There has been a recent trend in our community to bash Hero Rise as “not a true CS game” or a “CYOA game” and I think it is time to come to a consensus that HR series is a interactive fiction piece, regardless of flaws.
I’ve criticized HR before as well as the sequel and I’m not one that defends its flaws. The one critique that I am going to push back is that this is not “true” to the genre. These were written with a specific design in mind and to tell the author’s story as he envisioned it many years ago.
Staying true to his vision, he wrote the story he envisioned within the framework of the CS scripting engine. Over the years, it has been a successful commercial series that continues to have fans and a loyal audience.
There are a lot of things you can criticize both the author and his work for but you can’t deny for better or worse that his series is part and parcel of this genre. Both the successful parts and those parts of the series that are criticized have helped further develop the genre as a whole.
The CS engine itself has evolved and the use of features like *fake_choice are seen today as archaic or ill-advised but this series was written in a different phase of the CS engine’s life and it is very hard to cross-compare from one generation of game to the next.
You can more easily say, well Choice of the Dragon (or whatever early gem is your favorite) does this or that better and is of the same generation game as Hero Rise but once again, the focus and purpose of Hero Rise was entirely different.
This is something that is easier to understand in graphical games such as Myst or everyone’s favorite Bioware titles. The fact that it is harder to understand in text based games doesn’t discount that games sometimes are made to explore different aspects of the art-form.
It is time this community remember this and stop constantly slamming one of the classics of CS-If gaming as not really belonging in the genre.