Review of "Augustine"

Augustine is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 2002 by Terrence V. Koch. At the 2002 XYZZY Awards, it was a finalist in both the Best Setting and Best Story categories.

Review by David Welbourn

Gather 'round, and listen to this tale, a tale of swordsmen and dark magic, a tale of triumph and tragedy. And it begins in a lowly village just outside of Wales, in the year 1400...

Alas, the village is doomed. Its people (including your family) are slaughtered by Kasil and his men. And so you train to be knight, learning all the right verbs to use (nice touch to imbed the info that way) and plot your revenge. Unfortunately, when you next meet your nemesis, you're in a magical place of power (which I suppose explains the lava), and foolishly curse both you and Kasil to eternal life, until one of you kills the other with his sword. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, are you?

Next stop: present day, St. Augustine, Florida. The rest of the game takes place here, and in various other time periods in St. Augustine's past. By now you'll have realized that the story is on rails; you can wander away every now and then, but since nothing happens where the story isn't, you learn not to wander off. I didn't mind. Of course, you'll exchange more swordplay with Kasil, but you'll also influence the history of St. Augustine in many ways (although those parts are mostly told to you, not played), and fall in love with a few women, only to tragically lose them.

It's a big story, and aside from a few glitches, the story is spun out reasonably well. By game's end, I felt as if I'd eaten a full meal or watched a good movie. I was satisfied. (But the PC is still a twit if it really took him 600 years to figure out what he ought to have done long ago.)

Rating: 9.

✍️🏻 See my handwritten notes.