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|Story / Presentation
||The main creative ideas in the game and how well they're executed
||How sophisticated the text parser is, how appropriate its responses are, etc.
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Border Zone, like all Infocom's games, is faultlessly executed as far as the parsing and programming is concerned, but it didn't grip me as much as their other releases. I would have preferred a single scenario with more locations and more puzzles. As it is, the fragmentation of the plot (although original) seems to detract from the atmosphere, a failing not adequately compensated for by the added excitement of 'real time'.
Borderzone is unusual in its subject matter, but Infocom implement it very well and succeed in giving the player a feeling of being there. The game corner with those
now-expected little extras that Infocom provide whth their adventures — a book of matches, a business card, a map and a very amusing phrase book/tourist guide.
However, Its much loo easy, and I'm not sure I like the built-in hint system (I prefer invisiclues).
Apparently this is a marketing ploy - the player succumbs to the temptation of reading the hints, quickly finishes the game and soon needs another lnfocom product to play! Yet perhaps Infocom are releasing too many games, and should sit back on their laurels and come up with deeper plots.
The game is beautifully packaged, complete with map, matches, train ticket and a wonderful guide/phrase book. The parser is the usual Infocom one, which means very good, although it is beginning to look little dated.
Border Zone is good, but like Nord and Bert, and Plundered Hearts, it has failed to get those top Valley ratings at one time almost guaranteed for an Infocom Adventure.
The whole package nowhere near approaches the complexity of one single adventure three times the size of one chapter. In fact, it could just as easily have been a three-parter on cassette. Not enough to get your teeth into and settle down comfortably with in the sense that we have come to expect from Infocom adventures.