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IF Comp ’08 Review – Simon No Last Name’s The Hall of the Fount of Artois!

October 4, 2008

I may owe Rick Dague an apology for thinking The Lucubrator was a pretentious title for an IF game.  I had not yet seen The Hall of the Fount of Artois:  An Interactive Distraction, and when I did, my lips actually physically curled.  Not “actually physically” the way people misuse “literally” but really like the molecules in my lips moved three-dimensionally through meatspace, qualifying this as a severely, extremely, irredeemably pretentious-sounding title.  We shall see how the game lives up to this.

…see?  It’s got me being all “we shall see.”  *shudder*

Or, wait, Splattergroit is not wanting to add the .exe?  Huh.  Sorry, Simon No Last Name’s The Hall of the Fount of Artois Subtitle An Interactive Distraction End Subtitle, you’re not going to get a fair review from me, assuming that was even likely.

(Yes, I know the program’s not called Splattergroit, but it might as well be.  Also, Spatterlight?  I hardly know her light!  Am I right?  TRY THE VEAL!)

BRAND NEW EXCITING UPDATE:  I am now able to play this game!  And I am going to!  Is it going to get a fair review?  Oh, fuck no.  I am not sweet and nice, I am evil and mean, which is why Jim Carrey’s character does not want me.

[please to begin spoilers!]

Oh, man, no copy-paste?  That is going to be annoying for purposes of this review.

They do say that you should be careful how you treat people, lest you entertain angels unawares.  Perhaps they should also have said, ‘lest you annoy evil wizards.’  And Stefano Maningo, the Black Warlock of Toxteth, is about as bad as they come, if not worse…
Oh no, not Stefano Maningo, the Black Warlock of Toxteth!  (Say that out loud sometime.  It’s superfun.)  Oh, and I’ve decided that the new “who would win in a fight” is “who would be on top if they had sex.”  This may be something to keep in mind while we are dealing with Stefano Maningo, the Black Warlock of Toxteth.

…you have to type out EXAMINE?  Oh dear God.

“Horological Leviathan” is pretentious-people for “big clock.”  I speak pretentious-people.  I will translate as we go.

Seems to be another MUD-syndrome nothing-above-this-line-matters type of game (see Ananananachronist review, unless you don’t want spoilers, in which case you’ll have to just wing it) except that the important bits are not just on their own little important-bits line, but green to boot.  For future reference, Simon No Last Name, people’s brains are designed to stop reading room descriptions once it has been established that room descriptions are unimportant (an absolutely true fact that I just now pulled out of my ass) so if you want people to read your room descriptions, make something in them examinable every once in a while.  That goes for all y’all.  Dig?

Does my cat shimmer out of the room as in “sort of shimmies out of the room,” or are we talkin’ Cheshire cat business here?

> read book
I don’t know how to do that.
This is because the Bush administration cut funding on literacy programs for interactive fiction games.

Okay, no idea what I’m doing, but things are scattered around this house and I am taking the fuck out of ‘em.  If anyone’s got ish with that, they can taste my narrow-bladed knife.

Oh!  I seem to be carrying a letter from some people who want me to take the curse off of their son Pierre.  They also “politely remind [me] that the curse will become final twelve hours after [my] arrival.”  It’s nice of the curse to wait for me like that, and it’s nice of the Artois family to be so polite.

I do, however, wish people wouldn’t make me examine my inventory before giving me any idea what I’m supposed to be doing.  I’m sure this is just me here and everyone else has trained themselves to twitch-spam the I button, but still, it’d be a nice step in the direction of New Friendly Automatic-Door-Opening Interactive Fiction As Opposed To Text Adventures.

> se
Ok.
TOO DARK TO SEE!

> light match
I don’t know how to do that.
> nw
In the unknown darkness you trip over something you cannot see, fall, hit your head and knock yourself out.  You should really know better than to go wandering around a strange place in the dark.
> undo
I don’t know how to do that.
Do you know how to go fuck yourself?

Okay, starting over, this time with the walkthrough.  Ohhh, there is a torch I was supposed to get before stupidly going into that room that was completely unmarked as a room that it would be stupid to go into without a torch.  This kind of thing makes me angry, at least when it occurs in these enlightened days of interactive fiction.

EXAMINE BLADED AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENT, walkthrough?  Really?  No shit.

I don’t know, Fall of the Hound of Artois.  I did like saying “Stefano Maningo, the Black Warlock of Toxteth,” so that’s pretty good.  And judging from the walkthrough, you had all sorts of puzzles in you, so that’s good too.  I just have no desire to play you any longer, and am going to call time on this review with a score of four, which could’ve been a higher number if you’d (a) let me back out of the dark room, (b) prevented me from going into the dark room without a light source, or (c) let me light a friggin’ match.  Actually four is pretty generous, really… you should just leave right now before I change my mind.  Julie at the desk will validate your parking.

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