Pro Mandrakine

October 18, 2007

In the Ciceronian tradition, of Speaking of things, which are not in fact patently true and are not of the sort that the speaker’s audience would indeed find enjoyable , nor in fact relevant, I will begin. Having grown up in the lesser schools of mind and the rhetoric, I dare not make any sort of introduction for myself, lest I bring discredit to myself and to this publication, by mentioning such sordid names, however, I must begin with a salutation to the celebrated L. P. Mandrake, to whom I find that I admire as much as Cato the Elder admired Cato the Younger. In the company of such eloquence, what can one do? Prose fails, poetry is found wanting, the panegyric withers, the epillion is as dust, even the structured epistle is of no use. I am indeed indebted to such a Nameless personality, who even went so far as to express private reflections here upon this medium, in the form of a letter, meshing the boundaries of the private and the personal in a very classical mode, yet in so much as he did so, I can detect the slightest hint of an artless editor, a veritable stam who has rearranged the epistle of a master to fit his own dire and surely not quite nefarious purposes. Perhaps he passes this off with claims to be merely writing an introduction or indeed some sort of commentary. Is this blog home of such dim witted readers, of the sort who have some need for introduction to the works of Mr. Mandrake? Has it indeed come to this point, that so great a man as he does not deserve a post all too himself? In the great antiquity of YS, such was not the case. We are less hardy, less virile readers, the sort who need to be spoonfed some etymology, so that we may read Mr. Mandrake. Truly it is a shameful day and the bloody sky looks down on a twisted, turpiditudinous race. I ask, Would one deface Homer in such a manner? Hemingway? The Jersualem Talmud? Truly what is lacking here is justice, justice for which brave men die and not cowardly men fight. Indeed, in my first frail steps into those arts which I here but poorly sputter out, I know that perhaps, with my noble mind, exercised in virtue and adjudicated manner of decision, with which I grew to manhood, escaping the vices so common to youth, and which now are demanding that I speak here in respect to one true and noble Affair, namely that if Daily Salad had published a post with which he took liberties, it would be to his advantage now to republish it in a more complimentary manner. For the state cannot sustain such injustices, I fear what is worst and ever more darkly will the fates spin their webs, if such iniquity is not righted.

There’s a certain joy that comes with discovering that a bit of entertainment — whether it’s a novel, movie, or game — is actually a lot deeper than you expected it to be. It’s a kind of pleasant stumbling, and in the case of Sektor 13’s “Infinity String,” entirely in keeping with the theme. “Infinity String” puts the player in the shoes of Dr. Yerik Elnar, a researcher investigating a mysterious archaeological dig in the Antarctic. Elnar is surprised to find that the site is in fact an alien crash site, though the player can surely predict that in keeping with any good alien crash site (as in Carpenter’s “the Thing,” and countless other sci-fi movies), most of the investigators have gone missing.

pic2.pngWhat’s interesting about “Infinity String” is that this set-up doesn’t lead directly to an alien beastie on the loose. Without divulging too much of the plot, “String” provides a convincing back-story to the action of progress run amok. Given that the player’s character is a scientist, the flashbacks and the odd ghost or two that outline the history of the crash site lend a greater significance tothe player’s actions.

The puzzles are fairly appropriate to the plot and setting, and the solutions require just enough of a jump of logic to be interesting and not too difficult. At times, however, there needs to be a little more direction; it is always apparent that there are puzzles to solve, but not always clear why they follow from the player’s goals. Some minor typos and grammatical errors (translation errors?) serve to make things a little more obscure.

“String’s” graphics are quite strong throughout. The character animations are extremely fluid, and there are some very nice touches, such as the animated snow falling outdoors. The graphical user interface (GUI) is sharp and looks quite professional. However, the resolution of different areas and objects is a little inconsistent, which is a little jarring at times, but it doesn’t detract too much from the action. The music is a little melodramatic at times, but otherwise good. Overall, “String” is definitely worth a look. •