Deep Brow Lifter by Neil DeMause(2000)

The Evil, Ugly Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: Heheh, this game lifted a lot more than my brow, if you know what I mean. (Sometimes I sicken even myself.)

The Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: No offense, Neil, but this game is not exactly Frenetic Five Episode Three.

My Verdict: I'm not saying that this game is the worst thing ever, but let's just say that if instead of a text adventure this was life, I would've committed suicide many, many years ago.

Game Information

Game Type: TADS

Author Info: Neil DeMause is a professional writer who also writes interactive fiction. He's quite a well known figure in da community, being a frequent Usenet poster and an IFMud regular. See his homepage for more.

Other Games By This Author: Frenetic Five vs Sturm Und Drang, Lost New York, The Frenetic Five vs Mr. Redundancy

Download Link: The entire Dino Comp 2000 package(650 KB) includes this game and a lot of other great ones.

The Review...

Man, minicomps are strange. When I first saw the list of games entered into Dino Comp 2000, I thought I had quite a good idea of what games I'd like. You know - the games by the people I knew. Quentin, Robb, Neil, Taro... old hands all. I just knew they'd rock DinoComp 2000 for all they were worth, and leave the dozens of first time newbie entrants crying in the dust. Well, guess what? It didn't happen that way.

Robb's game was buggy. Taro's was just too old school, even for me. Quentin's was pretty good. And Neil's...well, the less we say about Neil's entry the better. Unfortunately, I've got to say a little about it because this is a review of "Deep Brow Lifter." The premise is certainly solid Dino Comp stuff: you're this guy wandering in a jungle, and a dinosaur is after you. How could that be boring? I'll tell you how! (Minor spoilers to follow).

Imagine this. There's a path leading north through the jungle, and it's the only path you can follow. After walking north five or six times you find yourself at a dead end. A ravenous dinosaur soon joins you. TOGA PARTY! The game threatens that said dinosaur will eat you if you don't do something quickly. Fine, fine. Very exciting adventure game stuff. Well, no. This dinosaur DOESN'T ACTUALLY EAT YOU. I cannot - I CANNOT - believe this. Really...why are you running away from this thing to begin with? It's either blind or retarded. It ain't gonna hurt you none. If anything, you should be able to pet the thing, give it a cute name, and take it home. That would have been a very interesting game. But this...this is ridiculous! Don't believe the threatening game messages for an could sit with this dinosaur for the next ten hours, just talking about your grandma and the price of barley in Thailand - it still ain't going to notice you. Let alone eat you. How exciting.

This game's lack of interaction is a total joke. You can't do much at all. Not much - any? - room for digression. You have to stick to the game and win. You aren't even ALLOWED to lose. How wrong is that? Oh, how wrong is that? This game makes me want to fire up Space Quest III and find a half dozen cool ways to die. Sometimes, losing can be beautiful, and winning can be despicable and ugly. To win this game is to lose. Well...okay, it's not that bad. But it's pretty close. Some of the humor is nice("The dinosaur roars, with a sound like a million baby elephants trumpeting", and the brow in various stages of furrowment located in your inventory, for instance), but there's not enough of it. And Neil IS a good writer - we all know that. But even his writing isn't enough to redeem this one.

In short: no excuses. Mini-comp games do not have to suck. Even if you are doing something for the pure fun of it, it still does not have to suck. DinoComp 2000 saw a lot of absolutely solid entrants by first time writers, and most of them were pretty darn good. Short, but good, and very promising. These newcomers picked up some great experience and possibly some new fans. I'm sure that this game won't lose Neil any fans(minicomps being mostly happy and giggly affairs, where fun takes priority over quality), but I really wish the guy had said to himself, "You know, I'm not just gonna enter Dino Comp 2000. I'M GOING TO CREATE THE BEST DINOSAUR GAME EVER!!!" Instead I get the feeling that he aimed low and shot lower.

Of course this game is still more fun than watching "Love Connection" reruns, so maybe I shouldn't be complaining.

Simple Rating: 2/10

Complicated Rating: 17/50

Story: 3/10

Writing: 6/10

Playability: 5/10

Puzzle Quality: 1/10

Parser Responsiveness: 2/10

Reader Remarks

Adam Cadre sprach the following on July 4th, 2000:

I don't know if Bryan was just trying to avoid spoilers or what, but this review is six paragraphs long (okay, five paragraphs plus a punchline) and doesn't touch on the central gimmick of the game -- it's five games in one! It's everything Flowers for Algernon should have been, if I'd spent more than 45 minutes on it! Sure, some of the winning moves are a little obscure (the mid-high level being a particular offender) but just seeing the little scenario played out from five different perspectives was a blast. Not enough humor? The sudden addition to your inventory on the bottom level had me doubled over laughing for what felt like hours. Even the title changes are hilarious! I dunno... it really seems like you missed the boat on this one, B.

Bryan sprach the following on July 5th, 2000:

Adam scared the hell out of me here with this message until I realized he was talking about Deep Brow Lifter. At that point, I just laughed. And laughed. And laughed. That's right - THREE times!

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