Carmen Devine: Supernatural Troubleshooter

Carmen Devine: Supernatural Troubleshooter by Rob Myall (Inform)

Hmmm… had to laugh at the title. In terms of kewl, it’s right up there with naming a TV show “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”. But, well, I kind of liked Buffy so I’ll try not to let the name of the game put me off.

I wasn’t too keen on the start of the game, which basically involved me sitting in a jeep and being driven along. I figured that after X amount of moves, the jeep ride would end and I’d get out. But after typing WAIT over and over again and finding the jeep ride still going on (we were going a long way apparently), it seems I was wrong. So I read the one item I had – a file folder – and still the ride went on. It seems repetition is the answer here. I keep on reading the file folder, even though there’s no indication that I should need to read it more than once, and the jeep arrives at its destination.

Another thing I didn’t like: the directions for most rooms not being listed in the body of the text but instead in an unattractive white band at the top of the screen. A nice touch is the way it lists directions you haven’t been yet in a different colour from ones you have been to, but I still prefer having the directions in the body of the text. Having to glance at the top of the screen to see where you can go when your attention is focused on the bottom of the screen is a pain.

I didn’t get very far with the game before going to the walkthrough. Well, I say walkthrough but it’s actually just a series of not very clear hints. Apparently I’m a werewolf and at some point I need to change into my wolf form, yet nowhere does it say I’m a werewolf and have this ability. Trying to figure out what to do when you haven’t been told the entire story isn’t nice.

I suppose I should finish this largely negative review with one thing about the game I liked. It was well written. I liked the flow of the text, even though I didn’t really get most of the game was about. Actually, on the whole I didn’t mind the game. Cheating and using the walkthrough whenever I got stuck allowed me to get further than I otherwise would have and as a result I didn’t find myself hating “Carmen Devine: Supernatural Troubleshooter” as much as the rest of the review might indicate.

But I didn’t like it that much, either.

4 out of 10

That was my impression too. It reminded me of above-average fan fiction. However one other real problem I had with the game that torpedoed the experience for me was that it maps a fairly open geography, with few obstacles or gates in the path. So I ended up wandering around with a lack of focus and things to do. And after a couple of turns that fox spirit was just too annoying to be a mass murderer.


This is nothing about CD:ST. It’s my frustration at not being able to play more than half the competition games this year, and being too swamped with work (in fact, I should be working right now – and it’s Sunday afternoon) to play them now. Too many spoilers, though. There are games like this I think I might have liked.

One advantage to not having played all the games at the time is that you can now have a look at what did well and what didn’t and pick the best ones to play. The rest of us poor sods had to wade through the bad to get to the good. :frowning:

But working on a Sunday afternoon? Is that some kind of custom they have in America (and which makes me glad I’m British if it is) ?

I played the first 11 games during the competition, which is my dilemma. I liked games that rated lower, so I’d probably like the ones I didn’t play too – but with the results out and all, I’ve lost the motivation (for now – maybe I’ll go back later) to play them.

When I realized I couldn’t play them all, I made a list of the ones I wanted to finish before the deadline. That’s not to say I didn’t want to play the others, but there were several in particular I just didn’t want to miss. I got through most of the list, except for three:

  1. Requiem. Although I’ve only played three of your games, I seem to like each one better than the one before. Your Spring Thing entry was particularly good.

  2. Xen: The Hunt. I had a few concerns with Xen: The Contest, but overall I liked it. It was memorable, and I was looking forward to the sequel. I actually did play about ten minutes of it – too early to tell if it was going to be better. The ten minutes I played were fine.

  3. Tower of the Elephant. Tor has done such an outstanding job with his all-in-one interpreters, that I was anxious to try out his game. Plus, there’s the whole commercial IF idea we all started that’s still looming (looming or dead – I can’t be sure), so I really wanted to try this game.

No, it’s definitely out of the ordinary in many jobs. If you consider businesses that are open daily and nightly (such as some fast food places, convenience stores and gas stations, etc) and all the places open during the day (restaurants, etc), it’s not so odd. As a programmer, I’m used to a clean 8:00-5:00 Monday-Friday with 1 hour for lunch schedule.

We have this major project that has to be done before December 14th – done to show the national sales reps who’ll be here for the company conference, and done to install at a live beta test school.

Realistically, it’s about 3 months worth of work. But, as this is a no-fooling deadline, I’ll be making up the extra two months during nights and weekends.

Hence, the news page is on hold – for now. So are all my other projects… a post-comp release of Swordsman, work on my next game, the TTS post-mortem page, etc. I took time to update with brief news and a download page for TTS, and I’ll be doing one other IF-related projected (I did it last year too, if anybody is inclined to guess), but that’s it.

The amont of time I’ve spent already today posting and reading makes me cringe. I have a 4-week schedule that I’m two days behind on already. :slight_smile:

I think you need a job you enjoy more. Then again, so do I but at least mine’s a nice simple 9.00am - 5.30pm and then I can go home and forget about it all for another day.

That’s usually how it is for my job. This current project and schedule is just crazy. I’m planning to ride it out (because it’s a hassle to go interview, start over on sick/personal time, stop retirement investing temporarily, etc) and see what happens after December 14th.

I really wanted to like Carmen Devine… it had that ‘interesting story with an interesting setting delivered well’ feeling that I like from the beginning. Investigating the town was very cool. But it just kept feeling more and more unraveled as it went on.

Basically there was a point where I went, ‘You mean that fox-thing that keeps following me around and trying to hit me and doing nothing like some antagonistic Floyd, that’s what all this is about?’ and the game lost it for me. I didn’t finish it. I did like the writing and the setting both, though.