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About the StoryYou are a senior investigator with the police force of what is basically a totalitarian state. On a world where nearly all forms of crime are punishable by execution, you have been called on to investigate someone who has been unlawfully killed. From the initial investigation it clearly looks like an accident and your superior is very keen for you to close the case. You decide to dig a little deeper and it is then that you uncover something that should probably have been better left hidden.
10th Place - 12th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2006)
Nominee, Best Setting - 2006 XYZZY Awards
You're a robot on a world of robots. A robot has been terminated without authorization and you need to find out why. Despite the setting, this is fundamentally a hard boiled detective story as you find out the dark secret that the murder is covering up. It's an interesting twist, and I enjoyed it. The game has a number of flaws, but it's still fun. I enjoyed playing detective and uncovering the dark secret.
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An ok game, though not a good representative of the Orwellian genre., August 16, 2016
Despite the fact that your character repeatedly disobeys orders from his superior, who is, from the start, obviously involved in a secret conspiracy, doesn’t hold water with the supposed background. By the time you are first targeted for assassination its really too little too late. This follows later when, in the end, (Spoiler - click to show)your superior (the traitor) has a sudden change of heart, inspired by your mindless devotion to the law, and has himself and his associates terminated.
I have to admit one of the biggest problems the author has with this story is the fact that all the characters are robots of different kinds. It seems though that a decision was never really whether to treat them as robots – computerised, logical, etc – or to anthropomorphise them and treat them as humans. Instead, we are left with an awkward half and half. Our character spends most of the game as a classic robot – reciting laws by number and only interested in pursuing his duty. Most other robots we meet act the same, particularly the ones that help you.
Whilst we’re faced with mostly-computer robots, we’re then asked to believe that elsewhere other robots are gambling in illegal clubs and enjoying themselves in debauchery common only to humans, as well as starting and participating in religious cults. As well as this, our superior and his superior are (Spoiler - click to show)traitors who seek to bring robots with weapons into the colony, the reason for which is not entirely obvious. I assume it benefits them in some way, because they are not at all worried about breaking the law and killing people/robots to get their way.
In the end you save the day, but you’re not really 100% sure what it is you saved, if it was worth saving, or why we should care. I didn’t find it particularly engaging or logical. Technically speaking, the game ran well with no obvious bugs I could see. The puzzles that had to be overcome fit with the story well and didn’t feel contrived or out of place. Except for as mentioned earlier, the characters were well characterised in that they were consistent.
Worth playing, but not brilliant.
Review originally published on Silicon dreams during the 2006 Interactive Fiction Contest
All the same, I found this strangely enjoyable. The robot protagonists develop personality and humanity as the game proceeds, and there were some unexpectedly touching moments.
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Now everyone is gone. (Well, almost everyone.) Entry in ECTOCOMP 2014.
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