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Nominee, Best Story - 2004 XYZZY Awards
"The Cabal is a hilarious and highly polished game, one that should be played by anybody who has more than a passing interest in interactive fiction." (Greg Boettcher)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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The problem with it is its huge self-indulgence. This is a work, now several years old, about contemporary rec.arts.int-fiction politics. It is peppered with endless references to newsgroup personalities and squabbles that people outside the IF community are unlikely to understand, and even for those of us who were around at the time, it ages badly. A few years down the line, it's likely to need a critical commentary to make sense.
I would not replay this game. It was well-implemented, characters were stock and more plot device, but while I am enough of an IF gamer that I understood what was meant by story-based versus puzzle-based, I am not enough of an insider to appreciate the inspiration for this game and what it's poking fun at. The tie-ins with real-world conspiracy organizations helped to understand the story, but if there are any Freemasons, etc, they probably shouldn't play this. I know of RAIF, RGIF, etc, but I think this game appeals only to a small group of IF authors/players. Perhaps I could have rated the game higher if I were part of the "Cabal." :)
The action was well paced, never let me get bored. I did get stuck for a while on a few of the puzzles (there's not that many), but given time to relax and think about them I could work them out.
The setting and story telling in it I liked, finding it easy to immerse myself into Stephen's variation on reality. (Spoiler - click to show)I liked the many references to the Illuminatus. I'll probably play it again to see if there is much variation if I do things differently.
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