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Sere - Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape Reviews
Reviewed by David Whyld (Reviews
This review is based on the first version of the game.
A new ADRIFT game and a new author to boot. Quite a rarity these days. So is SERE - Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape any good? Unfortunately notů
You play the part of a soldier in some unspecified war zone whose helicopter crashes, everyone else dies and you are the only survivor. You have to get back to friendly territory and evade capture for as long as you can.
The intro is poorly written, riddled with more than a few spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. YOUR LEANING ON YOUR MACHINE GUN SCANNING, OUT THE WINDOW FOR ANYTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY. Maybe it's just me, but every time I find a typo of any kind in the introduction to a game, I wince. By the time I'd finished the intro to this game, I was pretty much permanently wincing. Frequent misspellings of "you're" as "your" are rife throughout the game. It also suffers from some pretty frustrating guess the verb problems, some of which are made harder by typos in the text that lead you to try one thing when another is expected. Examine the equipment in the crashed helicopter and you're told you can see your tool box (note the space between the words!) Yet every attempt to OPEN TOOL BOX or EXAMINE TOOL BOX met with YOU SEE NO SUCH THING. It seems you have to refer to it as "toolbox" (all one word) for the game to understand what you mean. It doesn't understand box unfortunately.
The player starts with a loaded pistol which, for some reason which probably seemed like a good idea at the time, I decided to remove the magazine from. Later on, I came across an enemy soldier who I tried to shoot so I put the magazine back in the pistol, only to be told by the game that the pistol wasn't loaded. Oh yes, it was. The debugger even confirmed this to me but no matter what I typed, I couldn't seem to get the game to accept this. In the end, I had to restart the game to make any further progress. As it happens, the command LOAD PISTOL was bugged anyway as every time I tried it, ADRIFT assumed I meant to 'load' a new game and didn't process the command. Funnily enough, LOAD FLARE worked fine for the pen flare, even though you can fire it at the end of the game whether you've loaded it or not.
You can die very easily in this game if you're not careful, and sometimes even if you are. A few times the game assumes you're trying to carry out a command that you might not be, executes that command, and as a result kills you off. I found a truck and tried to examine it. The game apparently decided that by EXAMINE TRUCK I actually meant to APPROACH TRUCK so it helpfully carried out that action for me and then promptly had me shot dead. You can also die at other times when you're given a kind of CYOA choice of do this, do that or the other. Pick the wrong one - and there's no way of knowing beforehand which is right and which is wrong - and you die.
My final annoyance with the game (although there are many others that I haven't mentioned in this review) involved an item showing up only after a certain point in the game. Examine something when you first come across it and you see no indication of an item being there, examine it later and, lo and behold, the item has shown up, although there's no explanation for why it's there now but wasn't before. (Oh, and for my definite final annoyance with the game, USE PLIERS ON IGNITION is a nasty bit of guess the verb.)
SERE - Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape is a short-ish game, ten or so minutes from start to finish if you can figure your way past the guess the verb problems and general getting killed every few moves. It's not the worst game by a newbie I've ever played (Death Agency still holds that record by quite a margin), but it's in definite need of being run through a spell and grammar check, as well as some serious testing. Even if you're a fan of war games, and I can't say I am, this one probably won't hold a lot of appeal for you.
2 out of 10
Reviewed by TDS
You never saw what hit you. Your first thought was that your pilots were flying too low, too fast and struck a tree or a mountain top. Then you heard the pilots screaming "SAM, SAM, we're hit!" Shock, fear, panic. Not one of your drunken boastings ever included peeing in your pants but that's between you and God if you don't make it out of this.
In this game you play a soldier whose plane has crashed and must survive the enemy that happens to patrol the forest you end up in. It's a concept that you don't see everyday in IF and I wish there were more espionage/military games out there. Unfortunately this one doesn't exactly bring glory to the genre.
It's a short game so it doesn't depend on its story to carry it. The story is placed at the beginning and end of the game, as I expected. I didn't expect an epic storyline from a game that's short like this but a quick snippet of what the player was doing before the attack would be nice. The writing isn't the greatest as you might tell from the introduction but it passes for standard text adventure fare. The problems don't really start with the "fiction" but rather the "interactive" part of the game.
This game goes out of its way to present itself with a flashy intro with colors, music, and a menu that adds nothing to the game itself. Although that I don't mind. What I do mind is the screen refreshing itself every time I enter a new room or type "look". Having the screen clear all the time makes me wonder what was the point of the author doing this. Almost every room or description in the game is indented yet there are some that aren't. Trying to spice the game up in that way fails because it isn't consistent. There are odd breaks in the text and the incongruous use of colors scattered throughout the game makes things look even worse.
I think less time should've been spent on presentation, and more time spent on the actual game. Guess-the-verb gets so bad it's ridiculous. It seems like the author has only one command for most things to be done. I tried "shoot sniper" and later found out I had to "fire at sniper" despite the intro telling me that was the correct syntax to use. The game is lazy when it comes to descriptions. Sometimes three or four distinct objects are covered with one description. Other times you won't even get a description. Other times you'll get a description...for another object!
As I said before, there is guess-the-verb and it makes solving puzzles a pain. There are numerous ways to say and do things but the author restricts you to just one. I definitely wouldn't have guessed the wording used in some situations without the aid of a walkthrough. Guess-the-verb even ruins cool concepts such as looking through a sniper rifle using rooms to navigate your line of sight. Sometimes I get killed and am flashed to a poorly-done "game over" room. More bad presentation.
I think the game could be better if more attention was paid to the gift rather than the gift wrapping. Because of this the game doesn't rank highly to me.
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