Näkemiin, Hongkong (Commodore 64)

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Written by  :  WWWWolf (453)
Written on  :  Aug 11, 2004
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Not quite Zork, but good anyway

The Good

Well, there aren't many text adventures in Finnish. People tried to make them, but overall, there weren't that many, mostly because Finnish is an annoying language to parse computationally. (This game manages only because all relevant inflections of the object names are stored in the program.) The parser is also kind of surprising, because it knows a rather nice amount of different verbs - which are listed by the help command.

The game is pretty short - these days, it would be just about the right length for the annual Interactive Fiction Competitions. Personally, I'm far more in favor of short adventures than long adventures. Infocom fans probably find the length discomforting though.

I don't know exactly why I fell in love with the short, short descriptions of the areas surrounding the prison camp at the beginning. I liked the milieu, anyway - harder to say why.

The Bad

I don't mind the short length, but locations and such are also pretty shortly described. Well, it's a single-load game, as opposed to Infocom games that kept loading stuff off the disk - you can't fit a very verbose game in the memory.

Command parser isn't very complex, but, as noted before, that's sort of unavoidable. Also, as noted, there's a help command, but built-in help like that may make puzzles too easy, but luckily that's not always the case.

The text of the game is, shall we say, immature. There are quite annoying racial and other stereotypes, and game gives quite insulting replies when commands are not understood. It is not *hugely* racist or otherwise stupid, but it clearly shows that someone more grown up should have taken a look at the text first. As it is, it (along with the small-print physical appearance) makes it look like some Future Game-Maker's First Game. I sure hope these folks grew up, this game was nice enough. This also extends to the plot - the whole thing is pretty silly. "The Chinese seized Hong Kong? Well, let's blow the city to pieces then! Hooray!"

The Bottom Line

Once upon time, I was ordering some games from one biggish game store. I can't remember the exact time, but it was in the dusk of C64 era. I ordered some text adventures, like Zork 3 and Suspended... and then I noted one game on the list with a Finnish title. Since it wasn't too expensive, I ordered that - even though I had no idea what the game was.

It turned out to be a text adventure. The game is set in the distant, distant future year 1997, where China has seized the control of Hong Kong and found gold from under the city. Brits, annoyed by this, send an agent (you) to nuke the whole place.

There are small, quite simple and logical (!) puzzles, some pretty decent environments, and, well, it looks like a decent enough adventure to me.

This is an extremely small print run game. It's refreshing to see a game that was so lovingly crafted. The packaging, as seen in the scans, was mostly photocopied, and the floppy hand-labeled. The physical appearance of the game was pretty brutal and honest: "We just tried to get this game for market." The game itself has the quality that says "I made this game, it isn't great but it's mine and I like it, and I thought it was decent enough to be marketed". The author may not have produced the Greatest Game in the end, but damn it if they didn't fight honestly to get this game out. And I, as a gamer, am happy I got the game and played through, because honestly, I appreciate a honest effort to make a game no matter if it's difficult to do so, and got a chance to see some lone artist's work that otherwise could have been forgotten. It warmed my heart to see the game. It warmed my heart to see something that could have been big, glorious, and popular, if only there had been more people and more money and more everything... Ah, damn, I'd better quit before I get too lyrical.

I don't know of any other people who bought the game. I know the developers did produce other text adventures, and apparently sold a few of them too, but as far as I know, aside of the advertising I have not seen them mentioned anywhere.

I can't remember how long it took for me to play through the game, but that was not long. It is a short adventure, maybe the reason I started liking short adventures. Not the greatest work of interactive fiction ever written, but I think it was very cool anyway - for the time.