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Whitterscap's Key
Author: Duncan Bowsman
Date: 2011
ADRIFT 4.0


Reviewed by Richard Otter

I was looking for a game to play/review when I came across a competition I didn't remember and have never played any of the games from - The Challenge Comp in 2011. After tracking down the rules it become clear that a game was to be written in the Adrift Version 4.0 unregistered version or at least to its restrictions.

This game attracted my interest as I found the documentation and comments about it, well, off-putting.

Reading the preamble to the game I got the immediate impression the game was going to consist of random silliness. As I've said, something about the tone almost put me off playing the game with the talk of being "openly sarcastic" and a parody. But I agree that the Challenge Comp did seem to have very arbitrary rules. So, maybe an arbitrary game was the answer? Although thinking about it maybe I should write an arbitrary review? Hmmm.

So what did I find? Sparse location descriptions (in some cases none existent). Warnings of instant death that did not kill then a warning that actually did. An object I could take but was then still mentioned in the location description (could have been a bug but I didn't think so). Ability to score more than the maximum score. Little exploration needed and very little implemented. So, either it was badly written IF or a parody of badly written IF.

I played through a few times, finding the winning solution on my first go through (probably just luck). I was interested enough to play a few more times. But I think the thing I didn't like about the game was that everything about Whitterscap's Key seemed to draw my attention to the constraints it was created under. A fault of the game? or the fault of the rules under which it was written?

So, I've decided - I don't think I like this game but think the competition was alright. No, I've changed my mind (arbitrarily) I like this game but not the competition.

This game fits the rules of the original competition and I think it achieves what it set out to do. It has a humour and style which I liked and I ended the game thinking "That was okay I guess."

My recommendation? Give it a try.
 


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