Thursday, October 22, 2009

[IF Competition] Broken Legs

Spoiler space. Spoiler space. Here is a transcript of the brilliant new game A Day in Boot Camp:
"Get up, you worthless maggots!", the drill instructor shouts.

> stand
"Forty push ups! Quick!"

> do push up
You do a push up. "Faster!"

> do push up
You do a push up. "Hey, private Weakling, am I going to see some action or what?"

> do 38 push ups
You cannot use multiple objects with that verb.

> do psuh up
"You got a typing disability, private Weakling? Here to mar the reputation of my beloved corps, are you?"
Let's move on to Broken Legs as quickly as we can.

This, my friends, is pure Varicella. We have a nasty protagonist, a wide open map, a lot of people whom we have to dispose off, sharp writing, and cruel, difficult and little clued puzzles. Saying that something is like Varicella is of course a compliment; but in the context of this competition, it is also a point of criticism.

I cannot imagine anyone completing this game in two hours. I spent quite some time exploring everything and talking to people, and I still had not the faintest idea what I was supposed to be doing. The only discovery I had made was a piece of paper hidden inside a costume, that seemed (a) absolutely useless and that (b) was taken away from me as soon as I showed it to someone and gave me a message that I had screwed up when I showed it to someone else. Uhm... okay?

I turned to the walkthrough, and saw that the first thing I had to do was get the singing girl out of the practice room. I don't why I would want that, but okay. First step in this plan was to rip the isolation of the walls. But how could I have expected that the girl would not see me doing this, when my earlier attempts at interacting with objects in the room ended up with she stopping me? Furthermore, how was I supposed to come to the conclusion that this isolation actually worked, given that in the hallway you get the message:
And reverberating through the un-soundproofed walls are the sounds of singers, both reassuringly bad and nervewrackingly talented.
and the girl in question is the only person in the whole building who is singing? Even so, taking the isolation doesn't work, since you stop halfway. The reason is that there is too much of the stuff on the floor already, and the girl would notice. So I try everything to get rid of the stuff on the floor, but it doesn't seem to have been implemented. According to the walkthrough, I need to leave, then come back, then continue taking the isolation. Why? How is the problem--that there is too much of the stuff on the floor and things will become too obvious--addressed by me going away and coming back again? And this is just the first part of this puzzle.

Now this can be a design decision. Varicella is immensely difficult because there is almost no clueing, and it is part of the design. I have never finished the game, I haven't even gotten very far into it, but I plan to revisit it sometime and I refuse to look at the walkthrough. The game is too good for that. (Savoir-Faire is another game that is fiendishly difficult but where I refuse to look at the walkthrough. However, the difficulty is of a somewhat different kind.)

Well, I also refuse to look at the walkthrough of Broken Legs. I refuse to ruin the game for myself just so I can score it better. So I'm putting this game aside for later play, and I'll score it on the basis of what little I have seen within the time alloted by the competition rules.

1 comment:

  1. I also had the foam problem, as badly as it is possible for one to have a foam problem, I think. When the walkthrough tells you to take some foam, then leave, then take some more foam, it intends for you to take the rest of the foam from the hallway.

    Yeah. I admire your resolution not to use the walkthrough on this one, but man, good luck with that.

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