(none) Quintin Stone - Interactive Fiction Review
Interactive Fiction
Role-playing Games

Zero One

Author: Shed
Language: Alan
Score: 5

For some reason, you are kidnapped and placed in a tiny prison cell. Who are you? Do you have amnesia? Who are your captors? Why have they done this? All very good questions. The pity is, none of those questions get answered. In the meantime, you play through a tolerable -- though unimpressive -- adventure.

The prose could really use some work. In general, I found it generally poor with a few bright spots. There's no real flow or evocation of the imagination. Everything is described very briefly in a matter-of-fact manner. The story is effectively paper thin. Like I wrote in my summary, nothing gets resolved in the end and no questions get answered. You find out the names of the people who captured you, but no other details. Nor do you ever find out who made it possible for you to escape. The end notes suggest that there will be a sequel. "02" I suppose.

Right off the bat there's an issue that any beta-tester would have reported. In the initial room, the game informs you that you can hear a conversation from the corridor on the other side of the cell door. However, if you simply LISTEN, the game tells you that "You hear nothing unusual." Clearly that's not true, but the command you have to issue is LISTEN TO CONVERSATION. The game does not proceed until you do so. Once you manage to escape the prison cell, you encounter a lot of unimplemented nouns (like the shell casings, which feature prominently in two room descriptions) and far far too many colored doors, most of which are closed for no reason. Attempting to unlock one door earned me the message "There is a padlock on the door and you don't have a key", even though I had a couple of keys (just not the right one). In one room, I was even somehow able to see a "bloody mangled corpse" behind a closed door. Maybe my secret identity is that I'm super man?

"01" isn't all that difficult. On the other hand, it's not all that fun, either. Maybe there's a story here; it's certainly not made clear in this game. What is here is pretty odd at times. For example, the PC becomes violently ill upon seeing a headless corpse. Right afterwards, however, he has no problem wearing a helmet filled with what's left of the fellow's head. No cleaning or nuthin'. Yech. Later on, I encounter one of my captors. Even though he attacked me the moment I saw him, the game admonished my self-defense act with "I hope you feel suitably guilty." For the record, I didn't.

Final score: 5

High point:
The description of the fish was definitely worth a chuckle.

Low point:
The game suggesting I should feel guilty for killing someone who kidnapped me and then tried to bash my skull in with a pipe.
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