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The Feeble Files (Windows)

80
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (168750)
Written on  :  Jul 31, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

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Summary

Original and interesting - but major problems prevent it from being more than that

The Good

Feeble Files is a lesser-known game made by the creator of Simon the Sorcerer games. I moderately enjoyed the first Simon; but what drew me to Feeble Files was the premise of controlling a dissident in a supposedly dark futuristic setting.

This game has a rather remarkable hero: the green, big-eyed alien Feeble, who gets involved in a complicated story of dictatorship and rebellion. The story is done quite in-depth, and is very long; the game embraces four CDs, and they aren't only filled with videos.

One can feel the effort that was put into this game. The dialogues are nicely written, neither too short nor too long, and manage to entertain the player with vast choices of responses and reactions: you are not likely to repeat yourself even if you attempt to speak five times to the same person.

I appreciate the effort the creators of this game put into the story: this is, indeed, a commendable achievement. A society ruled by a dictator who demands of his citizens always to be happy and praise him and his regime, and who mercilessly slaughters the ones who disapprove one of his rules, or even allowed themselves the slightest doubt - reminds me of the Soviet Union: The winter is over, the summer came to us. Thank you for that, dear communist party! ... There was an ironic song that went like that.

The Bad

First the less important things, that still bothered me: the rather ordinary graphics and the almost complete lack of music. The game has a rather strange, "sterile" atmosphere, with very little warmth and not enough creativity in the design of locations.

The puzzles were, for the most past, needlessly complex and often outrageously illogical. Consulting a walkthrough became a necessity rather than an optional way to make life easier.

My main objection to the game concerns the discrepancy in tone: the inadequate relation between the serious and the comic. It is certain that I have a problem with British humor; I shrugged my shoulders to many Monty Python-esque jokes while others wailed in delight. I could never get that cynical approach to humor that focused on laughing at other people's miseries. How come people get annihilated by evil servants of the Omnibrain, the whole nations live in fear for their life, Feeble himself is being sadistically tortured - and still the game continues to employ Monkey Island jokes? Are we supposed to laugh at the suffering of innocent creatures? I'm absolutely not against humor in a serious, dark story - Zork: Grand Inquisitor proves that. With all its macabre elements, the humor in Grand Inquisitor never loses its warm, humane attitude.

Also, though Feeble does become a hero later in the game, his behavior in the beginning is enough to destroy any sympathy to him. Reporting a girl who was crying on the phone for not being "happy enough" to the police - really, why did they force your protagonist to do something like that?..

The Bottom Line

It is an interesting game, and I think it's a pity it could not choose its own way, because it certainly could have been much better - just like its (in my opinion overrated) compatriot, Beneath a Steel Sky. Obscure puzzles and mixture of light-headed, questionable humor with a tragic storyline turned this game into a messy, unsatisfying experience.