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Descriptions too short, absolutely no guidance!, Tue 17th Jun 2008
By Anonymous - See all my reviews
Sounds like a neat idea at first, but the intro immediately gives away the quality of the game. One paragraph (a poorly written one, as well) dumps you off with little or no idea on what the point of the game is.
Sure, you are supposed to get back to "Dan and Nancy’s" house, in order to rescue your family. All right, seems simple enough. Firstly, I looked around the beginning room, perhaps to fish for some clues or some kinda of atmospheric setting to start it all off. One sentence tells you about the room, describing it as "in a dark alley running east and west in the middle of a big city". I’m sorry, but especially for the very introduction to the game world, this is awful!
The other areas were logically linked together (ie. alleys going to streets, sewers linking different city roads, etc.) but sadly all lacked decent explanations! One area included a "pile of logs". Now, I don’t know if the author isn’t familiar with dynamic/static objects, but I was able to simply pick up and carry the logs! Remember, the player is a four-year old raccoon in this adventure. Not too much thought there.
After wandering about for a while, I became frustrated with the lack of descriptive items. The rooms would say things like "a barking dog is here" when there really wasn’t. Trying to "look at the dog" did absolutely nothing. Same happened with areas that claimed to have "a dumpster" and "a bum", they were supposedly in the room but had no object to allow the player to truly interact with the game’s universe.
Several characters were placed about, including "The Ratpack", whom I didn’t know how to communicate with, and "Doc", the talking catfish. Earlier, I had found a loose brick in a wall, with which I was instructed to remove it (per the room’s description). It got me a golden necklace, which in turn informed me that a "Doc" had sent me to find. Now, I would understand if Doc had previously called me over the minute I entered his room, and explained to me about a hidden trinket. But merely walking past him (I had no clue what topics he was programmed with, his description was "A large mutated Catfish with a drinking problem who is in a mourning period after losing his beloved goldfish wife to a gang of fishnapping rats.") Once I had found the necklace on my own, I tried to talk with Doc about it, and he congratulated me saying I could keep it as a gift.
I also tried talking with the first character from earlier, The Ratpack, about Doc (after struggling with him and his necklace quest). They just said he could give me guidance.
About at this point of the game, I was 100% confused and lost. Sorry, but you need to work on two things, if you are going to continue making text adventures and/or remake this one.
1. Make the player feel -inside- the locations. Being ditched into an alley with a few words about it isn’t very personal; maybe you should try to start each room with the sights, the smells, what it feels like to be standing in the place. If you can learn to appeal to the senses, you’ll become a great writer.
2. Include a bit more help for the player. You could experiment with creating a backstory for your world, even if it is only for a few characters. The very first part of the game could include a short narrative about the main possum; He could talk about missing his family, or reinforce his fear/hatred of humans. Mentioning people such as Doc would make it welcoming when the player finally stumbled upon him while exploring. Offering too much help to the player is always better than leaving them without any idea on what’s going on.
I apologize if this is too long or harsh, but I didn’t want the theme for this adventure to go to waste.