NETWORK / INTERNET
| 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21|
| 5 Days A Stranger
Trilby is a tall, elegant, English gentleman thief. Thanks to an informer, he is heading to the now deserted DeFoe manor, whose owner and wife tragically died recently, hoping for a good booty. But, once he entered the big house, he can't exit; doors and windows leading outside the huge estate can't be opened anymore. Moreover, there's other people inside, trapped like him. And things get even worse when someone dies...
So, we have a classic haunted house theme, but the entire game is so well developed over it, that you'll quickly forget this detail. The plot, articulated through the five days of the title, develops greatly, and a lot of reading is involved in getting to know more of the mansion and its former occupants. The atmosphere is one of the game's strong points. Gore is very scarce, there are more fear and terror than visual horror. What I liked the most, are the cutscenes involving situations where you can't tell where reality ends and nightmare starts, or vice versa. In those cases, I was genuinely SCARED. Later in the game, you could be afraid of going on, in fear of witnessing some more bad events. Really a great work on this side.
Graphics are nothing to scream about. They just do their work more than decently, reminding me of the Sierra adventures of the late '80s, early 90's. I must point out, however, that a good effort was put into animations, you'll get the chance to see some noticeable ones in action. Music are declaredly taken from the RPG Maker 2000 library, but they fit with the atmosphere. Most of the time, however, it's just silence and strange noises, helping develop the tension.
The interface is simple and not invasive. You can use the icons on the bottom of the screen to select the main actions, but it's better to click the right mouse button to recall the complete interface with actions, items and save/load/quit functions. The only annoyance is that you have to move the mouse outside the interface to close it every time.
The game is not exactly long, also due to the limited amount of rooms - but, after all, you are confined inside a mansion, so a big variety of locations wasn't to be expected from the start. Some puzzles could prove to be challenging, you may feel clueless about what to do next until you gather the necessary information; remember, often reading is the key. Don't forget to save sometimes: in the second half of the game, there are a couple of situations were you could get killed.
There are some game design flaws. You will find, at some points, a couple of objects practically popping out of nowhere at the right time you need them, an artifice I never liked in adventure games. And at times, for example after Trilby heard a strange noise or a bad event just occurred, he talks to other characters like nothing happened.
But these problems don't hamper the quality of 5 Days A Stranger too much. It hasn't the lastability of some of the best freeware adventures, but it beats many of them in terms of atmosphere. It's far from perfect, but with such small download size you shouldn't miss it.
| 7 Days A Skeptic
As I knew of the release of this game, I expected it to be a new adventure of Trilby, the gentleman thief. With my surprise, the setting is completely different, taking the player to four centuries in the future. Exploring the Caracus galaxy, the crew of the scoutship Mephistopheles (not really a reassuring name!) finds a mysterious object floating in space: an old metal locker. Taking the role of counsellor Dr. Jonathan Somerset, the player will soon get in contact with the ancient events of DeFoe manor. After all, "history repeats in cycles". This is the start of a plot with a strong Jason X flavour in it.
Some things haven't changed since 5 Days A Stranger. The style of the graphics is more or less the same: simple yet effective, with a good character animation. A few background tunes, but only sond effects (many taken from Half-Life) for most of the time. A real classy touch: while wearing the EVA suit, you hear only your breathing inside it, like in the movie "2001" (it's a voluntary reference). The size, too, hasn't changed: small. Though there are some screens where you can walk on the exterior, you are limited to the decks of this small scoutship. Do not take it is a flaw, though, since it strenghtens the sense of oppression and claustrophobia.
The interface, on the other hand, has changed. The save, load and quit functions are located on top of the screen, appearing as you drag the cursor there. The item and actions interface doesn't appear anytime you want, but only as you right-click on something you can interact with, immediately choosing what to do or use with it. This cuts out all that unnecessary cursor movement to close the interface in the previous game.
There's much more gore in 7 Days A Skeptic. No, I have no problems with it, it's just that the predecessor didn't resort to extremely bloody scenes to be scary: this is much more violent, to the point of being gross at times. In spite of this, probably due to the hi-tech setting it feels more aseptic to me. There are also plenty of chances to die this time, especially in situations where you will have to run for your life, so save often. What is frustrating, is that the "enemy entities" (let's call them this way, I don't want to give spoilers away), sometimes pop out from where they shouldn't logically be, for example a room you just came out from! This is intentional, to give doubts and then more tension (are you battling something concrete, or is it more akin to a ghost?), but since you can't cancel a command once it is given, being surprised and killed while walking to reach a door, and being unable to avoid it, is not fun.
Puzzles are, for the most, easy, except one in a dangerous situation that suffers for being far from intuitive. There's another puzzle, instead, which can be quite challenging but you can solve with some reasoning and attention to detail, I liked it. Though the plot is articulated through seven days (again, like in the title), the game is shorter. The ending is a mixed bag: really unexpected and surprising, but it also feels "thrown in".
With all the problems I pointed out, you could think 7 Days A Skeptic is a bad game, or almost; it's not. It's still a solid product, with a very good plot development and lots of atmosphere and tension; my beloved cutscenes with no defined boundary between reality and nightmare are here again. When you have to run to survive, it feels almost like a survival horror. So, if you played and liked 5 Days A Stranger (and it's recommended you do it first, so to have the best enjoyment from the plot), I'm pretty sure you will like this one too, even if it's not on par with the previous episode.
|THE REVIEWER ALSO RECOMMENDS THIS SIMILAR GAME:|
5 Days A Stranger [8/10] REVIEWED BY Gendo Ikari
| A Wet Day And Wet Grass
Such a noble quest; you're suffering from a hang over, and you're looking for a smoke! Actually, this text adventure's kinda funny. To play, click the desired option. Includes high score list and some funny pics.
PC REQUIREMENTS: VB6 runtime files
This text-based game is a PC clone of "Adventure 5" - made back in the early year of 1984! It has a maximum score of 551 points.
The day is June 5th, 2003 (just go with it, okay?). World peace has just been declared. But wait - there seems to be some evil afoot in the middle east! Yes, it seems as if an evil dictator named "Hatler" has just launched nuclear missiles around the world, rendering all but two cities utterly destroyed. And one of the two cities - Scabsboro - was close enough to one of the missiles that anybody who happened to be outside during the explosion is now skinless (aka zombies or skin-impaired). So now, it's up to Jimmy - a normal resident of Scabsboro - to stop Hatler from firing another missile at Scabsboro and Utopiaville.
AfterShocked! is a real gem. It takes serious and sensitive issues, such as racism, homosexuality, prejudices, nuclear holocausts, abusive dictators, death, homelessness, and substance abuse - and makes fun of them all. If you're a fan of the satirical show "South Park," you'll likely appreciate the humor in AS; on the other hand, if you're one of those people who are apalled by South Park (and I'm talking about the humor; not the sex references or swearing) and are concerned with politcal correctness, you'll probably dislike the humor in AS. But even if you do dislike that sort of humor, and especially if you're a fan of point-and-click adventures, AfterShocked! may still be worth playing.
The first thing you'll notice when playing AS for the first time is the unique, hand-drawn backgrounds. At first, I was turned off by them, but once you realize how ridiculous the story and puzzles are, you'll understand why the graphics fit perfectly. Unfortunately, the animation doesn't flow quite as smoothly as one might hope. The legs just seem to alternate rapidly as the character walks. The music is annoying, and there are no effects or voice-overs, but who needs sound, anyway?
AfterShocked! is a point-and-click adventure, so the gameplay consists of completing puzzles, communicating with the various townspeople, and progressing through the story. Along the way,
you'll see cutscenes of Hatler and his servant, Igor, conversing. There's really nothing very innovative about AS's approach to the proven point-and-click adventure formula.
The Bottom Line: If you've got broadband (the file is over 46 MB), AfterShocked! is worth the download and will leave you laughing for nearly the entire game.
Warning (Taken from the readme): "Despite its cartoony look, AfterShocked! isn't a children's game, so you might want to think twice before letting little Billy get his hands on it. If you're under 13, stay away, or be scarred for life."
| 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21|