The 12:54 to Asgard

What on earth just happened here? I found myself flailing a lot here. There always seemed to be some way to get stuck, though I found much later that, perhaps, second chances do exist. Beyond that, there seemed to be not much more than a lot of disjointed imagery and reading of the author's mind. The initial locations seemed to have plenty of flavour and consistency and attitude, but once the player gets into the Afterlife section, the game seems to lose sense of the protagonist's voice. Descriptions in these areas tend to be rather more neutral than in the beginning area.

And the random imagery! A fair amount is taking from Judeo-Christian tradition, but then we also have Mount Olympus and Odin. If these represent possible alternate Afterlifes, then why do we also have the prophet Elisha and the Hebrews wandering the desert? What is the deal with the location that is nothing but ocean, and with apparently nothing to do? Is there some sort of thematic linkage between the worlds beyond the turnstiles?

And this is J. Robinson Wheeler, who has oodles of experience -- I remember first meeting him online when we both entered the comp in 1998 -- and who is capable of some very good work. He wrote "First Things First", after all. What happened, Rob? Why the classic newbie mistakes like putting variable conditions ("locked door") in room descriptions, monsters that are still described as "eating the key" after I've taken the key and left the location, the winter landscape that basically amounts to a maze ... the random and thematically disconnected imagery? Why, Rob, why? You're so much better than this!

Okay, give the game its due, I find that one's actions through the game may change how the protagonist is judged. My first run-through made me a "diamond ... the opposite of chaos", someone easily swayed by more dominant personalities; trying this out again, to test my theory, I was judged a "ruby ... greedy for material goods", no doubt because I took everything I could with me. That's pretty cool, though it doesn't seem to change the ending.

Half-baked almond cookies and honey-lemon tea.