Ideal High School / NewKid (1998)

Magellan's Verdict: Expansive territory that required much mapping..

Superperv's Verdict: Me likey!

My Verdict: A solid game world with well developed characters that requires some author ESP to successfully complete.

Game Information

Game Type: TADS

Author Info: He is an accomplished -- yet anonymous? --  veteran of Adult Interactive Fiction

Other Games By This Author: Generic New York Apartment

Download Link: Ideal High School

The Review...

Ideal High School is about, funnily enough, a high school where most denizens thereof can be blackmailed into sexual favors. I would have ended the previous sentence with "fairly easily" except that there is nothing easy about it. In fact, very little comes easy to the player at all in this game.

What we do have in Ideal High School is an expansive environment. The game has a multitude of rooms, locals, characters and subplots. The player is takes over the part of a young man at said high school, remarkable for the fact that he is able to have twenty to twenty five orgasms within a single day. That super power alone should get you into the Justice League. Hell, kick out the Green Arrow. Yes, I am impressed by his power (foreshadowing the goatee's dominance by thirty years -- or was it that bow thing?) but the player of Ideal High School genuinely has greater stamina, strength and puzzle-solving ability.

NewKid's game has a lot going on. There is a class election (which you can help rig). There is a sexy Euro pleading for help on the annual. There is a long-distance runner that can get caught cheating. Helping people in this game almost always leads to people getting greasy. Look, if you want a morality play there is always, um, Everquest. Or Jigsaw or something.

Although a high school wouldn't initally seem like the kind of locale that would require extensive mapping, the one in this game most definitely does. In that way it is similar to Spellcasting 101: Eventually you will learn the game's makeup and map structure pretty well. However, until you do it's easy to gloss over exits you have not taken. In that regard, this feature is a good thing. Yes, you have to break out a piece of paper and pencil, but it's only because there are so many areas for which to adventure.

The NPCs are well developed -- not simply for this genre of game, but in all of IF. The solution to the NPCs predicaments may be somewhat predictable, however, they do all seem to have their own lives and definitely all have their own in-game agendas. That Ideal High School was not nominates for an XYZZY Award in Best NPCs last year shows either a deliberate bias against AIF or AIF Fan's general laziness when it comes to vote. (Or it could be lack of publicity: I had no idea the game existed until a couple weeks ago.)

Unfortunately, many, many of the puzzles in the game require you to know an exact, somewhat obtuse, phrase to get things done. It may seem like the different girls in the game are somewhat frigid when they shouldn't be, however, it may be simply that you have not entered your commands to the parser's satisfaction. I played much of the game with a walkthrough in order to get the specific phrasing down. I didn't see an in-game hint menu, so it's difficult to imagine exactly what the author had intended. For instance, the command "girl, suck me" will result in, well, you get the picture. Other synonyms or alternate modes of expressing that desire seem not to be implemented. Second-level nouns are right out. It's often difficult to know what effect your actions are having on gameplay, or who is motivated by what. While the overall goal is always clear, it is quite easy to get bogged down in other details. The game, to it's credit, never stops making sense. It does seem as if alternate solutions to puzzles are lacking and often not acknowledged.

Ideal High School is, at its core, a good game -- the kind of adventure  that could occupy your time like an old Infocom classic. However, it is quite player unfriendly and would benefit by a small command menu outlining how to get the different NPCs to do different things. Nonetheless, the major points of contention in making a solid game are there. With a little more code in the synonym department, Ideal High School would be the very definition of a solid AIF game. As it stands now it is still quite entertaining, although having a walkthrough handy is definitely recommended.





Simple Rating: 7. 3 / 10

Complicated Rating:

Story: 8.9  / 10

Writing: 8.5 / 10

Playability: 4.5 / 10

Puzzle Quality: 6.5  / 10 (The puzzles themselves are excellent... getting the correct syntax down in order to complete them is quite frustrating)

Parser Responsiveness: 4.0 / 10 (It is here where Ideal High School could use the greatest amount of attention)

Reader Remarks

Naughty Gaybot sprach the following on January 14th, 2000:

Yeah, but did you toss it while you were playing you faGG0t?

Pus Monkey sprach the following on December 1st, 1999:

You said "comes".  Uhhhuhuhuhuh.  Uhhhuhuh.

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