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42nd Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)
-- Duncan Stevens
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
[Y]ou have a couple of NPCs, both of whom must be ASKed ABOUT three magic topics each before the game will continue. These NPCs are so minimally implemented (as is pretty much everything in the game) that they only answer to those three topics -- all others will provoke one of three random default responses. As if this extremely minimalist implementation didn't make guessing the noun difficult enough, the topics you're expected to type in sometimes verge on the ridiculous. If a character doesn't respond to ASK HIM ABOUT ADVICE, why would I expect him to respond to ASK HIM ABOUT WHAT HE WOULD DO? Of course, the game gives me an unsubtle shove in the right direction by having the character say, "Do you want to know what I would do?" But this is a pretty desultory form of interactivity. The game may as well just tell you what your next command should be, since it has no plans to respond to anything else anyway. If you think that's interactivity, you probably also think ventriloquists' dummies come up with their own punch lines.
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[...] I really do enjoy serial killer stories, and really think that this game has potential. With some reworking of the conversational style, a bit more depth to the world and the people, and perhaps a slightly longer path to the solution, I think it could have been a solid game. Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but then, what is?
-- Tina Sikorski
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I played it from the solution as I had no incentive to try to find out the correct questions to ask, but in a weird sort of way I liked it and found it to be a compelling story.
-- Dorothy Millard
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 3
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As with Rameses, your commands are often rejected or ignored by your character, whose insatiable and growing desire to commit heinous acts of violence becomes increasingly strong as the story goes on. The player is essentially cast as a desperate super-ego totally powerless in the face of a raging, terrible id. In the first segment, you can explore a small map at will, and take actions other than those leading to murder, but later, any direction you move in takes you closer to your next victim, and any attempt to escape your situation or alter what you know to be coming is rejected, even to the point of innocuous commands being eagerly understood as hurtful in intent. Descriptions are sparse and default messages brief, focusing on your victims to the exclusion of all other details: often nothing is even implemented in the world model but your victim. When you give in to your compulsion, only then does the screen erupt in pages of text, recounting the result in gruesome detail.
You also play the killer's psychiatrist and the chief investigator following the murders, and both characters are portrayed as equally railroaded and impotent. As the middle-aged woman in charge of the investigation, you must engage a misogynistic coroner in conversation even though you despise him; the psychiatrist is forced by professional code into morally ambiguous position(Spoiler - click to show) (though he's revealed at the end to be another personality of the killer, this personality doesn't seem to know about his alter ego). The implication is that these characters must play their roles in the same way the killer does: the investigator is unwilling or unable to shirk her professional duties, just as the killer can't stop killing.
The game is merciless in reducing the agency of the player even further wherever it can. Abrupt transitions between segments often immediately follow a command, before the response is printed, creating confusion and helplessness; exits are universally omitted from room descriptions with similar effect. Likewise, the available topics in the conversation system are obscured, and only discernable through annoying suggestions from the other characters, meaning you can only engage with them on their terms, not your own. All these factors add to the sense of impotence in the face of the unfolding events, and connect the gameplay aspects even down to the level of parser with the themes of the story.
Even if you're willing to buy into this meta-gameplay, 1-2-3 has problems, including a predictable plot twist and some less-polished writing in its second half, and many people will be understandably turned off by the subject matter alone. More than the graphic violence, though, the game disturbs because of its unflinching look into the minds of people who feel helpless to alter the course of their lives. It's not a lot of fun to play this game, but that's probably the point.
A graphic rape and murder game with long story segments, August 1, 2016
The writing is free of errors, and unfortunately too descriptive. The game tells you what conversation topics to ask about, but it feels clunky and hard to get right.
The story is not particularly clever, but it has some twists.
The story is about a girl who had just gotten murdered, Riessa, a 21-year-old from the country, just moved into the city. She was killed and slightly mutilaited by some mad person. It switches to go into the officer whose on the case, talking to her colleagues Sergant Bob and Doctor Aaron, trying to put pieces of the puzzle together to solve the crime. It goes like this for most of the game, switching between the murderer and the officer on his trail.
The game can be a tad confusing, with some words or phrases not working when you think they will. This leads to bits where you really have to think what you're going to type in, with some synomyms not working, and the hints they give you being a bit misleading. I used the walkthrough for some parts of the game, mainly when you where the officer, those being the harder parts of the game.
In the end, I found this to be a very pleasing if not short game, with the story of Riessa's murder being just like any other crime story, just with the switching of narrators and of the gruesome murder.
If you enjoyed 1-2-3......
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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 23 March 2013 at 7:26am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item