IF Comp ’08: A Date With Death (spoilers)

Time for another writing warm-up before I do some work. Today’s choice: A Date With Death, by David Whyld. This is another Adrift game, so I guess it’ll either reinforce my dislike of non-zcode games, or reinforce my dislike of Lair of the Cybercow.

Started in July 2007, Completed in September 2008
Which means a whole year’s worth of work and testing went into it, right? Oh god, I hope so.

Death is very Pratchettian, I see. Granted, it’s hard to imagine Death not speaking in all caps, once you’ve read some Discworld. I probably would have done the same.

I have to say, I quite like the writing so far (‘so far’ being the introduction). It’s amusing, but subtly so — not too jokey, doesn’t push the gags. Witty.

Huh, third in a series, eh? and I rather like the sound of the second one, in which you play an eyeball. If this turns out to be good, I may have to track that down.

Well, look at that: >verbose works properly. So apparently that problem I had with Lair of the Cybercow was not just an oddity of the Adrift system, and Cybercow gets even fewer points than I was originally going to give it. This upraised middle finger is for you, Lair of the Cybercow.

Hrolf,Your loyal bodyguards – Strug and Bark – are here.
Given that Hrolf is the name of a bodyguard and not myself (I checked), I assume this is the result of some sort of syntax error.

High Chancellor Verenor is quite the fellow. I’m surprised he hasn’t run out of people to have executed, the way he seems to get on.

> exits
You can move north, east, south and west.

Such a nice command to have available. I’d gotten so used to never being able to use it, I hadn’t even thought to try it in any of the other games in this Comp. I only did it this time because the description for this room is long enough that doing >look would’ve been kind of a pain. Bravo.

A couple misspellings here and there, both spellcheck-immune (“ill at easy”) and not (“posison”). Tsk!

Following my conversation with the chief scribe, my bodyguards have entered the room. I’m pretty sure they also entered the room before my conversation with the chief scribe. Did they wander off while I wasn’t looking?

“Whose evidence do you wish to hear, Your Highness?” asks High Chancellor Verenor.
1)        Captain Morograve.
2)        Sergeant Major Steelhead.
3)        Sergeant Vance ‘the Skullcrusher’ Deathrush.
4)        Admiral Sally.

I admit, I laughed out loud.

And then again, and another couple times while >undoing and trying different responses to the meeting. This is a funny game, and I say that as someone who makes his living writing (occasionally, hopefully) funny things.

‘Armor’ should be a synonym for ‘armour’. We have a shortage of U’s here in The States, and prefer to conserve them whenever possible.

During the potato incident, option 3 when talking to the guard gives no response, and returns to the “Who will you question?” dialog. So does 4.

Well, Death got me. Browsing though the list of hints, I see that I missed quite a lot of stuff. I think a large part of this is probably due to the fact that, given a list of topics to question Bartimony about, I didn’t try to ask him about anything else. The fact that you can (and indeed should) ask him about unlisted topics ought to be made plainer.

Anyway, all in all an excellent piece of work. Very funny and well-written, good implementation with only a couple minor little bugs, and well worth playing. In fact, like Pirates 2.0, this is one I intend to go back to and finish properly at some point.

This is definitely my favorite game so far. Violet was implemented a little more cleanly, but this one is much funnier. Well done, David Whyld.

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