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About the StoryAn operatic performance. A tale of atonement. A dating sim with a crocodile pit.
Content warnings: sex; sexism and other gender issues; suicide; torture; homophobia; xenophobia.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
In the interest of the latter, this game is overtly sexual in a crass way. I abandoned it once, and only persevered when told that the large middle portion contains very little of that nature.
Aside from that, Gijsbers has used all of his excellent storytelling powers in crafting this game.
It takes Puccini's Turandot, a story that is very problematic in and of itself. I'm in the camp that believes that Puccini had built up something he couldn't finish: there was no reasonable way to finish the story or the music that could mesh well with what went before. There's no realistic resolution whatsoever.
This game takes that on head-first. The player traverses death and destruction in pursuit of the princess, but there's a sort of in-game fourth-wall-breaking (third-wall breaking?) where everyone comments on the ridiculousness of it. It's all just a joke.
But is it? (Spoiler - click to show)The player's obsession is never really explained. And the neat wrapping up of 'none of the people' actually died ignores the friend. The murder of the guard is glossed over. These huge plot holes are explained away by the overall self-critical nature of the game.
I've noticed that every writing community has it's own views on what is 'great'. I made a chart once displaying where each community lies on the scale of 'earnestness' vs and 'originality' vs 'canon' in their judging. Creepypasta and Battle for Wesnoth both have extreme earnestness in their writing, while IFComp tends to value self-awareness. This game is far in the self-awareness area, almost a parody of self-awareness.
The choice structure is essentially all fake choices. There may be some actual state tracked, but I don't think it necessarily improves the game if that's true. For instance, I chose to (Spoiler - click to show)let the crocodile kill me and the game explained it away, again, in a very self-aware manner.
This game achieves everything it set out to do. I would say it was one of my favorites except that the feelings of shame I get reading erotic works doesn't go well with the pure enjoyment I have from text games. I believe it will do very well in the competition, possibly the top three, unless other voters have concerns about the content as well.
All in all, Victor Gijsbers started out as a good author, and its clear he's only improving with time. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!
Turandot starts like a wild comedy, oscillating between wacky videogame humour (with reflective choices of different insults) and some black, brutal jokes. It ends like a philosophical conversation about moral choices. It transitions from lightness to seriousness on a very tight rope: the first serious long conversation happens (Spoiler - click to show)with the player hanging over a crocodile pit, in a joke that reminded me of Monkey Island. Then it gets more serious. At some times it feels more like a statement than a story to me. It certainly feels like a different game, one that provokes contradictory thoughts and impressions.
But it's one of he best-written and best-designed games I remember from any recent comp! It does interesting things with the choices, like the false choices with only different wording but identical result. It manages to make the game feel less linear. The jokes land effortlessly, dialogues flow, the characters are vivid.
The first part was my favourite game in IFcomp 19. The second part will require more effort to wrap my head around it, and I will certainly play again.
Wow, that escalated quickly. And then some!, December 27, 2019
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This is version 5 of this page, edited by Victor Gijsbers on 17 December 2019 at 5:27pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item