Spring Thing ’11 – Michael Wayne Phipps Jr.’s Hallow Eve!

April 19, 2011

Usual disclaimer about horror games and how I reserve the right to, at any time, stop playing them and demand a hug.  Also, I know I promised you guys some shitty Peter Falk, but that is before I found out about That Can Be My Next Tweet.

I have to have sex with those trust exercises where you eat.
Like, drove *into* the energy of my mental decay.
I said that, I want a hard rubber urethane foot.
I’m going to eat it. Patrick Swayze is a non-zero chance of applesauce today.
The other day I did that right now.
I want to fire nine bullets into a diary all ingredients and vegetables and tired.
The fuck is now open on Sundays from my hair.
I’m hungry. I WILL EAT YOU SEE? – I don’t eat.
Also we had twelve hundred sweaters. Roy.
It was called Twygge and then you fall back, eyes closed, and I WILL EAT YOU SEE? – I am so good.
Riff: A mummy is very excited! Have barbecue tacos now.
Trying to the hunt where you say, reader? I shit like a gun that shoots babies that shoots babies?

…yeah, this is pretty much my new favorite thing ever.

[spoilers begin here]

Okay, this seems like it’ll be horror of the old-school slasher-movie variety.  It is 1987 and I am about to engage in some camping with my friends Fred Murks and Steve Dirks.

Oh man oh man the key to my blue car is itself blue!  This makes me so happy.  I will be excited if I come across the key to this green car and it is itself green.

What do you want to unlock the blue car with?

>x jeep
A pink jeep that the girls arrived in.
You can tell that girls arrived in it, because it’s pink.  This is all very Life the Board Game.  Maybe later one of them will let me show her my blue peg.

Well, the writing could be better, but so far it’s totally nailing the time period and genre conventions (huge bangs!  goth chicks and ghost stories!  three dumb boys and three dumb girls drinking beer in the woods!) and I’m having fun.

Fred says “Cool. I just got to run to my car real quick to grab the tin foil and stuff.”  
Jesus Christ, Fred, have you never seen a horror movie?

Huh.  I feel like my character would hang around the campsite drinking beer and chatting up Lola while he waits for Fred or Brenda to run back screaming that the other one’s been murdered, but none of these NPCs seem implemented enough to even try to talk to, so I guess I’ll wander around the dark woods picking stuff up off the ground.  Feel like the game missed an opportunity there; it would’ve been cool if one of the NPCs had said something to me, or one of the other NPCs, or y’know, anything had happened at all.

Well, shit, now it is pitch dark, and I can’t see a thing.  Should have grabbed a lantern back at the campsite I guess.

Fred says “What the hell should we do? I guess one of us could drive back to town and get some help, but that will take too long if she’s about to drown or something.[“]
Fred’s always been the brains of this whole operation.

Oop, yup, Rachel just got kacked.  I hope they leave one of the girls alive for me to do a sex on.

>take bra
You don’t think you would feel right carrying around the bra.
But… what if I need to kill a ptarmigan?  What then?

Huh.  The plaque on this canoe (what, does your canoe not have a plaque on it?  How do you know how to operate it, then?) tells me life jackets are strongly recommended for safety.  That is probably code for “otherwise you die.”  I should look for a life jacket.

Hmm.  Well, I died.  I’m not feeling particularly compelled to restart, but I guess I could give it the ol’ walkthrough try, see the ending.

Tall and slim with piercing blue eyes, he has always been a hit with the girls despite his rebellious appearance.
This sentence fails to understand the most basic things about girls.

Huh.  I wouldn’t have found this junk pile on my own, because I tend to believe games when they say things like “Maybe you should go back the way you came” and “Maybe you should stop eating all these aspirins.”  More fool me I guess.

Well, I saved Brenda.  If I can also save Steve and Lola, then Rachel will be the only one dead, which can be interpreted as her punishment for being a fuddy-duddy and the least attractive of three girls.  Also, I don’t think I get to do a sex on anyone tonight.  Oh, wait, maybe Steve will die and I’ll get to comfort-bang Lola?

So, since I am just straight typing in the walkthrough at this point, I’d like to explain where the game lost me:

I had quickly given up on trying to find a life jacket and decided to try my luck with the canoe.  I started down the river.  When I heard the cry for help I should have LANDed, but I fudged it; I forget how, and landed at the next stop, down near the cars.  “Oops,”  I thought, “better try that again,” and dropped a bunch of stuff so I could carry the canoe back to where I’d been.  Before relaunching the canoe, I went back and got all the stuff I dropped, feeling pleased with myself for having done so.  Then, when I launched the canoe, I wound up further down the river than I had been the first time I launched the canoe from that spot, and died ignominininously in the rapids.  Thus all my desire to play this game was sapped.

This kind of thing has got to be really frustrating to someone who’s spent months, or in some cases years, working on a game they hope people will like, but it happens all the time.  I’m not really sure what my point is except, y’know, watch out for that, I guess?

What stands before you now is some tall and strange skeletal spectre that you can’t explain. You are stunned to see this macabre entity, but it shows no sign of seeing you. Perhaps due to its lack of eyeballs.
Hee hee!  (Also, I like the implication that there exist tall and strange skeletal spectres that I can explain.  “Why, it’s old man Jenkins in a rubber mask!”  Hey, remind me to complain sometime about how the Scooby-Doo writers expected us to disregard all of a character’s physically impossible previous actions once it turned out it was a guy in a rubber mask.  “What?  But he was floating twelve inches above the ground!”  “Mirrors.  It was totally mirrors.”  “Mirrors?”  “Well, mirrors and lasers.  And the swamp was really gassy tonight.”)

Man, I am wondering what it would be like to play this game without a walkthrough.  Probably incredibly frustrating.  I don’t know how you’d figure out to climb a tree and cut off part of a blanket so you could make a Molotov cocktail with which to kill a zombie that is going to attack you later.

Welp, huh, yeah, by hugging the walkthrough tightly, I have “earned” the rank of Heroic Detective Monster-Slayer and given up the right to have much of an opinion about the experience of playing this game.  I’d imagine you’d have to replay it a lot, like an old-school game, where you’re exploring everything and trying to figure out how not to get killed by a zombie, and man, do I ever lack the patience for that.  The characters and setting were fun, though.  I would’ve preferred more interactions with them and fewer read-the-author’s-mind puzzles.  Oh, and a sympathetic love interest would have upped my investment, by which I mean I would have liked someone to do a sex on.

I think, based on the readme, that this was the author’s first game, so frankly it could’ve been a lot worse.  Next time I think he should attempt something smaller and tighter, with fewer, more fleshed-out NPCs and less mind-reading.  Wait, make that no mind-reading.  That is what I think.

One comment

  1. This was always one of my favorite reviews of this game. I’m releasing a version 2.0 soon with many things fixed, added, etc that you have mentioned wrong with the Spring Thing release. The river was extremely buggy in 1.0. I thought I had that “double action” thing fixed that caused you to experience death by rapids, but it was not. Also I discovered you could hop right out of the canoe while it was moving and just walk in the river!

    Thanks for the review. I enjoyed reading it and the others you post.

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