An amazingly replayable interactive fiction game, begun as an "experiment in open authorship". The introduction was written by Emily Short, and the conversations were contributed by John Cater, Rob Dubbin, Eric Eve, Elizabeth Heller, Jayzee, Kazuki Mishima, Sarah Morayati, Mark Musante, Adam Thornton, and Ziv Wities. The main character is a huntsman, sent by the Queen to kill Snow White and return her heart in a box. You (the huntsman) have made a pact with Snow White to return the heart of a hart (some sort of deer). The Queen practices witchcraft and her magic mirror will show your treason. However, you are nearly as wary of Snow White for reasons that are very quickly revealed. There are eighteen endings to this game, and "some of them are even almost happy."

In place of a status bar, the game generates a collage of several drawings on the left side of the screen, based on learning crucial information or affecting Snow White's mood. Weird technical information follows. Her moods include aggressive, menacing, furious, whining, needy, harmless, warm, and weird. Each is built of at most two modifiers, which include scary, angry, pathetic, and friendly. Pathetic to scary is one continuum, and friendly to angry is the other. So for example, weird is a combination of friendly and scary. This is all determined by the moodiness counter and some simple branching. Read the code, it's really a bit amusing. In addition to changing the screen, her mood affects her reaction to different statements and actions, which sounds stupidly obvious on paper but is painfully rare in video games. This naturally creates a bit of replayability and fun where you can try being nice or pissing her off and seeing what changes. Snow White's responses to your questions will also change based on your character's knowledge when you ask them, so the same question can actually give new information in some cases, but only if your character learned something from someone else. (The presence of game-changing information can be checked by typing "think". Every sentence you see there is affecting things.) So in all, rather than merely having multiple endings, this game has a whole spectrum of possibilities the whole way through.

The game is almost entirely centered around conversation. There is an incredible amount of detail put in as far as this goes, and it is quite different from the usual text adventure. And much better. Spoilers follow:

The actions that ostensibly must be performed are either putting the hart's heart in the box and untying Snow White, or killing her and returning her heart to the Queen. Before either untying her or killing her, you must learn more of who she is, to be sure of your decision. The spoilers begin here, skip if you want to find out on your own. One of the most interesting discoveries is that Snow White is possessed by the demon Lilith. This is the reason for her pale complexion, an apparent taste for blood, and nearly every answer she gives. If you exorcise this demon, Snow White will tell you a little of the horror of being possessed, and what Lilith was like to live with. Multiple playthroughs will reveal that no one in this game is entirely evil. Lilith is actually a lonely ancient soul who is tired of immortality and wants a man her equal. The Queen, as everyone, and this is a much bigger spoiler so I'm padding it with a lot of empty words, seems to actually be affected by a "blood-sundering" that happened many years ago. The world changed when the King left, and no one could remember much of what happened that night or before it. And then the identity of the King is too big to even put right here. Seriously, there should be a spoiler button or something. But know that you can find the King, free Snow White, kill her, exorcise Lilith, become Lilith's companion, cure the Queen, or die stupidly. Also you can fail to accomplish much of anything, or you can even drive Snow White insane!

Although it is a very conversation-heavy game, players should experiment with actions, as there are a lot that aren't quite obvious. Two that don't do much (but are interesting finds) are "listen to box" and "hug her". These are both subject to changing through the course of the game and based on mood and facts. A few of the endings can only be gotten through actions and timing, so really play around. Exorcising the demon takes a command that likely won't occur to you the first time, though becoming her consort can be done through talking alone.

So hurry up and play it!

Al"a*bas"ter (#), n. [L. alabaster, Gr. , said to be derived fr. Alabastron, the name of a town in Egypt, near which it was common: cf. OF. alabastre, F. albatre.]

1. Min. (a)

A compact variety or sulphate of lime, or gypsum, of fine texture, and usually white and translucent, but sometimes yellow, red, or gray. It is carved into vases, mantel ornaments, etc.

(b)

A hard, compact variety of carbonate of lime, somewhat translucent, or of banded shades of color; stalagmite. The name is used in this sense by Pliny. It is sometimes distinguished as oriental alabaster.

2.

A box or vessel for holding odoriferous ointments, etc.; -- so called from the stone of which it was originally made.

Fosbroke.

 

© Webster 1913.

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