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No Time To Squeal

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Mike Sousa & Robb Sherwin



Copyright 2001, Mike Sousa & Robb Sherwin

My second most favorite game in the 7th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition, No Time To Squeal is an outstanding collaboration effort between Mike Sousa and Robb Sherwin (the latter one of my most favorite IF authors today). Much of the game’s strengths lies in the chilling, well-written plot that intertwines 20th century family life with a certain famous historical murderer, so I won’t spoil it here. The game is almost puzzle-less: with a lot of shifting perspectives and scripted events, you are more of a passive observer in this unfolding drama than its active participant. And that’s just as well, because the events in No Time To Squeal are not something you would want to experience in real life. The game’s prose is powerful, but sometimes awkward and a bit melodramatic. It never dilutes the thrill of “hey, I wonder what will happen next” that not many games today can boast of instilling in the players. Similar to All Roads, No Time To Squeal begins with you, as the player, having no clue about what is going on, then proceeds to lead you through the powerful story in wonderful ways. Unlike All Roads though, I felt that the ending in No Time To Squeal doesn’t quite “gel” everything together for me, and I had to do a bit of research on some historical references in the game to get a better idea of what the authors were shooting for. The “fake” ending message that forces you to RESTART the game to get to the next scene (as opposed to really restart the game) is also misleading, and not quite fair to first-time players who have no idea what to expect.

Despite these minor letdowns and tiny imperfections such as typos, the writing and plot alone are enough to carry No Time To Squeal to the second place on my ballot (my highest vote goes to Moments Out of Time, also reviewed on this site) because I was more intrigued with the plot and style of this one than All Roads. Fans of horror genre in particular will enjoy this one a lot. Two thumbs up, way up!

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