Friday, 23 June 2017

Interactive fiction review #12 - South America Trek

South America Trek by Conrad Knopf

Mario is missing. Fun is absent from this title as well

Conrad Knopf's South America Trek is an educational game from the dark ages of interactive fiction. Originally published as shareware in a series of similar titles, the author expected you to dish out 30$ for the registered version.

I pity you if you did.

South America Trek sends the player (who is sometimes adressed directly by the impersonal "narrator" for some reason) on a whacky journey through South America to learn geography and stuff.

The first major problem of this game that meets the player's eye is the size of this game. South America is a terrifyingly huge game environment with confusing (and sometimes illogical) path structure, yet manages to be undetailed and plain boring. Drawing a map, whether you use your computer or go old-school with pen & paper, is both a must and a chore. Items must be gathered (they happen to be just lying around, of course) and exchanged in illogical trades (e.g. bauxite for a torch) in order to be able to progress to new areas, which, of course, are just as boring and unimaginative (not to mention unimaginable - by the way, don't plan on "examining" anything in this game, it's not implemented) as the previous ones.

South America Trek is a game you don't want to play. Reading random facts (and sometimes blatant lies - sloths are NOT dangerous, for one) about places and countries in South America in interactive fiction form while having to navigate through an atrocious and insanely huge maze path system, constantly going in circles from orientation loss and backtracking to trade items, is as far removed from having fun as I can possibly imagine. To top it off, there's pretentious in-game advertising for the author's other works. I hope there's a video game designer hell somewhere...

The best thing about this game: The word "fuck" was implemented. In an educational game for children. LOL

On a personal note, writing this review has been dragging on for quite some time because the game was just so unplayable, and then I found out the hard way you can die with no undo option, so just this once, I didn't finish this game 100% (but I got close enough).

Oh, and it's a DOS game. Good luck if you want to save your game, I couldn't...

1/10, absolute atrocity

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