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In The Mind Of The Master Reviews

Author: David Whyld
Date: 2007
ADRIFT 4.0
 


Reviewed by Jimmy Maher

In many ways this is an interesting effort. I wouldn't say it's a successful effort, but it is a very interesting failure. You takes the role of the eponymous Master, a shadowy fellow who can slip into disguises and almost become the person represented. He makes his living using this talent, although the specifics of how he does so are left rather vague. (More on that later.) The game begins at a moment of crisis: the Master has just learned that some bad characters are coming to his little apartment to kill him, and must make his escape. To do so, he can choose to don one of three disguises: a gentleman's attire, a postal worker's uniform, or a policeman's uniform.

This is where things get interesting. The majority of the game is very open and non-linear. A variety of scenes will be presented to the player depending on what disguise he chooses and what choices he makes after that. I doubt that a player could see more than half of the possibilities in any given playthrough, if that. All of these threads finally come back together in a single end-game, assuming the player survives to get there, of course. (This end-game, by the way, is marked by an egregious guess the verb puzzle that Whyld claimed in his notes
would be obvious, but that never even occurred to me until I read the hints. C'est la vie.)

I'm usually very interested in non-linear or multi-plotted IF, but this example didn't really work for me. I think my problems might come down to the fact that there is no moral dimension to the choices you are forced to make. Picking a disguise is essentially a random choice, and everything that follows from there is in the same vein. I'm never being asked to engage with anything that I (or my character) really care about. The background of the story, the What's Really Going On, is so vague and amorphous that it's hard to feel any real stake in the choices the Master makes. And for all of the kaledicscopic variation possible in the first two-thirds of the game, you always end up at the same place, with everything you've done before being essentially irrelevant. The choices you make are merely procedural choices. Once I realized this, I became much less interested in replaying the game to explore those other options. From the standpoint of an author, I'm not sure whether offering such a non-linear plot to the player makes any sense if you aren't willing to also let her affect the greater outcome of the game and really explore the story from a higher level. It just seems a good way to do about three times as much work for the same end result. (Offering multiple solutions to puzzles when said solutions are all logical and fit in naturally is a very different thing, of course, and one of which I heartily approve.)

The writing is engaging, although somewhat sloppy. One gets the sense that Mr. Whyld is perfectly capable of writing smoother, more polished prose; he just doesn't take the time to do so. The game is played in third person past tense -- except for when the occasional bit of second person present tense sneaks in accidentally, that is -- but I'm not sure if this really adds anything to the game. Sometimes it comes across as unintentionally comical, in fact. Mr. Whyld frankly admits in his copious notes that he doesn't himself know just who the Master really is or what he is up to in the game. He wants to spin this as a positive, but to me it just represents a story getting out of its author's own control. An author shouldn't have to ask his players to do the work of deciding What Is Really Going On for him. Making her puzzle out the big picture is fine, but there should be a big picture to puzzle out, as opposed to a bunch of random data-points. Not that this is an uncommon problem... I think many of Andrew Plotkin's games suffer from exactly the same thing, so Mr. Whyld is in good company I'd say.

Overall, then, this is an interesting, even brave, effort that didn't really work for me. Props for chutzpah, though.

Score: 6 out of 10.


Reviewed by Leigh Alexander

You are a mysterious master of disguise, caught in an intriguing conspiracy to bring about the death of an evil Cardinal suspected of using black magic. The protagonist's identity is a mystery too -- as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the Master has some past beef with the dark Cardinal, but the way the conflict plays out remains to be seen.

Story: Strictly in terms of story elements, I love it. It starts out with you given only a short time to choose one of your disguises -- police officer, postal worker or gentleman -- and flee, before some nefarious pursuers kill you in your hotel room. On a dark and rainy night, you grab a disguise and find a way out through the hotel lobby. The whole in medias res feel of things, while not an uncommon device in IF, makes figuring out who you are, why you are, and most importantly, what you're capable of, part of the adventure.

Puzzles: Here's where it founders. There aren't too many actual puzzles to speak of -- gameplay consists of reading between the lines to figure out where you're supposed to go and when. If you combine having completed the right tasks with carrying the right inventory, in general, the story is largely motivated by simply arriving in the appropriate place. The bright element is the way that different game puzzles can be navigated in different ways depending on which disguise you've chosen. The Master is apparently such a disguise whiz that, by changing his uniform, he's literally unrecognizable, and different areas will be accessible -- or not -- depending on how you're dressed. Some events in the game will proceed differently, and NPCs treat you differently. The major issue here in the game is with inventory items; as far as I can tell, they can only be employed as part of events, and whether or not you can look at them or attempt to use them on your own time is a little spotty. The biggest issue I saw was when wearing the gentleman disguise, a letter you can pick up in the beginning is only read-able, and registered as held, if you exit the hotel a specific way, which taken in context doesn't seem as if it should be the case -- that's just one example. I don't want to give away spoilers, but there are more instances like this further on.

Writing: Decent, but there are a few significant errors that break the experience -- like a typo during a plot scene that makes it unclear who it is you're being told to kill, and is subtle enough to be confusing. To be fair, I was playing this game in Gargoyle even though the readme file suggested there might be some bugs outside of the Adrift runner, so maybe the occasional random text spasms can be attributed to that. There are some nice moments of personalizing the Master, but generally, descriptiveness is inconsistent.

Parser: Not too great -- again, though, it's tough to tell which snafus can be blamed on the game being a touch buggy and which ones are the parser's responsibility. Generally, though, one must be very specific with phrasing, and on more than one occasion, there's only one way to do things.

Overall Difficulty: Not very. The difficulty lies in trying to figure out work-arounds to be able to do things that it's obvious the game wants me to be able to do -- there were a few cases in which I found the game unfinishable, but those were due to things that didn't quite make sense, and less because of me being stumped.

Conclusion: C-. This was really disappointing, because so many aspects of the overall concept -- the interesting exposition, the engaging story elements, the nonlinear gameplay with three ways to play -- were so promising. I quite get the impression that the author started out with an ambitious concept and then became highly pressed for time, leaving a well-constructed facade and then a sequence of empty rooms.
 


Reviewed by Sam Kabo Ashwell

Title Suggests:BDSM fantasies.

Throws up a lot of weird text errors when run in Spatterlight, though I don't know if this is Whyld's fault.

This is, well, a Whyld game: awkward, gangly overwriting, interaction that's almost CYOA, an interesting plot that's ultimately unsatisfying. It always seems to me that Whyld has ideas which aren't bad, but which are really unsuited to IF, and would require a better prosaist and game designer to pull off effectively. And there's always that feeling that the game world can't be influenced in any meaningful way.

It strikes me that I am going to end up overusing the adjective 'awkward' in these reviews.

Rating: 4

 


Reviewed by J. D. Clemens

Annoyance: at one point I am deposited on a street and die if i go either direction unless I read the paper. Stuck for a while at point where I needed to examine sign to be told there was a rock; "examine rock" says "Player sees no such thing" until you take the stone (problem with playing in Spatterlight?). Eventually figured out what to do after trying basically everything here. Would have liked more opportunity to assume different roles in the same play-through. Didn't get the final solution without hints.


Reviewed by Andreas Davour

Everything is in the past tense! Odd.  The goal of this game is to find out what is going on. After dying twice I was none the wiser and quit. It was fun to play, though, and the setting was atmospheric. I usually hate games where I feel railroaded and lost but this game somehow gave me pleasure through the small fragments of clues to the mystery. To bad it was a small bit to dense. This game is solid and it gets a 5.
 


Reviewed by Jason Dyer

The intro to this game mentions that playing it with SCARE is 99% close to the real experience, but it causes textual errors to crop up. I’d recommend the ADRIFT Runner if you’re using Windows.

This review has slight spoilers for the ending.

It lay in a part of the city that had an unnatural quietness to it. It was an oddity, one the Master had reflected upon many times over the years and had yet to reach a suitable conclusion about. Rumours said of vast chambers underground filled with diabolical machines which somehow suppressed sound. Fanciful? Perhaps. But the quiet was undisputable. A shout here was no louder than a whisper.

There’s two gimmicks here, but unfortunately neither really works.

The gamebook-like structure

By a gamebook I am meaning works like Lone Wolf or Fighting Fantasy which are in book form but require to player to keep track of statistics and equipment and sometimes world events.

Some common tricks show up due to their form:

having the player select abilities, and generating story forks based on these abilities which cause individual scenes to be different using “clusters” to structure the story where any digression due to abilities or particular choices eventually funnel back into the main plot (as I mentioned in my Ferrous Ring review) requiring multiple playthroughs to understand the complete story (because it is presumed the player will die anyway), making the story sort of a multi-thread one where previous playthroughs are really part of the current one (”RESTART - begins the game again, this time armed with the knowledge that you have gained so far.”)
success at some choices made by a random roll of dice I did end out enjoying the choice of disguise at the start, and seeing how that affected both the plot and the reaction of various characters. However, the plot funnelling feels forced and artificial, and even after playing through every permutation the plot remains mysterious. And that’s related to the other trick…

Discovery of an obscure mystery being a required puzzle

Taken together, this quote

Part of the general idea behind In The Mind Of The Master is to figure the game out, discover just who the Master is, what he is doing, why he is being pursued, and what, ultimately, the aim of the game is.

and this one

This covers every command you need to type during the game. With one notable exception. Giving away the specific command required at a certain point would be telling you too much, but keep an eye out for it. It shouldn’t be too hard to spot.

give a decent indication of what the author has in mind. By multiple playthroughs (and I do think multiple ones are required for anyone to have a shot at this) a significant mystery needs to be revealed by the player by the end of the game.

By highlighting this and mentioning the two excerpts above, I believe it plausible someone will work out the last puzzle, but it’s still highly unlikely. It’s possible to tell a good IF story and leave things vague as long as the player is not required to fully grasp that vagueness, and is only meant to understand some parts experientially (see So Far). However, if it’s expected the player has a stroke of inspiration, the pieces need clarity; solving that sort of puzzle is hard enough as it is.

To summarize: the form of the game requires multiple playthroughs to understand things, but even with that it’s nebulous; this undermines the general goal of solving a mystery (a goal not even made clear unless one reads the instructions carefully).


 


Reviewed by Michael Martin

Hmm. The basic gimmick behind this one is pretty good, but it's a little too diffuse to work well with a single playthrough. In particular, taking the "obvious" course makes it impossible to get even the basics of the story.

I did a number of replays to see what I could see; I liked the fact that options available to you were variable depending on your current role, but some roles are difficult to acquire and maintain, and the hints are useless about how to maintain a specific role.

In part as a result of this, I was entirely unable to reach the endgame in a state in which the hints were of any help at all. It was strongly implied that it was the last room, and there were also hints of how I was supposed to win. I could not, however, find any appropriate nouns to do what I believed necessary to win.

What was necessary was an extremely bizarre verb that is almost entirely unclued, even in the hints. I didn't recognize the phrasing until I needed until halfway through writing this review, at which point I went, beat the game, and looked at the special other commands.

That said, the writing -- not counting a number of programming bugs involving string interpolation (references to 4char% and 5char% instead of, I assume, %char%) and the room titles ("a The Montalban", "a Alley") -- was quite a bit above what I've come to expect from Whyld's games, and the improvement makes me happy.

It's not quite recommendable yet, but with a bit more debugging, but another round or two of polishing it will be.

Score: 6


 


Reviewed by Rob Menke

Technical: 2
Puzzles: 4
Story: 7

Like death and taxes, the two things you can expect from every IF Competition are Santooie and David Whyld.

The goal is to find out the goal. Well, I’m game…

Changing identities? Sounds like a mystic version of Suspended.

Um, bad formatting with this interpreter (Spatterlight). Let’s try MacScare… nope, Adrift still has that charset problem.

“a Apartment.” A Apartment? Get Grammar Girl on the hotline, stat!

…and arch-nemesis of The Doctor, I suppose.

Remember I was bothered with the first/third-person in Lost Pig? This pompous royal third-person trumps that easily. It’s like something out of a Seinfeld episode.

Ah, Adrift; I almost came to miss your simplemindedness:

Examine coffee.

Player sees no such thing.

Automatically switching disguises seems like a lost opportunity for a puzzle.

If I’m a master thief, how come I cannot pick a simple lock?

Whoops… identity crisis:

North.

The thief decided a further attempt to gain access to the club was a waste of time. The bouncers were never going to let a simple postal worker inside.

Gah, a random death trap? Didn’t those die out with feathered hair?

I think I’m in a no-win situation…

Well, that was interesting. Like Whyld’s previous games, strong emphasis on the supernatural, with an equally strong choose-your-own-adventure flavor. The characters were not fleshed out; it was obvious that the author had detailed backgrounds for them in his mind, but failed to share that information with the player. In the end, the lack of resolution was quite unsatisfying.

 


Reviewed by Dan Shiovitz

Another comp, another David Whyld game. I am always a little startled by how long he's been able to keep this up, especially since (I assume) there are all these ADRIFT-only comps he is also entering. Anyway, In The Mind Of The Master is one of his non-comedy pieces, and has the kind of storyline they often have — weird fantasy in the modern world and no clear explanation for things ever given. From the author's notes it sounds like he intended the game to be pretty nonlinear, but I didn't find this to be the case in practice. Unlike, say, Heroes, the play experience seemed pretty similar with different characters*, and it definitely felt like the plot was funnelled pretty tightly to the end-scene. I like the premise and there were some interesting setting bits but I was left feeling unsatisfied overall.

*I think the design principle here is not to have two axes of nonlinearity — if you can pick different characters, then the puzzles shouldn't also have multiple solutions, or at least the characters shouldn't share solutions. Otherwise you risk having people like me just doing the same solution regardless of which character they pick, and not seeing any of the benefit of either axis.


Reviewed by Benjamin Sokal

You are "The Master", a mysterious figure being hunted down by unknown forces. You must don a disguise and escape, quickly. There are three choices: Police Officer, Gentleman, and Postal Worker. Depending on your choice, the game will adapt to your new identity (you seem to literally become the disguise you choose...) This is an interesting idea, and the author does build a nicely structured game around it. Despite assuming a new identity, the overall plot of the game remains the same. There are just different ways of reaching the end and different ways of learning about your situation. At the end of the game (assuming you completed the game successfully), the mystery surrounding your identity and why you are being hunted is explained. This is the strongest part of the game. Clearly, the author had a good idea and ran with it.

I found a few issues in the execution of the author's good ideas, however. Most could have been solved by more diligent testing. For example, some of the writing was a little clunky and some of the puzzles were not as intuitive as the author had intended. There are also a few minor, non-game ending bugs. I think the major problem I had was that I didn't "get" the final solution on my own, and had to discover it through the in-game hints. Normally this wouldn't spoil a game too much, but this game was different. Not discovering the solution to the final puzzle for myself, the puzzle upon which the crux of the entire game rested, was a little bit of a bummer. No denying it was my fault for cheating, but I wonder if the author could better engineer the game to nudge the player into discovering the answer for themselves?

Still, I liked this game and am certainly going to try some of David Whyld's other games.

Ben's rating: 3

 


Reviewed by Jake Wildstrom

Oof. Maybe it's my ADRIFT engine, but I find myself being referred to as "The char1" in a couple of places. The short room descriptions having lowercase indefinite articles is kind of quirky and peculiar, and I don't know if that's intentional. Occasional punctuation errors too, but the style has generally settled from Whyld's previous games. He still needs to ease off on the conversation trees, though, especially since one of the conversation trees in this game is a particularly egregious "But Thou Must!" loop.

Rating: 6

 


Reviewed by Mike Snyder

Merk’s Score: 8-
>xyzzy
"Xyzzy," said the Master.
At once, an item was added to his inventory.

>i
The Master was carrying:
_the Master's garments {worn}
_a purple pingabalong

>xyzzy
"Xyzzy," said the Master.
At once, an item was removed from his inventory.

>xyzzy
"Xyzzy," said the Master.
At once... nothing happened.

I have to wonder if David Whyld does anything other than write Interactive Fiction. It would be an easy notion to dismiss if his games were generic and churned out over the course of an otherwise uneventful weekend, but they’re not. In The Mind Of The Master is another fine example of what David can do with his platform of choice (Adrift), and it’s a worthy addition to his ever-growing list of authored titles.

In The Mind Of The Master begins with a hasty escape. A mystery surrounds the identity of the titular PC, and it’s played up as the main focus of the story. He makes his getaway disguised as one of three characters, as chosen by the player. This hints at who the Master might be. As more than just an amateur impressionist, The Master dons the selected costume and assumes the persona of the chosen character. Stage actor? Professional magician? Criminal fugitive? Discovering the truth is the hook.

The middle parts begin to hint at possibilities that can only be explained by the supernatural or metaphysical. More than once, he is mistaken for someone else. It could be that these people just see through his disguise, but even The Master himself begins to doubt that it’s quite as simple as that. It’s as though he lacks all the facts about his own identity. I was reminded of the scene in Fight Club where “Jack” follows a trail of clues to a bar where his cohort Tyler Durden had been the night before. The bartender is somber and respectful, somehow mistaking Jack for Tyler. Disguise and impersonation just aren’t enough to explain it away.

With that kind of build-up, it’s easy to expect a big payoff at the end. But -- and I don’t know quite how to describe this without blatant spoilers -- there’s sort of a catch-22. To win, you must take a specific action in the final scene (David even warns of this, in the introductory text). If you haven’t figured out what The Master is capable of, hoping it will be revealed near the ending, then you don’t know what winning action is necessary. So you can’t win. But if you have figured it out, then there is no twist or revelation at all. You must have already known it in order to win. I had to get it from the hints, because I just hadn’t figured it out. It’s hinted near the beginning, but (a) it’s not something every player is guaranteed to see, (b) it’s near hints to many other possibilities as well, which come during that first scene, and (c) is distanced enough from the end that even if you take notice of it, it might not trigger whatever spark of imagination allows a player to extrapolate actions from clues.

I had expected a different construction entirely, that late in the game. Because there are three initial disguises, and because there is some sort of specific action at the end, and because some sort of repetitive, do-over theme was present and foreshadowed, I convinced myself that the trick was to play twice more (once as each of the other two characters). After one time through, it doesn’t feel like a very long game, so this kind of thing made sense. I think you can learn a little more by playing again with different options, but it’s not necessary that you do. All paths lead back to the same scenes. It seems constructed this way not to necessitate re-plays as a means of solving that final puzzle, but simply to give players a wider range of choices and to make re-plays worth the effort.

What I thought was going on -- and what would probably make an interesting short game in its own right -- was that some import clue from a three-piece puzzle would be identified by playing once as each of the available characters. It would be necessary for the player to combine the one thing learned from each in order to deduce that final action. The order of play wouldn’t matter, and a complete re-start (as opposed to having the game “put” you back at the beginning) wouldn’t hurt things. Once you reached the end for the third time, you would simply know what to do.

Perhaps because it didn’t work that way, or perhaps because there remains a mystery behind The Master’s true identity even at the end, I wasn’t completely satisfied by the story. I really bought into the premise, though, and they say the journey is its own reward. I had fun, even though I wish David hadn’t opted to leave it open for theories. I would have liked to know for sure just what was going on in The Master’s past.

Then, a few things that never made it fully into the game (more detailed notes available at the game’s end explain this) added to the mystery without ever sharing in the conclusion. For instance, the guy who picks up The Master (in the guise of a Gentleman) in a limo was intended to be part of another sub-plot. Who runs the Chamber, and what’s their agenda? Until I read the walkthrough, I hadn’t even realized the Chamber and the Montalban were related (I thought I had been taken elsewhere). This was supposed to be a bigger, more epic game. It’s probably good that the point is explained in the author’s notes, otherwise it would be easy for a player to think he or she simply missed finding those answers during the course of the game.

The story is written in third person past tense. In other words, “you see a tree” is expressed as “he saw a tree.” Maybe it’s to force a disconnection between player and PC. Maybe it’s to support that these are events that have already happened. Or, maybe it’s just to set the game apart from its peers. Whatever the reason, I’m not sure it was necessary. While it affords the author an ability to cast emotions and memories onto the PC which the player may not share, it suffers from a few unintentional lapses into the more traditional present tense.

The writing has a few other minor problems (misspellings, odd and obvious typos, etc.) in a few random spots. I noticed very minor bugs and implementation issues too, but nothing substantial enough to dwell upon. It really moves along at a nice pace overall, avoiding many of the parsing and implementation problems that are the bane of other Adrift games.

Part of this is certainly the author’s skill with so many games under his belt, but on reflection, it’s more than that. At times, the story felt as though it was on rails. It usually wasn’t (at least, not to the degree one might expect from the term “on rails”), but almost any stray action will redirect the player back, making it clear that this other location or this specific distraction doesn’t merit further attention. Beyond that, the text is written in a way that somehow provides vivid enough mental images without offering an abundance of “stuff” to interact with. So, there’s less for the author to have to implement, and less for the player to concern himself or herself with.

The puzzles are pretty light fare, except for one particular sticking point outside the Montalban (in disguise as a thief), and of course at the very end. Most of the puzzles are probably just plot-pacing devices. The more difficult sequences to manage -- conversations -- are done through multiple-choice dialogue menus.

In The Mind Of The Master is a pretty strong entry. Its weakest point, however, is that it poses too many questions that remain unanswered and left up to the player’s imagination at the end. In a story-centric game, I think players deserve a little more. Unless it’s the lead-in for a sequel, it should probably be a lot more. Otherwise, the entire premise -- the driving question that propels a player to take such interest in discovering an answer -- seems like an unfulfilled promise.

At two hours, I rated the game an “8”. That’s also the score I’ve kept for the review, although it gets an unfortunate “minus” for building a mystery that isn’t quite resolved. It could use a little more polish, but it’s still a deserving and recommendable entry.
 


Reviewed by Emily Short

On the first play, I didn’t get far with this game, for two reasons. One was that the writing felt vague and sloppy to me; the other, that I ran across an annoying bug very early on where a character was referred to in a paragraph as “the char4″ where clearly there was supposed to be some variable substituted in.

I felt guilty about this later (after all, there have been other bugs in this comp that I’ve happily forgiven; it’s just bad luck that this one came so early). So I went back to play more. This time I had the same problem that I had with the author’s game last year: the plot moves forwards on triggers (so that new things happen just because I walk into a room), but there’s very little indication where those triggers are or how I’m affecting the story by moving around. I keep trying to play as though there are going to be puzzles to solve or choices to make, but all the game really needs from me is that I bounce around frenetically until I have accidentally triggered enough events for the story to end. Even moves that I intended to be purely exploratory tend to spin the plot dizzyingly forward before I’ve gotten my bearings. It’s about as much fun as being the ball in a pinball machine.

I did not get a winning ending. The Master got caught and killed. But I didn’t really see, in retrospect, how I might have changed that, so I had no motivation to replay.

I also felt — and I realize this will make me sound grouchy — that this game was just sloppy. There were some odd punctuation effects, but I’m going to assume that was the result of playing in Spatterlight rather than with the approved ADRIFT runner. Other problems could not be so easily ascribed to engine incompatibility, though. At one point, during what is meant to be an intense interrogation scene, the interrogator says something like “We want you to kill me. [italics mine]”. In context, what this really has to mean is “We want you to kill him” — it makes no sense any other way — but it is such a basic error in such an important place that it rattles one’s whole faith in the game. I assume that this was beta-tested at some point, or proof-read at some point, but the impression one gets is rather of something composed at typing speed by an author who never went back. Lots of other places show similar indifference, though perhaps not in such a glaring way: the descriptions of rooms are often slack and vague.

And the Master himself? The fun thing about spy stories and masters of disguise is that you get to see how they do their crazy tricks. Hence the montages of people applying latex chins and false mustaches, dyeing their hair and trying on hats and practicing implausible German accents. The Master is a master of disguise whose disguises are completely notional: we are told that he puts on a suit and then looks like someone else. Text being what it is, we can’t see this effect; we’re given no description of how he accomplishes it; all the entertainment is leached away.

David Whyld is an author with a gift for finishing games: Baf’s Guide lists about 40 for him, and I am pretty sure that leaves out a number. I respect that, but I’d be interested to see what happened if he put more design and writing effort into each one.
 


Reviewed by Mark J. Tilford

Overall construction was good (slight glitch with bartender's conversation), but, taken as a game, it didn't quite work. At one point, there's text indicating that the scenes were a flashback, but the player could get killed after that without reaching the present. Having multiple paths was greatly weakened by the low correlation between cause and effect. (If you go past an area without having read a note, you will be killed for an unrelated reason.)

The final puzzle also could use some work. Throughout the game, the player had to don the target's clothes; now the player can use an ability that doesn't require that. (Possible solution: the game ends in the Cardinal's room; perhaps the player must wear some of his clothing before the final move.)

Score: 5
 


Reviewed by Carl Muckenhoupt

Next we have a work by the prolific Adrift author David Whyld. Spoilers follow the break.

Here’s another for the “interesting concept, flawed execution” category. The concept is that you’re a master of disguise, and the options available to you at any given moment depend on how you’re dressed. The game even continually reminds you of this by using the third person and referring to you as “The Master” or “The police sergeant” or “The gentleman” or whatever1.

The story seems like an imitation of All Roads from the 2001 comp. You’ve got the identity-hopping, and the confusion about what’s going on, and some kind of conspiracy that expects you to assassinate someone — in this game, a cardinal who practices sorcery. The story funnels you toward a confrontation with that cardinal regardless of what you do, but I never figured out what to do about it. The built-in hints indicate that things can go differently depending on what disguise you’re wearing, but actually keeping a disguise on up to that point seems unduly hard. It’s a shame, because the author clearly wants us to notice the variations in the story, but at the same time has gone to some lengths to prevent us from seeing them.

Rating: 3


Reviewed by Mathbrush

In this game, you put on one of three different disguises at the beginning of the game, and then go through a James Bond-esque adventure where you act against a shady organization.

The game is spottily implemented and has some pretty big typos (like 'I want you to kill me' instead of 'I want you to kill him'). Overall, it's a fun concept that could use more polish.
 


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