The beauty of inflections

or the beauty of innuendoes

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[IFComp] Beet the Devil
Little My
I was rather amazed when, after playing through this game, I discovered that the author, Carolyn VanEseltine, was one of the creators of One Eye Open, which took third place in last year's comp. One Eye Open was extremely gory and dark. Beet the Devil, in contrast, is rather lighthearted, especially for a game with "Devil" in the title.

I really enjoyed this game. It's much more my style than the first one I played - more traditional IF, with a silly-but-fun story to explain the motivation on the quest, and lots of use-an-object puzzles.

In Beet the Devil, you play an impoverished churchyard caretaker who wakes up one morning to discover that demons have completely ruined his* vegetable garden, as well as taken his dog. Obviously, the solution to this common problem involves descending deep into Hell to retrieve man's best friend. Along the way, a number of demons hinder this goal, but you're able to defeat them in clever ways.

I liked the sense of humor this game had, and how the puzzles related on a theme without feeling too forced into a mold. Some of the solutions made me laugh. I did wish that the television-watching demon was somehow defeated by the potato, though - the pun was right there! I also appreciated the potential for multiple paths, at least in the one location I found where my solution differed from the walkthrough. There are also chances to go astray.

I was left wondering whether I had missed a few things, or if they were not actually implemented. Namely, I wondered what had happened to the widow. There were clues that I had to search in a certain location, but I never succeeded in finding anything or opening a locked cupboard. Additionally, there were several doors that I never got open, which left me curious.

I ran into only a few minor bugs, like not being able to put items in the hole in the garden ("That can't contain things") or being unable to look at the garden when I'm inside my house, even though the text states that I have a clear view.

All in all, this wasn't a remarkably innovative game, but I'm totally fine with that. It has the things I like about IF, done solidly. 

*It's only now that I'm writing this that I wonder whether the character is absolutely explicitly male, or if it's just strongly suggested. At no point did I wonder about my gender, though - from the first few paragraphs I had a mental image of myself as male, on the elderly side, and a bit crochety. The narrator's voice did become a little more generic as the game continued - less of the old-country-man flavor - but I didn't mind that. I'd rather have that than a dialect that feels like it's trying too hard.

Next up: Cold Iron by Lyman Clive Charles. Wasn't Odie's original owner in Garfield named Lyman? I wonder how often people mention this to Lyman Clive Charles, if that's not a pseudonym.
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