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Archive for the ‘Retro Corner’ Category

ANOTHER WORLD

Developer: Eric Chahi

Release: January 1991

Genre: Cinematic Platformer

Format: PC

Time for a cult classic now with the spectacular Another World, a cinematic platformer adventure game that plunges you straight in at the deep end and makes you work extremely hard to reach the surface.

Developed in 1991 by French videogame designer Eric Chahi, Another World is one of those games that everyone who says they’re a gamer should have played. You are Lester Knight Chaykin, a physicist who has been experimenting with a particle accelerator. During one of his experiments a bolt of lightening strikes his laboratory causing the machine to malfunction and Lester to be transported to a barren alien planet. The game starts straight away, with vicious wildlife, slave trading aliens and natural hazards all out to hurt him.

Since this game was also available on the Sega Mega Drive game, the controls are very straight forward. The skills required to beat this game are quick reactions and a logic approach. A trail and error method can be adopted but this will bore you rather quickly; Lester can only take one hit and when he dies you are taken to the beginning of the level.

The entire presentation of the game is very distinctive for 1991. The mysterious planet looks fantastic with dark sinister colours in the prisons, and bright vibrant colours on the horizon.

Another World: 15th Anniversary has been called the ultimate version of the game by creator Chahi, so if you played this when you were younger you may find a few extra surprises in store. If you’ve never experienced it, do so now!

9/10

This article was published in Issue 24 of Thirteen1

All games available at gog.com


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SYBERIA

Developer: Microids

Release: January 2002

Genre: Point-and-click Adventure

Format: PC

Wind up those puzzle solving senses with one of the greatest games gog.com has to offer.

Syberia, developed by Microids and released in 2002, is a point-and-click adventure game that will take you all across Europe to uncover a mechanical mystery.

You play as Kate Walker, an American lawyer sent to France to complete a sale for her employer. After arriving in a remote village called Valadiléne, Kate is in awe at the art nouveau architecture and automatons (clock-work tech) that engulf the place. The sale, which involves taking over a famous toy factory, doesn’t go according to plan when the owner passes away just before Kate arrives. To make matters more difficult for her, an heir to the factory exists, though his whereabouts are unknown. Kate is instantly drawn into the mystery of this case, and there’s no doubt that you will too. The story is tremendously intriguing and presented brilliantly; the overall design is magnificent to behold, especially considering the year this game was made. The many automatons Kate encounters provide countless puzzles for you to solve, some of them being exceedingly challenging. The controls are very simple to use, just point-and-click, there’s no over complicated dumb-cursors or inventory to be found.

The voice acting is also on top form, and even though you can skip conversations, you won’t want to because the acting itself is so good.

Syberia captures the best elements of adventure games; there’s no fighting, just pure investigative gameplay and puzzle solving. Its rich visuals and enrapturing story makes this game a must have for all. Simply put: it’s a timeless masterpiece!

10/10

This article was published in Issue 24 of Thirteen1

All games are available to download on gog.com



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GABRIEL KNIGHT: SINS OF THE FATHERS

Developer: Sierra Entertainment

Release: December 1993

Genre: Point and Click Adventure

Format: PC

Is Gabriel the Dark Knight of the point-and-click genre?

The folks at Sierra truly were the master of adventure games, and it’s no more apparent in their 1993 classic, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. An award winning point-and-click thriller, GK is the first of three instalments in a much loved series from the 90s.

The game follows the exploits of used book store owner and aspiring writer, Gabriel Knight, as he tries to uncover the truth regarding the grizzly ‘voodoo’ murders that have taken place in his hometown, New Orleans. Knight wishes to use the investigation as a basis for a book he’s writing, but he is eagerly drawn deeper into the mystery as the murders have an uncanny link to his nightmares and family history. It’s an immersive plot with some sensational voice talent, including Mark Hamill and Tim Curry. The game plays over a sequence of days; players have to complete a number of tasks in order to progress to the next one and so on. Unlike more recent adventure games, which have context-sensitive cursors, GK adopts the use of ‘dumb cursors’. The player has to select one of several action icons; such as walk, talk, open, and pickup to name a few, and click the object they wish Knight to interact with. It’s a frustrating method, but players will soon warm to it.

The Gabriel Knight series is one of Sierra’s better achievements, and Sins of the Fathers kicks it off brilliantly. Assume your best Sherlock Holmes attitude and enjoy a game of murder and mystery.

8/10

This article was originally published in Issue 23 of Thirteen1

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TROPICO: RELOADED

Developer: PopTop Software

Release: April 2001

Genre: ConstructionSimulation

Format: PC

Why not start your own banana republic?

We’ll never grow tired of being El Presidente in PopTop Software’s hot simulation game, Tropico. This colossal Caribbean based game gives players the chance to rule like Fidel Castro or revolutionise like Che Guevara.

Set firmly in the Cold War era, Tropico is a tongue-and-cheek management and construction game that requires the player to stay in power of their civilisation. Players can devote time to constructing schools, better housing and healthcare, and boosting the economy. The citizens “Happiness” is a fundamental gameplay factor, if they’re not happy then they may vote you out of office, or even stage a coup d’etat – which is not a pretty site. The satirical elements of the game are ingenious and will have you chuckling from the get-go.

Politics play an integral role to the gameplay. Most Tropicans are aligned into several political factions, including Communists, Capitalists, Religious and Intellectuals. Obviously they all conflict, and pleasing them all is no easy task.

Tropico 2: Pirates Cove is based on the original, but the gameplay is completely different. The player is a “Pirate King”, and rules a pirate island. The objective is to collect as much booty as possible, and the player must kidnap workers, called Captives, to carry out the labour. Not unlike the original, the player must keep the Captives “happy”, otherwise they might try to escape and inform others of your island, who in turn send warships to put an end to your despicable regime.

Both games in Tropico: Reloaded are crude, entertaining, and time-consuming. Pour yourself a Mojito and cause some corrupt mayhem.

8/10

This article was originally published in Issue 22 of Thirteen1

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SANITARIUM

Developer: DreamForge Entertainment

Release: April 1998

Genre: Point and Click Adventure

Format: PC

Long live the point-and-click genre! And long live psychological horror games – as long as they’re done right. And Sanitarium hits the nail on the head.

Sanitarium chillingly tells the story of Max Laughton, a sufferer of amnesia that’s been brought about after a car crash. Horrified to find out he’s been institutionalized, Max frantically searches for the truth behind the bizarre asylum he finds himself in, and must face past demons in order to unveil his identity and ‘the truth’. The game brilliantly captures an ominous mood with dark graphics and eerie atmospheric music. Using an isometric view, Sanitarium takes Max to the very edge of insanity and players will see some pretty mind-boggling events. The game is split into different chapters, each having a different atmosphere and style. The chapters take place in Max’s imagination and the real world, but as the game progresses the difference between the two becomes quite obscure. It’s this obscurity that captures most of the horror in the game.

The overall design of the game is very impressive and each chapter reveals the true skills of the game’s developer, and the choice of an isometric view gives the game a classic RPG feel. Controls are fluid – just simply point-and-click of course – and the non-tiled 2D navigational system is basic and easy to employ.

This game will take you to the brink of insanity, so if you believe you’re cut out for it, we dare you to try and uncover the mysteries behind the Sanitarium.

11/13

This article was originally published in Issue 21 of Thirteen1

All games are available to download on gog.com

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THE LONGEST JOURNEY

Developer: Funcom

Release: April 2000

Genre: Point and Click Adventure

Format: PC

The Longest Journey, that’s no understatement. However, don’t let that discourage you. This Norwegian game is a colourful and breathtaking adventure that is rarely seen any more.

Developed and released by Funcom in 2000, this point-and-click game tells the story of April Ryan, who lives in a parallel universe on a planet, very similar to Earth, called Stark. April believes she has the life of an ordinary 18-year-old student. She has little money, struggles with her art work, and a badly paid part time job. However, recently she has been having peculiar dreams involving another world called Arcadia, where trees talk and dragons fly. As she tries to continue with her seemingly dull life, April finds out that Arcadia is in fact real, and that she is a Shifter who can walk between both worlds. The barriers between the two worlds are breaking, and she is tasked with saving them both before it’s too late.

Funcom have written such an intricate and entertaining script. All the characters are so memorable and well performed that you begin caring about the lives of everyone you meet. Visually, the character models are average, but the worlds are brought to life with rich and detailed graphics. The puzzles don’t put up much of a fight against the average gamer; however one or two can be a little obscure.

The Longest Journey does take a very long time to get into, but please persevere, because it really is worth it. Underneath the magical and complex storyline is an extremely captivating game, with an enormous amount of detail and passion.

12/13

This article was originally published in Issue 19 of Thirteen1

All games are available to download at gog.com

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RUNAWAY: A ROAD ADVENTURE

Developer: Péndulo Studios

Release: May 2007 (July 2001 Spain)

Genre: Point and Click Adventure

Format: PC

Pack your bags and fasten your seatbelt, because you’re in for one hell of a road trip with Péndulo Studios’ Runaway: A Road Adventure. This point and click adventure game is one for determined and savvy players who enjoy solving genius puzzles.

Runaway tells the story of Brian Basco, a student of physics who has just been accepted to do his PhD at Berkley, University of California. On his departure from New York he accidentally runs over a fleeing girl who blacks out immediately. Being the nerdy gentlemen he is; Brian drives her to the nearest hospital, where she tells him that she witnessed a mafia murder and is now being hunted by two hit men. Brian reluctantly agrees to help her and what ensues is a chase across country, featuring drag queens, one-eyed gangsters and sleepy ghost towns. During this 12+ rated adventure Brian will witness violent stabbings, smoke narcotics and become possessed by angry ghosts – not the best example of judgment by the PEGI rating system.

Runaway is not the easiest of adventure games. Many times the player will be outwitted by puzzles, which actually have ludicrously simple solutions. Excluding the cut-scenes, the graphical look of the game is impressive for 2001 standards, producers have given the game a traditional cartoon look, whilst enabling real-time lighting and shading effects.

This is an adventure game that will annoy and conquer those who are not familiar with the genre, but with perseverance and a ‘let’s do it’ attitude, some could make tracks rather quickly.

Runaway: A Road Adventure is a colourful and cheerful game that quickly turns annoying and difficult due to some puzzles requiring trial and error methods or unthinkable simple solutions. Patience is a must.

6/10

This article was originally published in Issue 18 of Thirteen1

All games are available from gog.com

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