Final Girl

I'm familiar with "Echo Bazaar", or "Fallen London", and the system it uses. Until now, I had no idea how that system could be applied to a work of interactive fiction -- something with an end and a plot and a series of choices to make. "Final Girl" is a bit of an eye-opener in that regard.

Well, I was entertained. I knew I was in for a ride when the dramatic music started up. And then I made a right hash of things. See, there's a fair amount of randomness involved in this game. There are also a few certainties. Once you're familiar with the story and how it works, you can actually work the game so that the randomness does not matter at all; but, on the first try, the randomness overwhelmed me and pretty much killed the protagonist. (Of course, it's a slasher flick, so I suppose that part is to be expected.)

One of the randomised elements here is the identity of the killer. The killer is chosen almost at the beginning of the game, out of eight possibilities. In a straight-up mystery, one could probably try to figure out his (or her) identity from clues, but this is a slasher flick: high on thrills, low on logic. The only way to be certain of the murderer is to find all seven of the other missing characters. Who have, of course, been gruesomely killed. Also because this is a slasher flick, we're working with stereotypes here. Each character is a recognisable type, and when their turn comes up to be the crazed serial killer....

Slasher flicks are built on middle-class paranoia, and, generally, the different murderers play with it. Motives range from "driven to it by the drugs" to "driven to it by violent video games". Alternatively, there are the tropes associated with the genre: one character, for example, screams that "I left you all those clues". Yes, I did play this often enough to find all eight denouements.

The outtakes, available once you find the wristband, are a nice touch. I laughed.

Eventually, the overall puzzle turns out to be one of strategy: finding the best way through the story with minimal risk of being gruesomely butchered. Even after working out my strategy, though, I just kept going back and replaying. I suppose there are issues. I didn't like the fact that four of the murder scenes were dependent on chance to be discovered; and I would have liked a save game feature (this is more a fault of the system than of the game itself). But a game that manages this sort of a hold on me, and keeps me entertained through more than a dozen iterations, deserves a 10. Hand over the popcorn.

This is the breakfast buffet. We'll start with a bowl of grits, then there's sausage and bacon and ham (rather a lot of ham) and scrambled eggs. There's maple syrup, but no pancakes or waffles; I guess you can put it on your scrambled eggs. That's what I do. The coffee is strong and black. And I really should stop eating now, but maybe another slice of ham couldn't hurt....