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Archive for the ‘adventure’ tag

Adventures and Adventuring

Posted on 11th Jun 2011 at 10:06 by David Hing with 35 comments

David Hing
Three of my five weapons were offline and leaving small ion trails in space, my cargo hold was full of rare and expensive artefacts and a band of pirates was chasing me down a frantically plotted and improvised course. With a route that picked its way in and out of asteroid fields through systems that were well and truly off the charts, it is fair to say I was panicking. I was also pretty sure that my eyes had stopped blinking.

I loved Freelancer; Microsoft's space trading open world game. It resembled an extremely stripped down Eve Online, but with gameplay replacing the spreadsheets. I'm aware that it was a
condensed version of games that did the same thing better and with more depth many years before, but I found it to be a deep and beautifully realised sandbox. In fact, I'm convinced that most players only ever scratched its surface.

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Free Games I Like: Choice of Broadsides

Posted on 28th May 2010 at 11:02 by Joe Martin with 40 comments

Joe Martin
You can do a lot with the written word and I find it endlessly interesting that even the most beautiful and graphically demanding games are often judged on the quality of the script. GTA IV was praised for its serious story before anyone remarked on how big the world was, while Crysis is often slammed for the way the experience is wounded by awful dialogue.

With that in mind, please don’t be put off that my latest favourite freebie is a text-only adventure, because if you dismiss it out of hand then you’d be missing out on a great little title. A word can make a thousand pictures and all that.

Essentially a multiple choice adventure, Choice of Broadsides casts you as a young officer in the navy of Albion, a fictional country which is basically a stand-in for England. At the start of the game you’re but a junior shipmate, but through your actions you get the chance to woo eligible ladies, orchestrate naval battles, deal with mutinies and do all the other stuff that an 18th Century naval officer would do.

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Games I Own: Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy

Posted on 13th Jan 2010 at 10:51 by Joe Martin with 13 comments

If you live in America then you’ll know Quantic Dream’s murderous adventure game as Indigo Prophecy, which it was re-named to in order to distance it from Fahrenheit 9/11. In Europe it’s released (in an uncut version that adds a bit of naughtiness) as Fahrenheit. That’s the version I own, so that’s what I call it. Fahrenheit; one of my favourite adventure games.

It’s not a perfect game, by any means. In fact it is downright bad in some places and the plot, which focuses on multiple characters caught up in the wake of a murder, unravels and strays hideously in the latter stages. It’s a sad result of the game, which was planned as an episodic title, being rushed to a retail release by the publisher before some chapters had been finished. It still makes sense, it just requires a bit of effort.

There are a few different characters you control in the game and the main one is a man called Lucas Kane who comes out of a trance in a New York diner to find that he’s just murdered a man. Unable to recollect the experience, Lucas flees – but not before players are given a window of interaction. The first scene of the game immediately follows the murder and lets players decide how Lucas acts. Will he hide the murder weapon? Wash the blood off his hands? Bolt out of the emergency exit and flee or return to his table, calmly pay his cheque and try to avoid suspicion?

Games I Own: Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy
Fahrenheit, or Indigo Prophecy if you prefer

Once Lucas leaves the murder scene the viewpoint switches to that of Tyler and Carla, the two detectives investigating the murder. You can switch between both characters and are given similar free roam as to how much evidence you collect – most of which you hid just moments before. You question witnesses and, for the bulk of the game, try to identify Lucas and track him down. When you aren’t playing as a cop though then you’re Lucas, desperately trying to discover the truth behind the murderous trance and to clear your name. Meanwhile New York descends into a permanent winter, more murders occur and the city empties as life grind to a halt.

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I'm Only Stupid Because I Know Too Much

Posted on 8th Oct 2009 at 12:09 by Joe Martin with 17 comments

Joe Martin
I was playing Professor Layton and Pandora’s Box yesterday (in the course of writing the review) when I had a moment of utter brain failure. It’s embarrassing to even admit it, that’s how stupid it was of me.

The question was; if you have a rectangular piece of paper and fold it so that there’s an extra centimetre on one side and then you fold it the other way with a centimetre extra on the other end, then how far in millimetres would it be between the two creases when the paper is unfolded?

It’s a simple, easy question and the game gave me three spaces to write a number into. I quickly scribbled my answer down; 100mm and was told that was incorrect. Baffled, I got a piece of paper out and tried it out – measuring the gap as one centimetre. Again I put my answer in. Again; incorrect. It was only on the third go that I slapped my face and realised that there were only 10 millimetres in a centimetre – not 100. I was being a moron and had been led astray by the fact that the game gave you three spaces to put an answer in, not two. I’m an idiot.

That then got me thinking (as best as I was able anyway) about how my brain is stuffed with useless information that I use everyday and all the actual useful stuff that I never need to know has trickled away over the years. It’s ironic and twisted, but I can get more use out of game memory than I’d ever get from remembering how to do trigonometry properly.

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I Have Never Played A Good Star Trek Game

Posted on 29th Sep 2009 at 10:05 by Joe Martin with 42 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve owned a lot of games in my life. I was also a bit of a Trekkie growing up. There have been points in my life where those two facts have overlapped and I’ve owned computer games that are based around Star Trek – but I’ve never played a good Star Trek game, ever. I’m honestly not even sure they exist.

I’ve played a lot of them, from idiotic non-games like The Captain’s Chair which offer a virtual tour of some of the ships in the series, to poorly thought out action games like Hidden Evil. The ones I’ve spent the most time with though are probably A Final Unity and Generations.

Generations is a particular sore spot for me, as I pressured my parents into pre-ordering it for me from America based solely on hype I’d read in a copy of the official Star Trek magazine.

Yes, I was that sad as a teenager. I like to think I’m a lot cooler now though, even if I still can’t grow a beard.

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Games I Own: Samorost 2, the greatest Flash game ever

Posted on 7th Aug 2009 at 08:12 by Richard Swinburne with 4 comments

Richard Swinburne
I bunged its 19MB installer deep in my hard drive's subdirectories, the depths of which I haven't trawled in many years. By chance I happened to find myself in an old 'Games' directory today whilst doing the spring summer clean out.

Ahh Samorost 2, my first ever online game purchase.

The first Samorost is as excellent, and can be played online - something I suggest you do right now. The sequel is just as good, if not better.

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Games I Own: Grim Fandango

Posted on 23rd Mar 2009 at 14:03 by Joe Martin with 11 comments

Joe Martin
Grim Fandango has three distinctions in my games library. Firstly, it’s one of my favourite games. Secondly, it’s one of the only 3D adventure games I really like (Escape from Monkey Island is a disgrace to the series, I reckon) and thirdly, it’s one of only a handful of games that I’d label as a romantic game.

Romance is, I think, something that isn’t explored enough in games – probably because of a weakness in the medium that doesn’t make it hugely capable of displaying that emotion. I can only think of a half-dozen games that actually deal with matters of the heart so openly and most of them are Leisure Suit Larry games! Despite it being a fairly small niche though, Grim Fandango stands head and shoulders above the masses as perhaps the most singularly romantic game I’ve ever played.

The story for the game is a masterpiece of noir fiction, set in a imaginative take on the Mexican afterlife and with players cast as unlikely hero, Manny Calvera, salesman for new souls. When somebody dies in the real world it’s Manny’s job to assess their soul and try to find them the quickest way to the true heaven. If someone has been good in their life then they can take a quick train through the afterlife straight to heaven. If they’ve been bad then they’ll be lucky if they’re even given a map, but it’s Manny’s job to help them as best he can.

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