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The Plant

by Michael J. Roberts profile

Espionage/Science Fiction
1998

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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 5
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1-5 of 5


Like the statue with feet of clay and iron, February 3, 2016
There is an old story about a man who dreamed of a giant statue with feet made of clay mingled with iron, symbolizing strength mixed with weakness. This game really made me think of that image.

First, the iron: It is a mid-length game with three large portions to explore (though you can always return to a previous area). The implementation is good, and the story is pretty fun; I was excited when I first began to plan because I enjoy a good action game.

The puzzles seem overwhelming at first, but experimentation soon shows that the gameworld is more limited than it seems, which makes it easier to solve the puzzles.

The puzzles include a variety that I have never really seen in other games, especially in the introductory section.

Second, the clay: The game falls short in several areas. One is in length and size; the game feels unnecessarily small in the last two big areas. You almost expect an area about the size of Babel, but you end up with something a lot smaller.

As others have noted, the NPC implementation feels sparse after playing more modern games. Compared to Infocom games, this game does pretty good; however, having a travelling companion that has about one line for every 50-100 moves gets discouraging after a while.

I was stuck near the end, and used the walkthrough to make sure I had done everything up to that point, but somehow couldn't trigger a cutscene. I had to manually enter the walkthrough using the @ sign to get to the ending, which may have soured my reaction.

Thus, overall, I can only partially recommend this game. The first half made me ready to recommend this is another great hidden treasure, but the second half left me wondering.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Thoroughly Average, May 19, 2013
by Andromache (Hawaii)
The puzzles in this game were sensible and fair. I got stuck twice, but after discovering the solutions, I didn't feel too badly about not being able to find them. There are some red herring items that obscured some puzzles for me, and I'm not really sure why they were there when they're not really useful. Specifically, it made no sense to be able to manipulate them. I realize the point of red herrings is essentially to be useless. Made one puzzle more frustrating than it needed to be. The endgame puzzle was a bit incredible, however. Well-clued but who would expect it would have the effect it does? Couldn't suspend disbelief enough.

The story was a bit confusing and characters were pretty flat. Gameplay was good, but this isn't really a game I'd recommend to friends. This is definitely more for puzzle solvers.

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Clever, February 1, 2011
"The Plant" is a well-designed and expertly-programmed game that features some ingenious puzzles, a well-developed NPC, and a nicely-told story.

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Teeterwaller's Revenge, July 17, 2010
I'm not given to the humor of the lower bodily stratum at all, and I especially dislike flatulence jokes. At the same time, however, while stuck in this game about halfway through, I amused myself quite a bit by wondering if the author had implemented: (Spoiler - click to show)TEETERWALLER, FART UNDER VENT or ASK TEETERWALLER TO FART INTO BALLOON.

Sorry. The actual solution came to me soon afterwards, but I tell this to illustrate what I think was something of a missed opportunity in this well-constructed game. Your companion is avidly interested in what you discover, to the point that he's willing to display significant personal courage; but, in my playthrough at least, he had comparatively little to say about anything that he saw happen. I read in some earlier reviews of the game that Teeterwaller would comment on or even give you hints about some of the machinery you discover, which would seem logical, but I noticed very little of this in my playing.

Other than that quibble, however, this was a satisfying game to solve without hints. I was stuck twice, but the solutions came to me after a bit of thinking. I never quite understood what was happening with Blottnya in this storyworld, but it's possible that I didn't pay enough attention to the expository text. (It's difficult sometimes to read closely the background material when you don't know if it has something to do with the obstacle-puzzles in an interactive fiction.) I also wondered, without trying, if certain other characters in the game would respond to the linguistic discoveries you made, but I didn't really try this out.

One of my favorite books on a related idea is Roadside Picnic, and I think the way that the concept of technology transfer is presented in that novel is much more convincing, but that would have been a very different (and much darker) game.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
One of my favorites, November 22, 2007
by puzzler (Everett, Washington)
Roberts knows how to write a solid adventure game. The puzzles are challenging, but reasonable and well-clued, and integrated into the story setting. Also, as the author of TADS, the technical details of his games are generally faultless. He has several excellent games, but this is his best. I only wish he'd write more!


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