This is an unusual game. We are a spy – the Silver agent. We wake up in a hotel room with no memory, but we quickly are given a mission to undertake. Then there is a knock on the door.
It becomes apparent very quickly that we can’t complete this game in a single play through. Time is limited. Death is frequent and immediate. Choices are random – we don’t know what the result of our actions is going to be. It’s audacious. After 2 hours, I still have not reached a ‘winning’ ending.
I’m not sure exactly how to classify this game. I’m not seeing many puzzles, as such. In effect, the whole game is a dynamic puzzle system of exploration and choices. With randomization. We wander around a large city map, occasionally meeting agents – we get to ask them about things we have no idea of – the cyclotron, the bomb. We have a mission which varies from play through to play through. Gradually, after several plays, things start to slot into place. Our choices become more considered as we decide which side we’re going to take.
The text is written in short, sharp, breathless bursts. it’s effective in introducing an immediacy to the game play. There is also a genuine feeling of paranoia and danger. It is also deliberately unfair. Things which kill me and/or advance the game seem to be randomized. Searching. Death. All the choices I have when I meet another agent. It’s tempting to kill everyone, but I only have six bullets.
The game does have a few implementation problems to be honest. The text could do with another once-over – there are some grating grammatical problems here. The commands you type need to be absolutely precise and include ‘the’ (I never type ‘the’ in IF!). A couple of issues with game logic. For example I was hiding from someone and they picked up and examined an object I was holding. Some sensible actions are not implemented. ‘Wear the cloak’ – “you simply cannot do that”. Am I already wearing it? And….aargh….exits are often not mentioned in room descriptions! On moving around the map, sometimes room descriptions are not given till I look. Error messages are not at all helpful. The credits command doesn’t work.
Occasionally, commands just don’t work at all: “You could SEARCH the restaurant.” >search “If only you could.”
Despite the problems, there is something….I don’t know…compelling and addictive about this game. I can’t put my finger on it. But it just…works as a game. 7/10.