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House of the Stalker

by Jason Clayton White

Horror
1996

(based on 4 ratings)
2 member reviews

About the Story

An escaped serial killer is loose in the neighbourhood. Even worse, he might be in your house. Or was that smashing sound something to do with the cat?
[--blurb from The Z-Files Catalogue]

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Baf's Guide ID: 202
IFID: ZCODE-1-960930-C00D
TUID: c4gq9drlxwiu1a9h

Awards

23rd Place - 2nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (1996)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


An escaped homicidal maniac is somewhere in your house, and you must kill or be killed. Gameplay consists of first collecting all the items you'll need, then using them all, in the right order, when the killer attacks - hesitate, or find yourself lacking an item, and you die. Ostensibly a parody of slasher films, although this doesn't come across very well. A little buggy. Contains a hint menu and embedded copies of Freefall and Robots.

-- Carl Muckenhoupt

IF-Review
Don't Go Violent On This Review
The writing is sloppy (although the style cracked me up) and the code, buggy. I actually refrained from including other bits of text because I didn't want to spoil all of its `jokes', which aren't as numerous as I recalled. Still, as clichéd as games like these are, they carry that spark of inspiration that most `this is my apartment' and `treasure quest' games lack, and sometimes that's enough to win a place in your heart.

-- Jonathan Blask
See the full review

SPAG
The atmosphere never feels particularly creepy, as in "Theatre", mainly because the game constantly jokes about the psycho who's probably downstairs right now waiting to kill you. The puzzles deal primarily with doing the right thing to the stalker at the right time, which means there's a lot of "guess what I'm thinking" to wade through.

-- C.E. Forman
See the full review

SynTax
I'm sure the author wasn't aiming for this effect at all, but somehow my game character was so...so...IRRITATING. But then you can always bump your character off by ambling outside to where the stalker is lurking, and get yourself killed. This provided quite a good substitute ending for me, when I realized I was unable to finish STALKER due to the suspected bug.

-- Bev Truter
See the full review

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Member Reviews

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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 2
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A slasher game that doesn't work well, December 1, 2010
I really liked the rooms and the atmosphere of the game. However, it just didn't work well.

When examining items, there seemed to be descriptions missing that would clue you in, to how the items worked. You can open certain things without knowing that they can be opened. You can take things, from one room and come back, and sometimes the item is still listed in the same room.

In addition, there are some non-standard verbs that are used to complete the game. I have some experience playing IF, but thought that some of the verbs would have been difficult to guess on my own. I also ran into a bug when I played where it asked "The pistol or the squirt gun?" I would answer squirt gun and it would loop back again asking what I wanted to squirt. When answered this, it came back to "The pistol or the squirt gun?" It got stuck in a infinite loop like this. This hindered me for completing and making progress in the game before I resorted to hints.

So, I tried to complete the game using the hint system, but was unable too. I must admit that I was frustrated at this point and simply tried the actions listed on the hints, but I must have did them in the wrong order. I would try to win the game only to be killed. I suppose I could try this game again, trying to figure out the proper order, but by this time, the game lost it's fun for me. I will wait for a walkthrough of the game to see what I missed.

The game could have used better cluing, so that you would know to do certain things when.

I really liked the concept of the game and atmosphere. I wanted to like it, but was disappointed by the bugs and inconsistency of the gameplay.

A shortish parser game in a house, trying to avoid a killer, May 18, 2016
In this game, a serial killer is on the loose, and you have to try and make it out alive.

The game is unpolished, with many unimplemented synonyms and some illogical responses at times.

The writing is somewhat descriptive, but most of the effort goes into making the narrator snarky and insulting towards the player.

This keeps the game from having a strong emotional impact, as it constantly tells you you are dumb or that you don't deserve easy solutions. Also, the final sequence of required actions is somewhat tasteless.

The puzzles are generally "guess what the author is thinking", and I don't plan on playing it again.

The author did put a lot of effort in this game, but I feel that an author that is antagonistic towards the player should reasonably expect negative feedback.

House of the Stalker on IFDB

Recommended Lists

House of the Stalker appears in the following Recommended Lists:

"My apartment" games by MathBrush
It's a trope in interactive fiction that first time author's tend to model their own home or apartment in detail as an experiment in programming. To see if this trope is true, I've created a list of 'my apartment' games. Because in most...

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