Monday, 23 June 2008

Janitor phone home

Title: Space Quest IV,5: Roger Wilco And The Voyage Home
AgentBauer (Peter Engel)
Release date: 15 June 2008
Playtime: 90 minutes
Size: 65.2Mb

Another adventure with the famous janitor in the main part. To fill the gap in the story between the original part IV (Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, 1991) and part V (Roger Wilco in The Next Mutation, 1993) Peter Engel wrote another story.

The graphics are familiar, ripped from various SQ games so there's not much credit to give, other than that they're used well. With the exception of some graphics that didn't fit in the game, resolution wise. Then I refer to the character insets you see during the admission to the academy. The pictures are too 'real', not pixely enough like the other graphics. But that's the only negative thing I could come up with.

The music, the story, the animations. It's a fan made sequel, and a fan it must have been if you look at the work he must have had to rip the graphics, characters and backgrounds. Almost as much as drawing it yourself.

It's a believable story with lots of humor and of course the clumsiness of Roger. And a lot of good puzzles. Puzzles that need some thinking and revisits to places you've already explored. Some of the items you need are well hidden that makes the search for them even more challenging. But by reading the hints and comments that are given in the game the pieces will fall in place and Roger can go home. Or not? Because in part 5 he wasn't home. He was starting his training as a cadett. To know how he got there, you need to play the game. A must for Space Quest fans. And all other adventurers.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Nothing butt the naked truth

Title: Reality-on-the-Norm: Au Naturel
Release date: 18 May 2008
Playtime: 10 minutes
Size: 2.4Mb

The games is released some time ago already but I thought I'd wait until all discussions were done with. Because there was more to do about the acceptance of the game than there was to do about the game itself. And I still don't get it.

Let's be honest. The game isn't about the graphics. Being a Reality-On-The-Norm game, it's all in a downloadable pack for you (except for some extended parts here and there). It isn't about the story. It's the standard get this from there and bring that to here. I'm not really that impressed by the game.

The real fun of the game isn't in the game but in the world you play in. Just look at things, browse, try and have fun. Laugh about the humoristic responses, the twists in the dialogs, the monologues of the bum, the beer drinking of Death. That's where the power of the game is. That's where I had fun.

And the nudity? Oh well, as a publicity stunt it's a nice addition. Personally I don't bother. You'll get a huge warning at the start and you can choose if you want the private parts to be covered or not. And I don't understand all the commotion about the nudity. I was more shocked by the visual effects of the explosion in the Yahtzeebrand. But I never heard anyone discuss that. Why not? Because we see that every day, right? Kids be warned!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Time to clean up.

Title: Laundry Day
Release date: 8 june 2008
Playtime: 5 minutes
Size: 4.3Mb

New to the game producing business this game started more as a test case. See what the reactions would be, how it's received by public and fellow developers. Because the game hasn't been added to the database yet, there has been only a few reactions.

You're playing Chris and before he goes on his date he needs to do his laundry. No candy bars because you have just enough money to do your laundry. That is, if you can get your laundry to the laundry room. Then you notice inflation also hit student dorms.

The game is (very) short but the level of puzzles is good and funny. With an inventory not found in the average adventure game it has an original touch. The story is well presented and the player isn't left without clues.

The graphics are the minor side of the game. That is to say, the graphics that are there are good but very small making searching for objects pixel hunts. Pity because there's more than enough space left to provide for larger graphics.
Not all objects are interactive leaving less possibilities to error in your puzzles. Besides that it can be confusing that you can't look at some objects, but use them anyway making the confusion bigger. But then again, it's a test case.

The intro music is nice, the 'puzzle' music gets annoying after a while so it's a good thing it's only a small game. Overall well done for a first one, I had a laugh for a few moments, and hopefully in the next one the screens aren't too clean.

The captain sings a different quay.

Title: Dread Mac Farlane
Release date: 30 april 2008 (FR)/20 may 2008 (EN)
Playtime: 70 minutes
Size: 63Mb

Another game from Marion, who has a thing for Peter Pan. First was the French version and a month later the game has been translated. And if you like Peter Pan- or Neverland stories, you can't miss this one!

The filesize is a massive 63Meg but it's worth every bit. The story is about a girl, Dread, who wants to be a pirate. During the game you'll learn about her past, present and future, her relationships with her father, mother, Peter Pan and all other well-known characters through well designed puzzles. Not too hard, not too easy, just right. It all fits in the type of game: it's an interactive comic book.

The original was a comic book and has been converted into an adventure game. With beautifull graphics, full of detail. During some conversations you get to see the characters in closeup and then you can see the real quality produced and the time and effort put into it. Accompanied by a very well balanced soundtrack, from the "yoho and a bottle of rum"-tunes to the squeeking birds, this production could fit easily into a commercial range.

So, no negative points? There are. What I found less pleasant was the storyline. You jump back and forth, from present through a flashback into history, back to the present and back again. After returning from the second flashback I lost track and it took me a while to pick up the story again. The difference between 'real' world and her imaginairy world is sometimes very little. But then again, isn't that also the case in real life? Maybe in the book it's easier to follow (I haven't read it), in this adventure I found it harder to cope with.

So what more can we wish for with this exquisit addition to the AGS games database? Well, I think this game would be perfect for an audio version. Let Dread have a real voice and let her speak up! I wonder what she would sound like...