For my first blogging checkpoint I decided to check out the links on the sidebar of the ELit blog. I’m new to the whole Electronic Literature thing so I wasn’t looking for anything in particular when I clicked on “All Roads” by Jon Ingold but I was pleasantly surprised.
It took a minute or two to download the file and the player, Spatterlight, but after that I was off and running. I opened the file and was a little disappointed to find that it was another text adventure game like Colossal Cave Adventure at first, but I decided to play it anyway.
The reason I say I was disappointed at first was because I had trouble with Colossal Cave Adventure. I kept getting stuck in one of the game’s “loops,” the Forest. It was frustrating to have to keep starting the game over with out getting any hints from the game as I blindly navigated through the Forest in circles.
Thankfully, All Roads was a much more enjoyable experience. The help menu offered more commands than Colossal Cave Adventurei did, making it much easier to figure out what I was supposed to do. Also, I felt like Colossal Cave Adventure was more about the “adventure,” while All Roads focused more on the “text” aspect of a Text Adventure game.
While Colossal Cave Adventure was mostly simple sentences vaguely describing your immediate surroundings, All Roads provided incredible passages that described the player’s surroundings in vivid, colorful detail. All Roads was definitely much more artsy (for lack of a better word).
The game itself takes place in Venice (not sure of the time period). The game begins with the main character in front of a crowd in a plaza about to be hung. This is quite a riveting way to start out a game, by the way. Throughout the game the main character brags about his ability to escape and find the quickest route from point A to point B. Right from the beginning you are put to the test by having to escape your own death.
I’d be lying if I told you I knew how I escaped. Honestly, I was caught up in the incredible description and I was in a bit of a panic since I was faced with the challenge of saving my own life within 15 seconds of the commencement of the game. But somehow I made it out and ended up locked in a cellar.
This was my only squabble with the game. I couldn’t figure out how to escape the cellar without the guard noticing (the game doesn’t let you attack him at first, they instead challenge you to think harder). They provided plenty of items including a ring, a key, a wine glass and even a note with a clue on it. None of the items give you a direct hint on how to escape and I found myself trying and failing miserably to sneak past a guard who was afraid of birds…
Unlike Colossal Cave Adventure, this game eventually gets sick of you not being able to figure it out and let’s you do attack the guard. Good thing too, it was just about to lose my attention at that point.
Overall, this game is really cool with an awesome storyline. You find out that the main character is an assassin working for some sort of “Resistance” movement being accused of larceny. The theme of the game is escaping. There’s a lot of awesome dialogue and the game really grabs and holds your attention for a while without visual aids. Pretty impressive if you ask me.