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This is what happens when your ambition exceeds your talents.
Genre(s): Visual Novel
Platform(s): Adobe Flash
Release: 2001 - 2006
Developer(s): Michael Gibson
Publisher(s): Zapdramatic

Ambition is a ten-part "interactive mystery" Flash game, created by Michael Gibson and released between 2001 and 2006. The early episodes were posted on Newgrounds, with later ones being posted on Gibson's own website, Zapdramatic.

Why It Sucks

  1. Very ugly artwork. While this can be partly blamed on the technical limitations of the time, there's no such excuse for the inconsistent character designs (Some characters having shading and others having no shading, some stuff changes to other colors, and the blood being dark purple or orange rather than red.) , weird facial expressions that everybody makes (Notably Ted's smile and Yale's smile), and generally bad animations (including most of the characters just sliding around instead of walking).
    • In Episode 6, when you take a nap. You are just driving to a bed.
    • While later episodes improved the graphics a bit, they still look ugly and there is very limited animation.
  2. Episode 1 and 2 do not have a option to skip the cutscenes, meaning if you lose in Episode 1. You have to play the entire game from the beginning, as for Episode 2 there are checkpoints.
  3. A lot of the assets are reused from previous games by Michael Gibson.
    • Jim's character model is recycled from a game called "The Suspicious Cop"
    • Bridget's character model is recycled from a game called "The Lusty Barfly"
    • In Episode 7, Rolf Klink's model is recycled from a game called "The Raise"
    • The hotel assistant's model is recycled from a game called "Customer Service"
  4. The difficulty is all over the place. Some of the chapters play out exactly the same no matter which options you select (unless you choose one that's really obviously not the right choice), while in others it's incredibly difficult to work out the right choices you should make.
    • The "hints" just give you the right answer.
  5. The voice acting is passable at best, terrible at worst, and it's obvious that the same two or three people are voicing all the characters.
  6. Your player character keeps changing from one episode to the next. In some episodes it's not even clear exactly who you're supposed to be playing as, and/or the player character will switch in the middle of the episode, making the whole thing feel incredibly disjointed.
  7. The first episode begins with you having to calm down Ted Hartrup, a lunatic who's threatening to blow up the office where his wife works. Then, for absolutely no apparent reason other than he's supposedly an author insert for the game's creator, all the following episodes pull ridiculous plot twists to make him a heroic character who got caught up in a conspiracy.
    • As part of this, the third episode has you playing a psychologist who is evaluating Ted. The conclusion you're supposed to come to is that Ted just had a temporary bout of insanity and so should be released without charge, which really isn't how the law works; either Ted was insane, in which case he would be committed to a mental institution, or he was sane, meaning that he would go on trial for the attempted bombing.
    • Saying that Ted is sane also isn't a very obvious thing to do, considering that not only did Ted threaten to blow up the office, he spends most of the assessment rambling like a crazy person and claiming not to know why he nearly committed a suicide bombing.
  8. None of the game's characters are likeable or sympathetic in the slightest, not helped by you never having a consistent player character. The one character who does seem like they might be turning out likeable, Duke Crabtree, actually turns out to be a murderer near the end of the game.
  9. The overall storyline's really unclear. Ted was apparently sent to blow up his wife's office for some reason that's never explained, then gets set up to take the fall for the murder of a psychologist... which the main villain wouldn't have needed to do if he hadn't sent Ted to blow up the office in the first place.
  10. As with many of Gibson's other flash games, the episodes are meant to teach you about negotiating with difficult people. Not only are the episodes so poorly-designed that they won't teach you anything useful, but they're in absurdly specific circumstances that most people will never encounter in real-life (and even if they did, would be trained for as part of their job).
  11. The ending of the last episode has you playing as a lawyer defending Ted's wife, Bridget from a charge of murdering the psychologist. You'd expect that when you find out Duke's the real killer the objective would be to bring him to justice, but you're wrong - you're supposed to frame Ted's lawyer, who cheats on his wife and treats her poorly but is otherwise a law-abiding citizen, for the murder.
    • What's more, because the planned sequel to this game was never made, this means that (as many YouTube commenters have pointed out) the ultimate goal of the game is to frame a black man for a murder he didn't commit.
  12. While the early episodes were always free, in order to play the latter episodes you needed to pay a monthly subscription to Zapdramatic (though this was later dropped, due to Flash being Discontinued)

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Decent amount of content for a Flash game of this era.
  2. A few legitimately funny moments, and more than a few unintentionally funny moments.
  3. Created the "Because I'm a terrorist!" meme.
  4. The music is generally pretty good.
  5. The spinoff of this game called "Sir Basel Pike Public School" is a major improvement over this game, the graphics have improved a bit, and it teaches life lessons.
  6. Episode 6 was a decent attempt at making a real game, unlike the other episodes being you just clicking at the right choice.


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