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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure Games’

The Finnish review went up some time ago and now its turn for some musings in English. First off, I’ve only played the first chapter of the first Monkey Island and what’s more have never played a Telltale Games-game before. You might gasp and think that I’m uneducated when it comes to classics and newer adventure games, but think rather that you’ll be getting a different view of the game if you keep reading.

Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is a strong game and very enjoyable to play, if there is the occasional impossible-at-first-but-oh-so-simple-now-I-read-the-answer-from-a-faq-puzzle. I don’t like being stuck or feeling stupid so that subtracted from my experience somewhat. Another gripe I had was with the jokes. Most of them were thrown without too much context with the story. Threepwood, the mighty pirate antagonist, might joke at an ex-pirate glassblower who has a liking for unicorns, or a treasure hunter collecting porcelain action figures. Both of these characters are jokes themselves as well, who have a certain part to fill in the game and then cease to be amusing. There are a lot of potentially funny stuff if it was only built a bit more. Perhaps this will happen in the episodes to come and considering that Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is only the first perhaps a lower key beginning was to be expected. I hear Sam&Max got better as it progressed also.

The jokes were pretty much my biggest problem in the game, but I really liked the character design and the island(Flotsam) were the game takes place. All the characters were very memorable even if rather shallow. Threepwood himself was especially stunning. But the biggest exclamation mark, !, goes to Flotsam. As soon as Threepwood finds himself landed, this wind starts blowing and the sound transports you into the world of the game. Just this simple looping sound effect has such an amazing effect. I can’t imagine Flotsam without that wind, at points I looked out only to notice that the air was still and the sea had disappeared somewhere. The jungle surrounding the town has animal sounds that are also a part of the puzzle set there. The music is a traditional Monkey Island fare and does help create the atmosphere, but I felt the soundtrack was a bit too pronounced at times. Sometimes in the game the music did fade and you were left with the sounds of the jungle as company which set the mood a lot better.

The puzzles of course deserve a mention. Even if I dratted them for being too hard, most were just the right difficulty even for a landlubber like me. There was one pearl among them that stood out above all other puzzles in the game and I’m not going to spoil it for you. Let’s just say that an evil doctor is involved. An evil doctor dressed ridiculously, but rather evil still, if embarrassing. I’ve got nothing against dressing the way he did but I’d never wear his clothes, even if I was in a pirate parody video-game. Some bland jokes and a limited wardrobe aside Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is a strong beginning and I can’t wait to get back to cracking jokes and solving ridiculous puzzles(or looking them up from a walkthrough)

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Scumm bar

When I heard a remake of the original Monkey Island is coming I thought it best to play the original before checking that one out, or Tales of Monkey Island for that matter. Since I’ve never played a Monkey Island I figure its best to start from the beginning. Now some thoughts on playing Monkey Island 1: Curse of Monkey Island and screenshots to match.

My bigget problem with adventure games are the puzzles. I’m really bad at them for some reason so for a big part of playing I’m usually stuck. Perhaps its good that I didn’t start playing adventure games before finding walkthroughs on the Internet became so easy. Or perhaps this is exactly why I suck at puzzles. Even though some of the puzzles are amusing I mostly play adventure games for the story. From what I’ve played so far I rather like the parody approach of Monkey Island. Swordfighting with insults and stealing a figurine from Melee Island’s manor have been my funniest encounters so far.

Swordfighting

Swordfighting and the eventual encounter with the swordmaster were also a puzzle I actually enjoyed solving. This involved fighting other pirates and learning new insults from them. Perhaps a bit too much repetition was involved though. Its quite a few pirates I had to fight against to get enough insults to face the swordmaster. They were worth it though. It seems like a good design choice to do the swordfight in this manner instead of some annoying mini-game. Will  be interesting to see if the remake sees any  additions to the original besides a graphical ovehaul.

Stealing the figurine was rather different to what’s usual in an adventure game. In order to steal the figurine you enter a room and can’t see what’s happening as the computer controls Guybrush for a moment and you’re left to watch and listen to what happens. The computer uses items of things you can’t see, which include gophers, an annoyed bull and a murderous clown among other things. Your own imagination plays a big part in this sequence which I enjoyed the most so far in the game. Perhaps the hardware restrictions played a part in the design of this, but the result was still well done. Its surprising what a couple of sound effects and bits of dialogue can achieve. Hope they keep this part the same as in the original.

At the shop

So far I haven’t met any monkeys in the game. Hearing a legend about a ship being sailed by shimps and a monkey on a swordtraining machine hardly count. I hope I meet some monkeys on Monkey Island, because that’s where I’m headed next.

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This is a quick (very quick mind you) translation  of the review in Finnish which can be found here.

Downfall is the first game of Harvester Games and made almost entirely by Remigiusz Michalski. He’s behind everything except for the music, he does sing during the ending credits though. Downfall is basicly a very traditional point-and-click adventure game. Text is the most important aspect of the game. The games graphics also look a lot like older adventure games. What separates Downfall from other adventure games is its horrorbased story, which is very bloody most of the time. People get murdered during the game in a multitude of ways.

Hotellihuone

The game begins when Joe Davis, who you direct during the game, and his wife Ivy drive into the yard of a hotel. Ivy starts hallucinating violent things and the couple go into the hotel for the night. In the morning Ivy has disappeared and soon you find out that the entire village where the hotel resides is cursed. There’s only bodies in the hotel’s restaurant and there’s also a dead axe-murderer on the loose… Soon you find out that Ivy has been kidnapped by a Sophie named woman, who is quite the monster as you will see. To save his wife Joe has to kill four memories of Sophie, which keep her alive. The memories appear as younger versions of Sophie.

Hotellin keittiö

The story in game is pretty much taken forward with text. In all of the handdrawn locations you get a description of the items in it by clicking on an item. The descriptions are Joe’s view of things and often very humoristic. The pig in the kitchens cold storage gets the comment: “I poked it, its dead.” An interesting detail in the game are the choices you are given from time to time. These are few and far between but have an effect on how the story ends and let the player have an effect on things. I would have liked to see these choices more often in the game.

Kellarissa

The locations are stylistically drawn, even if part of them are rather dreary. A bigger color scale wouldn’t have hurt in some of the rooms, even if the grey in some rooms was for  stylistic effect. The game’s appearance is my biggest problem with it, this is of course understandable given that Michalski was doing the game as pretty much a one man project. Sprite based graphics are still rather ugly. Once you get used to it you don’t give too much attention to it. The text is what you should focus on.

Smoothie minun makuuni

The game mechanics are very traditional adventure game stuff. Your time is spent solving puzzles and talking to people. Most of the time the puzzles aren’t too hard. At some points I did get extremely stuck though and at one point had to contanct Michalski for help. What you had to do was extremely simple as I found out. Part of the puzzles have to do with killing the memories of Sophie. The funniest puzzle in the game is making a fattening smoothie. The recipe was weird to say the least and the rock-riff that played while you mixed it up made this scene one of the funniest in the movie.

The games sound-effects and music also deserve a mention. The music differs from very fitting to annoying in some of the locations, all of which have their own sound or music. In the hotel garden it rains, in the lobby there’s a clock ticking. Understandably there’s no voice acting in the game.

Hotellin aula

The dialog in the game works well and is even funny at times. Especially the scene where Joe is lying in a grave and has a conversation with two corpses was very funny. The humor of the game is very black and blood spills as well. If you can look past the graphics and a couple of bugs and concentrate on the text the story and characters suck you in. Soon you notice wondering with Joe what terrible deeds he is ready to do to save his wife.

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Thought I’d post some impressions on the game I’ll be reviewing for Uljas once I get it finished. The game is a traditional point-and-click game. Except that its set in a horror-type environment. In the beginning the main character you play with, Joe, and his wife Ivy stop for the night in a hotel. Joe’s wife starts rambling as soon as they step out of the car. The couple enter the hotel but Ivy disappears during the night. Later you find out that a character named Sophie is behind the kidnapping. Sophie is some sort of a monster in human form, or I think so, haven’t bumped into her yet. Your task is to kill 4 memories of Sophie that reside in different rooms of the hotel. Nough about the story.

Pikku Sophie

The atmosphere in the game works even though the graphics of the game a done with sprites, look at the pictures and you know what I mean. The graphics get the job done though. Like most adventure games what’s important is the text you’ll be reading. There’s descriptions about most items inside a room that give you a better understanding of the game world. The dialog is well written and the puzzles are quite crazy. More on that below. One thing that has the most important role beside the text are the music and sound effects. The music in the game is rather simple, with some music mixed with ambient sounds. In one room there’s a clock ticking for example. When a Scandinavian rock singer, Vincent Vielo, appears, this sort of cheesy rock/funk music starts playing. At one point when you’re blending a special smoothie from, well, won’t spoil that one, a guitar riff plays, which got me smiling.

Hotellihuone

Like every adventure game there’s puzzles in this one as well. One involved getting a key to a room from the stomach of a cat. It ended with cutting up the cat with a knife to get it. When you start killing Sophies memories you have to do it with increasingly mean and cold-blooded ways. As usual I’m stuck on most of the puzzles for quite some time before figuring what to do. So far in the game I’ve bumped into the weirdest of characters, had a dialogue with two corpses, removed the brain from the body of the town’s crazy axe-murderer and replaced it with a pig’s brain, which I got after sawing it’s head open. The game is creepy but not scary. It’s more of a horror comedy than actually scary. Anything with a german doctor called Doctor Z who also happens to be neo-nazi is just too cheesy to be taken seriously.

Haudassa

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