IF Competition: LAIR of the CyberCow

Another IF Comp review, following my format for this comp. There is a cut, then any spoiler-free comments I have, and then spoiler space, and then more detailed feedback that assumes the reader has tried the game.

But first, we have some obligatory filler to try to make sure that the RSS summary does not accidentally contain any review. Filler, filler, la la la…

Okay. Here we go.


Short version: I think this is pretty broken as a game, but since it is also clearly a bit broken by dint of the fact that I’m playing it on a non-standard interpreter, I am not going to score it in the comp.

More details of my struggles after the spoiler space.

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Spatterlight really doesn’t like this one: if I try to do pretty much anything at all, I get the response

Thanks for commenting.

So I quit Spatterlight and tried under Zoom.

Zoom allows me actually to perform commands, though it offers an ominous warning that the ADRIFT Battle System will not be operational for this game. So I get started, but I am not too clear on what I am supposed to be doing. I try following the walkthrough, not all of which works as seems to be intended, and some of which involves verbs I am pretty sure I would not have thought of on my own. (FLIP?)

Vespers would be doing something cool with all this chapel-desecration.

Round about the time I am taking a packet from inside a bell which I flipped over for I don’t know what reason, it occurs to me:

Where is the Cybercow? I was promised a Cybercow.

Sometimes the game stops for no reason I can work out. A little while later it resumes working. Are these intentional realtime pauses? I guess so. Why are they there? They are not enhancing my experience of the game. Of course, my experience of the game is mostly typing in the walkthrough, so I do not like pauses that impede my progress.

Ah, here is the Cybercow. CyberCow, I should say.

It is roughly at the point where I give the snail to the cow that my will to continue gives out. I do not understand what is going on, puzzles don’t make sense, story is nonexistent, the pauses make even typing in the walkthrough a bit laborious. Meh. And I feel sorry for the snail.

Might be better on the real ADRIFT runner, though, so I am not going to score this one.

2 thoughts on “IF Competition: LAIR of the CyberCow

  1. When I tried to run this on my dutifully upgraded for the Comp ADRIFT Runner under Windows, I was told that it was created with ADRIFT 3.90 and could not be run under the ADRIFT 4.00 Runner I was using.

    (Insert my standard rant here about what a broken, unprofessional system ADRIFT is that it’s always pulling stuff like this.)

    I had to download an ADRIFT Runner from 2001 in order to play it. I thus suspect the problems you’re having are similar version control issues.

    Even when it works correctly, the game is nothing to get excited about. In fact, this is the only game of the 11 I’ve so far played that I just couldn’t work up the willpower to finish. It’s about on the Scott Adams level of sophistication, but without the same retro-charm. I gave it a 3.

  2. That’s odd. I played this game using Spatterlight (version 0.4.9), and got pretty much the same results that you report for Zoom–none of that “Thanks for commenting” business.

    PRY works as an alternative to FLIP for levering the bell onto its side, but once I had it on its side, I was unable to get or even see the item that I thought was taped to the inside of it. X BELL and LOOK IN BELL are uninformative; SEARCH is unrecognized. (What kind of IF game doesn’t recognize the command SEARCH?)

    Also, perhaps because I was using Spatterlight, I couldn’t turn on verbose mode. (The command VERBOSE returned a message telling me to use a menu that wasn’t there.) This wouldn’t have been a problem except that the game wouldn’t tell me what objects were in a room unless I LOOKed at the full room description. Again, I guess this might just be because I was using a less-than-ideal interpreter, but the descriptions that were there were sparse enough that I wouldn’t put money on it.

    Also, even after I picked stuff up, the INVENTORY command always returned “You are carrying nothing… you lost it all in that crazy bit in the well, while trying not to drown.” I assume “that crazy bit in the well” constitutes backstory, but I don’t see why that should prevent me from seeing the snail (which I must have, because I can give it to the cow) or the note (which I must have, because I can READ it in places other than where I picked it up).

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