Review: Antiquest

This was a creative but chaotic TADS game. Since it has some fun images and some of the game sections have graphic displays, it would best be played in something like Qtads rather than an all-text interpreter.

The introduction and instructions are really excellent, anyone who hasn’t played IF would do well to read this.

After that… the game starts off in bed with a bit of amnesia — a classic trope in IF to the extent that when I see it I’m not sure if it is meant ironically or not.

[Some spoilers follow beyond this point]

The story takes place on a spaceship – there are portholes, control panels, and if you wander too far in the wrong direction, the cold, harsh vacuum of space itself.

The game plays strangely. Again, I’m not sure how much this is on purpose. The player character sometimes moves regardless of what is typed. Sometimes right through a bulkhead. The one sure thing is that given enough moves, the player will die. I think this is the point of the game — there are a lot (mostly absurd) ways to die, and the game keeps track of how many of those endings you have reached. I reached about eight before retiring.

There is one sub-game along the lines of battleship, where you and an enemy are shooting back and forth along a 1 x 17 grid. Your three ships, a fighter, bomber, and flagship are represented by cyrillic characters, which leads me to think that this game must have been developed first in Russian language and then ported over. If that’s the case, whoever did the translation had a good command of English, because relative to some of the other translations in this year’s competition, this one reads fluently (the logic is nuts, but the language is good enough).

Evaluation:

Story: 3

Voice: 3

Play: 4

Polish: 6

Technical: 5

JNSQ: 0

Preliminary Score: 4.2

Transcript: antiquestTranscript

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