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Cursor  Member Reviews - Unauthorized Termination v1.0 ZIP

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
  Definitely not a rotter, Fri 19th Aug 2011
By David Whyld - See all my reviews

I’ll start with a disclaimer that I was a tester for this game so reviewing it was complicated by the fact that I had already seen what it had to offer, yet had to play it through again just to see what had changed. I won’t list the changes I noticed between the first version I played and the finished IFComp version (that wouldn’t be fair), except to mention that they improve the game play side of things quite significantly. A number of annoyances I noticed have been fixed and another aspect of the game changed entirely for the better.

In “Unauthorised Termination”, you play the part of Epsilon-Beta, a senior examiner at the Centre of Examination on the planet of Morbian. A senior examiner seems to be some kind of investigator/executioner for those who break the law and need to be punished. And this is in a society where almost every crime is punished by termination. The ‘unauthorised’ termination of the game’s title involves the death of one Gamma-Sigma which you are assigned to look into. Only when you start to investigate the death, you find there's more to it than meets the eye.

Where the game excels is in its depiction of the aliens who, for a change, actually seem genuinely alien and not just thinly-disguised humans with silly names. In appearance they are robotic and have little warmth and personality, but rather than hinder them it made them seem all the more believable. Their strange liking of simple personal belongings, appropriate to their level of achievement, is another nice touch. In a world where even the powerful seem to make do with nothing more lavish than a single, barely furnished room, I guess a pebble or rock seems like something to aim for.

Travel is via teleporters for the most part, as the game is broken up into many smaller parts making conventional travel only possible in a limited number of locations. Using the teleporters is easy, though can sometimes be frustrating as, for example, the teleporter from one location will only allow access to certain other locations, and the teleporters from there only allow access to certain others, and so on… So it’s sometimes a pain finding the teleporter you need to reach location X when you're at location Y and quite often you'll need to visit A, B, C, D, etc, before finding the teleporter which leads to where you want to go.

I preferred the setting of this game to that of the writer’s IFComp entry of 2005 – “Escape To New York” – and found myself preferring the main character as well, even though I was playing the part of an emotionless robot. Uncovering what has happened to Gamma-Sigma, and the larger conspiracy that you stumble on during the investigation, is quite straightforward to begin with, though gets difficult further on in the game. The more of the game that opens up via the teleporters, the harder it is to find your way around. I wasted more than a few moves at one point in the game going back and forth from one teleporter to another trying to figure out what I needed to do next. Fortunately, help is provided and this gives you just enough information to get past the harder parts.

“Unauthorised Termination” wasn’t my favourite game of the IFComp, but it was a nice enough game in its own right and the setting was certainly a refreshing one after the rather mundane settings of so many of the other entries.


0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
 
  Nice sci-fi game with a few issues near the end, Thu 17th Mar 2022
By Denk - See all my reviews

(ADRIFT 4 game - do NOT play it with ADRIFT 5 Runner)
The game starts out with an atmospheric introduction which later on is replaced with some rather cold descriptions but that is intended in a world consisting of robots. Still, there is something more underneath some of the NPCs apparently insensitive personalities.

This sci-fi game is pretty well constructed, except perhaps some difficulties near the ending and a bug that could make objects disappear unintentionally - in other words, don't put anyting on the Interrogator (an object called "interrogator).

Parser: 8/10
I had no guess-the-verb situations. My only trouble with the parser was som ambiguities. They turned out not to be important to the puzzles but the player can't know that for sure, before they complete the game.

Atmosphere: 7/10
The introduction was very well written and sets the tone but later the intended coldness of the robots take over. Still, it can become very sterile. There are some indications of feelings though, once in a while.

Cruelty: Polite
Perhaps merciful? I think it is possible to run out of battery, if you don't recharge often, but it didn't happen to me, so I am not sure.

Puzzles: 7/10
Several good puzzles, though a few seemed a bit confusing, especially near the end. Near the end I needed a hint and typing HINT game me exactly the hint I needed. So the hint system appears to be well constructed. Most puzzles are about information so TALK TO characters and ASK ABOUT is very important. But near the end it seems that the author could not anticipate all the different orders in which things could be done, so some of the responses seemed a bit off.

Overall: 8/10
Overall a good game with a few technical issues and design issues but nothing critical.

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