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About the Story"Wave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of paradise."
[--blurb from Competition Aught-One]
Winner, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Winner, Best Story; Winner, Best Setting; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 2001 XYZZY Awards
1st Place overall; 1st Place, Miss Congeniality Awards - 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2001)
5th Place - The Top Five IF Games (Adventure Gamers, 2002)
-- Duncan Stevens
[...] it's difficult to judge the game -- as pure story, once understood, it's impressive, and the various pieces come together well. The meta-puzzle of the story isn't quite as successful, though, due to the feeling that the player doesn't really have much of a shot at solving the puzzle, and accordingly the extent to which the game succeeds depends on one's assumptions about what the game sets out to do.
-- Duncan Stevens
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The game involves a technique that must be executed perfectly in order to work at all: a series of seemingly disconnected scenes that all come together perfectly at the end (at least, if you're paying attention). The ending is quite a satisfying surprise, and like any good "twist" movie (think Usual Suspects or Fight Club) you'll want to replay it a second time very quickly.
-- Evan Dickens
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Number of Reviews: 14
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Jon Ingold's All Roads falls firmly within this genre. It presents us with scenes taking place in an alternate Venice, where the Guard fights against the Resistance. We take the role of an assassin who is about to be hanged, but suddenly manages to escape in what appears to be a supernatural way. The rest of the game consists of weird shifts in place and time, troublesome identities, and the player trying to understand what on Earth is going on.
So, is it any good? On the positive side, the story is complicated and yet coherent enough to excite interest and engage our intellect. We theorise, we adopt and discard theories, and the clear-headed reader will have a pretty good idea of what was going on once he has finished the game. One will certainly have had fun.
On the negative side, however, it must be mentioned that All Roads is a bit too complex for its own good. The central plot could have done with at least one identity less. (Spoiler - click to show)Did we really need to have both the assassin as a disembodied ghost and his brother? A confusion between two identities would have been complicated enough, but now we in fact have three identities. This would have made it easier to solve a story that now appears to be wilfully obscure.
Another negative point is that the game sometimes goes out of its way to hide clues from the player. Not only will some crucial information only be found by players who do non-obvious actions, it is also the case that some clues are actively withheld from you. The "x me" command is particularly bad in this respect. While I can see why the author was hesitant in supplying a more helpful response to such a command, I do not think it was the right decision. It is better to make the central puzzle easier than to tell you players "sure, if I told you this stuff that you should just be able to examine, you could solve the puzzle; but I'm not going to!"
That said, it is still easy to love All Roads. Anyone interested in IF should give it a whirl.
Turns out that this was horribly developed.
1. The characters were so flat it wasn't funny. The characters were usually only seen once or twice, not nearly enough time to do anything with their personalities. The main character was so hopelessly pathetic, and ill developed. He spent most of his time getting captured, moping, then trying to escape, and doing nothing of free will. There is no fun in that.
2. This story was too linear. I'm actually a fan of fairly linear adventures, but this was pitiful. There were hardly any puzzles in this whole work and to make matters worse, you got no control over what the character does. You do one obvious thing and it leads you to another obvious thing. It was infuriating how every action you did, it took you on a completely scripted part.
3.the plot was not terrible though, but take out the character dimension, and the free will and you get nothing
It's been a couple of years since I played this piece, and I don't really recall any puzzles at all. They were there, but they seemed so easily solved that it was clear their main purpose was to keep the reader involved, and not to delay completion of the story. What I do recall is the very intriguing plot, which, like a dense film along the lines of "Memento", kept me both enthralled and slightly disoriented until the very end. As with "Memento", I still can't say I fully understand "All Roads", but I don't hesitate to recommend it.
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This is version 12 of this page, edited by cas on 25 November 2019 at 8:25pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item