February 2, 2015

The Blobjob

Intelligames, 1998

The Blobjob is the first safety and security game ever designed with a goal to educate the players about drugs, violence, sex, fire and traffic accidents as they play. The game is set in not a very distant future, where you play the role of Joe, the Security Officer at Nanoblob Incorporated, a high-tech research company that creates artificial humans. Nanoblob has recently created five very intelligent synthetic humans known as NanoMan, which are mysteriously disappeared from the facility and now, you are assigned to investigate and find them.

Visually, the game is done using excellent quality full-motion video of real actors, places and mixed with computer-generated graphics and excellent animations. While the music is not so good in quality the voice acting is rather poor in quality. The best thing I enjoyed in the game is the quality of puzzles and problems that are very logical and bit hard for novice adventure gamers. Overall, however, the Blobjob is a worth playing game and I do recommend it if you like to spend hours solving hard puzzles.

Astronomica: The Quest for the Edge of the Universe

Hyper-Quest, Inc., 1994

Astronomica: The Quest for the Edge of the Universe is an excellent educational title guaranteed to enlighten your astronomy knowledge thoroughly. The single CDROM disc contains an extremely detailed reference encyclopedia of astronomy and space, a related trivia challenging game and a fine adventure game, which is currently under review. You play the game as Sara's best friend and she comes looking for you to help her in solving the mystery of her father, Dr. Mayer's mysterious disappearance from his top-secret SkyQuest Astrolab. Sara's father was a brilliant astronomer and a scientist who was working on a very high-tech computer called 'Astronomica' before he was disappeared.

As you start your quest, your first goal is to reach the place where Dr. Mayer disappeared, but the problem is that the secret Astolab is situated inside SkyQuest building, which is a high security zone. This is not an easy job, as you have to answer tons of security questions and solve many challenging puzzles before you are allowed to pass. Your second challenge is to reset all the exhibits in the building that were knocked off by a sudden power failure by avoiding a security guard that is well aware of your presence in the building. Accomplishing these initial quests and gathering clues eventually unravel the mystery about Astronomica, which is actually the beginning of this entertaining adventure game that will launch you on an unforgettable journey into the universe in search of Dr. Mayer.

Astronomica graphically entertains the players with realistic high-resolution pre-rendered 3D background images and stunning full-motion video cut-scenes and references of some famous historical scholars, such as Galileo, Einstein, etc. The interface is simply point & click and easy to learn. Music and voice acting is acceptable. While the puzzles are not so hard they are quite knowledgeable and can be solved with some basic knowledge of astronomy. In my opinion, Astronomica was aimed to introduce the facts and figures of astronomy to general audience, in which they quite succeed because I did learn some basic astronomy while playing this adventure game.

Creature Crunch

TechToons Limited, 1996

Creature Crunch is one of the funniest cartoon adventure games that I have ever played in my gaming life. The game features a young boy named Wesley, who becomes a victim of Dr. Drod's crazy experiments of transforming humans into monsters, but due to some malfunctioning the machine turns Wesley into half boy/half monster and disintegrates Dr. Drod forever. After the intro is over you find yourself in Dr. Drod's lab, where you meet Brian, another unfortunate victim of Dr. Drod's crazy experiments, who's been transformed into a floating brain in a jar. Your first objective in this game is to find and explore each and every room and floor in the mansion, collect objects that can be eaten by Wesley to get rid of different monsters, hideous creatures and a gigantic cat, which has nine lives. In many situations, Brian, the floating brain in a jar will help you as your sidekick. The main goal of the game after defeating all the monsters is to help Brian and yourself to get back your human form and reach back home in time.

The game has hilarious dialogues, presented in the voices of Martin Short and Eugene Levy, two top-notch comics of our time. The cartoon like graphics are extremely good even for the time the game was released. Puzzles are not so hard and can be solved in any order due to non-linear story line. The interface is simple point & click and the best feature is that almost every object can be clicked for a giggle or two, even if it doesn't have anything to do in the game. Overall, Creature Crunch is a nice adventure game and highly recommendable for all the members of the family.

The Moment of Silence

House of Tales, 2004

The Moment of Silence is a futuristic outing in the New York City of 2044, where life has become extremely robotic and paper money is replaced by credits available in your Personal Messenger also used as a mobile phone and an ID device. In this point & click extravaganza you take up the role of Peter Wright, who has recently lost his wife and son in a plane crash. Peter works as a communication designer in a renowned advertising agency currently doing an anti-terrorism campaign called "Freedom of Speech" for the Government.

In the opening sequence a SWAT squad raids Peter's neighbour's apartment, which he peeks through the peephole and see them hauling his neighbour away leaving behind his wife and kid son. After they left you start the game and contact your neighbour's wife only to find out that your neighbour was a freelance news reporter and never committed any crime. Your curiosity increases when you come to know from the NYPD that there is no warrant ever issued in your neighbour's name -- Hmm... Then who were those people and why did they arrest George Oswald? Since you are eager to help the family in distress and also curious to find out the answers to these questions you decide to investigate the matter without having a slight idea that your investigation will plunge you into a dark and corrupt world of money-grubbing industrialist working under the control of some powerful alien being.

During your investigation you discover that somewhere in the beginning of the 21st century, the Government developed a super computerized network known as GlobalNet to eliminate every intellectual data ever written or published in form of books, magazines and even personal handwritten diaries by feeding them in the GlobalNet database. While computers connected to GlobalNet become an essential part of everyone's life, a select group of individuals gathered to fight against it, but they all either disappeared or died due to some unusual causes. But now it's your turn to free the world from the shackles of these moneymaking politicians, industrialist and also find out what happened to your neighbour, George Oswald?

The game has a superb and very compelling storyline with logical puzzles, which are mostly inventory based and most of these inventory items become available upon exchanging dialogues with game characters, which are annoyingly lengthy, but interesting and sometime funny. The game has many funny characters that develop the storyline as you interact with them. Graphics are extraordinarily astonishing and colorful, but slightly marred with a bit clumsy control. Speech and voice acting is top-notch though music is a bit annoying at few places. Overall, keeping in mind the superb qualities of "The Moment of Silence" I would highly recommend it to every serious adventure gamer.

The Vampire Diaries

Her Interactive, Inc., 1997

The Vampire Diaries is a fine mystery adventure game based on Lisa J. Smith's novel series about a teenage girl, Elena Gilbert, who lives in her Aunt Judith's house along with her little sister Margaret after both their parents passed away in a car accident. Aunt Judith lives in Fells Church, a small town in Virginia where lately, the town folks witnessed some supernatural creature that attacked some of them in different parts of the town. You don't believe these stories until your own sister is attacked by this winged creature, while the whole family is attending the opening ceremony of Mikhail Romanoff's Art Gallery.

Now, while Margaret is in the town hospital and Aunt Judith is looking after her, you decide to investigate the mystery behind this winging creature. So, casting yourself in the role of Elena Gilbert, you start your quest by exploring the town and meeting different people to collect clues and find a lead that will help you reach the base of this mystery. Despite the linear game play, the events within a situation are non-linear and you can interact with characters or perform an action or solve a puzzle in any desired sequence. When you interact with the game characters a full motion video image of the person responds to you locked in a nicely designed graphical frame. This graphical frame, which is also surrounding the game playing area, contains the menu, the dialogue text and the inventory in its comparatively larger lower part. If you have played any of the later Nancy Drew games from Her Interactive then you will find yourself quite familiar with this control settings.

Puzzles are mostly like being somewhere at the right time or finding a different time to perform an action or explore a place, which is not accessible at that time. While the game graphics are reasonably good for the time it was released, the video clips are quite jerky and inferior in quality. Similarly, the music scores good, but the voice acting is average. In the bottom line, I would say that Vampire Diaries is a nice adventure game to try, if you have nothing else to play.

Ghostly Desires

Spice Interactive, 1995

Ghostly Desires is an obscure horror adventure game suitable for mature audience only. The game involves Cortland Manor, a renowned mansion built in 1824 and converted into a bordello at the turn of the century by a beautiful Madame named Lexiana O'Brian. In 1911, the ill-repute house was completely burned in the Great Plumb Hollow fire, killing seven women including the Madame in the blaze. After many years the house was once again reconstructed from the original architect's blueprint, but the real estate agents were unable to sell the house due to the rumors that the house is haunted and the  restless spirits of the ill-fated girls and the Madame still dwell the house. Again in 1969, the property was taken over by the state and turned into a National Monument, where visitor were allowed to explore but strongly  advised to proceed on their own risk.

You step into the deserted manor almost eighty years after the original fire. However, you soon find that you are not alone and the spirits of the seven women are seeking your help and each of them asks you to set her spirit free by fulfilling her last ghostly desire. How? That's for you to figure out.  As you explore the manor, you will discover that every room has  its mystery. You'll just have to rely on your own intuition. Many have failed before you, but perhaps you are the one that can help the ghosts of Cortland Manor move on.

The game has a smart cursor that changes as it moves over areas where your attention is needed. Graphics are beautifully created in 3D and full-motion video clips and figures are superimposed to get some ghostly effects. Puzzles are a mixture of logical and board games and not so hard for professional adventure gamers. Sound and music is very atmospheric and bit creepy.  Characters are totally real artists and their voice acting is well done. In the ending lines, I would strongly recommend this game to all the adventure game players age 18 and over and especially, to those fans of "The 7th Guest" and "The 11th hour" who don't get offended by some softcore porn.

Yellow Brick Road

Synergy, Inc., 1995

Yellow Brick Road is one of the most obscure adventure games, brilliantly adapted from L. Frank Baum's venerated children's book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written in 1899 and published in 1900. The game is developed by Synergy, a Japanese company, which released many other obscure titles including Gadget, Zeddas: Servant of Sheol and not to mention Alice: An Interactive Museum, using amazing Quicktime technologies. You play as young Dorothy Gale, who after wearing the enchanted ruby slippers is magically transported from her Kansas home to this magical world of Oz. Following the Yellow Brick Road, you meet the Tin Man, who joins you in your quest to find your way back home. Next, you free the Cowardly Lion and together they travel to the Emerald City to find and rescue the Scarecrow from the captivity of the Evil Witch.

The movement in the game is displayed by nicely created 3D cut-scene. There are a few combat sequences in this game but they are not so hard as the game is basically developed with young kids in mind. The puzzles are quite logical and mostly inventory based. The game music is also adapted from the movie, The Wizard of Oz, released in 1939. All in all, Yellow Brick Road is a nice adventure for the whole family.

Jazz and Faust

Saturn Plus, 2002

Jazz and Faust is an epic adventure that rejoices the charming tales of Arabian-Nights told by Shererazade, the talented and beautiful wife of Sultan Shahriar. The game is comprised of two separate adventures with different paths and puzzles but similar conclusion and locations, featuring our two heroes Jazz and Faust, turn by turn. In the beginning you have the choice of which character you want to play first. Jazz is a smuggler who can smuggle anything on his ship for money and on the other hand, Faust is a man of principles and doesn't do anything which is against the law. Both adventures circle around a similar plot that involves a double murder, a princess and a treasure. Jazz is after the treasure but Faust is in love with the Princess, who is also after the treasure. Near the end Jazz and Faust unite and play the rest of the adventure together.

The graphics are beautifully well done with glamorous settings. The only glitch is the poor voice acting, which is terribly neglected in the game, especially the Faust part. The controls are smooth and easy to manipulate. Puzzles are mostly inventory-based and piece of cake for professional adventure gamers. Highly recommended game.

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

Revolution Software Limited, 1996

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is one of the best graphic adventure games I have ever played, developed by Revolution Software, the people who developed acclaimed adventure games like Lure of the Temptress and Beneath a Steel Sky. The game cast you in the roll of George Stobbart, an American tourist visiting Paris. While sitting at a sidewalk café table and enjoying your coffee you notice a mysterious looking clown running out of the café. Moments after the clown's departure, a bomb blasts off killing Monsieur Plantard who was sitting inside the café. Since you were the only witness who saw the main culprit, you decide to investigate the incident unaware that your investigations will lead you to many mysterious locations in France as well as Europe. As you investigate, you discover the ancient intriguing mystery of the Knights Templar, which dates back to the tenth century France, and their lost treasure.

Broken Sword presents state of the art cartoon graphics, excellent music and voice acting, point-and-click interface at its best with huge inventory. The puzzles are very challenging but solving is mostly inventory-based and very often from the clues by interacting with characters. Highly recommended adventure game for all the fans of graphics adventure games and especially for those who have recently started playing adventure games.