reviewer: Deus ExLibris
Review Date: July 2012

To begin at the beginning, the game opens by asking you to name the PC. Fortunately there's a readme file that contains enough information to work out what sex the PC is supposed to be. I think it would have been better if it had included a description of who the PC was and/or the basic concept of the game (or asked the player for a name after the intro, although I'm not sure if ADRIFT can do that). However, DH (as I'm going to abbreviate it from now on) gets a gold star for having a readme file at all, since it's something that's been missing from a number of recent releases (one of my many pet peeves).

For the most part the puzzles are rather uncomplicated. It's mostly a case of doing what the game tells you and searching a few objects. The only thing I had difficulty with was getting the blindfold (once I knew it existed), which would have flummoxed me if the task list wasn't accessible via the debugger (I guess that's an ADRIFT 5 'feature'). I also had some trouble getting Cherise to come up to my room due to overlooking the straightforward answer.

However, once you reach the final scene the puzzles start to become more interesting. Different combinations of actions produce different results once the sex actually starts, as well as different endings, and it's fun setting them all up. The sex scene itself isn't as interactive as I would have liked, with only one response per action (although that's partially excused by the fact that the response varies according to how you've set up the scene). Having to specify the character's name for every action is a little bit annoying, although poor object disambiguation has been a feature of a number of ADRIFT games I've played recently, so I'm more inclined to blame the authoring system than the author.

The quality of the writing is more than acceptable. Objects are described in a way that makes them seem believable, and there's a fair amount of background 'colour' that lifts the gameworld above being merely generic fantasy. My one criticism is that although the game's skeleton is solid, it could have been more fully fleshed out. In particular, I would have liked more dialogue. Although the background colour is interesting, there's nothing that the player can interact with or ask about. The readme specifies half a dozen topics, and the game itself tells you to ask about a couple of others, and that's apparently it, which doesn't really bring the characters to life.

A more minor quibble is that the endings seem a little inconsistent, both with each other and with what's happened in the game. In particular, I was surprised by the sudden personality change the PC undergoes in the 'canonical' ending although that's possibly just a result of all the magical plot devices that are in play.

Be that as it may, of the four games I've played so far, DH has been the one that's given me the most enjoyment overall. It's polished and painless to play, with gameplay that's interesting without being frustrating. So cheers for that.


Reviewed by Gary Plume

Drunken Harlot was a nice slice of fantasy including all the major "good" humanoid races. Tolkein tended to play up the prejudices and segregations between the races. Seeing humans, elves, halflings and dwarves, living in "harmony" was a fun touch (I'm smiling at the clever halfling scene).

The scenery and the inventory items such as a leather bag and the lantern created a period feel and successfully invoked nostalgia for the golden age of text adventuring. I loved the grue homage.

It took me a while to place the purple-skinned matriarchal night elves from Warcraft 3 since I'm more accustomed to the black-skinned matriarchal Drow from Forgotten Realms. I'm reading Feist's Midkemia with its Moredhel dark elves. Too many species of elves. I liked the dry humorous tilt of the barkeep, but wished that she/he could have showed me hers/his in a surprise cut-scene moment like "The Crying Game". I don't think that would have violated the rules of the Mini-Comp.

I liked that the simple object of bedding the harlot became surprisingly complex with the layers of puppets and puppeteers.

The varied endings were interesting enough to make me play to get all seven. But I had difficulty getting into the sex between the characters because I'm a big fan of free will and mutual respect. A traveler buying a tavern harlot became a relationship built on the power of magical devices to assert mind control and domination. Unless she's a user, Cherise's motives seem in conflict: you need to seduce her with your charm and stories and liquor, before she'll pick you to be drugged and enslaved and discarded (Lost Soul ending).

I too spent too much time in the Great Underground Empire. Perhaps I haven't seen enough AIF, but I didn't find this game cliche. Instead, I found it to be the most interesting Mini-Comp game in terms of setting and branching to distinct endings.


 

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