IF Comp ’09 – Tom Murrin’s Spelunker’s Quest!October 14, 2009
Only seven games left? Really? The zeitgeist does not think much of Spelunker’s Quest. I have yet to discover what the schadenfreude and the zaftig think. Casually dropping German words into your sentences is sort of hip still, because absolutely everyone doesn’t think you’re a pretentious asshole for doing it, like they do when you casually drop French. Speaking of which, we really need to get our own word for “denouement,” because there’s no good way to Anglicize the pronunciation without sounding just ridiculous (duhnooeyment?) and if you go for the accent you might as well announce to the world that you actually order things out of the Signals catalog. (I make that joke fully expecting at least forty percent of my readership to own an outdoor thermometer with a Robert Frost poem engraved upon it in Gaelic. It’s okay. We’re still friends.)
Anyway. Spelunker’s Quest. Caves and shit. Let’s do it.
Mostly Spoiler-Free Update: If you’ve played older IF games, you’ve pretty much played this one. Wasn’t badly done, though.
[spoilers begin here]
You awaken with an aching head to find that you are lying on your back in a tall passageway. Your mind quickly fills with questions that you are unable to answer. What happened!? Where am I!? Where is everyone!?
Three whole interrobangs in the intro!? I will take this over Eruption, though, where I woke up in a cave with a headache but didn’t much care.
The walls are adorned with several torches; they are providing ample illumination.
> x compass
It empowers you with the knowledge of which direction is north.
Um, this cave has someone’s living room in it. I was not expecting a cave game that was also a house game, but all right, sure.
I am seeing nothing special about any of the furniture. “You see nothing special” is a weird message to get, because it means someone cared just enough to code an object but not quite enough to give it a description. I suppose it’s very slightly better than “You can’t see that here,” because I could put stuff on this table if I had any reason to, but, well, I don’t think I’m likely to have any reason to.
> x miner
Y’know, after playing a game where zombies popped out at me often and the floors were slick with blood, and another game where I nonchalantly murdered someone and repeatedly walked past his corpse, there’s something simple and human about “He’s dead!” that I really like.
Oooh, and the game anticipated my desire to wear this safety helmet I just took off the dead miner. I love that.
What do you want to unlock the chest with?
Way to squander my goodwill there, game. Huh. The chest had a sword in it. Now I’m really confused as to what kind of game this is.
What do you want to kill the snarling goblin with?
Take a damn guess!
It’s an oil painting of famous computer programmer and caver Will Crowther!
Shout out is not at all surprising, the fact that Will Crowther sat for an oil painting kind of is. People still do that?
You lift one end of the mattress and flip it aside. You have discovered a fully automatic .50 caliber machine gun that had been concealed under the mattress!
Okay, sure, game. Whatever you want.
I just died because I was too dumb to turn my damn helmet light on. Pretty sure it was a grue. Oh, hey, I bet this game’s xyzzy works.
…holy SHIT does this game’s xyzzy work. Nice!
Oh, except there’s not much I can do afterwards except be killed. Also, you missed an opportunity to tell me there were 69,105 leaves on the ground, but I guess you can’t have everything.
Made it to the rock pile before resorting to hints. Find a way to light the dynamite? There’s dynamite in this game?
I just realized that “cavern” and “tavern” are one letter off from each other. What a boring revelation! And I’m telling you about it! It’ll be my dreams next, no doubt, followed by a complete family history. Where’s that dynamite? A-ha! On the miner!
Okay, I think I feel confident jumping in this hole now. Wish me luck!
Well, that wasn’t bad, per se, it just brought absolutely nothing new to the Akashic record, as it were. (Did I ever tell you about back when I believed in crystals and owned Ray Lynch CDs? Remind me never to do that.) I feel like this game already existed many times over and I’m not sure why it had to be written again. It’s like someone bought Andy Warhol’s silkscreens and is using them to produce completely faithful Marilyns and soup cans. Why comma interrobang!?
Was well-done though. I’ll give it a four.
Update: Actually, I’ll give it a five. I haven’t been entirely satisfied with my scoring this year, and on my way to sleep I thought “wait a minute, shouldn’t the games I would rather play have higher numbers? Wouldn’t that make a lot of sense?” So I’m doing some tweaking.
Double super secret background update: Man, I hate how I’ve been scoring shit this year. I think this game gets a six now. Come back tomorrow and it’ll be a three, probably. Maybe I should work out some actual criteria for next year.