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About the Story"Some things should be left undone." [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]
Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2000 XYZZY Awards
21st Place - 6th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2000)
-- Duncan Stevens
I'm fascinated by word puzzles. I was particularly fascinated by the one in part two of this game, where your inventory contains a certain number of words, the room contains a certain number of words, and you have to manipulate them in various ways to make certain phrases.
-- Tina Sikorski
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With muddled thoughts, doors and walls talking to me, and text that didn't really make much sense, I was none the wiser as to what this game is about and quickly lost interest. Maybe it is too "deep and meaningful" for me!
-- Dorothy Millard
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>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
So yes, the game is flawed, and it's also rather inaccessible, but it's still a stimulating experiment in avant-garde IF. It was nothing like any piece of IF I'd ever seen, and that's what I liked about it.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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I honestly have no idea what was going on here, but the puzzles are more or less pretty fun.
Recommended for fans of the bizarre and weird.
For instance, its opening scene, with the varying personalities you encounter and the unique way you get information about the room drew me in quickly. Immediately afterwards, there was a puzzle that made zero sense to me. The hints only helped to a point, but the puzzle needed more context.
After that, the scene turns creepy and isolated in a way I don't see too often in IF. Loved that. But the puzzle itself turned into a frustrating experiment in reading the author's mind. Boo. (At least the built-in-hints helped.) Then a maze with a clever solution that I enjoyed puzzling out.
The final scene had an interesting puzzle and setting, but I had zero idea who I was. What was I now? What had I been in the first scene? Why do I care? Why did the maze lead to this?
Great puzzles and moody sets are all fine and good, but if they're going to be so disjointed in theme, the character (or something! anything!) should be a unifying, overarching thread so it doesn't feel like a cafeteria lady serving up IF puzzles wearing a Halloween mask to be mysterious.
I played this right after finishing An Open Field. Here's my conclusion: those two games should've traded some ideas. OPEN FIELD, while initially disorienting, ends with a clear background concept; by the end, you knew who you were, what your situation was, and what your goal would be as that character. However, OPEN FIELD lacked implementation that would've made it a standout work.
THE END MEANS has implementation up the ying-yang. (Just "x young" in the second scene of THE END MEANS...you'll understand.)
If you like puzzles, try out THE END MEANS ESCAPE. If you're looking for more story to go with your IF, you may want to sit this one out.
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