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


Author: Tomasz Pudlo
Language: z-code
Score: 6

Is this a game with some real brilliance in its execution or the middle finger given to the IF community by a notorious usenet troll? A little of both, so it seems.

I found the writing from Gamlet to be quite impressive. Some players will likely consider it overwritten. I didn't... for the most part. Its language was evocative, replete with imagery, and avoided the flavorless recitations that plague far too many games. Still, describing a crevice as a "narrow cunt-like crevice in-between two slabs of stone" is sure to send up red flags, and the same goes for the bizarre and disturbing Oksana scene. I have to wonder if this was a deliberate attempt by the author to offend the sensibilities of the players, especially the ones with which he has a rather contentious relationship.

The story for most of the game was familiar, though with a twist. Puzzles, on the other hand, were a mixed bag. Starting out, they meshed well into the overall scope of the story. Later puzzles, however, began to feel somewhat less clued, such as the feasting, the final resting place of poor Yorick, and the obfuscated cabinet, which is not mentioned in your first visit to the landing and can be easily overlooked in later passings. In the end, what sabotaged Gamlet most was its unexpected climax. I suppose the clues were there: the response to inventory at the beginning and the increasingly bizarre situations that the character encountered. Still, it wasn't just the explanation for the game's events that made the ending so disappointing. It was also the author's "last laugh" in the final text dump. "Bless you, for we have both been duped" followed immediately "The end and Bang! Who's played it is a Wang!" The clear indication is that the player is also nothing but a puppet, and I can only infer from the text that the author considers himself to be the one pulling the strings.

I found the hint system to be somewhat lacking. It was nice when it worked, but that only covered half the times I was looking for what to do next. There was one instance where my command "put poker in prints" resulted in no response from the game at all, not even a default refusal.

To start, I had high hopes for the game. I couldn't initially figure out if this was a R*IF inside joke, with Jacek Pudlo as the butt, or something else. The spectral scenes at the beginning had me laughing, in stark contrast the somber (and often disturbing) spirit of the remainder of the game. Then, of course, there's the infamous ending. Seems like a lot of trouble to go through just to spit in the eye of the IF community.

Final score: 6

High point:
The hilarious text "The dismembered corpse of a tree lies neatly piled by the fireplace."

Low point:
Has to be the ending.
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