Player Comments on The Oil Pits of Lazarus
Yo this review is brought to my attention due to mizal (may the holy crusader never end).
Plot: the classic "hero comes to invade some assholes private summer home and assassinate him" story. While the story was ultimately generic, I found that you had set up quite a bit of lore which fleshed out the backround story. That makes me want to know more? Who are the paladins? Do they follow the orders of a mystical God? Maybe a chivalrous code? Give us more backround on the antagonist too. Nothing can go wrong with more fleshing out. Describing these things can make things look more "at stake". Doing more of that can make your story look less like a "run of the mill" cyoa.
Characters:the characters are nothing special, their dialogue was probably the boring part. It seemed very "stock" and unrealistic. In some cases I feel you just added it to say exposition or explain something that happend (In fact, I know you did). This goes back to the tried and true motto "showing over telling". Sure you could make the bad guy SAY:
"oh noes, you have good memory bruh, I'm dead".
This was a parody of the real line that the antagonist says but it remains unrequired nonetheless. Ergo, that would be one of the lines id take out or revise it to become a more "realistic line". I understand showing surprise in a character isn't easy. But having the antagonist shout out his inner reasoning for how he got defeated doesn't seem characterized. Think about what if in star wars, during the sword fight with Luke and Darth Vader when Luke got his hand chopped off, instead of screaming and looking at his newly created stump, he just said: "you just chopped off my hand! I didn't think you were gonna do that!" Then he started screaming... Dialogue can take the "anxiety" away from a high tense situation.
Descriptions: this was a part I thought you did really well in, whenever it wasn't dialogue based. You provided adequate or above adequate descriptions of the current situation and possible solutions to those situations. Could be more descriptive, but I'm sure you'll definitely improve over time anyway.
Grammer: idk why the hell I bother putting this section in my reviews. I know Jack shit about Grammer...
Overall: plot was generic as was the characters, but the good descriptions and the amount of actual writing, keep it from being a "run-of-the-mill" cyoa. I give it an above average in terms of story.
on 5/29/2018 6:06:20 PM with a score of 0
I'm unfamiliar with this author or their previous work, but I still figured I'd go back and write a review for this story.
The Oilpits of Lazarus does not, contrary to its title, feature a series of oil pits in a land called Lazarus. Instead, the protagonist himself is named Lazarus, and the "Oilpits" are the name of the fictional land. A bit confusing, but okay.
So the story opens with the protagonist, Lazarus, stopping on what I can only assume is the very edge of the Oilpits, since there was no mention of avoiding pits prior to to this point. He's part of some paladin order, sent by the king of "Norwinia" to slay "Darkon," some dark entity with zero backstory. The closest we come to backstory is the mention that only paladins of the "Ninth Tier" (and the author uses this interchangeably with "ninth order," so be warned) can banish Darkon back to his prison. Your mentor was apparently slain by Darkon before he managed to seal him, thereby making you the only paladin who knows enough to have a chance at sealing Darkon away again.
And that poses the first few problems of the story. Er, how did Darkon kill your mentor if he's still imprisoned in the Nexus? Did he send a Drakkon? First it says he was killed by "the forces of Darkon," but then it continues by saying Darkon himself killed him? It's very unclear as to whether Darkon himself killed your mentor, or the blame is just being attributed to him.
Further, why is "King Jeoffrey," a character barely mentioned that poses no real importance to the story, given an actual name but your mentor, a character who's significant enough to power your "Paladin Overload" in the good ending, not given one? He's just referred to as, "your mentor" throughout the entire story.
Now that I'm done with the critique, let's get onto the positives. I love, love, love the simplicity of your fight scenes. This kind of writing style relies on raw, honed talent, and can't be replicated through training. The journalistic-like descriptions tell so much through leaving only the essentials, allowing our minds to fill in virtually any unnecessary detail. It's absolutely gorgeous.
Near the end of the story, your writing starts to decline. It becomes rushed, the fights become exaggerated and anime-esque, etc. Still, you've got serious talent and you should hone it the best you can. Your writing very much so reminds me of The Old Man and the Sea, an amazing novel that lead to its author earning the Nobel Prize in Literature. Now I'm not saying your writing is nobel-prize level yet, but if you hone it, if you dedicate your life to your craft, you could get to that point some day.
The story itself is only 4/8 due to its length and the gradual decline in quality as it progresses, but please take my comments to heart. You have a gift.
on 5/29/2018 4:28:32 PM with a score of 0
Okay, so this story has some flaws which I'll get into in a moment, but the overall writing is mostly fine, the pages are nice full pages with a good amount of action and description. Fantasy is popular here and heroic fantasy particularly is something I wouldn't mind seeing more of, so I could see this this author's future stories becoming popular.
The issues I had weren't so much to do with the writing itself as some questions of the logic of the whole adventure. To that end I'll just list some notes I took as I read:
1.) How does the Drakkon so easily kill you in one option, but in the other you can just slowly walk around, locate it behind a rock and then stab it without any trouble at all, even though it still has the bow and has had plenty of chances to use it? The correct option here is pretty underwhelming and the other leads to an instant one-click death. To address this...well there are lots of possibilities really. Maybe choosing to just ride on leads to you losing your horse with an option to barely win the hand to hand fight and having to reach the castle weakened and on foot. Or when searching for it, it could fire an arrow and miss, giving its location away and giving you the opportunity to run in and fight it sword vs dagger before it can nock another one?
1A.) A minor issue but it is also slightly distracting having to fight a 'Drakkon' immediately after being sent to fight a 'Darkon'. The names--from Lazarus to Jeoffrey--are kind of all over the place in this one anyway, but a good general guideline is to try and keep fantasy names a similar style while not actually having them start with the same letter or be similar lengths or otherwise resemble each other too much at a glance.
2.) The story makes a big deal of how carefully you're guiding the horse to avoid unstable ground...then suddenly you see your goal ahead and just forget all of that and go charging full speed ahead for no apparent reason. There is no hurry and the likelihood of the horse tripping or riding into another ambush seems pretty high.
You tie Hombre to a rock and break in its foot so it can stay level, // not sure what's going on with this sentence but my first thought is I should call the ASPCA on this guy!
Okay now...in the beginning it implies the existence of both a well established paladin order and a king who sent you on this mission. Why then was this guy sent completely alone and without even any decent gear for something of literally fate of the world level importance? This reminds me of the RPGs where NPCs just sit around and twiddle their thumbs and wait for some rando to do everything for them right after he gets done killing 500 rats to buy gear and finishes doing their menial fetch quests. Every resource possible should be put into dealing with this problem as a matter of basic self preservation. And if only one guy is fated/destined/whatever to do it then they should put everything into supporting HIM. The story mentions how cheap your gear is and how unprepared you are but never really goes into how and why you're there alone in the first place.
Okay, and speaking of RPGs...I couldn't help but think of a video game when you suddenly out of nowhere start using powers with titles like 'Paladin Overload' and your 'Paladin energy' is referred to. Not sure what the 'good memories' connection there is either since it's only references once by the villain. Both of these people seem to understand how this whole thing works, but the reader is never let in on that.
Also just curious as to what changed between sneaking in and fighting your way in that gave you the option to use your 'Paladin Overload' powers in the first place.
The game is short but each scene actually has a lot of detail, I had no trouble picturing things or following along with any of the action, so again it's really just the logic behind some of this that I had trouble getting past. You've got all the basics down and you're not afraid of writing a big fat page full of imagery and details etc, so it's just a matter of honing the craft now. I hope you have a few more of these kinds of fantasy scenarios planned in the future.
(And also, having just had a peek at your profile before finishing writing this, I've gotta say...wow. You've improved a LOT, an incredible amount really since the Ramona Wilde days! Because I uh...remember that story, lol. Not a lot of people are willing to put that kind of effort into getting better at something after failing once and you should be proud you've come this far.
on 5/28/2018 2:54:36 PM with a score of 0
There we a few inconsistencies in timing, but other than that the writing itself was much better than I expected based on the rating.
on 9/14/2018 12:12:50 AM with a score of 0
I thought it was decent. As of writing this review, I have no idea if this is your first story or not. I also finished the game once and did not go back to read the rest (I got the GOOD end).
Main complaint is that it's to short and shallow. The premise is interesting enough, the Drakkon's description gave me a mental picture and they seemed cool enough enemies, and the oil pit was a cool idea. Overall, though, nothing about this story made me care.
Okay, so the story plops you straight into your ULTIMATE QUEST TO KILL THE BAD GUY! with no backstory other than that the evil guy will destroy the world and he killed your mentor. No world building, nothing other than the bad guys and the oil pit (which wasn't explained). I don't even remember the main characters name, if he even had one. There's a total of four characters, and one of them is already dead, one's a horse, and then the protagonist and antagonist. No side characters (unless you count the red shirt Drakkons), no dialogue other than the villain explaining himself to you. Basically, it's way to shallow to actually give a damn what happens in this story, which is a shame since the title was enticing. I don't know if this was on a time frame, or if you wanted to just put a story out there, but you need, in my opinion, to work on making your stories longer and have more figurative meat on the bones.
The climax held no weight, no real stakes, to get into. The villain explains himself (the ending I chose just blew him to pieces or whatever, and then the ending was nothing but a paragraph or two).
The good parts were there, of course. Your descriptions weren't terrible, and your action at the beginning was pretty decent, but the climax fell short.
Just work on putting more depth into your characters and your plot, and your next story should be a lot better. This plot would've been fine if it wasn't so barebones (and cliche, but even with a cliche plot some good story can come out of it).
on 5/31/2018 8:42:37 PM with a score of 0
This was a really fun story. You have a great knack for narrating action in particular. The battles were engaging even though they were quick. Your humor was great too with some of the bad endings. I wish the game were much longer (maybe, say, three times as long?). A lot of the extra pages could go into filling in the blanks and smoothing out the logic of the scenes (ie. the stuff Mizal pointed out). Great job!
on 5/29/2018 2:44:25 PM with a score of 0