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Necrotic Drift

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs




Copyright 2004, Robb Sherwin

Necrotic Drift is a fun graphical “survival horror text adventure” that plays like a modern cross between From Dusk Till Dawn and Underworld movies. Like Sherwin’s previous game Fallacy of Dawn, the game is set in New Haz, a fictional-yet-familiar city in modern day New Jersey. You play Jarret Duffy, a 20-something geek who works at Benji’s Gaming and Role-Gaming Emporium as assistant manager. The game begins on an ordinary night, with you and your roommates trying to decide which DVDs to rent for the evening. Not soon after, all hell breaks loose with various undeads that look like they come out of the latest AD&D rulebook.

Like Fallacy of Dawn but even more successfully, Necrotic Drift is oozing to the brim with atmosphere. Well-written dialogues and descriptions let you know Jarret, his friends, and his world inside out like few other text adventures could. Since the author is a big fan of RPGs and gaming in general, playing Necrotic Drift is like seeing a geek’s dream come true (and hey, I don’t mean that in a condescending way – this site wouldn’t have come into being if I weren’t myself a geek ;) ). And so, almost by default, I’d wager that most visitors to this site will have a blast playing this game just to spot the numerous references to tabletop RPGs, computer games, and comics. What makes the game even more fun (to us geeks in particular) is the fact that the zombies, lichs, and other undeads in this game actually CAN be defeated by means described in TSR’s D&D rules! While the clues are sufficient, die-hard pen & paper RPG fans will know almost instinctively what they need to defeat the monsters.

Puzzles are the weak spot of Necrotic Drift. Most puzzles are basic and simple – you just need to whack the monsters with the right weapon in the first few stages of the game to kill them. These puzzles are made even simpler by the game’s extreme linearity: most times you have only one objective to focus on (usually of the “defeat this wandering undead” nature) and few areas to explore. On the other hand, easy puzzles mean you will not get stuck so often, which means the plot will unfold much faster – making the game an even better approximation of survival horror movies in which events happen in the space of few seconds. The last few puzzles in the game are more intricate and complex, but text adventure experts will have no problem overall with the game.

Necrotic Drift makes much better uses of graphics and sounds than Fallacy of Dawn, and that is saying a lot since I really like the multimedia elements in that game. Every location, monster, and NPC is depicted in photorealistic pictures, and some sounds really made me jump out of my seat (it’s almost as scary as The Lurking Horror). While the plot is linear, I really like the many nice touches and sub-plots that unfold along with the main storyline. For instance, while you (Jarret) are trying to defeat the undead, you must also deal with the rocky relationship you are having with Audrey, your girlfriend who wants to move to another town. The ending is very memorable and appropriate – just play the game to find out ;) All in all, if you prefer text adventures that focus more on the story than puzzles, or if you are a die-hard fan of pen & paper RPG, or if you are just a geek in general, you will simply have a blast playing Necrotic Drift. Two thumbs up, way up!

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