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About the Story"Red Cloud meant more to me than anyone else on the planet. Sometime between one and three in the morning, on March 26th, 2015, she was brutally slain. Nobody knows why. I am going to find out if it means ripping this filthy city apart, brick by brick. I am a masked vigilante who attempts to fight this senseless violence every single night. I am the Holy Avenger." [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]
23rd Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)
-- Duncan Stevens
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
I would have enjoyed the game lots more had it been bug-free, even without its illustrations. A Crimson Spring puts you behind the mask of a dark superhero on a mission of justice, but in the end, it only defeats itself.
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I cannot stress enough that the storyline and the writing in this game are both very good. There is a sense of drama evoked by the events in the game that I find lacking in many games which are more open-ended in terms of what the player can do and in what order. The "on rails" quality of A Crimson Spring works because it is not difficult to move forward in the plot, on the one hand, and the plot itself is well-written and intriguing, on the other. The puzzles are not difficult at all, and primarily consist of getting information (by talking to people) so that the PC will know what to do next. I enjoy the easy puzzles because it returns the player's attention to the story at hand.
-- Miguel Garza
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I played the updated version of this game distributed following the competition, with additional pictures. After playing all the Z Code games which all look alike, this was a pleasant change - a different layout and with sound too, although after a while I had had enough and was reaching for the volume control.
-- Dorothy Millard
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Number of Reviews: 1
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The plot is interesting. The background is interesting. The story is interesting. The gritty and cynical take on superheroes is interesting (reminded me of Pat Mills' Marshal Law comics). The moral decisions are interesting. In short: many interesting things around. Also, there is music and pictures.
All the interesting stuff I mentioned before was weakly developed. The plot misses many points. After some time the background looks depth-less. The story often looks inconsequential. Though you are left to your own moral decisions, you always feel like the author is judging you (and not objectively). Also, the music is bad. And the same goes for most of the pictures (the photo-retouchings for some areas are nice, but the hand-made drawings are not, and can really ruin the atmosphere, especially in the last part).
Other than that, it's filled with story-bugs (like things happening when they shouldn't, or contradictory statements), game-bugs (like the parser saying a person is not there while instead he is) and parser-holes (like a desk being mentioned and, if you try referring to it, getting an answer like "the word 'desk' is not recognized by the game").
Finally - but this is purely a personal judgment - I disliked the game's social, religious, and political approach. Even considering that the game is written in first person (and thus the author had to interpret a gritty superhero's thoughts, which might not have been his own), it's superficiality on some matter was very annoying. But again, it was very annoying to ME: this is personal.
In the end, i found this game very immature, in all it's aspects. But, as I said, there were also many - undeveloped - interesting things. Thus, I look forward to playing Sherwin's following games: confident that, with time and experience, his qualities will have grown.
Anyway, if you're into dark and gritty almost-puzzle-less stories, you might want to give this a try. Yes, there are bugs, but they don't totally ruin the game, and you might find some of those interesting things inside.
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This is version 6 of this page, edited by Edward Lacey on 23 March 2013 at 9:28am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item