The Online Interactive Fiction Review Site
Game: House of the Stalker
By: Jason Clayton White
It's rare that I include game text in a review (okay, I've just never done it before), but with this game, I feel that I must:
Of course, death looms around every corner, but it's not always at the hands of a homicidal maniac with the fear-inspiring name of "Keith Alfonzo." Sometimes it's in the form of a bowling ball to the head when one foolishly opens up a closet door, releasing piles of junk.
We learn that the PC lives in an empty house (well, except for the cat) with an empty heart, still saddened by the departure of his spouse and kids. Fortunately, he has a mini-disc player that plays "Ride of the Valkyries" deafeningly loud to help him forget his troubles.
When playing horror games, I always expect the killer to jump out in two turns, at which point it's all carefully timed `guess the verb' head-banging frustration. `House of the Stalker' only partly succumbs to this. The killer doesn't appear until you go out of your way to find him, almost to the point where you want to grab the PC and say, "dude, what are you freaking out about?" When you do eventually confront the killer, yeah, it becomes a death fest. I'm pretty sure (ok, I admit that I'm writing this review a year or so after I last played the game) that I resorted to a walkthrough or text dump. Of course, the response to >KICK MAN ("Don't go violent on the the killer!") is quite entertaining, but even more interesting is the way that your character disarms and completely pacifies our friend Keith before killing him.
I presume the remaining question is, is the game worth playing? On one hand, the execution leaves something to be desired. The writing is sloppy (although the style cracked me up) and the code, buggy. I actually refrained from including other bits of text because I didn't want to spoil all of its `jokes', which aren't as numerous as I recalled. Still, as clichéd as games like these are, they carry that spark of inspiration that most `this is my apartment' and `treasure quest' games lack, and sometimes that's enough to win a place in your heart.