Review of "Identity Thief"

Identity Thief is a Z-code 5 interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 2002 by Rob Shaw-Fuller.

Review by David Welbourn

It's an interesting setup. You're a thief with cybernetic eyes and a cybernetic hand, looking for a datachip in a senator's bedroom. A senator, who you just killed, and wounded you badly. So. This is not lighthearted cybernetics like that of Inspector Gadget or even The Six Million Dollar Man. This is cyber noir and X-Files. Creepy stuff.

Well, that's what it was trying for. And as far as setting the mood, it partially succeeded. Unfortunately, the execution of basic game mechanics was not up to the task.

Some of it was a lack of adequate feedback on the use of various gizmos. I had a spray that supposedly dissolved biomatter, but seemed impotent when sprayed on myself or on the senator's body. My eyes and hand supposedly recorded patterns of other people's eyes and hands, but how to access or emulate a specific pattern? Or tell which pattern I was currently using? A mirror was unresponsive to many commands which made it difficult to figure out what to do with it.

Once you have the datachip and make your getaway, the game enters into an on-the-rails mode of play that could use some fine tuning. One begins to flounder, not sure what's expected. Where should we drive the car? What's the syntax for driving ("drive home" vs. "drive to home")? What should we ask the NPC? There's also a minor bug: try the verbs "extend" and "retract" at the end of the game.

Rating: 4.

✍️🏻 See my handwritten notes.