IFDB page: Symetry
Final placement: 32nd place (of 34) in the 1997 Interactive Fiction Competition
Oh, man. When I saw the title, one misspelled word, I began to feel the familiar dread. When I read the tortured sentences of the introduction (“Tonight will be the premiere of you slumbering under its constant eye.”) the fear built higher. And when I saw the game banner, I knew that it was true: Rybread Celsius has returned! Yes, the infamous Rybread Celsius, author of last year’s stunningly awful Punkirita Quest One: Liquid and only slightly less awful Rippled Flesh. Rybread Celsius, who announced to the newsgroups that his games would suck, and proved himself extravagantly correct. Rybread Celsius: I hope it doesn’t hurt his feelings if I call him the worst writer in interactive fiction today.
See, he just doesn’t write in English. Sure, it may look like English, but on closer inspection we find that the resemblance is passing, perhaps even coincidental. Misspellings and bad grammar are just the tip of the iceberg. The sentences often just don’t make sense. (For example, “A small persian rug sits as an isolated in the center of the room…” I’m not making this up. In fact, this all comes before a single move can be made in the game.)
But OK, say you were smart and had a good translator, and could understand what the game is talking about. Then, my friend, you would have to deal with the bugs. The game world makes almost zero sense, even if you can get past the prose. Simple commands like “get in bed” thrust you into darkness, at the same time insisting “But you’re already in the Your Bed.” (you weren’t.) Perhaps you’d turn to the walkthrough in such a situation. No luck. In fact, the (twelve-move) walkthrough includes a command which isn’t even in the game’s vocabulary. The best you can achieve is “A Phyric Victory” (I think he means “Pyrrhic.”)
I don’t mean this as a personal attack. I really don’t. I would love to be proved wrong, to see “Rybread” come up with a great game, or even an understandable one. But I’m not holding my breath. Go ahead, play Symetry. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Prose: … oh, forget it.
OVERALL: A 1.4 (you’ve got to give the guy credit for persistence.)