The story goes as follows. You have changed your job
and in doing so changed your address. Your new employers,
Happitee, are to send you on an all expenses paid trip
to Paris and your bank have issued you with a little
change of address form, which you have filled in and
returned to them. Now all you have to do is sit back
and wait for the postman to deliver a fat cheque from
your employer so that you can collect some cash, your
air-ticket, and make your way to Gay Paree.
there is some trouble with the mail. Apparently the
bank's computer system has had a spot of bother with
your change of address form and sent all your stuff
to your old address. To cut a long story short, that
means no cash from your local branch of the Fiduciary
Trust. Combine that with a local postman who has bravely
delivered all the mail in your street to the wrong addresses,
and you begin to have a problem.
the time you've battled it out with the bank, an old
woman with an elephant gun, a psychotic parrot, a starving
llama, and a paranoid freak who lives in a camouflaged
house and entertains visitors with an arsenal of death-dealing
hardware, you've not only got a problem, you've got
the beginnings of severe mental disturbance. This is
definitely men in white coats material -- and it's likely
to be you they're coming for.
game comes in the usual high-standard Infocom package,
complete with a flyer for the magazine Popular Paranoia,
and a form to fill in for a new Beezer credit card in
triplicate. The form itself is hilarious -- each page
of the three part set has different text printed on
it, so while you're filling in the top copy agreeing
to cover all charges due on the card, you're also filling
in the bottom copy, which says 'Beezer may sign any
documents on my behalf and I agree to be liable for
anything', as well as other more obscure concealed declarations
('I like sheep', to name but one).
agents have it that Douglas Adams endured a real-life
experience related to change of address difficulties
(haven't we all) and that these inspired the game. Bureaucracy,
weather it be in the bank (where you get shunted from
one cashier to the next) or in the taxi (you have credit
cards -- they only take cash), is held up for ridicule
and damnation throughout the game. The program itself
begins by asking you to fill in an on-screen software
licence form, which of course is not quite as efficient
and straightforward at it looks . . .
in the final analysis, it's the little bits of quirky
humour that make the game and could only have come from
the warped mind of one such as Mr Adams. For example,
the parrot lacks a left wing. That means it's a right
wing parrot, liable to spout fascist propaganda at the
slightest provocation. Of course, the next time you
play, it may only have a left wing . . .
there's the unspeakable 'nerd' who keeps coming up to
you trying to sell you the most horrendously useless
computer peripherals. Ignore him, and his final words
are 'Hey! Can I go out with your sister?!' -- Ugh .
new prompt-response system enables you to have more
concise conversations with characters. Apart from the
usual Infocom SAY TO and CHARACTER, MESSAGE forms of
communication, you'll also find yourself interrogated
by some of the characters. The system than throws up
a double prompt, which means you have to give a particular
answer, as in:
you want to make a withdrawal'
The teller hands you a withdrawal slip.
is used to great
effect in some instances, particularly in the fast-food
restaurant, where you are prompted for endless choices
of die coke, distilled water and other not so goodies.
It's also used in a bizarre and highly amusing set of
questions and answers with the local paranoid, who decides
your future by asking you about 'Them.' You may not
know it, but 'They' update their files on you by going
through your garbage -- that's when they're not dying
like the rest of us from hideous killer diseases spread
by . . . yogurt. Always supposing that you've escaped
the dreaded killer bees which, of course, are being
unleashed on America by vindictive Mexicans.
only criticism of this game is that it isn't quite as
verbose on the text front as other Infocom games. The
humour, however, makes up for the slight lack of scene-setting,
and the rest of the gameplay is as good as ever.
is a very enjoyable game. Adams and Infocom obviously
share a certain vein of highly infectious humour --
I guess they must eat yogurt together. As it is, if
you save up your pennies and blow them on this little
number I doubt very much if you'll be disappointed.