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All Roads

by Jon Ingold profile

Historical/Time Travel
2001

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5 star:
(27)
4 star:
(55)
3 star:
(26)
2 star:
(5)
1 star:
(7)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 13
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
only for men (straight men), March 6, 2016
the story is full of cheap gamer clichés, where the person who plays it is in charge of pretty willing women. it is not considered that a woman plays this game. and of course it is for sad poor gamer boys who need storys where pretty pretty women are yours.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An intricate and beautiful story with its hardest puzzle at the beginning, February 3, 2016
I've recently replayed many of Jon Ingold's games, and I am very impressed with his writing. This game is probably his best story. There are some puzzles, but you are generally held by the hand and walked through them (except at the beginning, but the game basically gives up and lets you through if you don't get it).

The real puzzle in this game is trying to figure out what is really going on. Ingold knows exactly how much to say to make something cool and how little to say to keep your imagination interested.

This is a fantasy (and possibly sci-fi) game following an assassin who is trying to escape his hanging. Not only do you the player not know what is going on at first, your character doesn't either! Your mutual journey of discovery makes the game exciting.

If you get stuck on the first puzzle, don't sweat it. This is a story, and the puzzles are just side thoughts. If you prefer puzzles but enjoy his writing, Jon Ingold's Muldoon Legacy is a huge puzzle fest, much bigger than Curses! or MIT Zork.

Good for intro to IF, January 15, 2016
by 24Fanatic (Charlotte, NC)
I'm new to IF, as I just (re)discovered it this week. I remember my cousins playing the ZORK titles when they first came out when I was a kid. All Roads has wonderful writing and storytelling, and for that I applaud Jon Ingold. The only thing I found slightly disappointing was the lack of organic movement or being allowed to actually decide what happens next. After playing all the way through the story, I thought, "That was pretty cool, and fun! Now I wonder what'll happen when I do this...?"

So I started over, and made a completely different decision in one of the rooms by NOT picking up an item before I left. After I exited the room, I checked my inventory, and to my surprise, I was carrying the very item I had intentionally left behind! Oh well, at least it was entertaining the first time through...

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Did not like, January 30, 2015
In some games, a goal is to figure out what the goal is. This is one of those games (I think), but I found the play more frustrating than fun. There was no hint of explaining why you apparently have no recollection of what you are doing or why/how things happen. I was left with the impression that the gaps in the story were to cover over the lack of an explanation and not to enhance the feel of the story.

I also was not a fan of the forced action. There are a few puzzles in the game, but not enough to make for fun play to me. This game would clearly be better for people who prefer the "fiction" and not the "interactive" in "interactive fiction." I felt like I was just mashing "wait" over and over and being force fed exposition at times.

I'm giving it a low score because of my own preferences. The commands and play seem well-executed, but it's just not my cup of tea at all. I expect people who favor these sorts of stories will really like this one.

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Fantastic game!, January 10, 2015
by Chai Hai (Kansas City KS)
I loved this! I just finished it and I still have no idea what just happened. Fantastic use of magic? Time travel? Paradoxes? Dimension hopping?

You are a man. Who every frequently gets whisked away by the darkness, and put into another place. Now you have a noose around your neck! Escape and clear your name somehow!

The story was fantastic, although confusing at parts. The puzzles were straightforward, though I did glance at the walkthrough in the beginning.

Overall, fantastic game! I would love to see more missions from this character, or perhaps the similar woman? Either way, it was a fun way to do a mission, and I would gladly do more.

Bravo!

Dark and winding, March 16, 2014
by Macaroni-cheese (The Village)
I really enjoyed this game. I don't know how often I would play it again. You did kind of jut from one place to the other without a reason why. I would recommend for beginners as it was not too difficult. It was the perfect length with the right amount of puzzles. Jon Ingold really does go the extra mile with his games.

A Jumble of Interesting Ideas, April 3, 2012
by Jim Kaplan (Jim Kaplan has a room called the location. The location of Jim Kaplan is variable.)
Related reviews: jon ingold
Play it if: you love the mindscrew genre, because this more than qualifies, or you prefer largely puzzle-less, narrative-heavy IF.

Don't play it if: you want to see the gameplay tie in with or match the bizarre narrative satisfactorily; if you prefer not to get involved in stories which tread the line between depth and obscurantism.

It's a shame that I couldn't give All Roads a higher score, because there are a lot of ideas here to like. Unfortunately, they're not organized particularly well, leaving me feeling rather frustrated at the end of the game.

Part of the problem is in implementing the main theme as expressed in the title. As with the old saying, Jon Ingold seems to want all choices and actions to converge on one inescapable ending. Which is fine if properly done. But here, the game is not capable of subtly prodding the player into committing the necessary deeds or providing the logic for this convergence. It has to actively force you, the player, to play out its desires, either through making the protagonist do things for unclear reasons (Spoiler - click to show)such as having to sign the guestbook or take the ring from the desk or making the protagonist carry out certain actions without duly reporting them to the player (Spoiler - click to show)(such as signing the guestbook incorrectly). The most irritating sequence in this regard comes (Spoiler - click to show)during the second visit to the Denizen, where the game loses all interactivity instead of finding some way of convincing the player to repeat his or her actions.

The story as a whole is a little too confusing for my tastes. The withholding of certain details, such as any real response to the "x me" command, felt like the game was trying to force mystery where it shouldn't have existed. In Adam Cadre's 9:05, this worked because the game conditioned the player from turn one not to expect...the thing that they weren't supposed to expect. Here, though, the game is explicitly a mystery, and a really good mystery works not by withholding information, but by withholding the key to how that information fits together.

Basically, it feels like the game needs to blatantly cheat its player to get its story across; and I'll take the cruelty of old Infocom over that feeling any day.

Again, it's a real shame I can't really recommend this game much, because it has a lot of positives: the tight prose, the reasonably well-rendered setting, and some core ideas that could have gone a long way if marshaled correctly. (Spoiler - click to show)I guess I'm just still holding out for a game that can enforce the Novikov Self-Consistency Principle without brute force. Ah well. Better luck next time in the genre.

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
A big meta-puzzle in an alternate Venice, August 29, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
By now we have all become familiar with films that give us a narrative that is somehow cut up -- either in space, or in time, or in levels of reality -- and then ask us to sort it all out into a coherent story. Memento is an obvious example, as are Donnie Darko, Inception and eXistenZ. These films are like puzzles, in that we are constantly coming up with theories and testing them against what is happening on the screen.

Jon Ingold's All Roads falls firmly within this genre. It presents us with scenes taking place in an alternate Venice, where the Guard fights against the Resistance. We take the role of an assassin who is about to be hanged, but suddenly manages to escape in what appears to be a supernatural way. The rest of the game consists of weird shifts in place and time, troublesome identities, and the player trying to understand what on Earth is going on.

So, is it any good? On the positive side, the story is complicated and yet coherent enough to excite interest and engage our intellect. We theorise, we adopt and discard theories, and the clear-headed reader will have a pretty good idea of what was going on once he has finished the game. One will certainly have had fun.

On the negative side, however, it must be mentioned that All Roads is a bit too complex for its own good. The central plot could have done with at least one identity less. (Spoiler - click to show)Did we really need to have both the assassin as a disembodied ghost and his brother? A confusion between two identities would have been complicated enough, but now we in fact have three identities. This would have made it easier to solve a story that now appears to be wilfully obscure.

Another negative point is that the game sometimes goes out of its way to hide clues from the player. Not only will some crucial information only be found by players who do non-obvious actions, it is also the case that some clues are actively withheld from you. The "x me" command is particularly bad in this respect. While I can see why the author was hesitant in supplying a more helpful response to such a command, I do not think it was the right decision. It is better to make the central puzzle easier than to tell you players "sure, if I told you this stuff that you should just be able to examine, you could solve the puzzle; but I'm not going to!"

That said, it is still easy to love All Roads. Anyone interested in IF should give it a whirl.

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Good idea, bad result, November 21, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Bad, linear, roads, time
'wow'! What a great idea' I thought, 'an adventure all about switching through time'!
Turns out that this was horribly developed.
1. The characters were so flat it wasn't funny. The characters were usually only seen once or twice, not nearly enough time to do anything with their personalities. The main character was so hopelessly pathetic, and ill developed. He spent most of his time getting captured, moping, then trying to escape, and doing nothing of free will. There is no fun in that.
2. This story was too linear. I'm actually a fan of fairly linear adventures, but this was pitiful. There were hardly any puzzles in this whole work and to make matters worse, you got no control over what the character does. You do one obvious thing and it leads you to another obvious thing. It was infuriating how every action you did, it took you on a completely scripted part.
3.the plot was not terrible though, but take out the character dimension, and the free will and you get nothing
Note: this rating is not included in the game's average.

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting ... but confused, November 15, 2010
by Stumpy (A maze of twisty little passages, all alike (apart from the one I'm currently in))
An interesting experiment in storytelling, this isn't your typical brand of puzzle solving adventure title (there was only really one puzzle in the whole game).

The focus here is on telling the story and taking the reader through it.

The story begins with the protagonist on the hangman's block waiting to be executed, with no idea how, or why, they are there. It then proceeds through a number of seemingly disjointed episodes before coming full-circle with a twist.

Personally I enjoyed the experience, but the major flaw lies in the lack of character development through the telling. Yes, we learn what the protagonist's stock in trade is, and why he's there and what he's doing, but there's no real development of his character or background which for me left the experience lacking a little.

I also found the disjointedness of the scenes to be both confusing and disorienting to begin with. It was only after the story had progressed to a significant degree that the pieces began to fit together (helped by some gratuitous hint dropping in the narrative).

Overall though, a recommended try.


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