Quest to Verona...When Stupidity Strikes! by Utopic Chaos(1998)

The Evil, Ugly Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: Utopic Chaos? God, high school students are soooooo cute. Especially when they're dead.

The Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: I can't believe this game is getting reviewed. This site will review anything. Coming next month: our fifty page tribute to that brilliant, erudite artist and spokesperson for all IF, Harry Hardjono!!!

My Verdict: If this game was entered into last year's interactive fiction competition, it would have finished last. And it's great!

Game Information

Game Type: I hesitate to speculate(I'll explain later). Seems to be a bunch of batch files. Good for DOS users, then.

Author Info: Utopic Chaos are a group of talented young men who have discovered that if you combine enough different batch files you will ultimately wind up with a text adventure! If only Mike Roberts and Graham Nelson had known!

Other Games By This Author: Quest to Verona 1.00b

Download Link: The homepage for the boyz seems to be a thing of the past, but that fine fellow Voighdt has it on his abandonware web site:

The Review...

I've heard it mentioned before in the IF scene jokingly, but I'd never actually seen it before with me own eyes: a game composed of nothing but batch files. What? Can this be? In 1998, people are making text adventures(which is hard enough to believe on its own, you know) composed of nothing but batch files. Well, yes. So, once you unzip this baby onto your hard drive or floppy disk, you'll note that there are 50 *.bat files that have suddenly appeared out of the ether. If you happen to type "setup" or "quest" or even "kevin", then the game will start up as it should. But if you happen to type, say, "6W" or "8B", for instance, you'll see parts of the game without actually playing it! Cool! Instant spoilers! In the context of this review, let us assume that we are playing the game as we should, and are first running "quest." The text that greets us is as advertently hilarious as a NES game manual written by a couple Japanese dudes with respective limited grasps of the English language: "Welcome, weird guy(or thing.) The emperor's nose has been stolen! Since that time, Kleenex's sales have been down 23.675 percent!...You are the only one who can save these jobs!" It was then that I realized that this was going to be just my sort of text adventure game. By "text adventure game" I really mean "insightful, brilliant, moving work of interactive fiction", but that goes without saying, natch.

Okay, this game is really nothing but a collage of absurd scenes and situations. The player can choose his or her destiny by periodically choosing one of several options listed in the text as the game moves from batch file to batch file. The game doesn't make any sense and it's all a horrible jumble of insanity and there are about three thousand different ways to die, but how FUNNY! The most appealing feature of this game is definitely the randomness of the occurring events. The player never knows what to expect. For instance, at one point in the game you are asked whether you'd like to go into the "smell tunnel" or to the shoe - neither thing has been hitherto mentioned in the text. If you elect to go to the shoe, an insane person shoots you and you die. No warning. Just like that. You don't even know what happened to the shoe. You're just...dead. You're either chuckling to yourself right about now or staring at your computer screen with a glazed look in your eyes. Yes, it definitely takes a certain kind of person to enjoy this. If you hate dying randomly and often(and who doesn't?), or playing games that make no sense, or Rybread Celsius' spelling, you should probably steer the hay away from this baby. The reason I like this game so much is because I can tell that the people who wrote it have a genuine feel for comedy. They have a sense for timing that cannot be taught or learned. They just inherently "know" when things are funny and when they ain't. This sense of timing gives them a flair for introducing the unexpected into normal and commonplace situations in a way that is more apt to induce laughter rather than brow furrowing. It's like a particularly funny and absurd(and illiterate) episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus being presented as a text adventure. Oh, what a great idea! Cor chase my Aunt Fanny up a gum tree! Though you might not believe it after playing this game for a while, it is possible to win it and save the day. I don't remember how I did it(it certainly didn't make any more sense than the rest of the game), but somehow I wound up holding the emperor's nose and all was again well with the world. Say a prayer before playing and be patient - you'll win sooner or later. And that's what it's all about, guv.

Unfortunately, though, when we get right down to it, this isn't truly interactive fiction at all - it's absurdist hyperfiction with multiple endings. However, I feel that it is highly unlikely that there is another web site out there devoted to reviewing absurdist hyperfiction, so consider this a branch out for Reviews From Trotting Krips. This is the kind of game likely to be panned by most who come across it, but I say that it is a truly original and uniquely entertaining work of art. By "work of art" I really mean "piece of smelly crap", but in this case, that is a compliment. Quest to Verona is without a doubt one of the most worthy and original pieces of crap you'll ever waste time playing on a computer.

And it's just a bunch of batch files!

Simple Rating: 7/10

Complicated Rating: 30/50

Story: 6/10(It's about the emperor's nose! I dig!)

Writing: 6/10(It's either brilliant or terrible. I am too feeble to judge.)

Playability: 6/10(Most people can type commands like "1a" or "6b", and, in this game, that's about all it takes.)

Puzzle Quality: 6/10(I was puzzled frequently by this game's strangeness.)

Parser Responsiveness: 0/10(It ignored my repeated pleas to "get bread", "wield sword", and "bang librarian." Screw 'em!)

Special Ratings For This Game

Humor: 6/10(Sometimes it takes a lot to laugh, but it takes a train to cry.)

Spelling: ??(The day I ditch points from an otherwise interesting game for spelling errors is the day I stop writing interactive fiction reviews aside from my yearly ninety nine page thesis posted to following the competition. The spelling isn't very good in this game, though.)

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