IF Comp ’11 – Edmund Wells’ The Life (and Deaths) of Doctor M!

November 8, 2011

I’m a big fan of Wells’ David Coperfield, so I’m interested to see what he’s done with Eric Eve’s conversation extensions.

[spoilers begin here]

As near as I can make out, I’m a rather immoral doctor being resuscattempted by some paramedics.  Neat!  (Yes, “resuscattempted.”  Look, I could have come up with a better way to say “being tried to brought back to lifed by some paramedics,” but I don’t have that kind of time.)

Nice and atmospheric, this game is.  I think I’m supposed to find some dude’s hat.

About a half-dozen plaques of various sizes, all engraved with some version of the Hippocratic Oath. They have all been tarnished.
I’m getting the sense I was a very bad doctor.
He holds up the book and peers at it. “An interesting individual, this Doctor M, someone who was either a mercy killer or a murderer, depending on your point of view. Euthanized more than one-hundred patients within ten years, all of whom are mentioned in here.”
Oh.  Yeah, that’d do it!

Hmm, are these my own personal shoulder angel and devil?  I’m not sure why else they’d be assigned to work together, although I admit to not knowing very much about these things.  Oh, no, I guess they work at the inn as representatives for their respective afterlife retirement communities.

Huh, if I knew someone’s name, I could look them up in the stacks.  But I don’t, so I can’t.  Also I’m not sure how to get to the cellar and fix these taps.

I wish the game automatically assumed I was trying to look up a drug in the pharmaceutical guide instead of the burnt scrapbook.

Man, I am hitting the hints so hard.  It’s a combination of not being clever enough for some puzzles (spigot huh?  what wheel?) and others requiring you to do things like ask the devil about the inn so he will tell you about one particular stone in the fireplace.  You won’t notice this stone yourself unless you have ASK DEVIL ABOUT INNed.  Therefore, the answer to “How do I get into the cellar?” is “Ask the devil about the inn,” which is not really a thing it would occur to you to try.  (Asking him or the angel about the cellar seems more reasonable, but yields nothing.)

Gaaaah all this loosening and tightening couplings would be annoying even if I remembered to disambiguate between the steel and copper ones ever.

Also these biographies would be more helpful if there weren’t two thirty-year gaps in them.

Look, game, I’m enjoying you.  You’re pretty intriguing, even if you seem to want me to clarify my position on assisted suicide a whole hell of a lot.  I just wish I knew what you wanted me to do, is all.

Oh!  I can move the ladder?  Man.  Also, how would I know Janet Evans’ name if asking someone about “heiress” hadn’t redirected to asking them about Janet Evans?  Oh, it’s in the ledger?  Well okay then!

What am I supposed to do with this homeless man in the alley, game?  Yes, I know I killed him already, I meant more specifically.  Oh, get the Deliverance Device working and use it on him?  Man, that sounds complicated.

Yes, I know my patient has arrived and is waiting to see me.  What is the syntax to have you send him into my office already?

Man, I really don’t want to euthanize this kid, but I guess I did already.
>thomas, go home
There is no reply.

Oh shit, twist ending!  Remind me to be wary of people whose biographies trail off into ellipses in future.

Well, huh, am I really supposed to make a black-and-white morality call on this guy?  I don’t actually feel very comfortable doing that.  Guess I’ll see what’s been written for both.

Hell, it turns out?  Is nasty.  Worse than baseball even.  I’ll tell you that one for free.

Oh, these guys were my shoulder angel and devil!  I guess your shoulder angel and devil are paired up for eternity and someone else gets them when you die, like buddy cops.  (You know how someone else gets your buddy cops when you die.)

So, yeah, hmm, I am not sure how I felt about that.  In the heaven ending, you are the greatest guy, and everyone is so happy that you’ve cured them, which reads to me like heaven is a place of blissful denial.  In the hell ending, well, hell sucks.  Your patients are miserable and they take turns tormenting you endlessly, which is the flip side of the heaven coin.  Neither of those seem like just rewards for a guy who (per my interpretation of his actions) justified morally questionable decisions by genuinely believing, as is the human wont, that he was doing the right thing.  So I’m left kinda unsure what the point of the exercise was.

I enjoyed it while it was going on, though.  Except the puzzles were too hard for me and I think I broke a nail.

Oh, and the NPCs could have known about more topics, really.  And um what is another thing I should complain about, while I am complaining?  I’m hungry.  Grrr.

One comment

  1. There’s actually a third option other than heaven and hell, but it doesn’t really improve things.

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