Well, here's some context boys - Freedom, for a ZZT game, had some massive hype behind it. It featured music by Kevin Carter, aka Kev-san, who was a 13 year-old musical prodigy. It was also announced during a brief high in "Classy, deep, meaningful" ZZT games spearheaded by Anthony Testa, aka Shigesato, who would later provide the kick-ass graphics to Freedom. The main selling point was the fact that it was a Rock Opera done on ZZT with music by Kev-san. On paper, it looked like a hit.
But... let me give some history here
I was good friends with Kev, so I could tell you that Freedom was mulling over in his head for a very long time. However, Kev is, IMHO, a better composer than writer, and it shows. Many ideas were basically lifted straight from the classic novel The Giver along with little drops of the darker 1984 - Small community, protagonist with some sort of undefined specialness, evil government and an overall sense of oppression with a tender love story attached. Okay, sure. Not very creative, but I'm sure that part of Kev's reasoning to make Freedom a musical was because you can get away with unoriginality in a musical so long as your music is good.
Now, despite some of these other reviews, some of the music is pretty kickass. There used to be a CD Kev had which contained all the music using synthesized instruments and I can tell you from what little I heard, the music kicked ass before being butchered into this.
In detail -
1) Overture - YES! YES! This is great...the intro with our protagonist falling and this wonderful music going at insanely fast speeds. It's fast-paced and epic, yet dark. This is Kev at his finest, where the PC speaker sounds like an actual instrument.
War - Uhh..no. Total 180 from the beginning. Seems to be going for a jazzy feel at first, but then it just devolves into some tuneless mess with some drum work that doesn't sound half as good as it should. The lyrics are also kinda bleh.
Decision - The evilll elders are meeting. Great, simple yet stylish graphics are present here with a pretty decent sound. The lyrics aren't too bad either and there is a fuckin' awesome 'solo' in the middle which again shows why Kev was so sought after for projects. Fairly good.
(I forget the rest of the titles here so..)
Birth - Yeah, our hero is born to some mediocre writing and composition which, while adequate, didn't translate into ZZT very well. I'm sure Kev meant this to have lots of symbolism with stuff like "wrapped in fleece," but it all falls flat. The art is not that great either.
Micah's Angsting - Okay, so our hero was put into a home for the retarded to stop his powers from taking over the Elders. Right... Kev really seems to want to make this be a Pink Floyd The Wall esque moment...but. No. Tune is forgettable and the lyrics are, again, flat. Shigesato did some nice graphics for this one though.
So he goes outside FOR THE FIRST TIME EVAR.
Love Song - Right, you met this chick. She's all cool and into you. You're both rebels and she's a REVOLUTIONARY VIVA ZAPATA. Sorry, but this story is going nowhere. Okay, they kiss and run off into the forests. Lyrics here are simply wretched (sorry Kev) and the graphics make Rina look retarded herself. Tune is rather catchy though.
Ending music - beautiful. Expands on the tune of the overture and takes it into an almost apocalyptic direction. It's wonderful and causes one to think of What Could've Been if the story had been expaned upon the lyrics refined to exude the class that Shigesato so desperately wanted ZZT to have.
And then it just drops us, DO THEY REALLY live Happily Ever After or DID THEY JUST SCREW THEMSELVES OVER!?!
Sadly, it could've been interesting to see Rina's revolutionary personality taken deeper - why is she fighting? What is Jorosh the elder really up to? What's so damn special about Micah?
Sadly, none of this will ever be found out. Kev intentionally made his ending ambiguous out of keeping things "open to interpretation." The only problem is that he should've made a story that was interpretable in the first place. As it stands, we're left some pretty incomprehensible symbolism, athmospheric graphics with no athmosphere, music that's up and down and then some. Yeah. Admittedly Kev had alot of frustration over this one, but he should've kept at it in some spots. Oh well.
A 4 for nostalgia from talking with Kev at 1am about preteen angst when I was 14. 2.5 for actual quality.