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

Sting of the Wasp

Author: Jason Devlin
Language: z-code
Score: 9

Who's the most conniving bitch at Pine Meadows Country Club? You are, if you play your cards right. Sting of the Wasp takes IF about as far as you can get from the stereotypical underground treasure-laden dungeon environment we've all grown accustomed to.

The one thing that I most admired about this game was how the tone of the writing and dialog so elegantly dovetailed with the subject matter. It's a game about petty and vindictive people and you're unlikely to forget that. The story is not likely to leave you feeling heroic; you're effectively just as bad as the people you struggle against. I found this a nice change of pace, and in the grand scheme of things, the PC can really only be considered diet evil at most. The puzzles were very well integrated into the story and setting. Some of the less physical restrictions (such as gaining access to the kitchen) may chafe against players, but I believe that they help reinforce the character. This is a fully realized PC that strains to maintain both her secrets and her status.

I found only one major issue to report: despite the outside dining area being broken into two distinct sections, both rooms had the same description. This effectively made finding the Pro Shop a guessing game (the room name lets you know it's around there somewhere). I had a minor quibble with the game's replacement of "You can't go that way" as a default response to moving in inaccessible directions. Would a PC so concerned about her social standing that she would refuse to enter a kitchen without a valid reason really walk carelessly into walls in the presence of her greatest rivals? This was mainly a problem because of the room description bug I already mentioned, so the proper exits were not clear.

I have to say, I had a lot of fun playing this game. Even though I did end up relying on the hints quite a few times in order to make it through the entire story before the judging time was up, it was a great experience with well thought out puzzles and characters.

Final score: 9

High point:
Upon entering the garden, I was greeted with, "Oh, Julia. I'm surprised to see you here. I thought you preferred to do your hoeing in the basement."

Low point:
In a rush, I skimmed the description of the Pro Shop and completely missed the exit to the north. Thus, even the hints couldn't help me as I stumbled around the map in search of a very important NPC.
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