Apocalypse Yesterday

Player Rating6.23/8

"#58 overall, #9 for 2015"
based on 269 ratings since 02/27/2015
played 6,101 times (finished 324)

Story Difficulty7/8

"wade in shark infested water"

Play Length8/8

"Even light has to break at the rest stop"

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.

2015 Competition entry.

You are in a post apocalyptic world desperately trying to keep yourself going by searching the crumbled ruins of what used to be, hell you don't know, just some huge city that used to be important. You know you have a goal now to get across the city to an area you heard a survivor talk about before they died, lots of people there, a whole community of survivors. So now all you think about it reaching it. The only trouble is surviving long enough to get there yourself.

******************************************

Something I must say here is that I have entered this right before the deadline and made it the best I could given the time restrictions however this is far from finished. It will most likely be riddled with spelling and grammar errors and there is even a distinct possibility of a page being linked wrong. If so I am sorry, however I said I would write something playable by the deadline and while it falls so far short of my own standards that it actually hurts to hit the publish button I feel that I have to.

Some paths might appear to rail-road you or kill you off prematurely, this is sadly because I was unable to finish them or they were the openings to newer arcs and had to be severed to have something to publish without broken end links.

I shall work on this story over the coming months and republish it later once it is finished. for reference this is at most roughly 1/3 of the final game plan...

Player Comments

I somehow managed to miss this one until pretty recently, as zombie apocalypses are not usually a topic I’m interested in. I do sometimes get an itch for it, however, and I search for related material in sites I know of, like this one. And since this story was featured and had pretty good reviews, I decided I might as well play it. As always, this will contain spoilers.

Characters:
I feel that in this particular story characters and plot are equally important, but I will start by them anyway. In general, the characters are pretty developed and believable, which is in itself enough for the story to be good. It does fall short for some, though, for example the doctor in the Stadium. He’s believable and partially developed, but there’s nothing that makes him stand out as a person. I also feel there are some things off character, like the woman hiding under the grate at the silo like Robert de Niro to stab the main character several times from that position (and I don’t see how it would be possible to do that anyway). The balance, however, is remarkably positive, and that last bit is of course dependant on personal opinion.

About the main character, I felt that while at most times I could understand his motivations, there were other occasions in which I didn’t exactly get why he was doing some things. What I mean by this is that it would be good if there were more choices at some points, even if just dead ends. Also, the reveal about him being a harbinger is a little bit abrupt and confusing in some of the paths, although I guess that is partially the idea and I personally loved the whole concept. There were some paths where it was masterfully done, though, like one page in which it calls the Stadium people idiots for not knowing about it and not suspecting the meat the main character was carrying to be human. Since in this particular path it was the first mention to this, I found it quite amusing.

Plot:
The plot is pretty open and changing, there is no defined objective other than to survive and find food. The initial propeller is a conversation with another survivor that points the main character towards a massive human community somewhere across the city, where he decides to go. While this sets the plot in motion and there are paths in which remains as the main objective throughout, the majority of paths vastly deviate from this and go trough a lot of this city’s places.

I think that, while the plot is very basic, every path is interesting and compelling no matter what you choose. The description is heavy, which is something I like, and the scenes are well crafted. Me being who I am I thought the “red” paths to be the most interesting, and it was satisfying to be able to find both of their endings, especially after dying several times, to get some revenge.

I do have some personal issues, though, that have nothing to do with the quality of this piece but I’ll write them here anyway. First of all, my favourite character was the Old Man, and I wish there was some sort of good ending for him, like getting his revenge or something like that. Secondly, I also wish you could make the main character brutally mangle and devour the two green harbingers and the centre of the city, though I guess the impotency about it is a necessary part of the plot. But they did piss me off.

Last but not least, some death endings were a bit obnoxious. They are all well written and described, of course, but I feel like the amount of times the main character was getting killed due to his stupidity to be kind of irritating. For example, there is an option in a bunker to charge all the guards and kill them. I assumed the main character would be met with a fusillade of fire, but no, he actually succeeds in killing most of them. Then he doesn’t check if they are dead and goes on to monologue like a moustache trimming villain before one of the downed guards shoots him dead. It is true that “red” harbingers are supposed to be kind of reckless and stupid, but the Old Man wasn’t, and I found these kinds of things in other paths anyway as well. It’s not much of a problem, but I would still prefer the deaths to be a little less based on the character’s stupidity (unless the choice in question was really, really stupid like telling the green harbingers you are going to help the Old Man or standing alone against a horde in the open).

Also, as I said before, I wish there were more choices at some points. For example, in the van with the young boy, there is no option to resist the hunger and let him live, which could have probably saved the main character from the blue harbingers in the big eastern settlement. I understand that it had a limited deadline and that it might be necessary for the plot, but I still don’t like it too much.

Also, the story in itself is not finished, as the author said, and since it is from two years ago I find it pretty certain that it never will be. However, all the places where it should have gone on (they are marked by the author) are actual endings, so there are not abrupt endings or cliff-hangers. It plays more as a first part in a series than an incomplete story, which makes that a non-issue.

Consequence:
It is important for a fictional story to follow its own set of predefined rules for it to be believable and plausible. I think this story does accomplish that most of the time. As I mentioned before, there are some things I consider to be out of character but that is mostly based on opinion and not a big problem anyway.

My biggest issue with this is the harbinger concept, actually. I mean, it’s one of the things that set this story apart and I personally like that the main character was one of them. However, let’s analyse it. This zombie apocalypse was caused by a virus which transmits through contact with bodily fluids. A vaccine was developed, but was highly inefficient and could have other effects. Then the virus went airborne, affecting even more people. All fine thus far. As a result of the mutations, the vaccines and genetic variability the virus affects people differently, transforming them into different types of zombies. This is also fine.

But what do the harbingers have to do with any of that? How would a virus create a creature with amazing physical capabilities and mind control abilities? It feels like a little bit too much especially considering how the human frame and specially the skull are already lacking space.

But most of all, how would a virus make said abilities dependant on the moral compass of said creature and even make that visible through different colour patterns. This would mean the virus has a notion of morality and did this on purpose, which is obviously impossible for a virus, and it would require altering things that are based on conscious, rational thought, which is possible to a certain degree but I doubt that something like this could ever be achieved.

And all that considered, why would the virus want to create them? While red harbingers do spread it and try to eliminate potential predators (normal humans), the rest actually protect them. Green and blue harbingers impair the propagation of the virus, diminishing its infectivity, and protect potential predators of the creatures created (and thus infected) by the virus. They are actually hampering it and preventing its expansion.

Unless that is they are created to ensure that humanity survives in order to always have new subjects to infect, but that is a very advanced thought and it wouldn’t even work anyway since harbingers are too powerful compared with other creatures. Maybe the objective is to preserve the creatures by making the harbingers redirect them away from humans, but that wouldn’t make any sense either due to some of the creatures being virtually unkillable thanks to their superior regenerative capabilities. Despite all this rant, though, this is not much of a problem if the reader doesn’t delve on that too much.

Lastly, a small detail which I like and that is missing in most places. Ballistics were mostly realistic as far as I can tell, piercing thorough what can be pierced and dealing the damage they deal in real life (none of that Hollywood bullshit of minigun projectiles ricocheting off car doors).

Writing, vocabulary and technical details:
The writing is good and the vocabulary is precise without having excessively complicated words, thus avoiding being pedantic. The main problem is that it is littered with typos, wrong words and punctuation errors. But to be completely honest, I really didn’t pay too much attention to them, and they weren’t terribly distracting to me (although some may differ). The layout is fine and easily comprehensible.

Another problem is that some pages are repeated in ways that don’t make sense. For example, when in battle with the Old Man against the green harbingers, if you choose to focus on the green harbingers and let the Old Man live, the page to which that choice leads to is identical to the last one except the last line, which changes it to make the main protagonist die. This is what I find most troubling about the story in this section.

Conclusions:
While Apocalypse Yesterday has some issues, which I went on about in great detail before, I think it is a very entertaining story that keeps the quality throughout all the paths and until the end. The plot is good and manages to be original amongst a myriad of other zombie tales, the characters are mostly believable and it is realistic and gritty enough with a wide array of paths and options to take. I thus highly recommend it to anyone, even to those that don’t like the genre. The misspellings might put some off, though. I am a grammar nazi myself, but mostly for wrong word meanings or unreadable layouts, this doesn’t affect me as much as it could affect some other people.
-- Martin_Silenus on 8/23/2017 7:10:13 PM
I must admit that at first, I was going to leave a comment wishing for earlier character development, but by the end I changed my mind. The story gets better as it progresses, and early questions in the reader's mind are answered. Some very nice descriptions and solid combat. There are definitely a lot of grammatical/syntactical errors, but they rarely took away from my enjoyment. A strong effort.
-- madglee on 3/1/2015 12:43:35 PM
Heavy on description but well written, enjoyable and also very well planned: a v strong entry. They've extended the deadline for these stories back to March so you could take this down and work on it or leave it up for Feedback? I explored it for about 30 minutes but didn't encounter any broken links and very few spelling errors, which are practically impossible to avoid anyway when writing so many words. I would give it 7/8 because while generally excellent in some places the writing looks a little rushed but this is the best story game I've seen published on here in quite some time :)
-- Will11 on 1/3/2015 5:09:23 AM
Yeet,that was fun
-- FryMan on 11/7/2017 2:52:19 PM
Very good, very well written, and truly makes you think. I didn't really like the idea of being the ruthless killer my first time, so I ended the the romance blue... I'm a guy so I'm meh about romance, but I'd rather marry someone that eat them, so thanks for the option! Anyway, good job, keep writing.
-- RandomRedHead on 11/3/2017 12:27:00 PM
It is a really good story
-- Ismaels on 11/2/2017 2:12:08 PM
In the beginning there were some grammatical and spelling errors, but the story gets better as you go along. I enjoyed reading this.
-- Shinsou_Hitoshi on 10/11/2017 5:51:19 PM
I'm a blue harbinger fuckers!
-- Will on 9/9/2017 11:34:58 AM
The story was great. I like where you're going with it. You could've added just a tad more detail about the character being a Harbringer. There were a lot of grammatical errors, but that doesn't make it a bad story. 7/10 over all
-- nm13757 on 8/31/2017 6:30:22 PM
this is legit the best choose your story I have ever played. the only thing is a few spelling and grammar mistakes, but who cares! the character development is great, and there is an unexpected surprise, which I love. ;) PLZ MAKE MORE!!!
-- CTEJedi on 8/23/2017 7:28:56 PM
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