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Game #2584
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  One That Got Away, The    View all Top Dogs in this genreCollection: IF Competition Favorites
Interactive Fiction   Story-driven

Rating: 5.8 (5 votes)

One That Got Away, The box cover

One That Got Away, The screenshot
Leon Lin’s first IF release is among the most enjoyable story-focused IF titles I have played. Magnus Olsson’s review for SPAG says it all:

"Among the joys of fishing, perhaps the greatest is telling about it afterwards; stories not just about the fish you caught, but above all about the ones that got away. This game is about the grandfather of all the fish that ever got away - the Old One, a fish of mythical proportions, reputed to be centuries old, showing itself only once every thirty years. By some strange chance, one of its appearances happens to coincide with your fishing holiday. Of course you can't resist the challenge of succeeding where everybody else has failed, and bagging the Old One...

This game tells the story of your encounter with the Old One. The emphasis is on the word "tells," since this game is more a piece of interactive literature than a traditional game. There certainly are puzzles, but the important thing is the story, not the puzzle solving.

As a reading experience, The One That Got Away is very enjoyable indeed. The writing is perhaps the best I've ever seen in an adventure game; not as poetic or beautiful as in The Sound Of One Hand Clapping, but perfect for telling this kind of story. There's rather a lot of it, too: the introduction alone takes up more than two screen pages. The author manages to create just the right setting and atmosphere for his (her?) story, and the only real NPC, old Bob in the bait shop, is nicely characterized and has a lot to tell if you ask him. This emphasis on writing doesn't mean that the gameplay aspects are neglected. On the contrary, the game flows nicely and the author seems to have thought of almost everything, providing appropriate – and often very funny - responses to most of the weird things an adventurer might try doing. The puzzle involving the actual fishing is perhaps a bit awkward, but implementing fishing at the level of detail it's done in this game is not a simple feat. To help you get an idea of what you're supposed to do there's a very humorous and detailed transcript of another fishing adventure available online. If you get totally stuck, the author has included a walkthrough in the distribution – not that it should be needed, since the game is quite simple. So far for the good sides of this game, and they are good indeed. What's not so good is what happens once you're ready for some action. After the monumental introduction and a lot of build-up during your conversations with Bob and your attempts to get the right bait, you're ready for a monumental struggle, but instead you're presented with quite an anticlimax. After finishing the game, one can't help but to get a feeling of "Was this all?" Still, despite the anticlimax, its literary quality makes this game a truly memorable one, one worth playing and replaying several times, just as one returns to a favorite novel." Highly recommended, especially if you enjoy IF for the story more than its puzzles.

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Leon Lin
Developer: Freeware
Publisher: Freeware
Year: 1995
Software Copyright: Leon Lin
Theme: Myth & Legend
None that we know of
System Requirements: TADS
Where to get it:   IF Archive
Related Links:  
If you like this game, try: Lesson of The Tortoise, The, Firebird, Lethe Flow Phoenix

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