The game begins with a celebration. I fear that may be the last one there is!
Five weeks! That’s how long I now have off work, with a fair portion of that time no doubt being devoted to playing and blogging about adventure games. I’ve worked harder this year than I have in any previous year, so I really feel like I’ve earned this break. It’s therefore pretty unfortunate that I have to spend the first part of it playing a really, really shitty game. I’m not going to ruin the fun by revealing all the reasons why Emmanuelle is awful up front though. I’m going to savour the chance of exposing just how terrible it is, hopefully in a way that is more entertaining for the readers than the game itself could ever be. It’s worth stating upfront though that my posts about Emmanuelle are not going to follow the blueprint I’ve formulated over the past year and a bit for one simple reason. There’s no save game!
Yes, it's true. I'm running very low on suitable screenshots and am now recycling.
Having no save game feature may bring into question whether Emmanuelle should really be considered an adventure game, but I’m afraid it is. The game is all about exploring locations, collecting information from various characters, and using items to solve puzzles, placing it very clearly within the genre. I can only assume that no save game feature was included to make what appears to be a very short game take a lot longer to complete, which is cheap to say the least. It doesn’t help that many aspects of the game seem to be random; meaning what you did last time you played won’t necessarily play out that way the next time. My first attempt lasted about five minutes, and I’d like to share that experience with you in this post to give you an idea of what we’re all in for. From there I should be able to ignore the technical aspects of the game and merely discuss progress without narrating every start and finish.
Programming: Inference. More like "Interference"!
After watching the intro, where fireworks explode across the screen and the word Emmanuelle appears at the bottom, I was faced with an anti-piracy screen. It asked me to “consult the colour chart enclosed with the software and select the colour required.” Thankfully I discovered a text file in my Emmanuelle game folder that contains the colour chart. I was being asked to click on the colour that matched the code A102, which the chart informed me was black. I saw a cursor on the screen, in the shape of cupid, yet very quickly discovered that I wasn’t able to move it using the mouse. I began moving it around with the arrow keys, which seemed fine until I tried to click on the word Black. The cursor moved very quickly around the screen, with one single arrow press moving it about a centimetre, which made it difficult to place the cursor exactly where I wanted it to be. Even worse though, pressing the enter key when the cursor was directly over the word Black didn’t do anything.
No wonder true love is such a tough thing to find. Cupid is a terrible shot!
I eventually discovered that I had to press enter when the cursor was a not insignificant distance above the word Black for it to register. As mentioned above, getting the cursor exactly where it needs to be is damn hard, and that combined with the fact I am forced to restart and go through the colour chart over and over again (I have to find two colours every time to be allowed to play), makes things quite frustrating. Unfortunately, the horrible cursor position issue isn’t restricted to the copy protection screen, and shows up in the game proper. After getting the two colours correct, I was given a view of Rio de Janeiro, with the low quality graphics not really giving me any real clear details to look at. There were three interface icons on the left hand side of the screen though, which were obviously going to be important to playing the game, but were just as difficult to click on.
My erotic potential begins at half mast
The three icons represent my three “personal score counters”. The first is a bag of money, which starts off at 25000. I can’t see any mention in the game or manual for what the currency is (perhaps Brazilian real?). The second icon is a champagne glass, which is used to display the player’s energy level with a scale of 1 to 100 (starting at 100). The manual tells me that I’m allowed three full glasses, although it’s not clear whether it refills by itself three times or needs to be refilled by me somehow. The third icon is lipstick, which represents erotic potential, whatever that means. This counter also has a scale of 1 to 100, but this one starts at 50. The manual suggests that to win the game I must meet Emmanuelle when I’m on my “best erotic form”, so I can only assume I need to get my erotic potential to 100 prior to meeting Emmanuelle.
25000...somethings! That should allow me to buy lots of...things.
It’s time to lead you through my first five minutes of play. Be aware that those five minutes contained much head scratching and capturing of screenshots, so it was probably more like two or three. I moved the cursor down to the boat at the bottom left corner of the screen (since that was something I could actually make out), and pressed enter. I was taken to the beach, where the boat I’d seen from a distance was sitting on the water in front of me. I clicked on it again, and was confronted by a man at the wheel, who was asking me whether I was looking for trouble. When I clicked enter I was given three options that I could respond with, being “No! I’m looking for a fight!”, “Sorry. I came to find a friend.” and “No! I’m looking for adventure...”. Unfortunately, these three options were flashing at me so fast that it was difficult just to read them, let alone press enter when the correct one was presented.
No! I am trouble! You gotta problem with that?
I decided that I definitely didn’t want to fight the man! The adventure answer seemed to be the most likely, so I tried to time my pressing of enter with that conversation option. Clearly I failed, because next thing I knew, I was facing off in hand to hand combat with the owner of the boat. The fact that I was already finding myself in a scuffle after less than a minute of playing wasn’t the only disconcerting thing. The fight screen seemed to switch the game from dodgy EGA graphics to even dodgier CGA. Washed out pinks and blues temporarily took over, and before I could get over the shock of the visual alteration, my opponent was beating the shit out of me! I began madly pressing the arrow keys, hoping I could miraculously learn the nuances of the fighting mechanics before my inevitable defeat. Within about two seconds I’d figured out that repeatedly hitting the right arrow key causes my character to repeatedly punch the guy in the face until I raised my arms in victory. Mortal Kombat this game is not!
Feeling proud of my conquest yet concerned that I may have punched out one of the game’s main characters, I was taken back to the more colourful beach view. Now there were two boats in the water, and there was also a bikini clad woman strolling very awkwardly along the beach. She proceeded to expose her breasts and lie back on the beach, assumedly to get some sun. I tried clicking on her, but as soon as I did, she got up, covered herself back up, and wandered off. After briefly wondering what else I might have tried doing, I decided to focus on the second boat that had arrived out of nowhere. After clicking on it, I was confronted by a woman stating “You were sent by heaven! I was just looking for a crew-man as strong and handsome as you...” She then said “I’m off to Bahia...want a lift?” Before I was given any chance to say yes or no, the boat set sail, apparently with me on it. All of a sudden I witnessed my character and the sailing woman having sex!
More like a captive! This is considered kidnap and rape in most countries!
That’s right! Less than four minutes into the game and I’d already scored! It took me years to get laid as a teenager! Perhaps I should have spent more time saving up to go to Brazil?! Oddly, despite triumph after triumph, winning fist fights and getting raunchy with chicks had done nothing positive for my personal score counters. I’d actually lost a considerable amount of energy and erotic potential while fighting and fucking, making me ponder whether Emmanuelle might have been developed my religious fundamentalists. If the game was going to punish me for living the dream, I was going to have to refrain from such awesomeness! Jokes aside, I was feeling a bit disorientated by this stage, particularly as my geographical retardation meant I had no idea whether my new destination, Bahia, was even still in Brazil. My friend Google quickly told me that it was.
So, I’d travelled from Rio to Bahia by boat with a rather demanding woman, and now found myself on a beach that looked identical to the one I left. The only differences were that now there was only one boat in the water (the one I came on, so to speak), and that there was a fine looking blonde kneeling in front of me half naked, very seductively exposing herself for my viewing pleasure. Seriously!? Was this game really designed by a woman!? Not even Al Lowe would dare objectify women in such a way, nor would he suggest that the whole female half of the population are complete sluts. The woman said nothing to me, but I had three choices as to what I could say to her. 1. “How I envy the Brazilian sun which can caress such beautiful skin at its leisure!” 2. “I'd love to submit your body to the demands of my passions.” 3. “How would you feel about some fun and games in the sand?”
Now that's just not fair!!! I'm trying to be monogomous!
I couldn’t imagine that any of those three pickup lines would work on any woman alive, but I also had no idea why I would want to try to have sex with every woman that I came across in the game. Wasn’t the idea to be with Emmanuelle? Was the game going to punish me for every other temptation I fell for on the way? So far it seemed to be all there was to do! I decided the third option seemed the least offensive, so I tried to choose it. I can’t even tell you whether I was successful or not, as the options were coming at me so fast, but the woman totally rejected me with “The Beach is open to everybody. Nobody's forcing you to stay right here!” That response doesn’t really make sense, no matter which option I selected, but even stranger was the fact I suddenly found myself away from the beach and in a bar.
I've been in Brazil for just a few minutes, and I'm already scared of the women!
The picture on the wall suggested I was still in Bahia, and from the look of things I was in a hotel. There was yet another woman looking at me suggestively, but this time I decided I wanted nothing to do with her until I figured out what my motives in this game really were. I instead spoke to the doorman, who asked me if I wanted to go to Lower Town, the Airport, or the Town on the Hill. The options came at me so fast that I had next to no chance of actually selecting one intentionally. Apparently I selected the Airport, as that’s where I appeared next. Unsurprisingly, there was a woman there to assist me, and while one of the options available to me was to buy a ticket, the others were all flirtatious pickup lines. I accidentally chose “I’d be all yours, for just one kiss...”, which she surprisingly ignored and instead directed my attention to the destination board.
I dare anyone to try this in reality!
I decided to go to Paris, for no reason in particular. After buying my ticket, an endgame screen popped up telling me “Your impulses are fleeting! You are WISE.” What the hell does that mean? I could understand if the game was hinting that not playing anymore was a very wise decision, but I figure it was trying to tell me something about my style of play. Regardless, my first session of Emmanuelle was over, and I was feeling pretty damn confused about the whole thing. After reading through the manual, I now know that I’m not supposed to travel to Paris until I’ve met Emmanuelle, and since I’m not supposed to meet Emmanuelle until I’ve reached full erotic potential, it seems my quest is to figure out how to get that lipstick score to increase rather than decrease. I’ve now put another couple of hours into the game and have a better understanding of how things work (including how to control the speed of it). That’s not to say that the game actually gets any better though, which you’ll hear all about in the next couple of days.
I'd be wise to delete this game and move onto the next one, but my wisdom has always submitted to my OCD.
Session Time: 0 hours 05 minutes
Total Time: 0 hours 05 minutes
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!