Secrets of the Gigantic by Sean Doane(1995)

The Evil, Ugly Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: Heh, heh, heh. "Gigantic" was without a doubt the best Titanic parody porno released this year. But the text adventure it was based on really sucks! There's not even any nudity! Ah, geez, where'd I put my copy of bj(1).z5?

The Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: I don't like this game's parser very much. It would give AGT a bad name if AGT didn't already have a bad name.

My Verdict: An almost completely recommendable text adventure. It comes so close, but fails so miserably...but I like it anyway.

Game Information

Game Type: AGT

Author Info: Scratch head. Don't know the guy.

Other Games By This Author: None that I know of.

Download Link:

The Review...

Actual Excerpt From Ad appearing in The AGT Times, July 1995:




Sean Doane's masterful first work, Secrets of the Gigantic, places you in a world of untold danger, action, and intrigue. You are exploring the wrecked remains of the grand ocean liner the Gigantic, and, as you will soon see, not only is the ship the home of untold treasure and priceless artifacts, but it also haunted by the ghosts of those who sank with her many years ago. Alas - only the brave need apply...have YOU got what it takes?

*Special adaptor needed to play Atari 2600 cartridges is sold seperately.*

I am extremely thankful to this game for reminding me why it is I continue to persist in playing old AGT games in this day of TADS and Inform and Hugo. Okay, I freely admit that possibly a majority of the games written with AGT look like they were or could have been written by high school dropouts. On the other hand, take a close look at your latest Inform offerings(not counting that "this is my first adventure game" or "this game is really stupid cuz I'm really really clever!" type dross): don't a startlingly high number seem like they were or could have been written by boring academians with little else to do with their time away from their valuable "research" and teaching duties? Both statements are unfair generalizations, and both are largely incorrect, I suspect. AGT was developed from Mark Welch's old system GAGS - both systems were created with the idea of opening up the world of adventure game creation to just about anyone. To this day, AGT is the easiest to learn text adventure creation system known to man. AGT wasn't about making the next Deadline necessarily - it was and is about making a game that works and that you could show off to your friends and upload to a few BBSes and whatnot. Inform games were right from the start a little more literary, and the system was a fair bit harder to pick up, especially for people with null programming experience, making it a little more elitist. I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that Inform developer and well revered text adventure maker Graham Nelson is a better writer and as thorough a programmer as a number of the old Infocom guys were, so it was natural that Inform was perceived to be the long awaited vehicle to continue along the golden path Infocom had paved. No more would we have to suffer cheap imitations: we could write our own Infocom games! And they'd have to measure up. For better or for worse, though, I've played a lot of AGT games which I have really enjoyed, and a lot of Inform games which I really didn't: ultimately, everything comes down to the quality of each individual game. What Secrets of the Gigantic has to offer is vitality, and that goes for AGT games in general. When you play an AGT game, you're playing a game probably written by an ordinary person who leads a busy and full life - he/she does not have the time nor the inclination nor the perfectionist's soul to spend their hours debugging and rewriting, but they do really, really enjoy writing adventure games just the same whenever they do have the time. The result: fun games that are almost always imperfect and rarely artistic. Fun is fun, however, so don't go around putting AGT down. Besides, excellent games can be made in AGT(see Cosmoserve and Shades of Gray), it's just that few people have really tried to make the games superb. There was just not the same level of dedication and commitment present among the AGTers when it came to game development as can now be commonly found among many Inform and TADS users today. Conversely, I find a good number of Inform/TADS games lacking in vitality even when they are strong in other areas. Exhibition from Comp '99 is a good example of that. For my part, I'm all for diversity, and I heartily support the potential of each and every text adventure creation system. Inform and TADS are the best we've got, yeah,(and Hugo, too, if anybody ever takes it up) but AGT and Alan are pretty solid as well when placed in the right hands. They each have their own ideosyncrasies, and they each appeal to different user bases. Let's spread the love!

I didn't really know what to expect from this game. The title "Secrets of the Gigantic" was a pretty obvious "Titanic" rip and the initial start of the game seemed to further display the writer's un-originality. Oh yes, you are to search the remains of this famed cruise liner, avoiding dangers, defeating puzzles, and retrieving valuables, while all the while you were supposed to be gaining an appreciation for the calamity of the event and the sufferings of the people who had lost their lives on this ship. Hah, I say! How wrong could I be? In fact, the tragic event which resulted in the ship's sinking is hardly discussed: all that's available is the here and now, and the here and now is a fancy cruise liner in terrible shape full of treasures and UNDEAD BEINGS! Adventure soon ensues, with or without Mssrs. Crowther and Woods. Much to my surprise, the game drew me in like a paper clip to a magnet. I was engrossed! Sean Doane is a fairly minimalistic writer who is generally contented with single paragraph descriptions, but he seems to me to show great ability as a crafter of IF. You should pay especial attention to the item descriptions which are invariably interesting(as, indeed, are the items themselves: how 'bout that copy of "The Rubaiyat"?). However, the game soon falls apart for the reason a lot of AGT games fall apart. You guessed it: the friggin' parser once again. And this is definitely Sean Doane's fault. I took a look at the game's .dat file and fairly cringed at the lack of synonyms he provides throughout. He definitely requires a lot of guest-the-verbing to be done - what really got to me was that you had to type "turn key" to unlock a door. Nothing else seemed to work. Not "unlock door." Not "put key in keyhole." Not "use key." Or "use key to unlock door." I spent as much time trying to unlock the first door as I spent with the entire beginning section of the game. I'm still stunned I actually thought to try "turn key." It's actually bloody illogical when you come to think of it - turning the key won't do a thing unless it's already in the lock, right? That isn't the only verb you'll have to guess, either. And yet I find something terribly charming about this game. Maybe it's the crazy undead, or the great items, or the "ship atmosphere" or a combination of the three which really gets to me, but I have to say that for most of the time I spent playing this game I was thoroughly entertained. It's quality! It just happens not to have much of a story or a parser. Finally, here's a hint: if you're beset by too many nasty undead, try lobbing different things at them. You might be surprised at what happens.

Simple Rating: 6/10

Complicated Rating: 26/50

Story: 5/10

Writing: 7/10

Playability: 5/10

Parser Responsiveness: 4/10

Puzzle Quality: 5/10

Reader Remarks

CREAM of the crop sprach the following on November 24th, 1999:

I enjoy lobbing things at the undead. ooh! Naked Drakan patch! Yowzers!

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