Home | Profile - Edit | Your Page | Your Inbox Browse | Search Games   |   Log In

Download



metamorp.z5
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
metamorp.z5
original competition entry
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
metawalk.txt
Walkthrough
fracture.z5
"Fracture" is a modified version of the game, for which source code was released.
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
Story File in Russian
Contains metamorpR.z5
Translation by Vsevolod Zoubarev.
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links. (Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.)

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page

Metamorphoses

by Emily Short profile

Fantasy
2000

(based on 88 ratings)
7 member reviews

About the Story

You wake to stillness. The hammering, banging, and shouting that kept you awake half the night are gone. The air is cold, and something smells burnt. Your master's experiments must be finished, but with what result?

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Release 4
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 6
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
Baf's Guide ID: 910
IFIDs:  ZCODE-1-010306-26A5
ZCODE-4-020222-9606
ZCODE-1-000930-7CB0
ZCODE-4-091015-4AFC
TUID: j61yaux1cqbptxyb

Awards

Winner, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 2000 XYZZY Awards

2nd Place overall; 3rd Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)

23rd Place - Interactive Fiction Top 50 of all time (2015 edition)

Editorial Reviews

Baf's Guide


You're a slave girl on a mission of sorts for your master, though it's difficult to say what the mission is. The game's world is split between the literal and the figurative, and most of what you accomplish is significant more on the symbolic than on the concrete level. Idealized forms are a key thematic element, and most of the puzzles revolve around the transformation of those forms. The game provides two devices that can transform various objects, and the range and complexity of the transformations handled is impressive--the objects, by and large, behave sensibly in all their various forms. There are lots of puzzle solutions and a wide variety of endings, and the game manages to both tell a story and allow ample freedom in exploration. Beautifully described and impressively thoughtful.

-- Duncan Stevens

SPAG
The world where all this takes place is only indirectly related to the ordinary physical world, and the relationship parallels other elements in the plot. Idealized forms play an important part: two statues of a man and a woman are described in ways that suggest Greek sculpture, and perfect solids are central to the story. Essences are important as well: virtually every object is made of a single elemental substance (wood, glass, metal, etc.), and you have the power to alter those substances in certain ways. Symmetry is everywhere (in the game's map, and elsewhere as well), and the multiplicity of mirrors suggests the reflection and introspection that are central to the plot. (Likewise, the idealized forms suggest the absolutes that make up the plot.)
-- Duncan Stevens
See the full review

SynTax
It has great atmosphere and is very well written. Metamorphoses takes place in an otherworldly realm, a plane obliquely linked with the physical world, to which you have been sent on an errand. [...] The game abounds with breathtaking imagery and there are many nooks and crannies to explore.
-- Dorothy Millard
See the full review

>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page

There are puzzles, yes, but almost every puzzle seems to have alternate solutions, and even better, these alternate solutions make perfect sense within the game's magical logic. Moreover, Metamorphoses provides much space for play and experimentation, especially through the use of a couple of devices that can effect startling and fascinating transformations on most of the objects in the game. The potential of these devices is so vast, and their effects implemented so thoroughly, that I could easily have spent the two hour judging period just playing with them and experimenting with the results. In fact, the game is coded so well that for a moment it gave me a flash of that wonderful sense I used to get when I first started playing interactive fiction, the sense that here is a world where anything can happen, and anything I try can elicit a magical, transformative response. Of course, that feeling breaks down quickly and inevitably when something I attempt isn't accounted for, but just for that moment of wonder it gave me, I won't forget Metamorphoses for a very long time.
See the full review

Gaming Enthusiast
Just check out it and see for yourself, Metamorphoses is an experience that is hard to forget.
-- Toddziak
See the full review

Tags

- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)
(Log in to add your own tags)

Member Reviews

5 star:
(47)
4 star:
(28)
3 star:
(9)
2 star:
(2)
1 star:
(2)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 7
Write a review


Most Helpful Member Reviews


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Puzzles, Plato and Purification, June 26, 2008
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
Imagine a puzzle game making strong use of a set of simulationist rules about materials and sizes. Imagine a game set in the only partly material laboratory of a Renaissance magus. And imagine a game where the player character attempts to escape from bondage through spiritual purification.

If you can imagine all of those together, you have imagined Metamorphoses.

It is not just a strange game, it is also a very good game. The writing is impeccable and Short effectively weaves together the PCs current exploits with a more emotionally gripping backstory. The puzzles mostly aren't too hard, and all seem to have multiple solutions. The atmosphere is simply great. And there is also true progression in the story, as the PC purifies herself and finally chooses her own fate.

It is also a short game, and you'll probably play through it in two hours. That does mean that the backstory remains very sketchy, and the story doesn't get the emotional resonance that it might have gotten in a longer game. (I would have liked to see the Master in-game, for instance.) The multiple endings don't really work, since you choose between in your last move and that means that everyone is going to Undo and try out the other ones immediately (right?). And there were one or two details in the setting which I felt didn't really fit into the Universe of Renaissance Platonism.

But all in all, these are insignificant complaints compared to the virtues of the game. If you like puzzles, Plato and purification, you should not give this piece a miss.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
The Woman Who Became an Idea, January 19, 2013
by ifailedit (arkansas)
There may be few new things to say, twelve years later, about Ms. Short's "Metamorphoses," a well-reviewed short story concerned with magic, freedom, and one's idea of self. Other reviewers correctly invoke various Platonic (neo-Platonic) concepts explored in the game, though such invocations may create the inaccurate impression that "Metamorphoses" requires more than a surface-level understanding of such subjects. It most assuredly does not, thank goodness, which permits it to be fun and entertaining IF.

In terms of fun and entertainment, a number of well-implemented contraptions inhabit the small world of this game, and efforts were clearly made to allow the reader to interact in ways that will not advance the story, serving instead to enrich the experience. Additional trouble was taken to allow a number of solutions to the puzzles encountered. The author's approach, here, is a vast improvement over that of her Zorkian predecessors, where only the thing needed to solve a puzzle could be used in conjunction with a piece of machinery, unless another object could produce a humorous result, as identified by the "Have You Tried...." section of any InvisClues hint booklet.

There aren't any such laughs in this game, and, in fact, the terse prose and repeated references to the protagonist's unhappy life of servitude result in a story that is, clearly, Serious Business. I appreciated the consistency in tone, though I found the equally serious quotes that occasionally appeared at the top of the screen to be a distraction, and attempted to imagine, say, "The Bear" by William Faulkner occasionally studded with quotations, even good or relevant quotations--my imagination failed. "Metamorphoses" and "The Bear" have little in common (save perhaps good writing and a fondness for universal symbolism), but neither requires such external interjection. In a similar grain, the *** Finis *** text at the conclusion(s) seemed an unnecessary suggestion that we take the piece seriously.

Since other fine writers employ such tactics from time to time, such complaints may be mere personal dislike rather than a question of craft.

Like other reviewers, I found the backstory to be lightly developed, and this seemed more weakness than effective artistic ambiguity. One might argue that, in the sterile world of Platonic idealism, any provided personal viscera might be out of place. However, I think more personal detail offered near the beginning of the story, gradually diminishing as the protagonist grows ever closer to becoming something more than actual, might better illuminate the dramatic nature of her transformation.

These, though, are all complaints that one only mentions when discussing a particularly good piece written by a particularly talented person. I immensely enjoyed the flexibility in the puzzles and in the endings. The magic that does occur evokes wonder without ever telling the reader that he or she is experiencing wonder, just like any good piece of writing should. The puzzles themselves are intuitive in a way that provides some satisfying "ah-ha" moments. The scoring system, if I should call it that, seems novel even in 2012, and finally deducing what it means provides yet another pleasant feeling of discovery. "Metamorphoses," for such a short work, generously provides many such moments.

Highly recommended.

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Ah... I love a bit of metaphysics in the morning, November 30, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Puzzles
Not only is this one of Emily Short's best works ( along with bronze, check it out), but this is a sure candidate for one of the best adventures ever. The story was bleak to say the least, with just a few hints here and there, but it works wonders for the mysterious story. You know that you're a slave sent by your master for some mission, but you slowly accumulate the story as you go along. And yes, it's one heck of a story too. Brilliant characters, brilliant story, great puzzles and the philosophy was top.
The main character, a slave is relatively unknown except for the flashbacks we have in the game. The game though focuses more on the puzzles and the philosophy though than the character, but the little we do know bought the protagonist really strengthens the plot.
The puzzles are really neat in many ways. They fit the magic that you feel in the story, in the sense that none of the puzzles feel forced, but feel like they should be there. Also unlike many adventures, the puzzles are solvable in many different ways, so the game is repeatable. These puzzles are genius. However even with the 5 star rating, not everything was perfect. I found that two puzzles in particular (Spoiler - click to show)the oven and the ball were impossible if you did a small bit wrong. Ah well, I saved. In short though, the puzzles were fair.
On a side note, I loved the Plato mixed in with the story, well actually the main part of the story, aka. The 5th element. Makes me want to read Plato again.
Note: this rating is not included in the game's average.

See All 7 Member Reviews

If you enjoyed Metamorphoses...

Related Games

Other members recommend these games for people who like Metamorphoses, or gave both high ratings:

With Those We Love Alive, by Porpentine and Brenda Neotenomie
Average member rating: (47 ratings)
no dreams written by porpentine scored by brenda neotenomie

Stationfall, by Steve Meretzky
Average member rating: (33 ratings)
What a trotting krip! Since your incredible heroics in Planetfall, where you risked life and limb to save the planet Resida, things have hardly changed at all. Sure, you were promoted to Lieutenant First Class, but this only meant that...

Till Death Makes a Monk-Fish Out of Me, by Mike Sousa and Jon Ingold
Average member rating: (29 ratings)
Dr. Taylor's looking worried. Dr. Kurner's looking exhausted. Zak is grinning with glee. Today is the big day, and you're about to try out the crowning experiment of your life, and in AtlantisLab's chequered history. It's just a shame...

Suggest a game

Recommended Lists

Metamorphoses appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Fun for Beginners by Raksab
These are games that a newcomer to IF might enjoy. They are well-implemented, not too frustrating, and help give a general idea of what kinds of things IF can do.

Plot-Driven IF by Andromache
Some of my absolute favorite games.

IF For Libraries by pwaak
I have examined the licensing and reviews for these games. They all conform to the selection policy of a typical public library in Texas. Your mileage may vary. Academic libraries may consider this list conservative while school...

See all lists mentioning this game

Polls

The following polls include votes for Metamorphoses:

Sublime Moments by Sam Kabo Ashwell
I've been thinking about games that provide really brilliant moments. This is not about the overall quality of the game: there are plenty of excellent games that never deliver a clear, standout moment of unalloyed excellence. And surely...

What are your favorite games? by Christopher Caesar
I was wondering which games are worth playing, as I haven't found any games that take a while to complete that are worth playing

NPC-less Exploration by Dannii
Supposedly one of IFs strengths is for exploring places with few other people, often abandoned places, but I can't think of many works which have zero NPCs and consist of a lot of exploration. Usually there's at least one NPC, or the...

See all polls with votes for this game

Links




This is version 11 of this page, edited by Digger on 22 December 2015 at 1:07pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item