An instant classic, My Angel is a love story that is well told and beautifully described. I'd like to quote Craxton's review of the game in full here, because she gives the game a long, comprehensive review that it deserves: |
"The game itself, basically, is a love story, with a few twists I won't divulge. The story is well-written, with all the elements that Corman ascribed to a good movie: A gripping beginning that draws you in, a powerful end that leaves you wanting more, and in between a middle, which at the very least doesn't suck too much. Actually, the middle's suckitude depends on you, the player. See, two Comps ago, a game called Photopia took home the gold for being a powerful, emotional story, but drew fire from some critics for being overly linear. My Angel builds on Photopia's groundwork by being powerful and emotional, but also gives you multiple successful paths from scene to scene, even to the point of being able to skip over scenes. Partially as a result of this, finding a different path produces a story somewhat different then the author may have intended. For example, the walkthrough gives several instances where you resort to violence. You can easily bypass all of these, but doing so critically changes the tone of the piece. On the other hand, you could say this is the true purpose of Intreractive Fiction- the author and reader share storytelling duties.
The story, as I said before, is well-written. You have a feel for the events occurring, and though the two main characters are or aren't well fleshed out depending on your path through the game, you get a feel for their personalities and the depth of their love regardless. There are many memorable moments in this story. The wedding scene is marvelous in it's simplicity, and the ending is the best last-minute twist I've seen since Magic Knight Rayearth. The sheer emotional impact of My Angel stayed with me for days after. The one real complaint I have is the matter of the Weavingstone and the Gate... the author never even attempts to explain why the one called you and Angela, or where the other leads. He's perfectly within his rights to leave this open to interpretation, but personally I'd like a bit more closure on this point.
One more thing that deserves note is the NOVEL interface, which works very well, in this context at least. The author has eliminated the room titles, moved the prompt and "you can't do that" messages to the status bar, and made the text display in a continuous manner, rather then the structured RoomDesc, then Items, then PlotEvents style. This has the effect of de-emphasizing the crossword aspects of I-F. See, since the "game" structure isn't there, you get a more nebulous feeling of place and action. You're not in a room, you're in a scene. You're not moving the protagonist like a marrionette, you're guiding the plotline through him. With good writing and benign puzzling, this aids immersion quite a bit. It could use to be improved, though. The canned responses from, for example, EXAMINE or LOOK commands repeating in the text window is still a bit disconcerting. Plus, browsing back through the text for the point where you left off can be annoying. If you added a "you've already done that" or "that won't do any good" message to the status bar messages, it might help more. Or maybe not. Let's consider this a stylistic option for future authors, then."
In short, My Angel is an IF masterpiece in every respect. My only quibble with the game is that the NOVEL mode, while an ingenious idea, doesn't work too well because I'd always lose track of the last sentence the game displays, so I ended up having to read previous output several times before finding where I was. Showing the last sentence in a different color would have made the game much easier to follow. Still, this nitpick aside, My Angel is a remarkable piece of storytelling. If any modern IF deserves to be labelled "literature," My Angel is a worthy candidate. A must have!
Reviewed by: Underdogs