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Ratings and Reviews by Victor Gijsbers

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View this member's reviews by tag: bleak brute-force Combat Comedy connect CYOA dungeon crawl fantasy horror IF Comp 2007 infocom innovative joke linguistic logic one-room parody phonebooth Political politics puzzle random death rogue-like short snack SpeedIF time travel unfair win on the first attempt
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16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds, by Abigail Corfman
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Queers in Love at the End of the World, by Anna Anthropy
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Sugarlawn, by Mike Spivey
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Sisyphus, by Theo Koutz
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ALICE BLUE, by Chris Selmys
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Skybreak!, by William Dooling
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(feeling like a) Fake Bisexual, by Aimee M
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You Are Jeff Bezos, by Kris Ligman
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LET'S ROB A BANK, by Bethany Nolan

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Squad-based diversion, July 17, 2019
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
There is a tradition of games in which you can select different squad members for different missions, the aim being to maximise the match between your squad’s capabilities and the challenges you will face in this particular situation. The Syndicate/X-Com games do this, as do some of the Mass Effect games, if I’m not mistaken. There’s something like this in LET’S ROB A BANK, except that here you are doing only a single mission, which makes sense, since you’re planning to make so much money that you’ll never have to work again.

The bank robbery will unfold in a variety of different ways depending on whom you put in your squad and which choices you make during the robbery itself. (The latter are in general far less consequential than the former.) Some of these differences make perfect sense: take the muscle guy who hates drivers and the irritable driver, and infighting will doom your effort. Other differences make absolutely no sense at all. There’s one squad member whom you cannot really choose, because taking her on board will always coincide with the total destruction of the world. Frankly, this feels less like a serious possibility and more like something put in at the last moment when the author realised they wouldn’t have the time to develop content involving this character.

The different ways in which the robbery can develop are often pretty entertaining, and you’ll probably see a few losing ones before you hit on a winning ending. A fun diversion, but I didn’t feel compelled to hunt for all the endings.

Into the Lair, by Kenna

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Vampire adventure, July 17, 2019
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
We’re in vampire territory here, and it’s the “living in a sewer and keeping herds of thralls and human cattle” kind of vampire. Clan Nosferatu, maybe, if we’re thinking in terms of Vampire: the Masquerade, which the author is probably not. There’s some in-game indication that not all vampires live this way, since both the protagonist and their rescuer are or can be animated by much less selfish desires. Indeed, the game starts out by giving us a choice of goal: freeing the other thralls, avenging ourselves on the elder vampire, or obtaining an amulet that will allow us to withstand the light of the sun. The game might have been more interesting if we had actually been forced to choose between these three goals – as it is, we can simply do all of them. It’s not so much a choice as a list of goals, then, although we can decide to murder the thralls if we so prefer.

The caverns that we traverse are a curious combination of good and not-so-good world building. The dungeon is especially effective, conjuring up images of horror without descending into gory details. But there are also numerous points of the “you’re at an intersection and can go in these and these directions”-type. I did enjoy traversing the catacombs, but it seems there was a lot more potential here for atmosphere and memorability.

There did seem to be a bit of a mismatch between the way the game tells us that the elder vampire is really scary and powerful, and the incredible ease with which one can depose of him. How did this guy ever earn his fearsome reputation if a newly freed thrall can kill him with no trouble at all? I certainly didn’t dislike the ending, but I again felt that there was untapped potential here. (What if you could only become strong enough to defeat the enemy if you first sucked every last drop of blood from the two human prisoners? Okay, I realise that that is the kind of game design that takes us squarely into the realm of my own obsessions, and the current author might not be interested in it at all. Still, it’s one way to make victory feel more costly and more consequential.)

I ran into a couple of bugs – a game-ending one if you tried to avoid the pit trap for the second time, and a bug where you can repeat the fight with the elder vampire as if it had never happened before – but those can easily be fixed.

All in all, enjoyable, with some strong moments, but more could have been achieved.


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