Submitted for your approval...
An ordinary adventure game player, thrust into fantastic situations. Into a world between dreams and reality. A world existing only within the electronic circuits of a machine. An area where typed commands become reality in a game that is not quite real, not quite fantasy. A game known as... The Twilight Zone.
This is a text/graphic adventure adaption of Rod Serling's classic television show, boasting a twist ending on par with some of the best episodes.
Text adventures: I was weaned on them when computer games were in their infancy. I played dozen upon dozen of text adventures - I used to solve them, write a fancy solution, and sell the solution for a dollar each - so I have a good knowledge of what is expected of even the most rudimentary of this genre.
The Twilight Zone, tries to capitalize on the TV series success, but you'd have to be really out there to enjoy this game. Let me say up front that I have no documentation and only played the game for about 30 minutes, before giving up in frustration. Not from the puzzles mind you, but from the quality of play. Put aside the fact that it is a text adventure, which will lose the attention of about 90% of you anyway, and consider these failures instead.
The presentation is lousy, and in a text adventure presentation is one of the few things that matter. If your game is based on a player's need to read tons of text, you should strive to make it readable. The Twilight Zone (TZ) fails to do even that. The room descriptions are cluttered, continuous text, with nary any spacing to ease the reading. The game responses are just jammed in between the prompt, again without spacing.
Commonly expected features, even for the oldest of text adventures is shortcuts to limit the repetitive typing, such a “I” for inventory, “L” for Look, etc. Granted TZ has some of this, it seems, in that you can use “N, S, E, or W” but too little for my tastes. Thankfully “Get All” is implemented.
Normally two-word parsers are fairly good, as the limited lexicon is more easily handled. TZ doesn't do this well either. Again, I expected “I” to dutifully spit out a list of the things I am carrying, but instead I am told “You can't go in that direction.” So even if you are nice enough to handle the compass direction by their first letter, you would thing the parser would be smart enough to then recognize that not all single letter commands are direction.
OK, enough of that. TZ is a little wacky, as one would expect, as it randomly plays a snippet of the Twilight Zone theme. There doesn't appear to be any reasoning as to when it plays such as if I had discovered something or solved a puzzle. No, it just plays when ever the mood strikes it.
The programmer apparently used some type of adventure game creation software, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and blame the engine on the various short comings. Regardless of where the fault lies, The Twilight Zone is simply uninspired and boring.
Look! A sign post up ahead… It reads, “Thank goodness I'm leaving the Twilight Zone.”
You can play the game and see the graphics as well if you run the TZVGA.bat file. The graphics are nice and that's why the reviews decided to change his vote for the game. Otherwise the review still applies (the graphics are just an adition to the game and aren't really needed at all).
Twilight Zone is a good game in the same vein as Mike Berlyn's Altered Destiny: a hapless hero gets sucked into an alien world where he must find a way back home and saves that world in the process. Good puzzles, reasonably intelligent parser, and engaging plot make this an underrated game. An all-text mode is also available for IF purists.
People who downloaded Twilight Zone have also downloaded:
Trick or Treat, Two of a Kind, Snoopy and Peanuts, Transylvania 3: Vanquish The Night, Time Paradox, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Wayne's World, Stephen King's "The Mist"
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