IFComp 2015: Darkiss – Chapter 1: the Awakening   1 comment

By Marco Vallarino. Played to completion with two hints.

Yours is a bloody, thousand-year-old story. You filled the nights of Europe with nightmares for centuries. Wrapped in your cloak, you spread death and destruction everywhere, ruling as the undisputed prince of darkness. You seduced and enslaved the most beautiful girls on the continent and crushed anyone who dared to oppose your dark supremacy.

Then someone found your hideout and, while you rested defenceless, drove a stake through to your heart, killing you merciless. But now you’re alive again, ready to take your revenge.

Darkiss – Chapter 1: the Awakening (let’s agree to type Darkiss for short) is a parser game that casts you as a weakened vampire who is left for dead after many years, seeking revenge.

The prose is so very, very gothic. I hope you like adjectives.

It’s got an appropriate puzzle spread, because the ones who attempted to kill you also left many other barriers in case the wooden stake wore off.

I did find the puzzles solvable (both of my hints were near the end) although I had a not-insignficant amount of struggle with the parser. For example:

> x door
The solid iron door at the centre of the northern wall seems to be the panel of a giant safe. Without keyhole, in its centre it has four small wheels with numbers from 0 to 9 that, knowing the right combination, should serve to open the door by turning the handle set at their side. Unfortunately you have no idea what the combination could be. You only know that you never succeeded in memorizing it, so it’s possible that you’ve left a hint somewhere to remember it.

The door is closed.

> set combination to 6000
You can’t see any such thing.

> open door with 6000
You can’t use multiple objects with that verb.

> turn wheels to 6000
You can’t see any such thing.

> enter 6000
You can’t use multiple objects with that verb.

After giving up for a while I finally came upon:

> open door
What combination do you want to try to open the door?

> 6000
The door doesn’t open.

One puzzle spoiler and one major plot spoiler follow.


Even though I was able to solve most of the puzzles without hints, it doesn’t mean they were all fair. In particular, one puzzle involved using COUNT twice, on the same thing. This violates one of the implicit player contracts, that information given in an unusual command will not be changed. I managed to come across an answer by dumb luck (I didn’t have my notes and needed to recheck the count number). The game also requires using SEARCH twice, but at least this is fairly standard in IF.

Regarding the main character of Darkiss, he isn’t even an “antihero” (who might have some lingering redeeming qualities), just a straight up villain who lingers in describing a torture room. Yet it didn’t bother me here, even though by the end of the plot there is one definite act of evil. Why?

I suppose Darkiss did a good job of establishing the game as playing a role, inhabiting another body as a playactor. There was no implication my personal morals would be invoked. Hence I could roll with the gothic mood and cackle evilly while lusting for the death of the vampire hunters.

Posted November 6, 2015 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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One response to “IFComp 2015: Darkiss – Chapter 1: the Awakening

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  1. Pingback: IFComp 2015 Summary | Renga in Blue

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