The second game from Andy Phillips is Enemies, a fun modern mystery/horror adventure that has a much more interesting plot than his other games (with the exception of Heroine's Mantle, a true modern IF classic). As with Andy's other games, Enemies is extremely tough to beat and requires a lot of "guess, die, restore"-tactics to finish. |
The game is extremely linear and episodic in nature like his other games: you're basically thrown into a specific location and given specific tasks to check off, before moving on to the next. The plot in this one is much more interesting, though: you play Charles Johnson, a nondescript layman who somehow attracts a lot of enemies – including a psycho serial killer who kills women in various gruesome (and imaginative) manners, leaving their bodies for you to discover. The writing is excellent and appropriately creepy – scenes of murder are described with such detail that you can vividly visualize them. The puzzles are consistently very difficult but fair; no puzzle left me wondering how on Earth the solution works, although more clues would have been welcome. On the downside, the game is very unforgiving like Andy’s previous games: you can get irrevocably stuck without knowing it for a long time, because the game doesn’t allow you to revisit many locations you explored in previous "chapters". The parser is also quite picky: sometimes you have to use the exact syntax it's looking for. And the plot has some holes that left me with many questions after finishing the game (what turned the killer into a total psycho, for example, was never explained).
In short, Enemies is one of those games that will frustrate you a lot (and if you're like me, make you think you are stupid), but still rivet you to the very end because much of the game is simply brilliant, and all the puzzles are logical even if they are so very hard. Highly recommended, but be prepared to restore often and peek at the walkthrough every now and then.
Reviewed by: Underdogs