The Quaking of WarCrysis 3:
Resistance of Black Doom

By Shamus Posted Monday Jan 18, 2010

Filed under: Projects 132 comments

Some months ago I started noodling around with Inform, a “natural language” programming language for making interactive fiction. (That’s text adventures to you old timers.) My impressions of the language have gone through the following stages:

1) Bullcrap. You can’t code without writing code.
2) Hmph. Okay, so it works. Kind of an interesting novelty.
3) You know, it’s actually kind of useful and unique.
4) Unbelievable. This thing is amazingly powerful!

As a programmer, learning to code with prose is like a mathematician learning to do math with his feelings. I think I would have found it easier if I hadn’t known how to program in the first place. But even so, the complexity and functionality you can compress into a few simple sentences is boggling.

I managed to make a game with it. I’ve been sitting on this for a while, trying to get up the enthusiasm to finish the thing while at the same time worrying that I’ve wasted all the time I’ve already spent. I’ve never written puzzles before. Heck, I’ve never written interactive fiction before. Is this any good? Is it too hard? Too easy? Are there spots where the game just stops being fun?

And then I realized the best way to answer these questions is to let other people play it and ask them what they think. Genius, I know.

Below is the game. It needs some Javascript applet dealie to run. If it doesn’t work in your browser or you don’t trust it, then I can’t really do much to help. The thing is also stone-age simple. You can’t even use the up arrow to recall previous commands. Sorry. I’d fix that if I could. That’s all handled by the applet, and is out of my hands. If anyone has a better web-based Z Machine interpreter I’d be happy to use it. If you have your own Z machine interpreter, you can get the .z8 file and run it yourself.)

I want to stress that the game isn’t done. It ends at about the 90% complete mark. The game needs a good day or so of work on my part to finish it up, and what I do with it from here will depend a lot on the feedback I get. If you want to play something polished, then it’s probably best to hold off for now.


Up, Down, North, South, East, West
jump (something)
take (something)
verbose – Gives the description to a room every time you enter.
look – Will describe the room you’re in.
inv – lists all the stuff (weapons) you’re carrying.

Things I’m looking to find out:

1) Some people will plow through, others will stop and examine every little thing. But I would like to get some sort of ballpark figure for how long the game is.
2) How were the puzzles? Where did you get stuck? Which puzzles seemed sort of insultingly easy?
3) Any situations where the parser seemed to be excessively idiotic? I usually try to set things up so that if you need to use a butterknife to turn a screw you can call it a “knife” or “butterknife” or “screwdriver” and the game will get what you’re talking about. But it’s very easy to screw this up and leave the player baffled as to how to tell the game to do a thing.
4) Occasions of tpyos, spelling errers, and bad grammar is to be reporting.

Go ahead and post spoilers or exchange puzzle solutions in the comments. A primitive map is also available, if you like.

And to be clear – you’ll know the end. There’s a little text from me saying “Thanks for playing” or somesuch.


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132 thoughts on “The Quaking of WarCrysis 3:
Resistance of Black Doom

  1. Tango says:

    Ah, the nonsense name in the authorization popup I got made me hit no, I didn’t realize it was for the plug in that was farther down the screen.

  2. Marrkle says:

    I was glad you liked Inform. I’ve been coding in it for a few years now, and was hurt when you said that Inform was a terrible language a year before.

  3. Psithief says:

    This is hard. Why do the descriptions of rooms like the Catwalk stop showing up if I use the look command?

  4. Turbosloth says:

    got as far as the rotunda in 30 mins, searched futilely for a way to open the northern security door for 12 mins, gave up and went back to reading novel.

    I assume its in the room with the dead scientist, but i couldn’t find a way to interact with anything in there meaningfully.

    I like the humour tho. All the puzzles up until the point I got to were pretty simple.

  5. Fukiku says:

    Being a Java programmer myself, I have to correct You – this is a Java applet, we’re talking about here, not a JavaScript thingie. Two very different worlds.

    The other thing I had to say – the authorization dialog from Java came from out of the blue on Your site, so I instinctively also denied access to it, because I couldn’t even see that there was an applet embedded in Your post. This looks scary at first anyway.

    Why does it need authorization anyway from me? Usually applets only need authorization to do something scary on my computer.

    Edit: Hmm, had to restart firefox to play the game after my initial refusal to run the applet.

  6. Dacendaran says:

    Its cool but i keep having issues with this civilian getting stuck in the doorway.

    Seriously though, this is my first time playing something like this But it seems good. Although it took me ages to figure out how to get past the light pole.

    Edit: Aaaaand posting that made me lose all my progress… I am so such a fool.

  7. BCR says:

    Can you put up a link to a download so we can run it in a desktop interpreter instead?

  8. SeekerOfThePath says:

    1. Loved the team members and FPS games stereotypes
    2. Controls could be presented over time (once first required), not all at once; this way I had to scroll back to them to remember; I’m not sure but I don’t thing ‘take’ (medkit) was listed among available commands.
    3. Could be a Firefox thing, but the scrollbars on the applet are acting weird
    4. I had no problem with the parser
    5. Civilian-in-the-door puzzle solution is hilarious.
    6. I ended outside the factory, I think that could be the end (plus I really want my breakfast now)

  9. Got stuck on civilian in the doorway, also took me ages to do the light pole because jump isn’t in the help. Neither is take

  10. Rehtul says:

    Got to the generator, looked around catwalk, went back, shot generator a few times and then went to fan room, saw it wasn’t spinning so I shot it and then went to security station, I went from security station to West and I went into Darkness(???). Wandered around a bit more, gave up. Unsure what to do after shooting the generator. First puzzle was probably the most obscure, didn’t understand what you were going for until I re-read it and saw you meant it satirically, then it made perfect sense.

    Not enough time to finish now though.

    Quick Solution of Puzzles:
    From Overhang(south): hop/jump/go over light pole
    Factory Room: Push Button three times to get rid of stupid civilian
    Stairwell (This one took me ages): Go up stairwell
    Generator Access: Shoot Generator
    I don’t have a solution to the fan room, this is where I got stuck.

  11. Awetugiw says:

    Ah, “Examine” seems to be what I was looking for.

  12. Varil says:

    Sadly, I can’t get it to run. Firefox just gives me a black box. My Java is all on, so I’m not sure why it’s spazzing. I didn’t even get an authorization warning. I turned to Internet Explorer, which first demanded I install an ActiveX add-on, then refused to do so because it didn’t know who made it. It didn’t bother asking me my opinion, so I told it to bugger off pretty promptly. First time in over a year I’ve felt the need to use you, and instead of attempting to prove yourself you have to go and give me grief! Back to the depths of my system, you! Return not again unless I summon ye!

    EDIT : Aha, I’m an idiot! Turns out Firefox needs a Java update to go with its recent update, or all Java dies horribly. Just in case anyone else has this problem >_>

    Also : Dude below me, you clearly haven’t read the post itself yet.

  13. Samrobb says:

    Shamus – just a heads up: when I loaded this page today, I got a warning from MacOS X asking if I wanted to accept an incoming connection from the page; it was signed with a security certificate from We-Ju Wu. It wasn’t until after the I denied access that I realized you had an embedded applet in your page :-/ You may want to warn people up front in your post, and let them know what to expect.

  14. I set the graphics to low and thought it was a single throwaway joke until I typed “look”. Seriously, that was awesome! You’re game is quite a bit more advanced than many I have played in that the intro sequence can easily be skipped. You should tell some of those C++ guys how you did that. Ok, now to venture down the bridge…

    P.S. This is my favourite game about playing a game. Did you include in-game pinball and other arcade machines in at some point? I must find out!

  15. Brendan says:

    On repeat visits to places, the descriptions disappear. This means that if you go the wrong way in places like the vents, you have to grope around in the dark or backtrack your way to the beginning then follow your footsteps. Very annoying. Its taken me an hour so far, and I’m stuck at the alien in the doorway of the office.

  16. Brendan says:

    Also, you’d think that after seeing the LED screen inviting you to ENTER PASSCODE, you would finish the puzzle by ENTERing the PASSCODE. Or perhaps USE KEYPAD, or TYPE PASSCODE or ENTER SECURITY DOOR. I can’t remember my final solution, but that one was trying.

  17. Florin-Vlad says:

    I can’t shoot doors, that’s railroading!!!!

  18. Awetugiw says:

    The puzzles mostly seemed quite doable, perhaps a bit too easy. The only two puzzles I got stuck with for some time are the keycode and the alien stuck in the doorway.

    In the first case the problem is that it is obvious what needs to be done, but finding out which command does it is hard. I haven’t found a solution to the alien in the doorway, and I am actually starting to suspect there is none. After all, this is supposed to be caused by a bug, so there is no in-universe reason for this puzzle to be solvable. Or perhaps I just missed the rocket launcher somewhere.

    The puzzles would of course be a lot harder for someone who doesn’t know the cliches though. Especially the generator, I guess.

    1. Shamus says:

      For the alien-stuck-in-door:

      Shoot dead body with the zorcher, which vaporizes.
  19. Huckleberry says:

    I just died in “a spectacular cataclysm of fire, shrapnel, and industrial waste. Your body is liquefied by the force of the explosion, then torn apart by shrapnel, then roasted by fire, then corroded by toxic waste, and finally crushed under the collapsing ceiling.”

    Way to go! :)

    Now, next time, I’ll try to find a way around that… ;)

    @Brendan: you can trigger the description of a room that you have already visited by typing “look”.

  20. Brendan says:

    Ah. The zorcher. Left behind, right back at the beginning of the game, behind at least 2 unopenable doors. Oops.

    Huckleberry: Ah, that works. Thanks.

  21. axilet says:

    Hmm, you might want to mention that the Zorcher is an alien gun rather than just an alien. I spent some time trying to kill the Zorcher before figuring it out. Or maybe it’s just me XD

    Also: “go up stairwell/stairs/steps” didn’t work, but “go up” did. Seemed a bit odd.

  22. spelling mistake in the description of Air Vent – should be ‘wrecking’

  23. Clint Olson says:

    When you first get the shotgun, a nondescript alien attacks you. But when you “shoot alien”, it says:

    You use the shotgun to violate local noise ordanances in the direction of Ambusher for 8 points of damage.

    Two things:
    1. “ordanances” is properly spelled “ordinances”
    2. If “Ambusher” is a proper name, shouldn’t we be told that in its initial description? If it isn’t, shouldn’t the message read “in the direction of the ambusher” instead? It doesn’t make sense that we suddenly know the name of the alien by shooting it.

  24. Nicke says:

    Heh. Hilarious.

    Got through the game without too much of a problem. The alien in the doorway and the room with barrels took some testing, but nothing too hard.

    Agree with some commenters above. Backtracking is a bit annoying. I would probably prefer getting the description again without having to “look”.

    Very well written and visually appealing! I noticed a few typos (that I don’t remember anymore, but a spellchecker should pick them up). I kept examining stuff hoping to find loot (apparently crates are brown). It was fun running into the fan while it was still running…

  25. Also Toxic Waste Facility-Rear Entrance, ‘labelled’, ‘stairway’ and ‘Access’. And now I appear to be stuck in the drainage area.

  26. Varil says:

    It’s cute, though the finicky treatment of ‘look’ and ‘examine’ made me think I couldn’t actually look at anything until I noticed one of the comments.

    Equip doesn’t actually seem to work, I had to use ‘use ‘ to change weaponry.

    ‘Open keypad’ is possibly the most obscure thing in the history of obscure things, especially since examining it prompts you to ‘ENTER PASSCODE’.

    On the bright side, I thought it made a pretty good little satire. The bit with the crates outside the factory, the battlehog, and the graphics setting puzzle were all clever little things. I actually liked that the solution to most puzzles seemed to be ‘shoot something’. Vent in the way? Shoot it! Generator won’t go off? Shoot it!

    The verb usage was generally pretty good, though the game itself was sometimes inconsistent. The ‘power lever’ became ‘power switch’ in my inventory. Attempts to collect the machinegun failed, but I could pick up the ‘gun’. This seemed to reverse once I owned it, though I confess to not really experimenting.

  27. DrMcCoy says:

    Hmm, I dunno if it’s me, frotz, or your game, but “restore” doesn’t work in frotz, it spits out “[allow putting things on the keychain rule]” and the like.

  28. Broc says:

    I got stuck in the very beginning with the annoying looping sounds. Gave up.

    Couldn’t go very far ever with any adventure game, I always miss something important.

    Ain’t got the patience, although I can do long RPGs no problem.

  29. Nidokoenig says:

    It’s great so far. The puzzles are good, especially since I’m not too familiar with text-based gaming and it’s helping me to learn the mind-set.

    I’ll type up issues as I find them(Spoiler warning):

    The game understands PUNCH as SHOOT but not KICK. And here I was hoping for some flavour text about engaging aliens with lasers in fisticuffs.

    The description for D5(I’ve been using the map) says “You are crouched in a T-intersection of a large air duct. From here the passage continues west, east, or south.” However, EAST yields an error, you need NORTH to get to the dead end with the medkit.

    God damn, I love unlocking stuff with a shotgun.

    Toxic Waste Facility-Rear Entrance description mentions a “sairway”

    I assume the BattleHog cutscene a deliberate joke, and/or is there a way to get there with it? I just walked and got the cutscene, which fits the humour.

    The button by the Maintenance Access door’s button doesn’t respond to red button or worn red button, only button. That’s what I get for pedanticism. Ah, after shooting it, I see it also responds to dirty button.

    I’ve run into the same problem as others have with the clipped alien blocking the manager’s office. I thought the alien Zorcher was an actual alien too, so I tried talking to it after I shot it and the answers and it having a capital in its name seemed to imply it was sentient and harmless, so I continued on. Might be an idea to let you loot some alien weapons, at least from the problematic one. In fact, I tried various permutations of “take gun” and “loot alien” on the first alien brute I killed.

    Overall, a fun game with only one semi-serious flaw. I’ll probably come back later and finish it, seeing as how the map says I was almost done.

  30. Awetugiw says:

    Oh, the Zorcher is a weapon! That explains why it didn’t try to kill me by itself.

    I think there is also an area in the ventilation tunnel where the description of the exits does not match the directions you can go. I think it was D5.
    EDIT: looks like someone was just a little faster with that observation.

  31. Turbosloth says:

    had a second go once people here made me realise there was an “examine” command. Once I knew that the keypad puzzle that had me stuck before was fairly simple. Would suggest adding it to list of commands.

    All the puzzles were pretty simple once I got the hang of how to play. The humour was great. I particularly liked the series of scenes describing you doing a vehicle section without a vehicle, followed by a cutscene where you suddenly had one.

  32. Will says:

    When the civilian blocked the door I jumped it.
    The game told me I jumped over it.
    Which would mean I could get through!
    But sadly I had to kill him.

    And I didn’t save, died to the fan, and was demoralized. Sort of my fault there though.

  33. Helgi says:

    Damn it, I blew myself up.

    This is the first text game I have ever played and I’m having a hell of a lot more fun than I was expecting.
    Oh, and it’s very funny.

  34. Florin-Vlad says:

    “shoot ladder
    You unleash all of your considerable firepower on the door. When the dust clears, you discover that your attack has left no lasting impression whatsoever. Apparently they should have made your dropship out of doors.”

    uhm, ok, but i was shooting at a ladder

  35. Nathon says:

    Well, you really meant it when you said it didn’t use anything like readline. I instictually hit C-a and it selected everything…then I hit backspace for some unknowable reason and now everything’s gone. The interpreter doesn’t even respond any more.

    Note to others: don’t hit control-a, and if you do, don’t delete everything.

  36. ok, how on earth do I get out of the parking area? I’m in the car, but I can’t figure out what command I presumably need to use to drive up the ramp
    EDIT: It’s use ramp, rather than a specific verb

  37. Yeah, backtracking around the airvent is annoying, but to me that fits the theme (stupid FPS backtrack-forcing level designers).

  38. Brandon says:


    Use my buddy Atul’s Parchment software. It’s a web-based interpreter. No Java needed.

  39. Jeremiah says:

    Very amusing. Loved the humor throughout. The thing with the battlehog cutscene threw me for a bit until I realized that was all part of the joke. I even tried going back and turning the thing over somehow.

    I’m guessing tallying points up is something that comes later since at the end I had no points.

    Other than that, I think everything I noticed has been mentioned so far.

  40. Is there a good reason why the applet needs to access my computer? Or why the certificate is not in your name?

    UPDATE: nevermind, I like the link you provided, thanks!

  41. Florin-Vlad says:

    for the room with the Iris door and the civilian stuck there, i didn’t kill the civilian to get past it, instead of typing “north” i typed “go iris” and it pased the civilian withouth even saying anything about it



    Air Duct
    You are crouched in a T-intersection of a large air duct. From here the passage continues west, east, or south.

    Using Shotgun>north

    Air Duct
    You are crouched in a large air duct at a dead end. What possible value a dead end might serve in an HVAC system is anyone’s guess. From here the passage goes south.

    You can see a Medkit here.”


  42. Incognitia says:

    Good work Shamus; I enjoyed that quite a bit, though I admit I needed the hints given in the comment thread to complete a couple of the puzzles.
    I especially enjoyed the description of the maze, and the BattleHog cutscene.

  43. Drew says:

    Clever. And fun. The only puzzle that I really didn’t get was the alien-in-a-door one, and while your solution is absolutely clever, I’m not sure I’ve played a game where you can shoot corpses. Of course, it’s been a long time since I’ve played a FPS, so maybe they’ve come a long way since then.

  44. after the ramp, no further issues. I quite enjoyed it, but it took me quite a while (I guess 3-4 hours whilst being distracted by TV)

  45. Noah says:

    With Chrome on Linux, the Java applet doesn’t work at all for me. The parchment interface seems to work fine, though.

    I *love* the intro, but I’m like that.

  46. Derek Davis says:

    I made it through the wecked fan!

    Air Duct
    You are crouched in a large air duct. To the south is a wecked fan and the ventilation passage. From here the passage continues north and west.

    Note: wrecked is not spelled wecked. Wecked may be spelled wecked, in which case, what does it mean for a fan to be wecked? Also, why is it wecked? I just walked through it. Does wecked mean recently passed?

  47. I love this game. It’s one of the more entertaining Inform games I’ve had the pleasure of playing (though my level of enjoyment might be linked to my placement on the Venn diagram of “enthusiastic IF fans” and “enthusiastic FPS fans.” Parts of it might have given me more trouble if I was less familiar with one or the other.) I think I got about 45 minutes of decent gameplay out of this (counting the backtrack time when I stayed in the barrel room to see what would happen).

    For the most part, none of the puzzles gave me any trouble. The only exception to this was the alien-in-door puzzle, which confounded me for a while until I remembered the zorcher disentigrated. Then it confounded me for a while longer because “equip zorcher” didn’t work, nor did any permutation I tried. (I felt silly when I read the comments and realized that “use zorcher” would do just fine.)

    The rest of the puzzles I would qualify as “easy, but not insultingly so. Amusingly so, in fact, as the narrator comments make me giggle.”

    Bugs, typose, etc in no particular order:

    In the flow control room, “gage” should be “gauge.”

    I figured out the alien-in-door puzzle but could not solve it until I read the comments and discovered that I had to “use” the zorcher to equip it. The equip command does not work.

    In the first area, you can e(x)amine the sound to get a description of its bump mapping (or presumably flat textures, but I had the graphics set to high at the time).

    The machine gun is listed at the prompt as “machinegun” (one word), but responds as two words: “machine gun” or “gun.” You cannot examine your “machinegun,” as you have no such item. IIRC you should be able to just add “machinegun” as a synonym for the item.

    There is no “reload” verb, which makes sense as there’s no need to reload. I, personally, would find it amusing to have a reload verb anyway (particularly since, for some reason, I automatically typed “reload” after the first alien. XD)

    Things I tried to e(x)amine but couldn’t (included for completeness, I won’t be saddened if you stop reading here):

    “BattleHog” at highway north (the crash site). This one seems pretty significant to me.

    The “smoke” coming from the dropship.

    You can’t examine “lights” or “floodlights” in the first parking lot, which I felt like doing.

    The “desk” and “chairs” in the factory lobby. (This may be because the desk is the one in the reception area, where you can examine it.)

    In the reception area, you can’t examine the “receptionist”, despite being clearly told that (s)he is dead. :)

    “monitors” and “lockers” in the factory security station.

    “valves,” “gauges,” “gages,” and “lights” in the flow control room.

  48. Andy says:

    I managed to get through the hole thing in about 40 minutes or so. I used to play these text adventures when I was a youngster and it was nice to explore a new one!
    I thought the writing was pitched just right; suitable amounts of humour and just enough info hidden in the text to get me through the puzzles.
    I would say the difficulty was about perfect for a player of my calibre, so it is probably a little on the easy side. Probably the first text adventure I didn’t have to resort to underhanded methods to solve (usually this involved going to a bookshop and reading a walkthrough guide in the pre-internet days)
    Look forward to the mothership!

  49. Nidokoenig says:

    Shoot Black Doom Mothership could probably throw up some kind of message, whether you’re doing it at the catwalk or at the vehicle section. Of course, it’d just be telling you how dumb you are, but saying I can see no such thing right after it’s been described is a bit off.

    Just finished my second run, though, and I love it. Can’t wait for the ending.

  50. Mark says:

    Shamus, you might be interested in reading Inform 7 For Programmers, which analyzes the “natural” language syntax.

  51. Theo says:

    You can “take” or “get” all the buttons and levers, as well as the generator. After I died to the pile of barrels, I took to doing this on purpose. If you push the Big Red Button anywhere but the control room where it’s found, the iris door will open, there’ll be no ambush, and the civilian won’t get stuck in the door.

    This practice still didn’t prevent me, or rather, my player, from having to backtrack through the sewer maze several times, though.

  52. Viktor says:

    Stuck on the drainage room. No way to turn down the visuals, and it wouldn’t let me jump the pipe.

  53. Stormkitten says:

    I’ve gone through the entire opening sequence, and the first few areas so far. Initial comment, it would be useful to repeat the valid exit directions in the minimal description for a room. As it is, I have to use the ‘look’ command a lot.
    For example:
    Factory Lobby
    There are exits to the East and North.
    You can see a Factory door here.

  54. HgmE says:

    @ Viktor: it’s “graphics low” for graphics settings.

    I just played through. Loved the whole battle hog sequence. I’m upset that I only got to use the machine gun once, it has the best description text.

    This is the first text adventure I’ve ever played all the way through so here’s my comments on the whole thing.

    You can’t “use medkit” at least not in the sewer level anyway. Seeing as how you consume them on the spot like that I found “use” to be more intuitive for medkits than “take” at least, after the first one (this may just be me though).

    Changing the graphics settings I found to be a bit vague (I only figured it out after reading the comments here)

    The response the game gives you when you try to talk to people is priceless.

    Writing: GOOD, no GREAT! I found the entire experience to be very enjoyable, the jokes all hit home, and I can’t wait to play the finished product.

    One last question though; Why don’t you write/consult for developers over programming? Your writing (both here and on the escapist) is nothing short of stellar, and your points are always valid. Do you prefer coding to writing? I’m just curious is all.

  55. Matt says:

    Kinda fun. The most frustrating thing for me was seeing the alien use a gun on me that did more damage than mine, but not being able to take the alien’s gun after I killed it.

    I then amused myself by thinking about the article you’d write complaining about a situation like that in a game.

  56. CDG says:

    I liked this alot. Fairly easy puzzles, although I did get stuck a few places because I ignored the room description.

    Having equip in the help command list threw me off because it didn’t actually work. Using the gun worked though.

    “A Alien Brute” really bugged me. This is seen in the sewer Locker Room and in Sea of Crates (south). The Alien Brute is also described twice in the locker room.

    Otherwise good stuff! It was a hilarious time waster and I’d love to see the end.

  57. steve? says:

    I liked the RPG quip when I tried to talk to the alien. Unfortunately the parser didn’t understand the first thing I tried which was “greet alien”. I also tried “loot alien” after he died; I guess I play too many RPGs.

  58. Simply Simon says:

    It’s quite amusing. The part where you enter the sewage plant confused me though. There was no description indicating where I could go. Also there were a few instances where the game described in detail various pipes, walls and/or valves, but when examining them it said that there were no such things.

  59. Shawn says:

    I only played for a few minutes, but I’m deeply disappointed that shooting crates does not cause them to explode. I only hope there are some exploding barrels later on.

  60. Heather B says:

    Finished in about 5 hours, would have probably been 2 or less if I weren’t playing it at work (don’t worry, I’m tech support at a call center; it’s not like I’m neglecting actual duties, just waiting for the phone to ring) Almost got stuck at the parking lot; I only figured out how to leave while on foot. Which was lucky, as it turns out, because the narration of the dramatic driving scene as experienced on foot is hilarious. I also enjoyed that the Battlehog somehow caught up with me when I reached the next cut scene. The way you handled the maze was great, too, I was all ready to start drawing my progress.

    Had trouble with the Equip command. Tried a dozen permutations (which reminds me to ask, can you record these to see what people tried?), eventually went to ‘use’, which worked. Saved game at a few points, was surprised to learn that ‘load’ was not a valid command. For some reason I never thought of ‘restore,’ might be nice to have that in the help text. Only typo I found was in the description of the Manager’s office over the sewer – ‘acroutraments.’ Looking up the correct spelling lead to my surprising discovery that while the singular is accoutrement, the plural is accouterments. I hate French.

    I think I’m going to play it again, see if there’s anything I missed.

  61. Heather B says:

    Reading through the comments, I realize I stumbled through a few puzzles without even realizing they were puzzles. This flowed a lot better and was less frustrating than the two other text games I’ve played.

  62. SteveDJ says:

    Bug report (and response @58) – I too tried to take the alien’s weapon after killing it. In this case, it was the alien in the Factory Storage Area. I had already taken the shotgun – which causes the alien to first appear through the steel-plate door.

    After killing it, I tried to take his gun – and it told me (again) that the Steel-Plate door burst open and an alien charges into the room. Of course no second battle, but it did startle me at first.

    Also in this room (and others), I got confused at which direction some doors were. I didn’t realize that going West from the Factory Storage Area (into Darkness) was just going in through the now-open steel-plate door (and where the alien had come from).

    Finally – the fan. It shouldn’t be described as “wrecked”, but simply “stopped”.

    I’m now stuck at the Drainage (West) location – gotta try some more things out. But so far, I’m liking this very much!! Great job!

  63. Heron says:

    “If the aliens take New York, Earth is finished!”

    Is SHADOWY GUY #2 actually Ironclad?

    Edit: ROFL! “The dead alien ragdoll twitches convincingly as you shoot it.” This is awesome, Shamus :)

  64. Yar Kramer says:

    I got stuck for a bit in the toxic waste area because I didn’t know you were supposed to type “jump basin.” I was trying “go east,” or “jump east” … and now I don’t know how to unlock the door to the north of the control room. Also, it’s sort of jarring that you mention the window on the inside of the control room but not the outside, and when I try to shoot or examine it, it says “You can’t see any such thing.” (PROTIP: if you mention anything in the description, include it as something you can examine or interact with, even if you just end up setting it as Scenery.)

    I’m glad you’ve warmed up to Inform 7, Shamus. Honestly (I cound’t come up with a good context in which to bring this up previously), your previous article had always bugged me. It’s like you read the advertisements instead of the instruction manual, and then blamed the system for not being able to make an IF game out of a description that read more like a general walkthrough. Good to see you’re having fun with it now.

  65. Joe says:

    My favorite part:
    “You fire wildly into the (random thing that I was annoyed with). Do you feel better?”
    “Use Zorcher>Yes.”
    “That was a Rhetorical Question.”

    The whole thing really feels like your playing with a sarcastic GM instead of a computer, but that one little bit made my day.

  66. Zeta Kai says:

    Well, I can’t say how long it took me to complete, because I was interrupted repeatedly with RL concerns, & I died in the vent fan anyway (who knew?). I’ll try again later. But here’s what I learned:

    1) Despite having not played a text adventure in about ten years, it all came back to me in about two minutes. Oh, the times we had…

    2) At the Crashsite, you cannot SHOOT the wreckage; you can SHOOT the dropship, but wreckage isn’t recognized.

    3) At the Bridge (North End), you cannot SHOOT the cars.

    4) At the Factory Lobby, you cannot SHOOT or JUMP the desk or chairs.

    5) At the Factory Security Station, you cannot SHOOT the monitors or lockers.

    6) I’ll try again later, & find more petty things to complain about.

    7) The game has multiple appeals: it is a well-done text adventure, so it has nostalgia for anyone 30 or older. Also, the parody of FPS’s is spot-on & therefore very amusing.

  67. Eric Rossing says:

    Some hints for those unfamiliar with the text-game “standards”:

    EXAMINE or LOOK AT to see a more-detailed description of

    VERBOSE will tell the game to always give a room description. BRIEF will tell the game to only give a description the first time you see the room (the default behavior). SUPERBRIEF will turn off automatic room descriptions (if you really want to).

  68. Yar Kramer says:

    Hmm, okay … in the bit with the “DestroyedDoor,” it doesn’t recognize “door,” and if you try to open it, it succeeds, but you can’t go through it because it leads nowhere.

    — oh, and the one-way Security Door had no clever message for trying to go through it from the wrong side.

  69. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Nice little adventure you have there Shamus.Love the descriptions,and laughed at most of them.

    As for the lenght,I think it took me about an hour or so,but thats because I read everything.Also,dont consider me as an average gamer,since Ive been playing adventures since I was 7.So it was easy for me.Nevertheless,I played it twice,and had fun,so it is good.

    Also,loved the rhetorical question.

    As for the bugs and such,Ive noticed only a few(I didnt read all the comments,so maybe these are already here):catwalk section lacks description when reentered,or when looked at.Same thing happened with stairwell top the second time I played,but not first time.

    The last screen of intro has goin” instead of goin’.

    The airduct t junction has south,west and east written as available directions,but you can go south,west and north.

    Thats it,I think.Also youve missed such an obvious joke in the first vehicle section when the hog is upside down.I typed “flip hog”,and expected something along the lines of “you point your middle finger towards the car”,but sadly you didnt think of that one.

    Looking forward to playing the full game.

    PS:Since the directional shortcuts are N,S,W,E,D and U,and L is shortcut for look,and there is lots of shooting(it is a shooter after all),why not use K as a shortcut for kill,which does the same as shoot?

  70. Jeff says:

    Speaking as someone who still plays these games, I’m startled you’re talking about Inform. I didn’t even know it was still in use, most use Adrift 4.0 or TADS3 now.

  71. Helgi says:

    Couple of things I think need to be fixed.

    1) I found something wrong with the in game help.
    When we type HELP the game says:
    “ can change weapons by typing EQUIP (name of weapon).”
    But the game doesn’t recognize “equip” so to change weapons we have to type “use” and then the name of the weapon. It took me a while to figure that out.

    2) I never would have guessed “open keypad” is the way you’re supposed to enter the passcode if somebody hadn’t mentioned it in the comments.

  72. Nathon says:

    Some rooms don’t have their exits clearly defined. It would be helpful if the short summary of a given room said something like “Exits are North, South, Down, and Suicide.”

  73. Nathon says:

    Typo: “acroutraments” in the office.

  74. Lar says:

    The look command shouldn’t cause stuff to shoot me.

  75. Bertol Brecht says:

    I got stuck at the Waste Facility gate, am I supposed to do something with the forklifts besides shoot them?

  76. Rubes says:

    @Jeff: Actually, I’m pretty certain that most text IF games these days use either Inform or TADS, and I would bet that the scales favor Inform at this point.

  77. Steven says:

    Yeah. I didn’t take the Zorcher, because I thought it was some sort of alien creature. I tried to shoot it and it didn’t do anything, so I assumed it was some sort of friendly alien like a Vortigaunt. And I don’t want to go all the way back to get it. I thought it was fun though! Good work.

  78. AGrey says:

    got a few rooms into the factory before i got tired of ‘guess the verb’

    Computer games make the game world look as realisic as possible.
    Pen and paper games can react to anything you do to them (with a good DM)

    Text adventures are the worst of both worlds: you can’t see anything, and you’re only allowed to do what the creator has already thought of, there’s no creativity.

  79. Tony says:

    The abrupt cutscene where you’re suddenly driving the BattleHog even though I came on foot got me to laugh out loud.

    I don’t do that a lot.

  80. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You can USE KEYPAD,you dont have to OPEN KEYPAD.

    But yes,ENTER CODE should work as well.

  81. Bryan says:

    Heh. “You have scored 0 out of a possible 0.” :-)

  82. Pingback: Shamus Does IF
  83. Maldeus says:

    I have a question about the engine, specifically, do the battles actually mean anything? Are there any actual hit points being tracked, or is it all just an illusion? Could you theoretically die to the mooks?

  84. Dash says:

    Mine is printing the letter alphabetically before the one I type, and probably what it means.

  85. Trianglehead says:

    “Using Pistol>shoot bodies
    You riddle the dead bodies with gunfire. Doing so has not brought you any closer to victory.”

    Thank you for that. Hilarious.

  86. Trianglehead says:

    304 turns and about 40 minutes. The only place I got stuck was the “Graphics Low” bit.

  87. Maldeus says:

    Experimentation has shown that yes, you can, in fact, die. I want to know how this was accomplished, however. All my attempts at creating a combat system in Inform (which, I grant you, I’ve only spent about an hour with, and most of that was designing a forest maze) have failed entirely. I can’t even seem to give the player a health score.

  88. toasty says:

    Fun fun! I can’t wait till you finis the game. Great satire about FPS games.

  89. Florin-Vlad says:

    In that game you scored 0 out of a possible 0, in 145 turns.

    yay, super fun, good humor, appart from the small bugs it’s a nice game

  90. felblood says:

    I only got as far as the dead end in the HVAC system, when I killed the applet, by mistake.

    The only bug I found was the lack of reprinting on the catwalk description.

    It seems that the applet doesn’t reload if you refresh the page, it just breaks.

  91. Kyrion says:

    Spelling errors etc.: “Havok physics take over and the alien rogdolls”

    Also, maybe “use medkit” when there’s a medkit rather than picking it up

    Maybe me, but looked like a double space after “Alien Brute”

    Surely we should be able to “shoot darkness” in the dark room, that’s how I tend to navigate in dark rooms (in video games)

    Also, pedantic, but if you shoot in the darkness then you shouldn’t be able to see the damage decals on the walls :)

    On “examine door” it says “It steel plate door is open now”

    Is there a way to turn verbose off?

    The catwalk only has a description when I first get there, after it just says “catwalk”

    The T intersection in the ducts says E,W,S instead of N,W,S

    When standing on the vent in the ducts, maybe a comment on “down” about how the vent is in the way…

    “A Alien Brute”

    At the toxic waste entrance “sairway”

    east of the toxic waste basin “gages” instead of “gauges”

    Does it say something that I shot the generator as soon as I saw it? :S

    Great game, I lolled at the waist high desk joke in particular. :) Good job, much better than playing the actual FPS ;)

  92. Ramsus says:

    “Your bullets pass right through the civilian. He doesn’t even seem to notice your attempt to murder him.”
    Drat. Note that is what I did on initially spotting the civilians, before I even knew there was a puzzle to solve there.

    “Air Duct
    You are crouched in a T-intersection of a large air duct. From here the passage continues west, east, or south.

    Using Shotgun>n

    Air Duct
    You are crouched in a large air duct at a dead end. What possible value a dead end might serve in an HVAC system is anyone’s guess. From here the passage goes south.

    You can see a Medkit here.”

    Er….being able to go north even though it doesn’t tell me I can….was that you being tricky or…? Hmmm also you can’t go east. Intentional clue or did you mistype north as east?

    Initially I thought the alien Zorcher was an alien and had no idea why I couldn’t harm it.

    For some reason it took me over 5 minutes to even think of examining the basin. *sigh*

    Hmmm it figures shooting the barrel for fun is actually the correct path.

    “Apparently they should have made your dropship out of doors.” Picturing that had me laugh till I cried.

    For some reason I get the feeling I wasn’t supposed to leave the Battle Hog upside-down and run the rest of the way on foot. But I did anyway and it worked out ok…that powered armor must be amazing. Takes the same kind of damage from small arms as vehicle weaponry.

    The sewer part took me a while because I didn’t realize I was using the button in my inventory instead of the one for the door.

    So it took me 373 turns and a little over 1 and a half hours. Also 3 deaths.

    Well the puzzles that were hard seemed to have been hard due to me failing to think correctly as opposed to being tricky, everything else was more or less straightforward. Also I liked that forklifts were just for shooting and served no real purpose.

  93. albval says:

    The game is very fun!

    I played the game until the flow control room quite fast. I looked at things a lot though, which took time. The generator took a while, as some have said, but after that the puzzle with the screwed shut ventilation grate took only a minute for me to figure out (after first backtracking to see if I’d missed any screwdrivers).

    Sadly I got stuck in the flow control room, lacking the key to the flow door. I didn’t find any other meaningful ways to interact with the door and although I backtracked as far as I could I found no key. I also lack the patience to start over and see if the key was somewhere earlier.

    Or am I just missing something obvious? How is the door supposed to be opened? There’s no keypad on this one.

  94. Daemian Lucifer says:


    Shoot the barrels in the dark room to the east.

  95. Cragfire says:

    Hehe, at the very beginning

    Command: Shoot Pistol

    You spray the P-Shooter with gunfire. Doing so has not brought you any closer to victory

    I think I just made a gun shoot itself.

  96. Simplex says:

    I accidentally selected “no” when I got a propmt whether to allow to run this applet or not. Now I cannot play the game at all. Anyone knows how can I fix thiis?

  97. … huh. People are mentioning using screwdrivers to get through the grate (I assume in the ventilation ducts) – I just typed ‘break grate’

  98. seanf says:

    (Since everyone else is apparently commenting here instead of email, I’ll join the party.)

    Nice work, Shamus, I really enjoyed the FPS satire. Took me about 60 minutes, as someone who has played int-fiction on and off for years, but never very well. I was rushing more than usual – it took a bit longer than I would have preferred on a work-night.

    The only puzzle that had me completely stumped was the alien-in-a-door – I hadn’t noticed that the Zorcher did that, and I got the impression the bodies were immutable after death (like so many games). (I’m not sure how I retained that impression in view of the earlier civvy-in-a-door puzzle.) I even tried the WAIT command, hoping that the body would be de-spawned. But of course QWC3 is too advanced for that (at least until I generate a few hundred more corpses).

    I could easily have failed to think of jumping over the light pole, if I hadn’t re-read the HELP at the right time. I was glad that the puzzles were easy otherwise.

    I did see a few typos that I haven’t noticed in the other comments: goin” (you probably wanted an apostrophe, not quote marks), StackedCrates, DamagedDoor, MAINTAINANCE ACCESS, nodescript, labyryinth.

    You can see Alien Brute here.
    You can also see Basement Door here.

    These sentences should really have articles after the word “see”. And there’s an extra space after “Brute”.

    >get gun
    (the Machine Gun)
    You equip the machinegun. (Insert obligatory joke about “boomstick”.)
    – I think you re-used the shotgun text here.

    I was surprised you didn’t make a joke about loading times after the door slammed shut, but then again, if I thought of it, it was probably too obvious…

  99. Regiment says:

    In the generator room, I wasn’t sure what to do, and decided to try a “take all”, figuring it would list interactive objects and give me a comical rebuttal to them. Imagine my surprise when I managed to take the generator (although I was still able to shoot it). Is that supposed to happen?

    I was also hopelessly stuck at the chain-link fence at the sea of boxes for a while. The game doesn’t recognize “lock”, only “padlock”.

    I must give you bonus points for anticipating at least some loony inputs- I laughed when I typed “darn” and the game responded “Quite.”

  100. Maldeus says:

    Can you/have you provided the source file for this, Shamus?

  101. albval says:

    @ Daemian Lucifer: Thank you. I had tried shooting the barrels already and died quite hilariously!

    I hadn’t quite understood how the game mechanics work. I didn’t realise that the game could update the status of the barrels also when you move out from the room and not only when you interact with them directly. That’s why I thought shooting them was the only way to trigger the explosion.

  102. LoneViper says:

    My only blocker was the toxic waste basin room, but it stopped me for good until I read the comments. I tried “options,” “settings,” “change [both above],” “set [both above],” I even tried “press Escape” to try and bring up the Options screen. I was desperate. :P
    The real frustrating thing for me is that I typed just “graphics,” hoping it would prompt me for high/low or use the correct word so that I could type the proper phrase. I tried just about everything I could think of (obviously I didn’t think of “graphics low”) and had to look at the comments for the exact phrase.

  103. dg says:

    Here’s a link for playing it with Parchment, a *Javascript* Z-machine interpreter (avoiding all the Java horrors!):

    It even saves (by pasting lots of base64 garbage onto the end of the URL).

  104. Eggbert says:

    How did you learn how to use Inform?

  105. Bryan says:


    The only puzzle which took me a while to figure out was the toxic basin. I almost died! I finally realized that lowering the graphics resolution would help me time the jump correctly. An extra medkit there would be handy, but inconsistant with what a game designer would do. :-)

    EDIT: Keep in mind that I was playing text games before many of you were born :-)

  106. Yar Kramer says:

    There needs to be difficulty settings for the combat (which would take the form of multipliers for how much damage the enemies and player do to each other), complete with Easy-Mode Mockery (maybe even treating the highest difficulty setting as the only “acceptable” one?). To be really true to the genre, though, you’d have to make it so that the only available options are initially “easy” and “normal,” or possibly “normal” and “hard,” and unlock the rest somehow, but I don’t think you can really save things outside of “this current playthrough” in Z-Machine games.

  107. Chuk says:

    In the manager’s office it should be “accoutrements”.

  108. Will says:

    A minor grammar quibble:

    >jump up
    You leap over the up while making repetitive grunting noises.

    I also found it annoying that I had to look AT something (I’m used to LOOK working), while I could not shoot AT something (it’s SHOOT ALIEN, not SHOOT AT ALIEN).

    That said, it’s amazingly wonderful and entertaining, at least for the 15 minutes I’ve put into between helping kids with homework and getting dinner ready :)

  109. DTor says:

    Pretty funny, and much less aggravating than some other adventure games I’ve played. Peasant’s Quest comes to mind.
    This took me a little under two hours while mildly distracted by the rest of the internet. I died once, but it was totally worth it.
    I feel like LOOK and EXAMINE should do the same things, so I was stumped by the keypad/security door until I read the comments.
    I also tried shooting the Zorcher before I realized it was a gun.
    In the Parking Lot, “litter” is misspelled as “littler.”
    At the Pipe Nexus, it was not obvious to me that I could go north.
    I hope the RENEGADES had more dialog back in The Quaking of WarCrysis 2. Really tragic that WIDOW and SLATE’s lust/hate relationship wasn’t developed more fully before they all took off their seatbelts and landed.

  110. wtrmute says:

    I also shot the zorcher twice before it dawned on me that it wasn’t, in fact, a new class of enemy. The mistake in the HVAC T-intersection has already been pointed out, so I’m going to just point a further item: The last screen of the intro movie, as well as the cutscene at the end of the vehicle level, are larger than the Z-machine’s screen and should probably get a prompt. Unfortunately, I’m not sure at all how to do that in I7 (I dabbled with I6 quite a few years ago); but I’m sure there’s something in the docs.

    Cheers for the game!

  111. Maldeus says:

    Alright, I realize I’ve asked for this before and have been harping on it in general for quite a while now, but I would find the source file for this game to be EXTREMELY informative. If you could please provide it at first convenience, Shamus, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, I’m going to shut up now.

  112. beno says:

    cool game! got stuck in the toxic waste dump and started reading the comments, so didn’t finish.

    another vote for “I thought the Zorcher was a baddie and tried to shoot it” (actually I left it behind so I probably have to start over…)

    also “loot alien” felt totally natural – I’m sure there’s some opportunity for a joke there, maybe something about getting covered in alien goo.

    I like how the FPS “single-mindedness” is represented by north being the right direction most of the time

  113. Randy Johnson says:

    Had a blast playing thru it a couple of times. That damn Barrel room got me good.

  114. John Lopez says:

    As pointed out by others, enter iris bypasses the civilian.

  115. Scott says:

    Dangit, Shamus, now you’ve got me making one. So far, I love Inform!

    I’ve asked it before, but have you played Emily Short’s Galatea?

  116. Tizzy says:

    I confess I went through the sewers more times than actually needed, just to enjoy getting so much better at navigating them.

    Overall, it reminded me of way too many games I played.

  117. asterismW says:

    First off: Excellent game! This is probably the funniest game I’ve ever played.

    Thus far unreported bugs/grammar (as far as I can tell): The description for Parking Area says, “Beyond the gate you can see stretch of highway…” Also, at Highway North, after the cutscene, you can go south back to Highway Crucible and get riddled with bullets again, even though in the description it says you’re walled in on all sides except to the north.

    I would have liked a more comprehensive list of commands. I went through 80% of the game without realizing I could EXAMINE things. I thought the only commands were the ones you listed below the applet, until those were no longer sufficient to advance. Undoubtably this comes from me not having ever played a true text-based game.

    I loved having the map. I could have made one myself, of course, but it was nice to have that work done for me already.

    Much thanks to Varil (#13). I was getting the exact same problem (black box, no prompt). I had no idea there was a Java update. Your comment let me play!

    Overall the game was absolutely brilliant. I loved the satire (killing all your buddies in the beginning while you walked away from the wreck was priceless, as was the second cutscene), the descriptions (“The bullets pass through him, and he is oblivious to your attempts to murder him”), and the puzzles (my favorite was the drainage room solution). The hints were great (“You did want to turn off the power for some reason, right?”). I didn’t really have any problems with the puzzles except for the keypad one, because I didn’t know I could EXAMINE things. And reading through the comments after playing made me realize just how much I missed, though I thought I found quite a few hidden treasures on my own (for fun, walk through the maze a few times). I’ll have to play again.

    Top notch work there, Shamus! Thanks for such an awesome game. :)

  118. Oh, thought I should mention – I assumed the Zorcher was a gun because it didn’t start ‘Alien’. But then, I’ve played several FPS things and it sounds like various alien gun things

  119. Ok! Here are some comments, I wrote these down while playing so they are basically chronological,
    and I’m sure many have pointed out similar things but…

    First of all, maybe mention that you can use “x” as a shorthand for examine? Just for those less familiar with IF.

    “You look closely at Looping sound. The texture mapping is great and the bump mapping makes it look extra-3D.” oops? :P

    The 1st alien near the bridge. Examining (using x or search) should comment the magically vanishing weapon the alien had. Likewise, is the alien nude since no clothes are seen when examining/searching? And no mention of you walking magically though the alien? (unless this is on of them fancy games where dead bodies have like, you know mass and stuff :P
    This would also be a good place to note how annoying the virus checker / or chat notification is, flickering as it tries to display on top of the game but you can’t really make it out. (it later could turn out to be windows trying to let you know it’ll be rebooting due to an update in 10 minutes etc. :P

    Maybe also improve the synonyms etc. like: civilians = civilian = bodies = body = dead bodies = dead body = dead
    Can never have enough synonyms in games like these.

    Oh and: light pole = pole = light
    and so on.

    “You have entered some sort of guard station. There are desks and monitors and lockers and other security-type stuff spread around.”
    Would be nice with more scenery description so you could type: x desk (or desks), monitors, lockers, stuff.

    I guess you could also number the crates, and each time the player does a: x crate 14 and so on the description get increasingly frustrating/annoying (they are after all just brown, immovable, and BORING :P

    Also, some responses to various commands (that are not used/available at all) would be fun.
    (just avoid save and load and restart and so on as they actually do something in the Z game engines)

    I think somebody pointed this out already but “It steel plate door is open now.” does not seem gramatically erm.. right? And ” The space on the other size is about closet-sized.” ? hehe!

    Oh and x receptionist or x body does not seem to work sadly.

    Also, the factory, might want to add workers = civilians = worker = civilian
    Also “A couple of civilians in jumpsuits are here, milling about.” a couple indicate two, so either say two or say a few (what you meant probably?)

    Also, trying to talk could use a better response. “You’re a man of action, not words.” Could instead be (the first time) “You try to speak but not a single peep seems to escape your lips. In frustration you hit your spacebar, which cause you to jump and is followed by a constipating grunting sound. After jumping for a while you get tired of hearing the same 3 grunts.”

    And the first time you do the jump command for example: “After jumping for a while you get tired of hearing the same 3 grunts, and you could have sworn you recognize one of them from a recent porn movie. (ahem)”

    Should be able to examine the control panels etc.
    (in fact anything mentioned by name in the game should also have a description if you try to examine them)

    Also, would be fun if sometimes the alien you kill gets partly stuck in the scenery as it’s dead, making flopping motions/noises as it tries to unclip itself (seen this happen in many games :)

    Oh and the iris door, would be fun if it had red smears on it after killing the civilian :P

    Would also be fun if there was more to the stairwell, like maybe able to see a space behind/beneath it with some stuff (a medkit?) but it’s placed such you can’t get it. (comment about stupid placement bug or sumt?).

    oh and why is the generator room up? They are usually in the basement, maybe a snide comment about this as well?

    Would also be funny if those scenery doors in the stairs where there, sure it would be annoying to try and open them all fail and type up again and again but a few times would be ok, after all, it is what we all do in FPSs so :P

    You can examine the small building but not the highway.
    You can’t examine “ship” or “spaceship” but you can examine “mothership”.

    Would be nice with some reaction to trying to walk off the catwalk etc.

    In the airduct T section it says east as one direction but you cant, it seems it’s north instead.

    And the forklift thing could be more humorous with changing You shoot the forklift, and it explodes in a shower of fire and shrapnel, leaving only a fading scorch mark behind.” to “You shoot the forklift, and it explodes in a shower of fire and shrapnel, leaving only a fading scorch mark behind. Which is pretty impressive considering it was an electrical forklift.”

    Would be cool if the zorcher had a different decal description, or alternatively, comment on how weird it is with identical decals for a alien gun.

    Oh and shoot lock does not work, padlock does.

    “A small sairway leads down from here to a door labeled “Basement Accesss”” sairway? :P
    Oh and no way to examine or shoot the tanker trucks? (just reuse the dropship joke again)

    The basement door. trying to open it results in “You open Basement Door.”

    “You can see Basement Door and two barrels here.”
    Should be “see a Basement Door” I assume?
    Also, “x barrels” does not work but “x barrel” does.
    Shooting one of the barrels does not cause it to explode (and set the other on fire)

    When down in the basin it might be nice if it also said “In retrospect it might have been smart to try and jump across!” for example if you climb down into it first that is,
    no point saying that if you fell into it obviously.
    jump across should be synonym for jump basin as well.

    “Change graphics” could be a nice toggle command.

    “You can see Flow Door and Scientist here.” I assume “a scientist” here?

    And um.. “You can see a DamagedDoor here.” Trying to do “x door” fails, so does “x damaged door”

    BTW! Loved the joke about the pre-rendered city backdrop was pixelated :P

    The cutscene, brilliant, but it might be fun if say a complaint was made as well, like oh I don’t know, the top and bottom seemed cropped or not matching what you saw (widescreen issue :P),
    maybe the audio could lag a bit too (seen plenty Bink video cutscenes do that)

    Unable to examine the crashed battlehog.
    Unable to examine the ship.
    After picking up the machine gun (synonym machinegun maybe?) it would be fun if a snarky remark was made if checking the inventory. (damn huge pants right?)

    Overall, besides the odd bug mentioned, some more humorous comments, and more synonyms are needed, and anything named in rooms/locations should have a description.
    Do that and, well, you may not win any IF competitions, but it’s still way better than most average IF out there.
    I assume that when this is finished it’ll be available at the escapist? I think the readers there would love it :)

    Final note! Maybe once this is completed you could do a mock Gamasutra like “Post-Morten” article of making the game? (staffing issues, having to drop this or that level due to deadline, and unable to fix the load time when changing areas etc.) :P

  120. Macil says:

    Haha, fun little adventure. I used to play these all the time …


    I think some others have mentioned to make sure objects you don’t want picked up can’t be (like buttons and generators).

    #1. I spent a good hour/hour half on it.
    #2. I had trouble with the “graphics” puzzle and the last puzzle with the alien getting stuck. I solved them both eventually, of course and ultimately thought they were pretty clever.
    #3. “load” should be “restore” — or, if possible, make a “load” alias.
    #4. My brain tends to autocorrect these sorts of things, so I didn’t notice any.

    I’m sure you know about the IFArchive and Baf’s ( /

    I highly recommend giving the game “Suveh Nux” a go — I played it a few years ago and it was brilliant. As I recall, you’re a wizard’s apprentice that gets locked in a vault and must figure out how to cast spells to get yourself out ( You have to figure out the right syntax to use with the parser from clues in the game.

  121. Martin! says:

    For those who like adventure game, Myst and Riven are 25% off this weekend on GOG.COM

  122. Blackbird71 says:

    Shamus, thanks a lot for sharing the fun and humorous little diversion. I got a kick out of it.

    In the way of feedback, I’ll list the issues as I found them. I haven’t read all the preceeding posts, so I don’t know if others have seen the same problems, and I don’t know for 100% that all of these aren’t intended.

    1. The biggest problem for me was the way the game was displayed – a scroll screen inside of another scroll screen (of which the innermost one moved very slowly), and sized such that it was impossible to see the command line at the bottom of the screen and the status bar at the top simultaneously. It was a pain to slowly scroll up every so often just to check my health, or whenever a particularly large block of text came up (such as with the battlehog cutscene).

    2. Both buttons in the game can be “taken” and activated elsewhere. I’m guessing these weren’t meant to be mobile.

    3. In the commands listed using “help”, it instructs you to use “equip” to change weapons. However, “equip” does not work, it only return’s the response “That’s not a verb I recognize.”

    4. Once verbose mode has been turned on, there does not seem to be any way to turn it back off.

    5. While crawling through the air duct portion, I reached a section with the description: “You are crouched in a T-intersection of a large air duct. From here the passage coninues west, east or south.” In giving the command “east”, I receive the response “You can’t go that direction,” but “north” works instead.

    6. On encountering “the Alien Zorcher”: How was I supposed to know what a “Zorcher” was? I’ve encountered an Alien Runt, an Alien Brute, and an Alien Ambusher, so when I saw the “Zorcher,” I thought it was some sort of boss. Some description to indicate that it is in fact a weapon and not an enemy would be helpful.

    7. A minor parser issue, the “padlock” I shot off the gate could not be recognized simply as “lock”.

    8. Two things in the room divided by the trench of goo. First, shooting the ladder gives text indicating that I shot a door. Second, I attempted to “jump pipe”, and the response indicated that I successfully “leaped over the large pipe.” As this pipe was the source of the goo, I assumed that in getting over it, I was on the opposite side of the goo. However, when I proceeded to walk east, I somehow stepped into the goo again.

    9. When the battlehog flipped over, I tried a number of unrecognized commands to tip it upright (hey, if it bounces so much, and flips from a signpost, I ought to be able to push it over, right?). Then I attempted the command “turn hog.” I was met with an accusation that I was attempting to sexually molest the vehicle, and a suggestion that I had mistaken the game for Leisure Suit Larry. Ok, that wasn’t a bug – but it was an amusing surprise!

    10. I’m not certain whether this one is actually a bug or if it was intended as a joke, but I’ll err on the side of caution and list it here anyway: after walking through the vehicle path on the freeway and being told I was doing it wrong because I couldn’t turn the hog, I was treated to a cutscene, where I was in the hog that I couldn’t get upright and had left a few screens back. Once again, you probably intended it that way, but at the moment it was a bit confusing.

    Anyway, thanks again Shamus, I hope the info is helpful.

  123. Rick says:

    This is a great game, very fun. I stupidly walked right through the fan on my first attempt. I liked the civi stuck in the door puzzle.

    Just thought I’d mention a couple of small bugs I found…
    – even on the catwalk, using a command like “take” mentions the solid steal door opening and an alien running out.

    – after going down to the basement after the sea of crates (where the door locks behind you so “up” doesn’t work) you can still type “open door” and be told it’s already open.

    – I went down into the basin in DW, tried to go East and couldn’t, so went West and was instantly out of it without having to type “up”.

    I just got stuck at the Basin, I’ll come back to it tomorrow, I’m really enjoying this game, thanks for sharing :)

    Your descriptions for the various situations are hilarious.

    Also… when I got to “eside the hatch is a sign letting you know that you’re about to enter the TOXIC WASTE FACILITY.” … I was instantly reminded of “THIS IS NO ORDINARY STORM” :D

  124. Galen says:

    in the sewers, I kept pushing the button only to eventually realize that I was pushing the big red button I had picked up earlier, and it kept saying that it was opening an iris to the north. this confused me quite a bit as your map and the game wouldn’t let me do anything to the north. I eventually figured it out and dropped the button, then I hit use button and it asked me which button I wanted to use. I typed use dirty button and it gave me a no can do. Then push button, and it worked.

    edit: and of course posting canceled my game. But it won’t let me load for some reason.

  125. albval says:

    Went through the game a second time trying to abuse everything. There was a lot of funny stuff I had missed the first time round…

    I also found one bug that others seem to have missed (do I get a cookie?) When you’re in the battlehog and ‘take all’, you get the usual rocket launcher comments – but you also jump the ramp.

  126. Robyrt says:

    Took me maybe an hour. Loved the humor, although your list of commands should include x/examine/look at because it’s required to solve the dead scientist puzzle. I also got stuck on the alien-in-door puzzle for a while, thinking of Bethesda games where the “crumble into dust” effect only applies if you actually kill something with it. Serves me right. :-P

    The various bugs, uninterpreted commands, etc. have already been covered in previous comments.

  127. Girl Gamer says:

    Bit late to the party here, I kept putting off playing till I wasn’t at work and remembered to stop forgetting this. I enjoyed it, especially the silly cut scenes and general shooter nonsense. Most of the puzzles were pretty intuitive, except for turning down the graphics (I had to cheat a bit on that one) and I’ll echo what others said about the Zorcher — my first instinct was to shoot it rather than take it. I panicked a bit when I saw I was about to enter a maze, but I loved that you just glossed over it with a description. The verbose command was good too, I always get so confused backtracking in text games. I was sad to see the end of it come so quickly (but pleased that I made it), so if you ever finish it, I’ll definitely give that a go. Well done. :)

  128. turcurudin (Dave B.) says:

    Hey, Shamus. I was telling a friend about this game, but it seems that at some point in the last 8 years, the links to the z8 file got broken. :(

    1. Lino says:

      Yeah, it’d be cool if there’s a way to fix it – the game sounds very interesting.

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