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DELRON

The Home of Otter Interactive Fiction


To Score or Not to Score Reviews
Author: David Whyld
Date: 2004
ADRIFT 4.0


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 Purple Dragon (Inside Erin Volume 5 Number 5 – May 2009)

Basic Story

The time has come to finally go all the way with your girlfriend Jennifer. She’s not actually aware of that fact yet, but that’s a small detail.

Overall Thoughts

This is a very clean, well implemented game. Although there isn’t much in the way of plot, there is a fair amount of character development, and the ending varies depending on choices and interactions during the game, which is a nice touch.

Puzzles/Game Play

The main puzzle in this game is centered on the cauldron in your room. The cauldron is a form of hyper-dimensional transmogrification device using – well, I’ll spare you the scientific mumbo jumbo. Basically, what you do it put two items into the cauldron, hit it, and if they are the right items something else is created in their place. I found some of the pairs to make at least a little bit of sense, but there were some that made no sense at all, so it’s basically just up to trial and error. If you don’t like puzzles (and this one is a bit tedious even if you do) then you can just put all the items you find inside and periodically hit the cauldron. Correct pairs will be combined, while ones that don’t pair will remain in the cauldron. There are, however, a couple of items that you use elsewhere, so not every item will pair with another.

The items that are created all go toward helping you get into your girlfriend’s pants. They are either gifts for her or other items that will help you on your way.

Sex

This is certainly the weak point of the game, or rather the weak point if you’re expecting an AIF game to have a lot of sex in it. There really is no sex scene as such. Although sex is constantly on the PC’s mind, and there are a few teasers in the form of his plans and dreams along the way, when the actual sex scene comes it is limited to one or two short paragraphs before the game ends.

Technical

Mostly, this is an incredibly tight game technically speaking. The environment is full and interactive, and the different days and conversations with Jennifer work well. The conversations actually affect your relationship and, along with the gifts you give her, determine which of the five endings you end up with. If you get the best ending (which I finally did, although I had to cheat) the author gives the password for the game so that ou can go in and take a look. When I did that, I was even more impressed with how detailed the system is and realized that I didn’t make full use of it.

Ok, that’s the good. The bad is that there are actually a couple of annoying bugs in then game. The first has to do with the bookcase in your room. If you examine it, the only book that stands out from your large collection of hard core porn is a “horror novel.” Seeing as how it is mentioned specifically, I naturally tried to examine it, but was told that I “see no such thing.” Undaunted, I typed “take horror novel,” and received the authors rather amusing comments about typing things not planned for. I went on about the game, but couldn’t get the best ending, so I finally consulted a walkthough and found that the command is “get horror novel.” Normally “get” and “take” are synonymous. However, in this case the command is actually a task written by the author, and since he didn’t manually provide for this synonym, “take” won’t work. It should be noted that some people would never even notice this, but for whatever reason I have always used the word “take” so it caused me some problems.

The second one wasn’t quite as big a deal for me, but I thought I’d still mention it. There is a sign in the store that changes every day to reflect new items on sale. On day three, examining the sign just tells you there is nothing special about it. The fact that I got the default response instead of one saying there was nothing for sale alerted me to the possibility of a problem, so I simply tried each denomination from 1-9 until I had found everything. For your reference, the prices of items on day three are $2, 4, and 6.

Final Thoughts

Although the main puzzle was a bit annoying, the rest of the system to go through the days and conversations leading up to the finale worked beautifully. However, it would have been nice if it had led up to a more fully implemented sex scene since this was an entry in an AIF competition.

Rating: C+
 



Reviewed by A. Ninny

My main comment about “To Score…” is that once you accept the main premise, the entire game is about trying to solve the running puzzles. I count three main puzzles in the game, figuring out what combines with what in the cauldron, finding all the money needed to get what you need from the store, and working through the conversation trees with Jennifer. I have to admit that it took me numerous repeat plays, sharing puzzle information with another player, before I could solve all the money and cauldron puzzles. 

The main issues I had with the money and cauldron puzzles is that they were too random. There was no rhyme or reason I could see what would combine with what in the cauldron. There was also, in my opinion, insufficient feedback from Jennifer as to whether we were making progress getting her warmed up, other than that she obviously appreciates some gifts more than others. We also weren’t given any feedback at all about the clothing items (without giving too much away) that was obviously designed to turn her on. 

The game also had a fair share of bugs and annoy-isms. For instance, it has a long wise-ass disclaimer that pops up every time you type something the parser doesn’t understand. It was cute the first time it appears, but it should have been limited to that one instance and then been replaced with a simple disclaimer. As an example of a bug, it had a sign that could not be read, even though it was obviously supposed to say something. 

Finally, this game is all about its puzzles, and a bit about its characters. The sex at the end is one paragraph. Period. Once you’ve read that one paragraph, the game ends. 

Scores: 

Concept: 5. This is a fairly good idea, and the puzzles are interesting enough that I didn’t really mind too much having to replay the game a bunch of time in order to win. 

Characters: 4.5. There is good consistency throughout for what the characters say and do, which is important for a game with multiple scenes between characters. 

Technical: 4.5. The game is a little buggy and could have given more detailed descriptions of things. 

Playability: 3.5. The glitches and lack of feedback as to whether we are getting close to solving Jennifer bring down this score. 

Hotness: 1. All build-up, no delivery. 

Enjoyment: 4. Considering the amount of time it took to figure out the puzzles, I consider the game a huge letdown. Still, it held my attention while I was doing it and it had more to offer than a bunch of other games. 


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