Who Created That Monster?
Author: N. B. Horvath
A failed work of political satire that builds up to a climax it cannot
possibly provide and then completely short-circuits itself with the
Upon starting the game, you are immediately engulfed by a futuristic
Iraqi setting that's an uneven mix of shallow right-wing ideals and the
predictions of left-wing doomsayers. So while Iraq is free, almost
7,000 coalition soldiers supposedly died in the process. Areas and
roads are named after Bush and officials from his administration, but
they are filled with the surveillance cameras of an apparent police
state. And though terrorists still roam the streets, they are no more
three-dimensional than Advent's roaming dwarf and disappear in a puff of
smoke when killed. And amidst this strangeness is the PC, a gun-toting
journalist, trying to figure out "which Western nation helped bring
Saddam Hussein to power in the 20th century." Well, it's common
knowledge that the U.S. helped support Iraq during its war with Iran in
the 1980's, though it was only one among many nations to do so. So it
was with this in mind that I played the game. Was all of this lead up
just to tell me something I already knew? Would the game distort
history to satisfy some personal cause? In the end, neither of these
happened. Instead, a completely unrelated country was chosen (randomly
selected each time you play, according to the author) as the scapegoat.
So in the end, I think this piece of satire fails mainly because it
lacks cohesion of message. Which is a shame because even though I
likely don't entirely share the author's view on the Iraq war, he has
created a game with a few pretty clever bits in it.
On first glance, the embassy basements appear to be a bugged. As it
turns out, it's not. Is this a message I just can't quite grok or
simply a bizarre design decision for a particular puzzle? There was a
slight slip in the response to using the ASK verb: "If you want to talk
to yourself, use TALK TO (character) or just T (character)." I can talk
to myself just fine on my own, thanks!
Looming over me throughout the game was the shadow of how it would
end. And the "Iraq History" bubbles that popped regularly during the
beginning of the game contributed little to the game itself. Still, I
found the conspiracy and investigation aspect of it to be fairly well
done, if a bit odd (the dancing ambassador). It's a shame the rest of
the game didn't work so well.
There wasn't really one.
The ending was just so cheesy and I don't think it had the desired