Adventure Gaming Catch-All

I just made a Gray Matter catch-all. It's the latest game from Jane Jensen, she of two games in the top ten in this thread (Gabriel Knight and King's Quest VI). It's safe to say I'm just a little excited. PC and 360 on Tuesday.

On a whim I finally caved and grabbed Drawn : The Painted Tower from steam.

Wish I'd done it a hell of a lot sooner, that's a flippin' nice little adventure game. I ignored it when it first came out because i mistook it for one of those low budget object-hunt games - which it certainly isn't.
The music, voice acting (what little there is) and art style are absolutely superb. It's possibly a little on the easy side so far but I'm only a short way in. HIGHLY recommended.

Also i noticed that there is a sequel Yay will grab that after i finish this one i think.

***

ok - finished. REALLY short game (probably only a couple of hours, tops) and one that verges on the easy-side but still well worth it for the visuals and music alone. Some really nice puzzles as well, without resorting too many of the usual cliche's (although there are a couple of 'old friends' in there). An entertaining way to spend a lazy saturday afternoon anyway

I'd also recommend Drawn. It was a great time waster game. Some of the puzzle designs are a bit obtuse for the type of game it is, but overall they're done nicely. The aesthetics, from art to sound, are done really well. My only qualm is that it's constrained in standard resolution.

This weekend Big Fish is selling all titles for $4.99. If you're interested in Drawn you can pick it up there, or it's available on Steam.

I'd suggest moving Gray Matter to the recommended list - it's great. Flowed very well and none of the puzzles felt stupidly unintuitive (i.e : i didn't have to stick bits of cats to anything). The way it presents it's cutscenes (hand-painted animated graphic novel style) and the awesomely melancholy soundtrack by Robert Holmes are the icing on the cake. I really, REALLY hope it sells so we can get more from the series, as it does a wonderful job of setting up the partnership between the two main characters. and as i mentioned in the catchall for it - reminded me a LOT of one of my favorite BBC shows, Johnathan Creek (which i also highly recommend ).

*** meanwhile, on GOG.com...

They just released Zork : Nemesis for $5.99. A controversial entry into the series (very much a Myst-style game and with a MUCH darker, more serious tone) but I freakin' love it. I remember the sound and music being particularily good.

This can only mean they'll get Grand Inquisitor on there soon enough. Splendid.

Another adventure game down - Dark Fall : The Lost Souls

It's...one hell of a frustrating game.

As far as atmosphere and story goes, it's a 10/10 game no problems. It's got to be REALLY difficult to make a slideshow "myst-style" game this freakin' creepy and unnerving. Boakes does an absolutely fantastic job in that department - it's hands down the creepiest adventure game i've played, mostly down to the sound design and some clever timed puzzles.

Example : in one room there is a flickering TV that you are trying to get working properly via a wire puzzle. the lighting in the room is all from the TV screen which is flickering on and off, so the room alternates between pitch black and partially lit. While you are trying to solve the puzzle, something that looks like a decayed shop mannequin is slowly getting closer to you. Every time the lights go off and on again it's that little bit closer, in increasingly threatening poses (like the living statues from Dr Who), all the time making this horrible raspy growling noise that gets louder and louder. Freaky as hell when you're under pressure to solve the puzzle and neatly skirts around having to have complex animations.

Brilliant....

...but...

While most of the puzzles are fine, there are serious problems with this game to the point where i had to consult a walkthrough for the majority of it in order to make progress. Physical movement from location to location is agonisingly slow and there are too many weird angles you can view each room in - making it very tricky to avoid missing an important item.

And it's VERY heavy on backtracking in order to trigger new events, so a LOT of the game devolves into click-click-clicking slowly through EVERY unlocked location until you trigger a new location to become unlocked. There are occasions where you need to backtrack to collect new inventory items in previously explored rooms with only the bare minimum of hints, and some of the game mechanics are very poorly explained.

Example : At one point you are collecting glass eyes for some reason. One of them is under the floorboards in the TV room mentioned above. To get to it, you need to grab a pair of rusty scissors from another room. First time I used these scissors on the floorboards they snapped. So ok - must be the wrong object to use, right? I spend the next twenty minutes exploring EACH room again looking for some other object to use to get at the eye. Turns out however, that the scissors snapping is a RANDOM event. What I needed to do was go (slowly) back to the room with the scissors, grab ANOTHER pair (from what turned out to be an infinite supply) and repeat until it works. It's INCREDIBLY unintuitive.

So, yeah.

splendid out of 10 for atmosphere and story
rubbish out of 10 for pretty much everything else.

If you happen across a copy for a budget price it's well worth it for the ambiance and world he's created - but you'll want to have a walkthrough open while doing so.

Oh and the voice acting is still universally terrible.

Sorry to hear that. I've really liked Boakes' other games (the other two Dark Falls and Lost Crown). I have Lost Souls but haven't done much beyond get out of the train tunnel, though I already know what you mean about the weird camera angles.

Finished another one : Lost Horizon is down. Very nice little game actually, MUCH better than the same team's earlier efforts (the Secret Files games). Brilliant artwork, nice sound track and a fairly witty script. The main character is well acted and likable (side characters, not so much). Ending is a little weak but there's a nice set of puzzles in the final area that reminded me of the time-bending antics of Day of the Tentacle. It's a pretty easy game as well, never ran into any major brick walls with any puzzles. Certainly the closest there's been to a new Indy game in quite some time.

Well worth a look I think.

Bit of a shame Animation Arts next game is back to the world of "Secret Files" again, but maybe this time around they'll actually make a half-decent game out of it.

tanstaafl wrote:

Sorry to hear that. I've really liked Boakes' other games (the other two Dark Falls and Lost Crown). I have Lost Souls but haven't done much beyond get out of the train tunnel, though I already know what you mean about the weird camera angles.

If you plan on going through it - word of advice, the most important item to carry around with you are the scissors I mention and I HIGHLY recommend saving the game before using them in any situation. Far easier just to reload a save than have to trek all the way back to one of the areas you can collect a new pair from.

I've still got to finish Lost Crown actually - might make that the next project after Black Mirror.

In fact, just spotted there's a sequel to Lost Crown out this year at some point. Defnitely need to go back and finish the first one then.

stevenmack wrote:

Dark Fall : The Lost Souls

If you happen across a copy for a budget price it's well worth it for the ambiance and world he's created - but you'll want to have a walkthrough open while doing so.

It's $4.99 on Impulse now today only.

Has anyone checked out Gemini Rue? I hear nothing but great things about it, but haven't had the time for much adventure gaming.

SuperDave wrote:

Has anyone checked out Gemini Rue? I hear nothing but great things about it, but haven't had the time for much adventure gaming.

sorely tempted - looks a LOT like Beneath a Steel Sky - but I want to finally clear out the backlog of adventure games I have already before grabbing some new ones

I'm about to dive in the latest release of Sherlock Holmes. Excited!

I started playing the "The Next Big Thing" demo. It's pretty good, but I got stuck as I always do in adventure games and can't figure out what to do next. Bleh. I wish I didn't suck at these games. Anyone else play it?

Not yet, but I just pre-purchased it on Steam along with the Runaway Pack. Even got the Broken Sword Pack while I was at it.

Actually interested in The Next Big Thing. Personally, I thought the 3rd Runaway game was the best one in the series, although the fact that most of the voice actors of the main characters are different kind of makes it a bit of a hard thing to get past.

Currently playing through Black Mirror II. Like the other Cranberry Production games, it's obviously got a rather tight budget, but I'm actually pretty intrigued by the way the story is going. The voice acting and dialogue are definetely much improved from the original.

Surprisingly long, too. According to a walkthrough I checked, I'm only halfway through the game and it has been at least 7 hours since I started.

Finished Machinarium. I loved the experience. The art style was charming, and I appreciated the way the story was told without words. It's a very polished and stylized classic Point and Click experience, so much so that the flavor is actually a little heavy. Would love to see a sequel, but I can use a break.

Thirteenth wrote:

Finished Machinarium. I loved the experience. The art style was charming, and I appreciated the way the story was told without words. It's a very polished and stylized classic Point and Click experience, so much so that the flavor is actually a little heavy. Would love to see a sequel, but I can use a break.

Yay! It's such a good game.

So, I played the demo of The Tiny Bang Story a few days ago and really liked it. It's ten bucks on Steam (Was it originally priced higher?), so I might wait for a sale.

Syberia and Syberia II are on Steam now. They are $9.99 each, but have an intro sale price of 20% off ( $7.99 ea ).

Get Vimax Pill
Put Vimax Pill in penis enlarger
Use Penis Enlarger on Specious Confetti
...
Profit

No spam in my thread! Back of the line for you.

...while we're here, does anyone know if Gray Matter is supposed to be available for the 360 stateside? I see it for PC, and I see the UK version for the 360, but none here in the USA.

Just finished Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper.

While a predictable collection of adventure game staples remain, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper shows innovation in one respect - it demonstrates a genuine effort to involve the player in the systematic and workmanlike process of solving a serial murder case.

Frequently, this translates into the player's participation in mini-games that involve rigorous fact-checking from the assortment of dialogues and documents accrued over the course of the game. The deductive scopes of the mini-games are broad, and successfully solving them reveal information crucial to the understanding of the case.

For example, at one point in the game, the player has to piece together a plausible timeline of the events surrounding a particular murder. To do so, the player has to cross-check several eyewitness accounts obtained just a while earlier in the game, identify the information needed, and use it to add meaningful components to the timeline. When all is said and done, not only did the player finish the mini-game, he also couldn't help but learn the chronological order of the events as well as the natural conclusion to which they led.

Processes like this induce a greater sense of involvement from the player. While the game volunteers to do all the grunt work, it leaves the juicy bits of the puzzles to the player, subtly guiding him through the deduction process and making him feel like he was the one who figured everything out. In this respect, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper stands out from its predecessors The Awakened and The Nemesis. Here, the player isn't just led through an epic adventure interspersed with disconnected and meaningless puzzles. For once, he is required to think a little more. His reward, the opportunity to get a glimpse of the mind of a professional detective.

That sounds pretty cool, actually. I may have to check that out.

Also bumping my own thread for the question two posts up.

Minarchist wrote:

No spam in my thread! Back of the line for you.

...while we're here, does anyone know if Gray Matter is supposed to be available for the 360 stateside? I see it for PC, and I see the UK version for the 360, but none here in the USA.

While it's not official, one of the moderators on the official forums for dtp entertainment thinks it's quite unlikely. There just doesn't seem to be a publisher that's interested.

Ah well, adventure games are usually better on the PC anyway. If it wasn't for my GS whoredom it wouldn't even be an issue.

Indie adventure game Trauma is out on Steam. Only $6.99. Haven't really heard much about it. Anyone?

Also on Steam today, Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals for $2.49.

ebarstad wrote:

Indie adventure game Trauma is out on Steam. Only $6.99. Haven't really heard much about it. Anyone?

here's RPS's impressions on the game, and you can also play the whole thing for free on their website, apparently, although I've not been able to get it to run for me.

And just in case no one reads that post before purchase, know that the game is very short.

Rant Engaged (bear with me, this could be a long un ):

Ok..so...I've been mostly playing Black Mirror today. It SUCKS. It ticks practically every box on the "Things NOT to do in adventure game" list.

Then it underlines them all.

Twice.

Permit me to elaborate with a couple of examples: (There may be mild puzzle spoilers below but...trust me, you should avoid this game like the plague anyway - It makes the Secret Files games look competent).

THE MAIN CHARACTER IS A GIANT D**K : The main character in Black Mirror is not just a whiny, camp, poorly acted idiot with the kind of moustache that just screams "I am calling to legally announce I have moved into your neighbourhood", but he is also a colossal menace to society.

Putting aside the usual Adventure Gamer Kleptomania, I've somehow managed to steal from a frail old lady, desecrate several tombs beyond repair, harass two separate gardeners, ruin a life-long and complex scientific experiment for a reason that escapes me other than ZOMGLOLS, poisoned a man with sedative injected into a bottle of beer USING A DISCARDED SYRINGE FOUND IN A BIN and ELECTROCUTED a sanitarium orderly. (He got better, I assume).

Oh and I shot a wolf. In the face.

IMAGE(http://blog.ginchen.de/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/samuel-gordon.jpg)
Pictured : Menace to Society and probable sex-pest.

UNWINNABLE GAME STATES & SUPRISE! DEATH!: Mentioned this in the pile thread - There's at least one point in the game where you can get caught out and accidentally save the game in an unwinnable state (see: early Kings Quest games). (at one stage you get two bullets - both are required to pass separate obstacles except there is a RANDOM chance that you will waste one or both bullets on the first obstacle, leaving you with nothing to use against the second obstacle - the aformentioned wolf.

Also - random instant death traps...never a fun addition to adventure games and this likes to throw them in now and again, including some with incredibly stringent time limits that barely gives you enough time to scroll through your narrow (but extensive) inventory scrollbar, let alone figure out which combination of items to use.

DONT KEEP CHANGING THE RULES ON A WHIM! - Basic rules of the game : left click to examine an item, right click to interact. Except for the times you left click to interact. And the times where you need to left click multiple times to collect multiple items from the same, bag, say. OR the times when you left click on a decorative background item only to find out later that you need to go back and RIGHT click on it later (but not now) because it's suddenly become an item you need...or....you get the idea.

ALWAYS WITH THE SAME PUZZLES : Please adventure game makers, pretty please with sugar on top. PLEASE STOP PUTTING F****NG slider puzzles in your games. Same goes for the "3 litre" water puzzle, Tower of Hanoi variants, mazes, or that stupid "combination lock where turning different cylinders changes some of the other cylinders" thing.

I'm committed to finishing it now, mainly because I want to see how the non-story concludes, but since there are two sequels I doubt I'll get the ending I want : where the lead character is arrested and thrown in prison for a wide array of offences.

So..er...yeah. Might want to give this one a miss.

Oh, I hated Black Mirror just because the main character was such an asshole. I suppose it isn't a spoiler to say that he actually manages to get worse as the game continues. Most unlikable protagonist I've ever seen in an adventure game.