Condemned Review

This one is a complete story.  However, it is only nominally “interactive.”  The story is on rails, and the walkthrough has long stretches of commands like:

(don’t worry, this is not a spoiler):

z (x3)
talk to her (x6)
z (x3)

As far as I can tell, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to alter or shape the ending in any way.

Every time you type in a command, just about, you get long, looong cut-scenes.  You page through screens of text, at which point you’re expected to type:

> Z

–for another long cut scene.

The story is about an abusive family situation which is blamed on “traditionalism” — but it’s a mistake to say the game amounts to a criticism of the Christian tradition.  There are the props of Christianity, which are there as a kind of special effect, but there’s nothing substantial enough to call an “accusation” against, well, much of anything.

The main character is a teenager who lives in an abusive family.  The story is the kind of perverted and cynical that people write who aren’t at all perverted or cynical, for a faux-bleak effect.  I’d go so far as to say that the game wallows in victim-hood and self-pity.

With the author not saying anything I want to hear, and with my own participation limited to Z (x6), I didn’t enjoy this one at all.

Note to the author — cut-scenes too many and too long, emotionally too leading and too heavy-handed, not enough interactivity, no way for the player to influence what’s going on, no sense of accomplishment, and too much of a downer.  I’d say, you know how to tell a story, but you haven’t considered how that’s different from making a game; work on giving the player more to do and fer cryin’ out loud tell a cheerier story, and I’ll be glad to play your game next year.

Good points – it works programmatically — it’s not broken; the author tells the story he wants to tell; it’s not in a foreign language; it’s a coherent story, except when the author chooses to be incoherent for the purpose of narrative effect; the overall structure of a story is there.

I’ll predict this one will score around 5 (although I myself would rate it lower).

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Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 1:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. i think you’ve been very harsh to this one. there are different endings, the ending isnt soo miserable (the death guy having sympathy for the poor soul of the brother), and it has success in creating a genuinely disturbing psychological effect at times.

    i like this one and would give it closer to a 7 or even 8 perhaps.


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