Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

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IFComp 2016 Review: Zigamus: Zombies at Vigamus

Posted by Reiko on November 20, 2016

This is a review of a game from the 2016 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Zigamus: Zombies at Vigamus
Author: Marco Vallarino
Format: Z-code

This has been translated from Italian and it shows. I saw a number of odd grammatical constructions, word usages, occasional spelling errors, and even words that weren’t really translated. For instance, a lollipop tastes like “grappa.” I had to look this up and found that it’s an Italian kind of brandy. It would have made a lot more sense to English-speakers to simply say that the lollipop tastes like brandy, even if the taste isn’t exactly the same. After all, brandy is something you might give someone who’s had a shock, and that’s exactly the point of the object. And the game kept talking about “gadgets” when it really meant something like memorabilia or merchandise.

The puzzles are generally pretty obvious; in fact, the game goes out of its way to tell you when you can open a certain door or take certain actions. It doesn’t act like it has more than a two-word parser, though, which is somewhat unforgivable for standard Z-code. I kept trying to attack zombies with something, but I found if you’ve picked up a weapon or have the right key, the game will automatically carry out “attack zombie” or “open door” commands.

A puzzle near the end was somewhat misleading, though. You have to have the power-up to be able to win the final battle. But the power-up is in a case that’s not breakable until you’re stronger. I thought I needed the power-up to get stronger in order to get the hammer, but no, you have to do something completely unrelated that was previously even discouraged in order to be strong enough to get the hammer, which can then be used to smash the case. So the puzzles were usually too easy but occasionally too much like reading the author’s mind.

Time: 20 minutes
Scoring: base 7, -1 for shortness, -1 for poor translation, -1 for poor puzzles
Score: 4

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