An incredibly dark and thrilling journey!
What an amazing ride! I was intrigued at first- the future Todd is here, and he's going to help me out- help me to get a girl, apparently.
But what you discover as you play this game is not only that it ends abruptly sometimes- but that it has very good reason to. This is the first time I've seen a choose your own adventure that had sudden endings that made logical sense. The earpiece thing- FT should really have gotten a strap for that or something I mean he blew a grand on it- I didn't get at first. At first I felt just like Todd, in that I had no idea why I was waking up in Future Todd's body with a severed finger in my pocket. But then I met Clint, and then I started to piece it together after some of the horrible options presented themselves- leaving the invisible FT alone with his now-teenage 4 decade obsession after presumably killing a man?
The "I was Drunk" during the Africa storyline pissed me off a little. I'm not sure why. It makes sense, considering what the unaltered Todd becomes later in life. It just pissed me off a little. I guess because I had no control over that. I had control over the Angelfire part, so why not the alcohol part? That seems like a time FT would jump in and say something like "Hey, get her really drunk and you could be golden! Go for it, wimp!" Considering the structure of the story, it'd probably end up as either that or "I refuse" leading into yet another "ok fine, end simulation" ending.
The back button is the only thing that kept me in the game. I'm one of those people who would keep several bookmarks in their CYOA book to "revert" death and I wouldn't have made it very far if I had to replay the entire game word for word. I certainly wouldn't have hit every ending, though I did have to pull the guide up for one I missed. (It was just a FT-earpiece one anyway.)
I didn't really notice the artwork. The expressions changed yes, but it was only only when a dramatic change from what I kept seeing occurred that I took notice- Angela's a great example. I only really noticed when I got a scene where she was passed out that "oh hey the portraits change occasionally."
What I did notice was the way the portraits USED would change depending on what location in the page you were on. That was a nice touch, even if I didn't really see them that well.
This was an amazing story. I'll piece together what I learned about it.
It turns out that as Todd grew up at first, he didn't make any successful moves on Angela, his lifelong crush. Years, even decades pass by. Angela marries a friend of hers- Clint. He's a jerk and you know it, but your obsession never left you. Someone invents a thousand dollar earpiece that has the ability to scan your brain and conscious mind. Taking this "scan", it replicates a virtual reality world and allows you to place yourself inside it so long as the simulation is running. FT finally snaps. He buys one, determined to see a virtual world where Todd gets Angela. The first of the events occur for Todd, where he saves Angela's mother or not.
FT snaps once more- after seeing Clint in the virtual world. He breaks into Clint and Angela's house, beats Clint and ties up Angela- who later escapes via a butcher knife- but not before activating the earpiece again. He cuts Clint's ring finger off as an act of defiance against their pairing, putting it in his shirt.
At this point, if you chose a path where FT gets away (any storyline where his body is inhabited at the time YEARS AFTER the break-in- Africa comes to mind), he goes to Cancun. His lifelong dream, as Todd describes way at the start.
This is why the world ends so much:
Our Todd turns out to be a simulation. If at any point FT decides that timeline was no longer worth pursuing or is killed, the world ends abruptly. The earpiece simulation is ended. That's why all those endings are there. If you let FT have his way, he gets satisfied. He probably makes it a favorite and reruns it, trapping you. in those same decisions forever.
Endings 16 and 34 are the best. 16 is just neat, and 34 is the most humane.