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CGDC #7 – Baltasar’s Survive!

February 19, 2010

I’ll be honest right away here:  I’m not expecting to enjoy this game.  Survival is the theme of most nightmares I have, and it sucks, right?  I will demonstrate why with this flowchart.

Also, according to the blurb, I have been Captured By the Enemy.  I’m not a huge fan of even having enemies, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be captured by one.  Plus the picture has a train in it, which makes me think we’re talking WWII here, and that is so not my favorite war.  (I don’t have a favorite war.  My favorite WAR song is Spill the Wine, though, if that helps.)

Basically I am not expecting this game to be a good time, is what I’m saying.  Only one way to find out, though!

Note:  If you play this, try the Flash version, as the Javascript version is teh broke.

Update:  The Flash version is also not the least broken thing in the world.  I was unable to finish.

[spoilers begin here]

Ernst Poschenrieder: “Aufmerksamkeit! Hilfe! Ich bin Absturz auf …!”
Aw, shit, it’s the Germans.  That is never a good sign.  What’s he even saying?  Babelfish, do you know?

Attention! Assistance! I am crash up
Thanks, Babelfish.  You’re the best.

The plane is quickly falling down. Struggling frantically with the handle, you know there is nothing to do but to try to elevate that noise of her.
…hey, Babelfish?  Did you write this game?

Feeling the grass under your body, your immobile limbs extended as long as they are, you have a sudden attack of panic, thinking of your back being brocken.
Sill brocken?  When fuked sill brocken?  I hope my back is not when fuked sill brocken!  How would I found the white mouse then?

Immediately after crashing in enemy territory, I am greeted with four [**programming errors.**]  I’m sure each one has a different lesson to teach me, by means of a brilliant metaphor that won’t make sense to me at first, and only after applying all of them to the situation at hand will I emerge stronger and a better person.  Wait, no, I think they’re just programming errors.  Easy mistake to make, though.

> talk to doctor
[** Programming error: (ernst) (object number 55)  has no property nowSpeaking to read **]
[** Programming error: (doctor) (object number 59)  has no property status to read **]
[** Programming error: (doctor) (object number 59)  has no property status to read **]
The doctor: “Easy, easy… let me finish my examination. Don’t try to speak.”
Don’t try to talk, son.  You’ll strain your code.

I’m’a start over in Flash, see if it’s any better that way.  Oh, good, it is.

There is a whole lot of exposition at the beginning with nothing meaningful to do.  When you have scenes like this, think about how you can make them, well, not scenes like this.  Is there anything you could give the player to do here, maybe a small puzzle that sets the stage for the rest of the game?  If not, it might be better to write the scene into the introduction and start the action later (although in this case I like starting with the plane crash and the crowd that wants to kill you, because it really establishes how screwed you are).  At the very least, if the player isn’t given anything to do besides EXAMINE things, make sure they have a lot to look at, ideally at least one thing for every turn they’re expected to wait.  It’d be easy enough here to have the doctor issue instructions (you know, OPEN WIDE, TURN HEAD, COUGH) for the player to follow instead of just sitting there passively being examined.

The questioner: “My name is Dr. Smith.”
You think: “That doesn’t sound good.”
Clearly I’ve seen The Matrix, and know all about people who call themselves Smith.  (I’ve also seen Mary Poppins, and if I weren’t gagged, I’d ask him what was the name of his other leg.)

I still haven’t gotten to actually do anything, by the way.  I just wanted to mention that.

Ah, here we go!  Dr. Smith did not survive the interrogation (don’t look at me like that!  He had a heart attack or something!  I was tied to this chair the whole time, I swear!) and now I get to escape.

where doing it man
where making this hapen

Okay, I get it, I’m thirsty.  I’m trying to work out what to do with this bottle, this glass, and this handkerchief.  Every few steps I’m interrupted by long sequences where I have to keep hitting space, which is rather obnoxious.  Also, neither the glass nor the bottle can contain things, which makes me wonder what all that water’s doing in there, being contained.

The walkthrough tells me to push the bottle, twice.  When I try PUSH BOTTLE (and believe me, I tried PUSH BOTTLE before resorting to the walkthrough) it tells me I think “That’s a nonsense.”  Even though that is an adorable thing to think, I am perturbed.

Yeah.  Tried the buggy Parchment version, but I can’t even tell if the crowd scene is advancing properly.  This game is too broken to even worry about whether it would have been good or not.

3 comments

  1. Hey Jenni,

    sorry you kept running into problems with Parchment! I just fixed a quite serious bug, but I’m sure there are many more.

    But thanks for the parchment-love in your other posts! I’m glad people are using copy/paste. I added purely cause I wanted it, but its good to see others like it too!

    -Dannii


    • It’s probably not a feature most Parchment users will ever need, but I appreciate the living shit out of it. Thanks!


  2. I’m the author of this game.

    Just a quick note to mention that this review is unfair from the very beginning (if you have such a strong feeling against games on these themes, why did you play it, knowing you wouldn’t be able to give a fair review?).

    Anyway, “Survive” never had any of the programming errors that are attributed here. I guess it had to do with the playing systems the competition put at the service of players.
    You’ll find the last version in my website, if you still like to give it a try.

    Any (constructive) comments will be welcomed.

    Regards,
    baltasarq



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