Non-Review: Inherent Evil: The Haunted Hotel
Written by Andrew Plotkin
Every time I start writing one of these -- these -- these steaming
lasagnas of game-review, replete with the noodles of experience, the
ricotta cheese of objectivity, the pesto of humor, and the chili sauce
of, of, --
Every time I start writing a game review, I swear to myself I'll keep it
short. Perhaps you swear the same thing. Well, this time you get your
wish. This isn't a review; it's a brief list of things that I can't
believe actually exist in a real, published game.
- An adventure game with no save-game feature.
Aha, you say knowingly, that isn't necessarily a stupid idea. Perhaps
the game automatically saves your position when you quit, so that you
can pick up at the same point.
Well, Inherent Evil
doesn't do that, but it does checkpoint every time
you finish a major section. (Eight sections total, I believe.) So as
long as you finish a section before you pack it in for the night, the
effect is the same.
- An adventure game with no save-game feature, which also contains
"enter-and-die" traps. You know, where you find an open panel, crawl
inside, and are immediately killed. So that you have to start that
section over from scratch.
A moment of silence while we meditate on that.
- Objects that you can't pick up until you learn the reason why. You
find rubber gloves, but you can't pick them up. After you find the live
wires, which can only be handled by rubber gloves, then the
gloves become takeable.
Note the result: if you have to start a section over (because there's no
save-game feature -- see figure 1), you can't run through it in the most
efficient way. You have to keep going back and forth, everything you did
the first time, only now you're not learning anything new.
- A voiceover that says "Hm. These might come in handy," when you
do take the rubber gloves. (At which point you are guaranteed
to know exactly what they're handy for.)
- Live wires that can kill you if you click on them, even though you
know they're live. (I made the mistake of clicking directly, instead of
using the gloves object. I died. See figure 1.)
- Long animations, with no way to break or skip them. This includes
the splash screens and title animations.
- An application that quits when you complete a major
section, thus forcing you to restart it to continue, and sit through the
splash screens and title animations, which have no way to break or skip
And finally -- and trust me, this is the grated Pecorino Romano on top
of the lasagna of game-review goodness --
- A smartass you-have-died screen, which appears whenever you die --
see figure 1 -- and gives you a choice of twelve tombstones, two of
which (randomly selected) allow you to continue the game instead of
dying. There's no puzzle or trick to this; it's just a one-in-six chance
of avoiding the trap. And a five-in-six chance of being kicked out, so
that you have to restart, sit through the etcetera etcetera, which you
Plus, when you choose an incorrect tombstone, the game makes a
mocking comment. "You're not very good at this, are you?"
You have one guess what my response was.
I stopped playing.