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Mount Voluptuous Reviews
Author: Christopher Cole
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 BBBen
The player takes the role of an agent for a selection of real-world, busty models. The player seeks to sign more models to his agency, called Mount Voluptuous, and along the way he may get to do more than ogle the busty women.
I believe this is Christopher Cole’s largest game and his experience shows throughout the production. This is a strong example of an AIF game that could, if it had original pictures and a stand-alone engine, be marketed successfully as a professional game.
Probably the most interesting thing about this game is Cole’s choice to use real-life busty models that you can go and look up on Google. This may not be a surprise to many fans of Christopher Cole - I first heard of Yulia Nova in Encounter 3 and Cole wrote a game (The Studio) specifically about a real internet model. The game shows a good knowledge of each of the models included (from what can be known about them at least – I enjoyed the griping about Yulia Nova’s photographer) and thus would probably be especially interesting to fans of the women.
An interesting side note – Cole chose the models partly based on a poll on the AIF Archive, making this a truly interactive game.
An interesting element of this game is that while progressing in the game is not difficult (as is standard in Christopher Cole’s games) it is easy to miss some of the sex scenes and sexual content when playing. This adds replay value, which is good, and better than tying a player up with a tricky puzzle in an inflexible linear plot. It takes elegance to pull off and I think it did work in this case.
The sex is, of course, very well written. It is quite extensive and in fact there is not much in the game apart from sex and the build-up to sex. The scenes have a certain amount of linearity, requiring specific actions before others and reducing freedom somewhat in exchange for an almost game challenge (a very easy game challenge) element to the sex scenes. This is not a criticism, more an observation as it is a perfectly acceptable system and it is not uncommon in Chris Cole’s games. Many people prefer this style of sex scene, especially because of the extensive interactivity in the stripping process.
Cole makes sure, considering his particular choice of subject matter, to give good focus to the bosoms of the women in the game. It would be disappointing if he hadn’t done this, as I’m sure he was aware. He doesn’t neglect other areas and sexual acts however, and many of the scenes have some quite long and detailed passages, which should be gratifying to players.
Most people won’t even think about an ADRIFT 3.9 game having good technical standards, but this one does. The game plays very smoothly while accomplishing some quite complex gameplay possibilities efficiently and invisibly. The real proof of the game’s technical quality was that the game did a range of things that I wouldn’t be sure how to do myself, yet I did not think about them while playing.
My only real complaints with this game (and the reasons why I didn’t give it an A+) were intangibles. For a start, the narrative feels a little directionless. Christopher Cole has made it clear that he is more interested in sex romps rather than plot heavy games and I think that’s largely what his audience would prefer, but I still feel that even for a sex romp the experience of playing felt a little unfocussed. There wasn’t too much to draw the player in to what was going to happen, and the events of the game occur in a sort of random, haphazard way. It is not entirely without teasers at the beginning (you get to see the portfolios of all the girls from the start and there are things you must address right away like Sydney’s contract and Yulia’s apartment) but there is not a strong “page turner” element to the game. In a way the flow of the game reminds me of some hentai games, but nevertheless it compares quite favourably to these.
The other problem I have is that, compared to some of Cole’s other games, Mount Voluptuous is less emotionally resonant. To clarify, I think in some of his games, the first and second Encounter games for example, there is a strong and convincing motivation behind the characters getting together. In Mount Voluptuous the sex is much more casual and based simply on lust, and so it doesn’t resonate quite as well for me as some of his other titles. This is probably largely because the characters in the game are real models, and I am holding the game to a high standard, but still I do feel this is worth mentioning.
An author who has written so many and such lauded titles as Christopher Cole has is inevitably going to find that his later works are less likely to be considered classics than his earlier works. However I do think this is belongs among the best of his titles, and indeed AIF in general.
Reviewed by David Whyld
Just to try something different, I decided I'd play an AIF (adult interactive fiction) game. Now I haven't had a whole lot of time for them in the past because while I like the adult side of things as much as the next voyeur, I've found that the games leave a lot to be desired, but a couple I've played recently (The Backlot (TADS) and Ghost Justice (ADRIFT)) proved quite a bit better than I'd expected so I figured I'd give another one a try. And what better game to start with than the new one by the undisputed king of the AIF world?
The idea behind Mount Voluptuous is straight from the pages of a torrid 70's sex flick: you're the boss of a modelling agency (the Mount Voluptuous of the title) who specialises in models who are, well, voluptuous. (Although 'voluptuous' here seems to mean chubby or flabby as much as anything else.) The general premise of the game, as far as I could gather, was to get as many models to your house as possible and… you can probably figure out the rest for yourself. This is an adult game after all.
So what was it like? I have to admit, the introduction didn't impress me much and neither did I find the locations particularly enthralling. Location descriptions were very workmanlike (i.e. they told you a basic description of what was there but no effort was made to give them depth or make them seem real). There were countless items that you should have been able to examine but couldn't. Some were minor and most probably don't affect the storyline in any major way, but sometimes attention to detail is what makes a game seem better than it really is. The very first location, your office, has a poster on the wall of someone called Bettie Ballhaus (you can tell she's a porn star by the silly name) who can't be examined. Examining the window shows a backyard and a pool which also can't be examined.
There were also a lot of instances of the writer skipping over basic and very
obvious commands. An ever-ringing phone is present in the first location yet despite the fact that it's said to be ever-ringing, you're not able to answer
it. A considerable amount of guess the verb is involved with actually using the phone. Examining it informs you that you can make calls simply by dialling the
number yet any attempts to "dial [number]" or "call [number]" failed miserably. I later on found out from the Yahoo message boards that despite what the game
says, you actually don't need to type "dial" at all, you just type the number you want to call. Ouch! How come the beta-testers didn't pick up on that?
This lack of care is evident throughout most of the game (or the parts that I played anyway). Most locations contain items for which descriptions are either missing or so short as to be pretty much irrelevant. While I'm aware that the majority of people play AIF games solely for the sex scenes, it's still disappointing when so little effort has been expended on making the rest of the game enjoyable to play. Window dressing can make a whole lot of difference to a game sometimes. It's even more disappointing that after playing another of the writer's game (a Lara Croft non-AIF effort), I know he's capable of a lot better than this.
Making progress is difficult due to the game often misleading you into thinking you need to do one thing whereas in fact you need to do something completely different. I tried to watch a few of the DVDs in the TV room because a description of the TV told me I could, yet no matter what I typed I couldn't get a single thing to work properly. Mount Voluptuous also uses the dreaded "ask [name] about [subject]" form of conversation which is a nightmare game of guess the subject matter. Here it was especially bad and wasn't helped much by the fact that the people I was able to converse with all seemed slightly less intelligent than the furniture. Now I don't know if porn stars are naturally a bit dim or if that's just a preconception made about them (a big boobs = small brains kind of equation) but if the ones featured in this game are anything to go by, then their reputation for being dim is well founded.
I suppose a review of an adult game just wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention the ladies you can encounter (for want of a better word). Unfortunately with a couple of exceptions they're nothing much to write home about and this probably ruined quite a lot of the excitement that the game might otherwise have held for me. Call me old fashioned but when I see a woman with rolls of flab on her frame, my first thought isn't "cor! What a stunner!" but "yuk! Put some clothes on, love!" My reaction to most of the ones here was of the latter variety, although if Sydney Moon happens to want a back massage one day I certainly won't be saying no…
How far did I get? Not very far alas. The game seemed a real slow mover and despite it being a game about sex, I didn't manage to get any (aside from one unfortunate instance that ended in me being arrested for rape). I met a couple of porn stars but after struggling with various conversation pieces with them, to no avail, I just found myself losing the will to continue. My attempts to have sex with the porn stars met with about as much success as my conversation attempts. There are no hints and no walkthrough available. For a game like this, which seems steeped in guess the verb, a few hints would have been a godsend. Without them I was unable to get anywhere and in the end I just quit.
I was hoping I'd like this game but I didn't. I might have enjoyed it more if a little extra effort had been made on making the non-sex side of things (the location descriptions, the items, etc) a bit more interesting, and it might have perked matters up if the conversation system hadn't been such a nightmare to use; yet with all the hassles I had, I really couldn't recommend this game to anyone who isn't a massive fan of the adult side of the market and even then you're really going to have to work your damnedest to get any kind of enjoyment out of it.
3.5 out of 10
Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.
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