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IF Comp ’08 Review – David Whyld’s A Date With Death!

October 8, 2008

I will believe that David Whyld is not a pen name once I’ve seen two forms of ID.

…sorry, it’s just that I would hate for anyone to accidentally confuse me with a serious reviewer of interactive fiction, and posting lolcats is the best way I can think of to prevent that.  (Also ur not antalope!  dis is awkwerd.)

Lolcats aside, I just updated my Splattergroit, and Adrift games seem to be fine now, the upshot of which is that, were I Vincent Price or Diana Rigg or anyone else who does the introductions on PBS, I would now look significantly into the camera and announce, “You and I have a date… with death.”

[here begin the spoilers… with death!]

I am liking this introduction, if it is a tad Pratchetty (which it is.)  Premise seems interesting, there are actual funny bits, it’s not at all difficult to follow, and I want to keep reading it.  Best long intro I’ve encountered so far.  Also it seems to be completely optional.  Yay optional!

Apparently this is the third game of a trilogy and I am fresh back from being an eyeball.  I don’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed by that.

My day starts at noon?  Sounds about right.

Oooh.  Y’know, my favorite MUD quest ever was this one in Midnight Sun where you are told that invaders are going to come rip the shit out of this tavern and it is your job to prepare everything, so you look around, see what there is to set traps with, what else there is you do not want to leave lying around, and then when you’re done, you go hide under a bed and they tell you how well you did.  (It’s repeatable, natch.)

This game looks like it might be just that sort of thing, in which case I will probably love the shit out of it.  Also the multiple endings remind me of Chrono Trigger, but that’s probably just because I’m a bowling ball dreaming I’m a plate of sashimi.

Well, there goes a bodyguard.  I only had three!

Oh, excellent, a notice board.  Getting the sense that, should I find myself floundering around with no idea what to do, it will be my own damn fault.  I fully anticipate that this game will kick at least moderate amounts of ass.  Attempting to shut up for a bit and play it.

The writing isn’t flawless – couple typos, incomplete sentences, that sort of thing.  Not a huge deal, though, and I suspect it’ll be well made up for.

The thought that I employ someone called the High Costsman makes me giggle.

Oooh.  Decision to make here.  Well, it’s multiple-choice, and “kill them all” and “ask the High Chancellor” are most likely the same thing, so we’ll go with Answer Choice C, “not kill anybody”, and use that to kick off a strict new policy of fuzzy huggles.

This is really very good.  It’s not quite Pratchett-level, but it says something about the quality that I’m having to stop myself blaming the author for not in fact being Terry Pratchett.  Not all of the jokes work, but most of them do, and the ones that do work well enough to make up for the ones that don’t.

Oh dear, died.  Let’s try that again.

Hrolf,Your loyal bodyguards – Strug and Bark – are here.
I’m glad Hrolf’s still alive this go-round, but he does play hell with the coding.

Well, huh.  Did the assassin who was trying to kill me give up because I managed to kill myself?  It’s just that they resurrected me afterwards, you see, and I’m a little curious as to what happened with that.

…oh.  If I go back into my room, the door magically locks again and the assassin is still trying to kill me.  That’s pretty buggy.

GET IN ARMOUR should count as ENTER ARMOUR, not GET ARMOUR.  I’m a bit upset about that one.

Going to call time on this one and keep playing with it.  It’s got a few too many issues to get top marks (you can always use more testing), but really it was very very good.  I give it a nine that I wish could have been a ten.

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