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IF COMP 2004 - Order

Game #35: Order, by John Evans
Played On: 10/24/04 (10:45 AM to 11:50 AM)
Unofficial Score: 8.0 (7.5 base with +0.5 skew)

     I think I missed this game when taking an initial peek at the entries on October 1st. I don't remember it, anyway. I liked "Order" -- the concept of being able to "create" what you need to solve every puzzle was a fresh take on things (in my experience), and for this, I have added a half-point skew. Such a concept can really change the way a game is played.

     But, my base score for "Order" is a little lower than some because even with the ability to create what you need, there are times when this seems impossible to put to use. I was able to solve the test challenge with no difficulty. I was even able to defeat three of the four elementals without much effort. The wind, however, seems impossible. I solved it only by using the hints, and even then, it was because the hints provided information that seemed to be lacking from the game.

     What I mean is, when you reach the top of the castle (not a hard puzzle, and the author has provided two or three alternatives), you won't know what to do. The description mentions no windows, no steeple, no crystal. You can't look at the roof or the tower. As it turns out, you can "x stone" (I meant to look at the stone of the castle), which will at one point assume you mean the crystal. I knew nothing about a crystal, though -- and subsequent attempts after a reload don't even let me do that (so I'm not sure how "stone" becomes "crystal" to begin with). You can't look at the blue-gray stone, nor the dome, nor the hole in the dome. With no mention of the windows or the steeple (I read the description many times, and I looked at everything possible), I don't know how this puzzle could be solved without hints. Either the author forgot to mention these items, or the clues are elsewhere. As it was, I had no knowledge of the wind's motive.

     Quite a few things are unimplemented (I'll get knocked for the same thing in my entry, I'm positive). The pile of belongings cannot be referred to as "pile". At the house, the windows aren't accessible as nouns (it's very likely that players are going to try something with the windows). The domes and holes atop the castle aren't implemented. You can't see the tower at the smooth wall. When attacking the rock with what I conjured (I didn't create an elemental), it says that I attacked with the earth elemental. In the intro, "satify" should be "statisfy". The elder wizard will name the others, and he mentions Robert. At the end, you meet Pire. The two seem to be one and the same (ask the elder wizard about both, and the response is the same), except I didn't come across any earlier clues that let me make this connection. The ending makes more sense when you understand who he is. If you "x man" at that time (a replay follow-up, after I finished), it does ask which one you mean, Brentvid or Robert Pire. Since the elder wizard mentions Robert, maybe he should refer to him by first and last name, to clarify this. At the house, the description says all the windows are boarded. With only two windows, the room description might take a cue from the house description (x house) and refer to "both" windows instead.

     It's a good game -- it could be a better game, with a little more time. Probably, the author ran short of time, as many of us did. I think "Order" (what's the "00" for, anyway?) could be a great game with a little more work. If it's any consolation, I'm in quite the same boat. I'll release an updated version of my game which will hopefully be the "wow" that I wanted it to be, and I think John Evans has an opportunity to do the same thing with "Order".

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