Trap Cave, by Emilian Kowalewski
If the game isn't finished, it's better to hold it back for the next
year when it is ready, than to submit an unfinished game.
I played using the Linux interpreter, which needed work. For one, it wasn't strict 7-bit ascii and depended on a particular character encoding. (If you're using the Linux interpreter, set the terminal's character encoding to IBM850 or the line art won't come out right.) One big thing: Windows uses a backslash to separate directories; Linux uses a forward slash. This meant that it couldn't even find the included games. It was easy enough to edit nodex.ini so that the games were detected, but it still generated incorrect names for anything in the subdirectories. Any testing would have revealed these problems.
Then I started the game, which wasn't fully translated into English.
I was unable to work out which character encoding to use. IBM850 and IBM852 made the line art work. ISO-8859-15, ISO-8859-1, Windows 1252, ISO-8859-2, and Windows 1250 made the German characters print correctly. Or at least, that was how it worked in the English version. When I switched to the German version, IBM852 worked fully.
In spite of its small size, the game still had some bugs.
If you don't assemble the scepter before entering the Flowstone Cave, you won't be able to get out. (Also, the "put skull on skeleton" option appears anyway.)
If you try to go west after getting the key, you'll reach an undefined node.
For a game this small, there's no excuse for any of these problems, and after the the responses his game got last year, he can't even claim ignorance.
Score: 1 X