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23rd Place - 14th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2008)
When I first loaded up The Lucubrator, I had no idea what the title meant, though it sounded enticingly pornographic. One visit to dictionary.com later, and I determined it meant "one who engages in laborious work, study, thought, etc., especially at night." This is an apt title in only two ways: 1) Killing people and eating their brains is probably hard work, and 2) It was way too much of a chore playing this game. (by Nate Dovel)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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It's a solid premise, a solid idea, and a solid piece of short fiction. But not *interactive* fiction. I imagine the author taking their pre-written text and, every few lines, inserting "Can you guess what happened next?" and a command prompt. Of course you can't guess, you can't read the author's mind, but this is exactly what is expected of you. Totally unclued actions have to be guessed and entered with the exact syntax at exactly the right moment (one move early and its "violence is not the answer to ths one" - even though it specifically *is* the answer).
Despite this, it's actually a compelling tale with an unusual, interesting ending, so I'd recommend you play it, but with walkthru in hand. Much like the old laserdisc arcade game Dragon's Lair where you had to bash buttons to make the story progress, it's an entertaining romp, so long as you're not actually *playing* it.
Lucubrator continues like this: great sequences that are a little rough around the edges but otherwise rather unlike anything you'll have experienced in an IF game before - and which unfortunately can only be solved by doing unusual actions at exactly the right time, not just unprompted, but sometimes in direct contradiction of the game's text. The ideas themselves are brilliant - if gruesome - and I don't want to spoil any of the over-the-top feats of murderous carnage you get up to, but I don't see how anyone could actually come up with them without first resorting to the walkthrough.
Lucubrator reminds me a lot of some of George A. Romero's more obscure films - The Crazies, for example: rough, low-budget, slightly creaky, but also rather inspired and deranged. Whether this kind of B-movie splatterpunk game is your thing is something that only you can know for sure.
An interesting game with some implementation difficulties., August 6, 2016
This game is short, with 3 total points to earn. However, the sequence of actions necessary to get those points is arbitrary and difficult to come up with on one's one. This is further muddled by implementation bugs (especially the 'violence isn't the answer to this one' me tinned in other reviews).
I recommend playing this one with the walkthrough.
This is version 3 of this page, edited by Nate Dovel on 13 July 2009 at 12:22pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item