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The Adventure Game thread
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parkbench
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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cycle wrote:
parkbench and haireyames are both idiots


Ow Sad Who doesn't like making fun of Gabriel Knight 3 a little? If that's your idea of a good adventure game...

Shapermc wrote:
I hear that The Longest Journey is fantastic guys, but everyone always seems to leave out the "standard adventure game trope problems" that come with it. Anyone care to mention just how bad they are?


dessgeega wrote:
i've heard that the longest journey is the same badly-designed adventure game, just much longer.


I think that dessgeega is in Plotkin's camp on this one. At least, I think she'd be since she was the one that I first found the link through.

It's interesting because until that moment I'd never considered TLJ as anything other than a great game. So Plotkin's assessment was an interesting alternate take in that sense. I don't know how I feel about it now; I tried replaying it awhile ago and didn't get far. I think for me what I took away from Plotkin's review is that TLJ isn't the next thing since sliced bread, but I think more importantly than the writing (the plot is a little strange, to be sure), the voice acting is done by people who resemble professionals! So you might want to give it a shot. It's high profile enough that I'd say play it regardless.
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, Last Crusade is amazing - and this is how I sold it to Cycle - because it's one of those rare games, along with The Last Express, that is narratively constrained, but has such solid game design throughout to give you a credible illusion of sheer possibility. This is most obvious once you reach Castle Brunwald, which gives you a number of options to get past guards and other puzzles, and can have wide-reaching effects on the latter portions of the game past that point. The game was how I discovered PC gaming, alongside Prince of Persia, and on my last playthrough I attempted to free Henry Jones (playable character, guys) in a way I hadn't entertained beforehand: Beat the crap out of everyone there to allow ourselves to simply walk out of the castle without getting caught. It was difficult, but it worked.

Point being, people go on about Fate of Atlantis having three ways to play through it. Fair enough, but once you're on one track, there's no turning back: You still have to go through the same exact puzzles assigned to those scenarios. In Last Crusade, it's just one story, but there are multiple ways to solve puzzles and get past obstacles that manage to help simulate the expected Indy's - Hell, any adventure game protagonist's come to that - resourcefulness and ingenuity. It's all the more impressive considering it's an experimental work, LucasArts' first instance of including the option to talk into their games among other things. And yes, I agree with you entirely: All the mazes and fights and the threat of death make it feel like a proper adventure. It's not like a Sierra game where anything can be a death trap anyway. Death certainly has its place in adventure games if done right.

Also, I just think Fate of Atlantis' plot and characters are just plain dumb.

dess, the Grail at the end of the trials is randomised each time. Within the physical Grail diary are a number of extracts, accounts on the Grail's appearance. To determine which one is correct, you need to find a clue in the Venetian catacombs and another within the Castle (This one doesn't show you what it looks like, but informs you whether it glows or not). There's also a clue within that tells you how to get past the first trial, but it's actually a quite obvious episode of spotting the obvious pixel.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I just finished Last Crusade with my brother. Good times, but I definitely don't see what I read here in the game.

There were many sections that could have been a lot more interesting but ended up being stilted. For example--all encounters with guards in the game were essentially trial-and-error. Occasionally, when you see that the guard bites at one or the other thing, you can take it down that road, but because you never know what they will or won't bite at, and they all say essentially the same things, you are just reloading over and over again as you try things out, until eventually you get frustrated and punch the guy (which I only did for one guard in the castle, and almost all the guards on the drive through Germany).

If the conversations were more complex this might have been different. There were enough tiers as it is, but if guards had slowly hinted at their particular weaknesses/vices through conversation, with many degrees of failure it might have been more intuitive.

I do appreciate the various paths--I realised after the playthrough that I had never even opened the vault in the Castle, for example. Though I was frustrated to find out that the plane sequence was interactive: it all happened so fast that I got shot down and assumed it was part of the game. Then I found out that you can target and move the arrow keys--what? The whole game you're pointing and clicking and suddenly you're supposed to know that you have to mash some buttons on the keyboard? It doesn't add up.

Overall, it was funny, well-written, and enjoyable, but I felt that a lot of the puzzles were asinine.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

parkbench, if you had bought the game like an honest citizen, you'd have known you can control the biplane. Not that it matters all that much.

Also, the guards don't all say the same thing. >:|

P.S. Did you save often?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did buy the game way back in its hey-day, and I also have a Lucas Arts collection that includes it. So I'm vindicated.

And yes, most of the guards do say the same exact things, the only differences are in that particular guards idiosyncracies, which are only revealed by weeding through the stuff that is the same: tedious. One of the few guards I knew exactly what to do with was the one on the third floor that stuttered when he spoke. I knew that he must be nervous so I tried being more intimidating and it worked--which was nice; I wish more guards had been like that. The drunk guard was also a nice touch and reading a walkthrough later I realsied I didn't use him to his full potential.

And yes, I did save often, compulsively in fact. Which is what made it so tedious: to be saving right before every guard conversation just in case I chose door #2 instead of #3. Like I said--if I had played differently maybe I would think differently as well; apparently if I'd taken a painting somewhere along the line I could've shown it to the "art guard," who I merely ended up clobbering. But the "freedom of choice" thing seems kind of illusory sometimes, especially when you're basically caught in a room and a guard is right outside.

It also doesn't help that fighting is really awkward.

edit: i also remembered: how about that pixel hunt in Brunwald? I found out (through the FAQ) that if you rummage through the filing cabinet in the office you can find a travel pass. Are you kidding me? I tried "open" on four different cabinet, only to have a single one on the right open. I naturally assumed that the whole thing was one object. And how about that big beefy guy? A trophy full of beer? Could it get even less believable? Why couldn't they just have put a souvenir super-sized mug sitting around somewhere, instead of a friggin' trophy? Adventure game logic, to be sure.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really, I agree with most of what parkbench says, but I still really appreciate what the game tries to do, even the things it does wrong and especially the things it gets right. As I told Dracko, I'd like to see one of those fanmade remakes of this game that addresses some of the problems the game had.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, it's absolutely a flawed game. but its failings are interesting failings, whereas fate of atlantis's successes are safe, boring successes.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

parkbench wrote:
i also remembered: how about that pixel hunt in Brunwald? I found out (through the FAQ) that if you rummage through the filing cabinet in the office you can find a travel pass. Are you kidding me? I tried "open" on four different cabinet, only to have a single one on the right open. I naturally assumed that the whole thing was one object. And how about that big beefy guy? A trophy full of beer? Could it get even less believable? Why couldn't they just have put a souvenir super-sized mug sitting around somewhere, instead of a friggin' trophy? Adventure game logic, to be sure.

The only pixel hunt is entirely optional and takes place in Henry Jones' home.

To get the pass, you need to give the colonel a reason to write one (The "art painting"). ;O

And how is that unbelievable? I mean, it's Indiana fucking Jones. The trophy makes perfect sense and is pretty obvious (and the big beefy guy is a trope of the series, in case you don't recall).

A lot of the guards can be dodged easily, but come on: You're in enemy territory here. It's bound to be dangerous.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
yeah, it's absolutely a flawed game. but its failings are interesting failings, whereas fate of atlantis's successes are safe, boring successes.


Yeah, I'm inclined to agree. I've said in the past that I'm very tolerant and even reverent of broken games. It's just that the talk around here made me think something quite different. I still enjoyed the experience, I was just surprised by the amount of needless brick walls.

Quote:

To get the pass, you need to give the colonel a reason to write one (The "art painting"). ;O


Can you explain? The FAQ I read said that you simply have to keep digging around the filing cabinet.

Quote:
And how is that unbelievable? I mean, it's Indiana fucking Jones. The trophy makes perfect sense and is pretty obvious (and the big beefy guy is a trope of the series, in case you don't recall).


A trophy full of beer? Adventure game logic, through and through.

Quote:
A lot of the guards can be dodged easily, but come on: You're in enemy territory here. It's bound to be dangerous.


I'm not saying it has to be easy: I'm just saying the way in which it is hard is asinine. There are some clever ways to get past them, sure, but a lot of it (if you just try to talk your way out of things) is completely incidental. Sure--when I talked to the guard who revealed Siegfried's name, I knew later to use the name against another guard. But that's by far not the case with the other guards.

And besides, who really wants to fight? Like I said: very bad fighting engine and it just alerts other guards.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A trophy full of beer is not adventure game logic. It's obviously a Hell of a lot bigger than a stein!

I don't know, I found it blatantly obvious the first time I found it.

Your FAQ is incorrect: SPOILERS OH NO You need to give a certain guard the painting. He takes it up to the Colonel, who writes down the code to the vault on a pass. Then you can get it, with the code to the vault to boot.

Of course, you still need to get it signed...

I don't know how you people manage to alert guards: Cycle told me about this too.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

detail about the guards that i like: if you fool them wearing one disguise, and then they see you wearing a different one, they'll chase after you.

i like how signing the pass is handled: it's a scene right out of the movie, and your first instinct will be to do what indy did in the movie. but if you DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT, you can get a very useful item.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, it requires you to technically fail first! And the "winning" alternative accessible at the beginning of the game is just there to put you off the scent.

I'm trying to remember all the other stuff you can get signed...
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dessgeega wrote:
yeah, it's absolutely a flawed game. but its failings are interesting failings, whereas fate of atlantis's successes are safe, boring successes.


Thats an interesting point, ive never thought about it that way.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

for reasons i can't quite explain, i've been compelled to replay zork: grand inquisitor now that i have a gametap account i'm not paying for. and the bizarre thing about the game is that it's good. this is a graphic point-and-click adventure based on the zork text adventures. and it's by no means any kind of similiar experience -- but it manages to be its own game, even as it makes constant sly references to the infocom games.

the writing is actually really good. the voice acting, remarkably, is good enough to carry it. (this is from a transitional age of adventure games that use the "funny sidekick" to narrate all the stuff the interfact doesn't allow for, and this one actually manages not to be obnoxious.) and the game actually hits the zork tone pretty well: an uneasy mix of silliness and gravity -- let's call it "darkly goofy".

the puzzles are awful, but it's a point-and-click adventure game, so that's nothing unexpected.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always wanted to play that one, I heard nothing but good things. Shame about the puzzles... I wish there were more adventure games that weren't better played with a walkthrough Sad

I remember that there was a new text adventure being developed to conicide with Inquisitor (designed by one of the original Zork guys, I believe) and I thought it was amusing that they interviewed that guy about the text game in an issue of Next Generation rather than a guy working on the new game. Well, they gave that game three pages, but still.

Next Generation were pretty cool.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A trophy full of beer is not adventure game logic. It's obviously a Hell of a lot bigger than a stein!


What! You just proved my point!

Obviously it's bigger than a stein. I figured it out instantly. But I'm still maintaining that it's dumb. The fact that adventure game logic makes "anything that's bigger than a stein" kosher isn't believable (again realism isn't the issue; believability). Sure it was funny when he chugged it, but they might as well have put a wastebasket. I mean it's just absurd: the game logic says "we need to put something big in some room for the player to get" and so the whole puzzle feels contrived/ill justified rather than smooth.

Again guys: I liked the game! I'm kind of being contrarian, though I do believe what I am saying.

Quote:
detail about the guards that i like: if you fool them wearing one disguise, and then they see you wearing a different one, they'll chase after you.


Yeah. You pretty much can't avoid this, right? I mean, I couldn't: I used a combination of disguises to trick different floors of guards.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, the trophy had its place there, what are you on about? Sad

Did you examine it? It's funny if you examine it!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cycle wrote:
I remember that there was a new text adventure being developed to conicide with Inquisitor (designed by one of the original Zork guys, I believe) and I thought it was amusing that they interviewed that guy about the text game in an issue of Next Generation rather than a guy working on the new game.


zork: the undiscovered underground. it's a little short story that they knew was going to be the last piece of infocom interactive fiction they ever wrote, and the final word on zork. they reveal what a grue looks like! i'm pretty sure it's circulating the internet; you can probably find it pretty easily.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the problem with many of zork: grand inquistor's puzzles is that they're solved with incredibly specific magic spells. that the spells are so specific is the joke, of course, but you always find the puzzle before you find the spell, so you don't know the spell exists, and all your efforts at solving the puzzle through logic are in vain. the spells that aren't specific, though, are very selective about when they work; so that by the time you have to use them, you've disregarded them. after all, they've never worked before.

the problem with the rest of the puzzles is they're adventure game puzzles. okay, there are a few good puzzles. i like the solution to the "break glass in case of adventure" puzzle, and the telephone puzzle is clever.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

finished grand inquisitor. so speaking of terrible puzzles, here's my absolute favorite moment in the entire game. spoilers, i guess, but you'll probably be better off in the game for having read them.

so there's a diorama of a wooden gate and a little robotic hammering guy next to it. it's a diorama of the closing of the gate, you see, so the little robotic hammering guy just keeps on swinging his hammer at the gate. you need to open the gate, and you've got a lever that lets you control the speed at which the little robotic hammering guy hammers.

aha, you think. i'll just set the speed to fast, and the little robotic hammering guy will hammer at the gate with such force that it'll be knocked open. so you crank up the speed, and the little hammering guy hammers furiously at the gate until the hammer goes flying out of its little robotic hands. i guess i need to find a replacement hammer, you think.

here's the good part. you've got this hammer in your inventory which you've been lugging around for almost the entire game. just waiting to find another use for it. this seems like the perfect moment. i guess i need a replacement hammer! good thing i have one! you reach into your inventory, grab the hammer, and click on the little robotic guy's waiting robotic hands.

NOTHING HAPPENS. the little guy's hands remain empty. there is no animation of the little guy rejecting the hammer. there's no voice-over from your sidekick to explain why the little guy won't take your hammer. there's no voice, no sound effect, no reaction from the game whatsoever that might explain why, in the one situation that clearly and emphatically calls for a hammer, a hammer does not work.

you spend a few minutes clicking the hammer on the little guy over and over in disbelief, then you find a walkthrough on the internet, because you think there must be a glitch in the game.

now, the reason you can't use the hammer you've been carrying around all game is because the developers built a clever puzzle around picking up this other hammer from out of a set of three, and if you pick wrong you die. apparently they forgot that the player already has a hammer, i mean that puzzle was such a long time ago it was the beginning of the game back then! then they apparently forgot to playtest their game at all.

that bit is such a bad piece of design that it's not even worth talking about how terrible the coconut puzzle is. or the egg puzzle.

i will say that the only woman character in the game has the worst lines in game. all the other characters' dialogue is so sharp that it leads me to question whether the writer has ever, in fact, spoken with any women. but it's probably because they tried to cram a romance into the game at the last minute.

i do, however, like the game of strip rock-paper-scissors. you can't lose, because no matter how many times you miss you will keep finding pieces of clothing to take off. which totally undermines the intended solution to the puzzle, but it wasn't a very good puzzle anyway so who cares.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I've decided to start going through my old games I bought but never played for whatever reason. The one I'm going through right now is OMIKRON: THE NOMAD SOUL STARRING DAVID BOWIE ALSO HIS WIFE.

It's pretty great, guys! The initial fly through the city is great (with a song by David Bowie playing in the background. Also the music in this game is great) and then you're free to explore it... though there isn't much to see and do when walking around aimlessly, it still has a great atmosphere, and is huge. The architecture and art design is pretty great, it still looks good today. You learn more about the world you've founf yourself in by listening to the radio, watching holocasts (ha-ha), reading brochures, talking to people and just observing the world around you.

The adventure elements are pretty great, there are plenty of logical puzzles with multiple solutions, or the puzzles are just optional in the first place, though obviously solving them can give you more information or items. There is lots of walking about talking to people, trying to find clues for your investigation. There are even side quests!

EXAMPLES:

One of the first things you have to do is question a prisoner and decide if she's guilty or not. If you just go down to interrogate here, you'll find nothing damning. But if you actually do your job and search her apartment you may (or may not) find something else to ask her about... but will you still decide to report her as guilty?

Another early example is when you need to access classified files. You can either DRUG someone and steal her access key OR you can go down to maintenance and dick around with the security (it's not as easy as that, of course).

The action parts are... not AWFUL. There are two kinds of action, fighting and shooting. Fighting is actually pretty fun, I think. It plays like those early, clunky 3D fighters like Virtua Fighter and what not and it's pretty enjoyable once you get the hang of it, but naturally couldn't stand as its own game. The FPS bits are bland, but playable.

The plot itself is pretty fun - the video game was BAIT to lure the player into this world, so DEMONS can eat our soul (for reasons you'll discover, the souls in OMIKRON aren't as fresh and tasty). We may think we're just sitting here playing a video game but if we die in the video game (which actually isnít a video game, but a gateway to this other reality), we'll just become empty shells in our own reality!!! Yeah, it's a bit silly, but it's handled pretty well and the characters are well written and believable. So far, anyway... the game might get crazier later on, but I hope it doesn't go all retarded like FAHRENHEIT.

This game also did a good job of feeling ADULT rather than juvenile. There is a love scene and everything! Well, a dry humping scene. The world is kinda sexy, in a dark way. Like Blade Runner? I don't know. MAYBE I'M JUST WEIRD.

Oh, also you can't die early in the game it seems! You either get revived, or hop into another body, so that's cool. Apparently I won't have safety nets from now on or something, though, I'm not sure how body swapping will work now.

SCREENS:





This game is basically HALF of one of my dream games.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooh, thanks for the comments and screens, Cycle. I've always been interested in this game.

(the following post contains spoilers, in white)



I myself have been playing through Grim Fandango, and it's been quite a ride. I am so amazed by the quality of the dialogue and writing; I wish atmosphere of this caliber was the standard for adventure games.

I feel like there are parts of the game where it slightly gets off track--though the "underwater base" portion, or the "petrified forest" portion (where the puzzles approached a near Myst-like arbitrariness) make some kind of sense narratively speaking, Grim Fandango is definitely the most grounded in its urban scenarios. Year two was a blast in this sense; Rubacava is just so slick and they got pretty much everything right (down to a Peter Lorre character!).



I really appreciate what it tried to do with the system of observation and inventory, too:

By making a HUDless inventory, there is that extra layer of immersion (engagement, really) in the game, when you don't have to switch to "ITEM WINDOW" every few seconds. It can be tedious to cycle through items sometimes (especially if you keep accidentally taking out your scythe--god), but in the end it's really not that bad.

Secondly, by making objects only observable by approaching them, traditional adventure game mechanics are slightly subverted in the sense that you no longer approach situations the way you used to: that is to say, in Monkey Island, as soon as I enter a room, I pas my hand over everything in the screen and get a general idea of what's in the room and what I may be able to do with it.

With "Manny's head," I can only observe objects by approaching them, which in one sense forces a kind of realism to the situation, but also makes things much more interesting again in terms of HUDless gaming. Because of this system, much like in a real sweep of a room, my eye might happen to catch some object and take it in: Manny's head is the best hint system the game has.



Of course there are problems with the HUDless system, namely that "Manny's inventory" is one way: items never act upon each other, only the environment (unless the object already exists externally). So in this sense puzzles have to be somewhat linear, though there are ways around this. I'll give a few examples.

One of the better puzzles in the game was the vault puzzle in Year three. ((spoilers))You're stuck, and the only way out seems to be a vent: good red herring. And all that's in the room, besides Meche, is this big heavy axe. All you can do with the axe is lug it around and drop it heavily. Frustrating, right? You know that this object has potential but...all you can do is lug it around and repeatedly drop it. You drag and drag and you think you might have something wrong until you drag some more and...accidentally drop the axe on a tile. Serendipity! Escape.

I think the puzzle was well-designed because it was not didactic; the player is faced with a seemingly impossible task and literally by "fuming" somewhat solves the puzzle (again, like in a "real" situation, one would be certain that this huge heavy axe wouldd be useful somehow if only one could do anything more than simply pick it up and drop it).
((/spoilers))

On the other side of the spectrum there are some of the lazier puzzles: I can think of a few in Year three. When you're back in Rubacava and you need to get the Bone Wagon, ((spoilers))you need to take the ship in the bottle from the ship captain, fill it up with some nasty goo from the Beatnik cafe place, and give it to Glottis, who drinks so much of it that he throws up all over the booby trap in front of the Bone Wagon. After this, you need to pour nitroglycerin on the liquid so that it freezes and then you're home free.((/spoilers))

I had no trouble with this puzzle. I solved it in probably less than 5 minutes. The problem was, I literally didn't know why or how I was solving it. I was gathering items and they interacted in a way that moved the story forward: I had no narrative justification for what I was doing other than the fact that I knew I had to do it. The items break down and become locks and keys, and feel like nothing else. I found that I had this kind of experience even afterwards in Year four when you have to ((spoilers))save Glottis with the packing foam puzzle.((/spoilers)) I can elaborate if anyone is curious.



Ultimately, though, despite complaints, I'm in love with this game. I'm glad it's been long enough since I've played it last that it still remains mostly virginal in my mind.

I've been taking boatloads of pictures, as you can see (up to about 160 now). I'll likely whip up a few banners in the coming days. For now, I am done. So here is th coup de grace:

Headless Manny!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dracko wrote:
Point being, people go on about Fate of Atlantis having three ways to play through it. Fair enough, but once you're on one track, there's no turning back: You still have to go through the same exact puzzles assigned to those scenarios. In Last Crusade, it's just one story, but there are multiple ways to solve puzzles and get past obstacles that manage to help simulate the expected Indy's - Hell, any adventure game protagonist's come to that - resourcefulness and ingenuity..

Actually, some of Atlantis' puzzles have multiple solutions too - not many, but some. Bits I remember are several cases where you can get rid of guards without fighting them, some of the dialogue puzzles, what to use as crab bait, plus saving Sophia was entirely optional. The hunt for the lost dialogue was randomly chosen among several possible puzzles too. Now that I think of it New York's opening screen also had several solutions you couzld choose from (beating the bouncer/convincing the bouncer/ going through the crates).

So yeah, while it probably wasn't as nonlinear as the last crusade there's more to Atlantis than meets the eye.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I remember the opening scene (and a couple later ones) of Fate having a couple options. They put those in there so you knew which path you'd want to take later on.

Grim Fandango indeed has great writing, but like you say, the puzzles aren't great. In fact, I find them pretty terrible. It's one of those adventure games that I wish was a movie because the actual gameplay is generic and tedious... but still, everything else about the game is top notch!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost through Sam and Max 104 - Abe Lincoln Must Die. It was a free demo on Steam, so my brother and I tried it out. This is my first Sam and Max period. I don't like doing things this way, out of order, but whatever, I got sucked in. Note: this is an uncharacteristic post in that there aren't many pictures. This is because my brother was at the helm of the game most of the time. I'll nab some soon.

I like it. It does a lot of things right. I like how they stripped down the whole HUD of the classical adventure game to basically just point-and-click. I do think you lose some things in the translation, but I think we both realised how useless verbs are when you think about it--kind of a vestige of the text adventure days (really, how often have you used push/pull in a SCUMM adventure game? Give, open, use, talk seem to be the most important, and context-sensitive programming under the hood can do most of this for you. Though it makes puzzles a bit more linear, as in GF). The other advantage of this system is they've apparently felt more comfortable loading the screens with

The aesthetic is really great, too. There are so many little touches and most of it looks really polished. I take issue with some of the character models which just look lazily done (security guards at the White House, Hugh Bliss), but most of the characters have character. The sets are the best part (bizarro-LA, with the office, bosco's inconvenience, and sybil's place is my favorite of the whopping 2 zones I've seen so far), and I'm definitely in love with how it pans cinematically.

The humor is kind of boring at times but overall, it is funny. I realised that the total non-sequiturs and madcap antics are a lot easier to stomach when you look at it like a classic standup act a la Rodney Dangerfield. My brother made a good point: imagine having to write this dialog, these little snippets of conversation for every little object, and trying to make every single one funny. It's hit or miss, a vaudevillian string of one-liners--some grab you, some don't. I still think some of the jokes are too easy/too obvious/too juvenile, but there are those that hit the sweet spot of offensiveness/juvenile content/cleverness/subtleness.

So I will soon be playing the original and the others in the new 3D seasons! After I'm through with Full Throttle (which I'm playing, by the way! for the first time!), of course.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think the replacement of that huge verb list with a single click is the smartest thing telltale's done, and solves most of the problems with third person point-and-clicks. the other problems are all problems of planning: arbitrary puzzles, solutions which only make sense in retrospect, hackneyed collect-the-three-plot-objects structures. which the sam & max games are absolutely afflicted with, but at least they're halfway there.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i am comfortable saying, though, that telltale's sam & max is better than lucasarts's.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The formula of each episode really did wear thin by the end of season 1, which is why I haven't picked up the second yet. My favourite by far is Reality 2.0 since the puzzles are actually quite clever and creative, and don't all involve throwing inventory items around.

Still, I really enjoyed season one and will probably pick up the second when I got a hankering for my adventure gaming.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dessgeega wrote:
i am comfortable saying, though, that telltale's sam & max is better than lucasarts's.


how do you figure? just curious since I haven't played the newer games and Hit the Road, at the very least, cracks me up.

started playing Curse of Monkey Island again for the first time in, God, forever. still like it the best of the MI games.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, for one thing, Hit the Road is entirely unplayable without a walkthrough.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abe Lincoln Must Die won my heart forever with the Helloween joke.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Max Cola wrote:
dessgeega wrote:
i am comfortable saying, though, that telltale's sam & max is better than lucasarts's.


how do you figure? just curious since I haven't played the newer games and Hit the Road, at the very least, cracks me up.

started playing Curse of Monkey Island again for the first time in, God, forever. still like it the best of the MI games.


Hit the road has that wonderful first room where you can play with the dartboard and all that crap. It really doesn't keep that standard up, though.

I played the Abe Lincoln episode and thought it something of an ordeal.

I loved Curse Of Monkey Island at the time it came out! I thought it was incredibly atmospheric, and I loved the little world it created. I do remember that last few acts seemed a little rushed though. Specifically that one set in the gay-ass theme park which had ONE PUZZLE in it.

Yeah, it's good but it stands on the shoulders of the previous games a little too much. The narrative isn't structured all that well, either.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it was incredibly rushed, that's why the ending sucked so badly.

ApM: perhaps the same could be said of many adventure games...

like fucking MI2, what a mess. I want to love it but it HATES ME SO MUCH.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the ending of monkey island 2 is actually my favorite part. i think it's the best-conceived part of that whole game.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did love Monkey Island 2 as a 10 year old, though. The whole Largo chapter had me ENGROSSED. So did the map pieces. I got lost in that game.

Playing Monkey Island 1 in later life, it was clear that the first game's plot had a much better structure and there was far more fun stuff to do in it, but at the time Monkey Island II was my favorite game in the world, pretty much. It is really good. Especially when compared to what I was used to by that point, Sierra games.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's about as obtuse as any Sierra game. The only upside is that you can't die. But once Chapter Two rolls around you're given such a wide area to roam in and such a large goal to complete that it feels utterly overwhelming.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Island 2 is totally one of the most over-rated adventure games of all time! In my opinion, anyway. Still better than the fourth, though!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh really? I liked it a lot D: I'll take it over a dozen Sam and Maxes.

I never thought it obtuse or overwhelming, and I was 10 years old! I got through the whole first chapter on my own with no walkthroughs and thought it was BRILLIANT. I think Captain Rum was the only time I got completely stuck. Largo's laundry ticket being on the back of his door was a bit of a bitch, too.

There was so much cool stuff you could do! Set a dude's lizard free. Put a rat in someone's soup. Make a bucket of mud fall on the big ugly governor dude's head. Then you go through his laundry and it turns out he wears a bra! Also, you saw someone's peg leg off. Trapping the rat in the box was a favorite of mine, too. And you dig up a grave and make a voodoo doll! Can you see how this is the perfect game for a 10-year-old? The setting and artwork style is superb, too.

I wish I'd played Day of the Tentacle as a kid, though. I would say that and Monkey Island 1 are the two best Lucasarts adventures.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Island 2 is wonderful. I was completely into that game, so much so that those islands feel like places I actually went and spent time on. I agree that the basic plot structure may not be quite what MI1 was, but it felt like an incredibly rich world with so much to discover. I think I learnt a lot from that game, and I think if I played it today I'd still enjoy the heck out of it!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah! You can stay
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played Monkey Island 2 when I was older than ten so I guess that's why I didn't like it! The poor plot structure, dumb puzzles, etc also probably contributed to it, though, since I wasn't THAT old. It just feels like all the best ideas were used in Monkey Island one and all the rejected ones ended up in the second. It has its moments, though. I like that there were difficulty modes, easy mode cut out LOTS of bullshit. Actually they should have just made one difficulty and concentrated on cutting out ALL the bullshit!

I probably like it more than the original Sam & Max. I've actually never really gotten far in that one. I should just give in and go through it with a walkthrough.

Oh, I remember finding the fat mayor in MI2 to be disgustingly grotesque. And I usually like grotesque.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come to think of it, using a monkey as a wrench to turn off a water pump is pretty ridiculous. Also you can only get that monkey after stunning it by putting a banana on a metronome. Then you need to make the leap of logic that you need to pick up that monkey in the first place, and that you can fit it in your pocket. Yeah, it has some pretty dodgy moments.

I really don't think it's an exceptionally bad adventure game, though! In fact it's ABOVE AVERAGE. But I guess some people can only feel like they're an individual by affecting outre positionalites and opinions on popular media. That's the problem when you define youself by what you like and not by what you do! WOW, YOU'RE THE GUY WHO SLAYED THE MONKEY ISLAND 2 SACRED COW, LET ME FIDDLE WITH YOUR NUTS.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, get over yourself, Harvey.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

&^^m

See that

that's an ascii representation of you, noshing me off
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah ok, I'm not going to shit up another thread having a wankoff with you, Harbey.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

:(

I've never played maniac mansion! I always found it a bit inaccessible. and also all my dudes kept ending up in jail. I like Day of The Tentacle though. Is it worth me sticking out Maniac Mansion?
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harveyjames wrote:
&^^m


i'm not even sure how i'm supposed to orient this. i can read the ampersand as a sitting figure holding something to its mouth, which seems to fit the context, but does that mean you're that james is the m? this ascii art is just too tough to figure out.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

His ASCII art is as lousy as it is brilliant.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, it's self-explanatory!
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why do I get a sense of dejavu here?

I don't think the monkey wrench puzzle was too obtuse. Mind you, I can't remember how quickly I figured it out. Maybe it did take me awhile. But times were kind of different back then, and I actually didn't mind when adventure games used to throw me for a loop for a few days. I don't know, I guess back then I enjoyed these games being a part of my life for awhile. I'm not saying it's good game design, but I didn't mind things like that so much back then.
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