Review of "Ramón and Jonathan"

Ramón and Jonathan is a Z-code 5 interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 2002 by Daniele A. Gewurz.

Review by David Welbourn

Y'know, I had such hopes for this game, just based on the name alone. Would Ramón and Jonathan be roommates? Brothers? Co-workers? Lovers? Well, no, none of those. They are hangmen, and co-defendants in a trial.

Unbelievably, that's all you'll learn about the titular characters. Okay, one of them sneers, the other doesn't. This is characterization? (In fact, when trying to interact with any of the seven NPCs that you can meet in the game, you can only get a response from just two of them.)

Nor do you learn much about the trial, or even much about your own character, except that you're unhappy with the verdict. Expressing your displeasure in a useful way is made difficult since the objects you'll need aren't visible, and which I only found out about by peeking at the walkthrough. Admittedly, one might be able to figure out the correct actions at the beginning without the walkthrough, but it seems unlikely.

And then, the game ends very soon after that first puzzle, ending with a situation that doesn't seem very politically savvy. An "ugly American" ending. Yuck.

Rating: 2.

✍️🏻 See my handwritten notes.