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Reviewed by C. Henshaw
1. Does it set the scene?
First of all I have to say, I like the title. Not many single-word, four-letter titles out there, and even before playing I was thinking this game might be unusual.
The first paragraph continues this thought. No extra words here, but just what is needed to set the tone. ‘You appear in a small steel room.’ I really like that sentence (and since this is just an intro, I feel I can break down my review sentence by sentence if I want to!). ‘You appear…’ that makes me think something out of the ordinary is happening – I didn’t walk in through a door, or climb through a window, or am just already there. I appeared – from thin air? Hmmmm. And ‘small steel room’. Ooh, creepy. This simplicity is like the steel room itself, with its lack of windows and doors. You can’t fault this room description.
Then, some dialogue ensues between a man with a taped mouth tied to a chair and the PC, which sort of breaks the spell a bit. For one thing, there are certain sounds that can’t really be made when one’s mouth is taped, such as ‘phhh’ and ‘t’ and ‘f’. This whole section of the scene would have worked a lot better with much fewer words.
More dialogue once the tape is off, and the man explains what happened to him. Typos aside, the dialogue is stilted and unrealistic. But the idea that I’ve just met myself in a dream, where my other self also seems to be dreaming, is interesting. I’m still not sure though why I didn’t recognise myself and had to ask myself his name... Upon waking it’s instantly obvious that the dream the other me in my dream described is about to come true for the present me (I know, it’s confusing.)
The bedroom description starts off by saying it’s ‘barren’, except of course for the bed, tv, huge chest full of games, Ps2, Xbox, and various consoles! Sounds pretty full of stuff to me. Also, the PC is turning out to be yet another male teenage, game-obsessed youth, which is fine except that the beginning of this game set me up to expect something a bit more –‘out-there’ or unusual with the PC.
The under-floor lab doesn’t really compare to the succinct appeal of the steel room description. ‘The walls look very thick and blank.’ I can’t quite picture ‘thick and blank’ walls in my head, but I guess ‘plain’ is what the writer is getting at. ‘Capsule-type thing’ also doesn’t really do it for my imagination, but the description does bring into play the idea of déjà vu, presumably from my dream self. When I examine the console, the game takes control and whisks on to the end – I don’t know if it’s triggered by looking at the console, or is a timed thing. The idea is interesting – a time machine, possibilities of your future self transporting back and forth with your present self… but the narrative has gone kind of, well, I wouldn’t want to say ‘lame’ but it does seem lame in comparison to the very beginning. From a chilling scene in a steel room with a bound man who’s you from the future to a button that says ‘go’. Well, it sort of fizzles out for me there. Final impression – a sprinter that just didn’t stay the course.
2. Is it well implemented?
A few typos don’t usually distract me, but there were too many in this game. It’s like when I get emails from certain of my friends who don’t bother to capitalise their I-s and words at the beginning of sentences – so much worse than spelling mistakes. It makes me think they’re whipping it out, don’t really want to do it but feel they should, and need to get it over with quickly because they’ve got better things to be doing. Hmph. Here, where you are actually expected to carefully edit your writing, mistakes like that are really inexcusable. But they’re also not worth going on and on about in a review…
In the bedroom, there are a number of things I can’t examine – the Ps2 and the Xbox, the walls, the floor (even though there’s an obviously beckoning loose floorboard). If I examine the chest, I can see the games in there, but if I try to open it the response is ‘you can’t open the chest’, which is a bit off-putting, but not a big deal really.
Another intro with no PC description – I should stop being surprised really! I guess this is something many people add on later or don’t think much about normally.
There is no game play in this intro. It’s all about dialogue, description and plot. So there is little to comment on in that department.
3. Do I want more?
Probably not. If the standard of writing and imagery had remained as good as the beginning throughout the story, I would have been eager for a full version, and would have rated this game quite highly. As it was I got a bit annoyed with the typos, the character didn’t appeal to me much after the prologue, and it got a bit stale at the end, even as the plot was thickening.
Score (each out of 10):
Scene setting: 6
Appetite whettage: 2
Bonus points: 4: 1 for a great title, 3 for the unbeatable steel room description
Total: 16 (needs to grow up a bit)
Reviewed by David Whyld
This got off to a terrible start due to some awful guess the verb problems. You start locked in a room (well, I say ‘locked’ but as there’s no door in sight that’s probably a bit misleading) with a man who is tied to a chair. The room description reveals that the man has a blindfold around his eyes and tape on his mouth. Neither the blindfold nor the tape can be examined. I tried to remove the tape and was told “remove what?” ‘Get tape’ produced “what tape?” I tried several more combinations along these lines but all to no avail. In desperation, I looked in the Generator and discovered the correct command was actually “take tape off mouth”. Thank heavens the game wasn’t passworded.
After that, mercifully, the game got quite a bit better. It wasn’t very well written at any point – capitalisation really left a lot to be desired – and the actions of the main character seemed a little strange. There was also a liking on the game’s part to carry out actions for you that you might not want to carry out: examine the floorboards and before you know it you’ve discovered a secret room below you and hopped down to investigate. It might have been nice to have been given the choice as to whether I wanted to investigate the room or not. Or at least be given the opportunity to examine it first.
All in all, an uneven game that had too many glaring errors for me to say I liked it, but I'm at least curious to see what the finished product is like.
Funnily enough, out of the eight games in the Comp, this came seventh and scored just a single point. I felt it deserved better than its poor placing and put it third in my overall list, but clearly I was in a minority here.
Do I want to play the full game? More than likely.
Reviewed by Stefan Donati
This intro by Red-Sith, called 'Rift', finished on the seventh place of the Adrift Intro Comp 2005.
The game doesn't lose much time with a traditional introduction, and takes the player right into a rather featureless and anonymous steel room, where a man is tied up to a chair. After releasing him, he recounts a strange story: After having a dream about his childhood and a hidden laboratory, he finds himself in this unknown location, knowing that someone wants to kill him. One a further inquiry, the man reveals his name: Lyle Crow, which is also the name of the player's character. Puzzled by this, Lyle Crow (the player) awakes in his bedroom, and life seems to be back at normality. Or at least for a few moments, as the player finds a big computer facility beneath his bedroom, with a time machine in it. Eager to find out more about these weird events, Lyle pushes a button simply labeled 'go', which presumably sends him to another time period and also ends this intro.
I wasn't exactly thrilled by the story. It left many unanswered questions, and I'm still a bit confused. What's up with all these dreams, and how did this big computer facility with a time machine in it appear under the bedroom? But maybe this is meant to be uncovered later, and with so many plot devices, pretty much anything is possible.
As far as the writing is concerned, I also have different feelings. It tells you everything important, but is a little bit overenthusiastic in its use of heady words (like Argh, Hmpf!). The room descriptions are basic, build only an elementary atmosphere and offer little to distract the player. My biggest issue is the obvious attempt to guide the player's actions. In order to find the hidden facility, the player has to examine some loose floorboards in his bedroom and is given three somewhat blatant in-game hints for this task alone.
Despite all this, Rift is better than its place might suggest. For a further development, I think the story needs to be handled carefully so as to not lose focus. With this and some improved room descriptions, the game could become something to look out for.
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