Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Game 30: Manhunter 2 - How the West Was Won

Manhunter Journal Entry 6: “Now I’m really getting somewhere! I finally managed to figure out what the temple vision had been about. It was basically a cryptic solution to the problem offered up by the meditating man next door. Unfortunately this success only led to yet another vision that means nothing to me, but for once I think I found more answers today than new questions. Stealing a scroll from those crazed Dragon ninjas gave me another useful clue that led me to believe that Zac West was going to play an important role in future events, but visiting his decrepit room within the wax museum gave me no further leads. Oh crap...I gotta go! The Orbs are contacting me!”

These slaves sure are keen to get to Hell!

I stopped my last post just as I’d followed the last of Day 2’s suspects through to the end of the available recordings (with the last one being killed and stuffed in a cabin car with the above letter in his belt). There was still one marker that I’d not tracked at this point though, which was Phil Cook’s. I loaded up the recording and selected his marker as soon as he entered the cable car barn in pursuit of the dragon member, and then watched to see where he went after he’d killed him. The answer shouldn’t have surprised me! He went straight to the doctor’s house where he killed the slave and the doctor, whose bodies I’d already discovered earlier. What did surprise me though, was that as soon as he entered the house, I realised Phil wasn’t alone. I’d noticed earlier that his marker had a strange patchy marking next to it, but since I’d not been able to select it, had figured it was just using a slightly different graphic to differentiate the antagonist. However, as soon as Phil entered the house he went after the slave while the marker separated from him to go after the doctor!

Notice there are four markers in the house. The slave, the doctor, Phil, and ???

I had no idea who (or what) was going around assisting Phil. I was now having doubts that it was Phil at all, despite the P’s being carved in the victim’s foreheads. Anyway, since I’d already investigated the doctor’s house, I was more interested in where the murderer went next. The answer is a private club (although the other marker left him on the way), where he walked up to the entrance and was let in. The tracker recording ended here, so all that was left for me to do was bring up my map and follow the lead to the club. On arrival I could find nothing to do apart from knocking on the eye slot on the door, above which stated “StAy Owt!!” Shortly afterwards I wished I taken the warning seriously, as two rather freaky looking eyes stared at me through the slot and then my entire body was pulled through it. Obviously, given the size of my body and the significantly smaller proportions of the slot, that didn’t turn out very well for me. As usual, the Murry’s took the opportunity to mock me, saying “He must not have liked your looks.”

That's me being pulled through the tiny slot in the door. Well it's the only way I could find to get inside!

That message gave me the impression that I was somehow going to have to change my looks if I wanted to enter the club, but I had nothing in my possessions that would assist in that matter. I tried various other unlikely things on the screen, none of which were successful. This unfortunately meant that I’d followed all the leads that the tracker recording offered up, and since the Orb’s hadn’t contacted me to ask me for suspect names, I’d clearly missed something along the way. In my possession I had the following items: Dragon Note, Newspaper, Fang, Driver’s License, Cloth, Full Flask, Letter 1, Letter 2, ID Card, Laundry Receipt, Mallet, MAD, Camera, Matchbook and Empty Gun. There were a few obvious locations where I thought I still might be able to achieve something (the shop, the pier, the laundry and the temple in particular), but I’d spent a fair amount of time at each of them already. It was time to go over my tracks and see if I could uncover anything more!

A full inventory of stuff and yet no obvious leads

The first place I went was the shop. I witnessed the exact same scene on entering that I’d seen previously, being the shopkeeper checking out the severed mutant finger. While this seemed to suggest that I was going to need one of my own to deal with the guy (or something similar), the sign behind him talked about playing a game to win items, even if you “don’t have enough to get what you want”! Once again I wasn’t able to find any way of playing this game with the shopkeeper, nor could I find anything else that I could do there at all. I moved onto the temple, and more specifically, the meditating man next door with the pipe. I’d really hoped that I would come across more banners throughout the game that would give me an idea as to what each of the jars meant that were sitting in front of him (I only knew the symbols for Heaven and Vision). Since that hadn’t happened, I thought I’d give solving this puzzle another go. The first thing I really needed to know was how many pinches I needed to put into the pipe before lighting it. Without knowing that, even guessing the right symbols to use was difficult to say the least. While considering this problem, something clicked in my brain!

This clicked!

The odd message I’d received from the statue titled HEAVEN on the temple staircase was what I thought of. When I’d originally tried to decipher it, I’d come up with the nonsensical “Four Pruler”, but it was the potential of the “Four” that drew my attention now. Could it be that I needed four pinches? Hang on a second! Four P(inches)! The ruler was meant to represent inches, not merely a ruler!!! Eureka! The only question remaining was what I needed to pinch four of, but since the statue had been titled HEAVEN, that seemed the most likely answer. I placed four pinches of heaven into the pipe and lit it, watching with great anticipation as four puffs of smoke came out of it. Then whoosh! Smoke began to pour out of the pipe, much to the surprise of the normally calm and meditative man. I then witnessed a vision of a black haired woman whose face rapidly transformed into a squarish green alien form, before fading away. What the hell was that supposed to represent!?

What the hell is that!!!???

The man was clearly shaken by what he’d just witnessed. He gave me a statue of what looked like a rabbit looking upwards, with some kind of ring around its neck. It had the words “To Daddy from Ming” on it, and the man was crying as he gave it to me. I couldn’t know for sure what the reason for his tears were, but I guessed it had something to do with Ming. Could Ming be his son or daughter? Perhaps they died at some point in time? Was the woman in the vision Ming? Checking out the name at the Behind the Name website informed me that the name Ming could be feminine or masculine, so it’s possible the man saw his daughter in the vision. Maybe I was reading into the whole thing too much, and he was simply crying after witnessing such a strange vision. I couldn’t know for sure, but at least I was very pleased to have solved two puzzles at once, being the heaven statue puzzle and the pipe puzzle.

Just what I've always wanted!! A statue of a rabbit with an inscription made out to someone else!

As overjoyed as I was, it suddenly dawned on me that the only thing I’d gained from all of this success was a statue of a rabbit with the words “To Daddy from Ming” on it. I couldn’t think of a single use for it. Was I supposed to think that one of the characters in the game was Ming and not the offspring of the meditating man? I won’t bore you with all the stupid things I tried with the statue over a half an hour period. Some brief examples of desperation are: I tried using it on the crate at the pier, on the rat in the pipe, on the shopkeeper in the shop, on the slot on the door at the private club, and on the window at the laundry. Basically I revisited every place on the map in the hope of making use of my latest item to no avail. What all this experimentation did however was convince me that whatever I was supposed to do next was likely going to happen in the temple. I’d avoided making my way back to the branding scene because it would involve getting through the horrible acid-surrounded bridge arcade mine-game, but it was time to face up to it.

It was time to face my fear!

I saved my game once I reached the branding scene and prepared to give it my all. I tried using the statue on the brand and I also tried giving it to the man in the purple robe, but neither worked. I then tried picking up a scroll from the box without getting branded first, and then tried doing all sorts of things once I had it in my possession to avoid getting sliced up by ninjas (none of them worked). It was then however that I discovered something in the room completely by accident. When I’d moved my cursor over the window behind the robed man, an arrow appeared! Of course! I didn’t have to get the dragon symbol branded on me at all! I simply needed to steal one and then jump out the window. I can’t tell you how incredibly happy I was when this newfound theory worked! My manhunter bounced off various parts of the building on the way down, but stood up with no apparent damage on the footpath outside the temple, scroll in hand!

There's nothing more exciting than surprising ninjas!

So what did this amazing feat of adventure gaming bring in the way of reward? I quickly opened the scroll to find out. “West is our only chance.” What? What does that mean? I opened up my map and looked at all the “westest” locations on it, but I couldn’t see how this message would help. There were no added locations now that I’d read it either. I took a deep breath and read it again, trying to think of what I was missing. Was “West” a name rather than a direction? Perhaps a surname? What first names did I know that I hadn’t been able to put a surname to?! Well, Zac had appeared on the table in the warehouse. And there was Ming of course, but West hardly seemed a likely surname for Ming. I opened up my MAD and typed the name “zac west”, not at all convinced that it would actually bring up a profile. IT DID!!!! I literally stood up and shouted “YES!!!” at the top of my voice at this point, not caring whether the neighbours were disturbed by my mid afternoon celebration. Manhunter: San Francisco continues to confuse and confound me immensely, but it’s for this reason above all else that it also brings me utter joy and exaltation when I manage to solve things!

So every member of the Dragon gang receives this scroll!? Cryptic much!

According to the profile, Mr West lived at 145 Jefferson St., so that’s exactly where I went next. Strangely, the location on the map wasn’t listed as Zac West’s Apartment or anything remotely like that. It was labelled “Wax Museum”! Once I was inside, I could find nothing to interact with apart from an odd looking wax figure of a fisherman. There was nothing on or around it that I could do anything with, so I began trying out various inventory items. It didn’t take long for me to have success, as when I tried using the mallet, the view changed to show my character swinging the mallet down onto the fisherman’s head. I guess it makes sense that this item would be part of the solution since it was collected from the warehouse office that had the message scrawled on what I now assume was Zac’s desk. Regardless, as soon as the mallet struck the fisherman, a previously locked door at the back of the room opened and my manhunter walked through it.

When all else fails, hit it with a mallet!

Inside I witnessed a show on a screen. The story was told in both words and images, with the words saying “January 2002: Two planets unite to help the people of earth use the riches of their planet for the good of all. The End.” The visuals simply displayed two craft leaving two planets and then arriving at Earth. Clearly this wax museum show was either a biased opinion or a piece of propaganda, but either way it didn’t tell me anything useful. Pixel hunting revealed that I could move to a screen off to the left, so that’s what I did. The second part of the “show” was even less subtle, having giant robots and two Orbs triumphantly “standing” over a pile of human corpses. “Conquest July 2002: Earth welcomes its friends with open arms. With few exceptions, its people gladly accept Orb rule.” I guess I’m happy to be one those “exceptions”! Once again I found that the show would continue off to the left of screen, so I moved on once pixel hunting bore no fruit.

The Murry's included both the old and new forms of Orb in the show.

The next part of the show was titled “A Typical American Family”, and displayed a family living in a shambles, cowering in front of a fireplace with clothes hanging off them. “Life on Earth is improving each day. The benefits of Orb rule will be apparent to the people of Earth very soon.” I wasn’t so sure of that, and began pixel hunting the room for clues. It turned out that I could click on the fireplace, and doing so took me up to a garbage-filled room. The words “Zac’s howse” were written on the wall, so clearly I’d found the place I needed to be. Yet frustratingly, despite minutes of pixel hunting and trying every item I had, there appeared to be absolutely nothing that I could do there! Why was West so important? Surely I must gain something by solving the West puzzle and finding my way to the Wax Museum?! I re-explored each of the rooms in the show, but eventually had exhausted every possible angle. I was very relieved indeed when on departing the museum, the Orb’s contacted me. It looks like I’ve done everything I needed to do on Day 2! Time to find out what Day 3 will bring. Hopefully it connects all these dots I have floating around in my brain!

Requested Image: This one's for you Canageek

Bones and blood are all the rage in interior decorating since the invasion

Session Time: 2 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 00 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!


  1. This is getting even more interesting! This would have made a good novel. Someone call William Gibson...

    1. I've never read a Gibson novel. Yet another thing that I should remedy one day. I've spent more time in fantasy than science fiction, but that has more to do with the length of fantasy series than anything else.

    2. Yeah, I understand that Mr. Gibson is a very important writer, saving Science Fiction in the same way Nirvana saved rock.

      ...that doesn't mean I can stand either one of them.

  2. Interesting. There were several of us who were sure you would need help on the inches bit. I'm sad that we didn't get to see the wax museum scene with the family in front of the fireplace though.

    Also: I don't remember any orbs showing up in 2002, do you? Must have been an American thing.

    1. I've been wondering whether or not I've solved the puzzles that people bet against me on. I have to admit it gives me more motivation to try to solve the game unassisted when I know someone doubts I'll be able to do it. :)

    2. I'm not sure anyone put up CAPS for that one, but we had a conversation about it when you hit that puzzle for the first time. A longish one. >.>'

      It was based on the fact you are Australian and not American, and thus have probably never used an inch.

      Thank you very much.

    3. We may not use inches as much as people do in other certain countries, but we still use them quite regularly. For example, we still use feet and inches to describe the height of people rather than metres and centimetres. All our rulers and tape measures have inches on them as well as centimetres and millimetres.

      We don't use miles though, and while I know approximately how far it is, would never use it in a sentence (except for perhaps mile high club ;) )

    4. That is really cool. We use inches in much the same way, but I figured that was just because we are right next to the USA, so we get their stuff (Ovens in F instead of C, some microwaves still use lb, we get 8.5" x 11" Letter paper instead of A4).

      Yeah, I have no idea what a mile or a gallon is, though I use miles in phrases like a mile a minute.

    5. We do say it "goes for miles and miles" as well. It "goes for kilometres and kilometres" just doesn't have the same flow to it

    6. Actually, in my (Australian) experience, my most recent tape measure doesn't have inches in it, nor do the most recent rulers I've seen.

      I think it's changed gradually over the past 10-20 years because when I was in school my rulers all had centimetres on one side and inches on the other.

    7. Approximately speaking: a gallon is slightly less than four liters, and a mile is a little more than one and a half kilometers.

    8. And an inch is 2.54 cm, something NSERC doesn't know.

    9. How is that something they don't institutionally know?

    10. The formatting guidelines say what the margins should be in both cm and inches, but the two values don't match. If you work out the cm one, they took 0.75 inch margins, rounded to 2.5 cm/inch and then used that value to convert to cm, then rounded the result again.

  3. Anyone played the Penumbra series? I'm marking them as adventure games, but I see a lot of sites calling them Action Adventures. Thoughts?

    1. I played one of them, can't remember which one. I know they label them as adventure games, but they often step really close to being action/survival, and some times they cross that line entirely. And I also can't say anything about the other two.

      Are they adventure games at the core? Yes. Are they Action Adventures? Yes. Although many "pure" adventure games also have action sequences, where do we draw the line? That's another question.

    2. Is the main game play walking around solving inventory puzzles? Adventure game
      Is the main game play walking around solving other puzzles? Adventure game
      Do you go around rubbing X on Y? Adventure game
      Is it point and click? Adventure game

      Note: By this definition I don't draw much of a line between adventure and action-adventure. But then, people call Prince of Persia and Uncharted action adventure, and neither fits the above requirements.

    3. Is the main game play walking around solving inventory puzzles? Parts, yes
      Is the main game play walking around solving other puzzles? Parts, yes.
      Do you go around rubbing X on Y? Can't remember any in-game rubbing.
      Is it point and click? No, 3D exploration and action.

      It is more of a hybrid game. Is it pure adventure? No. In broad strokes I'd guess that a third to half the game is action. Still, it has inventory puzzles, physics puzzles, and maybe some rubbing.

    4. A similar question would be: would you say survival horror games are adventures?

      While not exactly the same, the Penumbra games are action-adventures through and through. Even with the background of a compelling story that's revealed mainly through the discovery of notes and markings, puzzles are rather easy and sparse, and the focus is on the horror experience. You spend a lot of time running from monsters and using the environment to your advantage in clever and real-time ways.

      They're both really awesome games, and I highly recommend them.

    5. Canageek: Point’n’click is not so reliable criterion for adventure games: it gives false negatives (early Sierra games) and false positives (Ultima VII). In other words, it’s not the interface that defines adventure games.

      Personally, I’d say there’s no clear line between pure adventure games and action adventures, and in difficult cases the decision can be made only by gut feeling.

    6. Charles: I watched Resident Evil 2, and it did seem to have some adventure game characteristics. I hear Res Evil 1 was even more adventure gamey, with puzzles and things, so I'd say it depends on the particular game.

      Ilmari: I agree it gives false negatives, which is why it is a one way test (X implies Y says nothing about if Y implies X, though most people don't realize that). However, I think you'd be very hard pressed to find many games that give it false positives. Ultima VII, OK, I'll see that when we get there on Chet's blog. What about others? It is an interface that doesn't lend itself to much else.

    7. 10 min into a blind Let's Play. So far 0 enemies, lots of opening containers to find items, and using objects on other objects to open doors and such. Initial signs say Yes, but I'll keep watching.

    8. I'd thought a lot of CRPGs used also a point and click -interface. Admittedly, I don't know the genre that well, but Dungeon Master comes to my mind as an early example.

    9. I guess technically they do, but for some reason I don't equate Baldur's Gate's UI with point and click in my mind.

    10. Hard to say with this one. As others have said, there's no fighting (you can hit things, but you don't do enough damage to realistically fight anything) but there's quite a bit of running and hiding - sometimes running and having to quickly solve a puzzle to escape.

      Most of the game involves searching rooms for items that you use to solve puzzles to get to the next area, which is adventurey.

      Puzzles aren't all inventory based. Sbe rknzcyr, fbzr chmmyrf zvtug vaibyir zbivat jbbqra cynaxf naq obkrf gb perngr n znxrfuvsg ynqqre gb ernpu n uvtu nern gb cvpx hc na vgrz. Bgure chmmyrf zvtug or svaqvat n tbbq cynpr gb uvqr fb lbh nera'g sbhaq.

      I'd say it makes sense being on "borderline" for the adventure elements. I see little difference in the adventure/action ratio between Penumbra and Manhunter, for example.

      I'd probably put in some hard-earned caps to make it playable if it was because I love the games and think they're well worth playing and reading about.

      Note: From memory, the second game (Black Plague) is even less actiony, and the expansion to Black Plague (Penumbra: Requiem) removes the action elements all together and is just a series of physics puzzles with an overarching story.

    11. Boarderline sounds like an excellent place to me, and I may want to help you with those CAPS. You should also add the first game in the series (or at least, in an identical style by the same publisher, Amnesia: The Dark Descent) to the series.

    12. The problem is different people have different views of what makes an adventure game. For instance, on the Wikipedia list of notable graphic adventure games are games like Catherine and Dream Chronicles. I wouldn't put either in that category (Dream Chronicles borderline), but still, someone have.

      Considering the rules however, the terms are pretty simple.

      a) Is it on the Wikipedia list?
      b) Has it at least 20 votes on MobyGames?
      c) Is it UNDENIABLY an adventure game?

      If the game matches one of these, it's Disregarded. Two, it's Borderline. If it matches all, yay, it's an adventure game and we're going to play it.

      So considering the games in question:
      Penumbra. It's on the Wikipedia list. It has 37 votes on MobyGames. Is it an adventure game? For me, maaaaybe. That makes it Borderline, since I can't UNDENIABLY state that it's an adventure game.
      Alone in the Dark. It's not on the Wikipedia list. It has lots of votes on MobyGames, but isn't listed as an adventure game. Do I think it is? No. So 0 out of 3 for me marks it as No Go.

      It wasn't that hard really when I refreshed the rules. :p

    13. I must point out that it is also subjective to decide undeniable adventure games. For instance, I am pretty sure there’s someone out there who would hesitate to call hybrids like Hero’s Quest adventure games.

      I just noticed that there can be Potential games that fail even to have Disregarded-status. How so? If a game is listed in the Mobygames as an adventure game and has at least 10 votes, it will be Potential, but if it then fails to have 20 votes, is not on the Wikipedia list and is not an undeniable adventure game, it will fail to be even Disregarded. I don’t know if this is intentional on Trickster’s part, just thought to mention it.

    14. I think the real difference with Hero's Quest as compared to (say, Baldur's Gate), here, is that you can play through Hero's Quest (as a thief) without actually doing the whole 'fight' thing but the puzzles are required, unlike Baldur's (where you can theoretically ignore the storyline if you know where you're going in favour of just making it a strategic combat simulator with levels and weapon proficiency). At no point do you -have- to play it as an RPG cross style thing - it is just a lot easier / more fluid. However, to beat QFG1 as a Thief, I can sneak up to the kobold and steal his key to free the Baronet (this is the fly in the ointment for MU/fighter), get all of the dispel potion bits for the Baroness fair and square, and use all of the money from the Baronet to take out Baba Yaga. I'd argue that you're missing out on parts of the game in doing so - but you -can- do it, whereas the fact that there's a big boss battle at the end of Baldur's Gate, not to mention all of the necessary ones between, make the game more combat based despite the great deal of dialogue/story/simple puzzling that make the game whole. I'm less arguing 'what the rules' mean, though, and more 'what the spirit of the rules / the term 'adventure game' really is.

    15. I'm all in for going to the spirit of rules, but I'd still hesitate deciding whether something is an adventure game (and not CRPG) on basis of whether you can play it without fighting. Firstly, I'd think we should at least consider how likely it is that a random player would find this possible playthrough (in case of Hero's Quest, he would have to pick up one particular character among three possibilities, solve all the puzzles in a non-violent manner, avoid all random encounters etc. - not so likely, if you don't know the game well).

      Secondly, there's a problem with CRPGs like Ultima VI where combat is extremely rare, and if the player so desires, he can just avoid the majority, if not all of the fights. The rest of the game is then collection of information, dialogues, retrieving lost items, rubbing things on one another - standard adventure game stuff. Still, it doesn't feel like an adventure game IMO.

      Finally, even if we manage to avoid all fighting in Hero's Quest, there's still the skill system, which is not a very adventure gamish thing and which you can't really avoid: you have to raise your skills in lock picking, climbing, throwing etc. and keep yourself fed and rested. I guess that even this CRPGish micro management could be too much for some adventure game purists.

      My main point was that the word "undeniable adventure game" could be read so strictly that no hybrids would ever be more than Borderline games. I wouldn't really want to go that far, because it just doesn't feel right to exclude all hybrids from the genre (Quest for the Glory -series being a good example of a hybrid that feels like a proper adventure game).

    16. Eh, I read undeniable as a subjective term. Are you convinced it's an adventure game? Then it fulfills this requirement. The only problem is the rules doesn't state whose opinion it is that determines this, but I'd guess that's why Trickster is asking these questions in the first place, as he isn't sure if it's adventure games himself and thus won't know if it matches the requirements or not.

      The point is; if you feel it's an adventure game, then it is, regardless of any strict definitions.

    17. At the end of the day, I'm making a subjective call as to whether or not a game is UNDENIABLY an adventure game. When I'm not certain, I ask you guys for your thoughts, but it's still my personal call in the end.

      I think in instances where there is significant discussion about whether a game should or shouldn't be considered part of the genre (Penumbra seems a good case), that automatically rules it out as UNDENIABLY an adventure game. To me, that doesn't mean hybrids will all be ruled out. All the Quest for Glory games I've played are adventure games for sure.

      I think the reason I like the system (if I do say so myself) is that even games given a No for this criteria can still be added to the list if there's enough demand. Ilmari mentioned that it's possible for a Potential game (ie. a game marked as Adventure on Moby Games that has 10 or more votes) to not even receive a Disregarded status if it fails the genre criteria, has less than 20 votes, and isn't on the Wiki list. But after listing all the current game statuses from 1990 through to 2010, this hasn't happened to a single game.

      The Alone in the Dark series is however a surprise exclusion, since it's not on the Wiki list and isn't even considered an adventure game on Moby (it's listed as purely Action). It's therefore not even a Potential game. I grew up seeing these games listed as adventure games regularly, but somewhere along the line that label was adjusted. I haven't played them so can't comment either way.

      I always assumed that someone would make me play them, but if I follow the rules strictly, no-one can. I don't have to follow the rules strictly though. ;)

    18. I should clarify my comment that no game has missed out on even getting a Disregarded status. Of course, I've not spent too long looking into every game I've come across. The only ones I've really looked into are those given multiple genres on Moby.

      If it's considered Adventure and Adventure alone on Moby, then I've accepted that in the majority of instances.

      We can discuss my decisions when we reach each year anyway.

    19. Lars-Erik: Yes, I misunderstood your intentions, sorry about that.

      Trickster: It is a bit surprising that Alone in the Dark is not listed as an adventure game on Moby. Still, I don't think it's the general opinion, because, for instance, such quality site as Hardcore Gaming classifies it as an adventure: http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/aitd/aitd.htm

    20. We'll cross this bridge when we get there. :)

  4. Okay... I think if we're going to be all crazy here on definitions, I think it should come down to the vibe of the game first and foremost. Under your above rules, Canageek, please qualify the following games for me:

    Grim Fandango
    TES: Daggerfall
    Fantasy World Dizzy

    According to your rules, I think Daggerfall is the closest I'd go to calling an adventure game, no? :)

    How about we examine what a game is focused around instead? QFG2 can be completed without any fighting as a Thief. Daggerfall cannot. Does that fit a little better? In Daggerfall the focus is the action - in QFG it's the puzzle solving and storytelling between characters. That's how I look at it anyhow.

    1. OK, keeping in mind I've never played any of these:
      CRPG (Western-Style Action RPG, in specific)

      Huh? Ok, I'm going to assume Daggerfall is like oblivion or Skryim, and in both of those I spent far more time lighting things on fire then solving puzzles. I mean, it has puzzles, but they are like, 1% of the gameplay, with looting things, killing things and exploring being far larger percentages.

      Fantasy world dizzy looks like a platfomer to me, watching a couple clips of Yatzee's playthrough. But you do have to use a sleeping potion on a dragon, but it is a timing puzzle. SO I guess it is an action adventure?

      Grim Fandango seems to be a pure adventure game.

      I think the most important factor is what you spend your time doing, which I probably didn't make clear as it was 3 am when I wrote that. In Elder Scrolls games you spend most of your time fighting. In Dizzy you seem to spend your time jumping from platform to platform looking for hidden objects, in GF you spend your time talking to people had solving puzzles. It doesn't matter if you CAN finish the game without killing anyone, if mot players have a bodycount on par with Vlad the Impaler, and it doesn't matter if you can fight if most players will. What matters is what most of the game consists of.

    2. Precisely. (Daggerfall was the precursor to oblivion et al. But you could technically have a non combat playthrough (or I'm ninety percent sure of those two games as largely being completeable without) in each of these games, and all require dialogue and item puzzles to complete.) However, while you might need these things, they're not at all the focus of the game. Penumbra is a survival horror game, and even though there's not much combat - the first priority is scaring and running and not so much puzzling. You could perhaps make an excuse for it being an adventure through the story and puzzle aspects.... But I could say the same about the original Alone in the Dark game... Does anyone really want that? Because sheesh. Not even I'd do that to him!

    3. Actually, I was looking forward to seeing Alone in the Dark, I've heard good things about it.

      I guess that is a good argument for not including these games, though watching a playthrough of Amnesia there seem to be a lot of puzzles, at least as many as hiding from enemies in the first 4 vids, and almost as much in Penumbra. I'd say survival horror is often a subgenre of Adventure that just adds a horror element to the puzzles, the way Below The Root added platforming or Heroquest added RPG elements. Sure, some of them will go over the line, but a lot of them are just adventure game + things you run away from.

    4. Every good thing you have ever heard about Alone in the Dark is a lie. A dirty, filthy lie. It is quite possibly the biggest waste of PC processing power to have ever existed in the nineties. The gameplay was nearly nonexistent, the puzzling was mediocre, the graphics were ALWAYS horrible (they were trying for the 'no, we're good, really!' but at least with Mario for the NES, you knew what those twenty-some pixels that indicated little Mario meant. Alone in the Dark, I'm still not sure if you're playing as a human or a.. something else that has legs and arms but is definitely not a human. Maybe 'living, difficult to see box that slightly resembles Jones from Jones in the Fast Lane'.) The sounds, in several versions, were lucky to be fighting the PC speaker for its almighty dominance of the market with its quality. It's one of those games that everyone who likes, I feel, really do look at through immensely rose tinted glasses...

      And more importantly, the focus is most definitely on the action portion as opposed to the puzzle solving (it's Tomb Raider with less shooting and more awkward punching and kicking). However, if you want a whole bunch of blog posts that read like 'Turned left. Died instantly due to being stunned up against a wall by some blob thing that I can't really describe outside of 'blob thing'. Should have turned right.' 'Turned right.. that was a mistake too. It's just an empty corridor. I have tried interacting with every single item on the screen. I think I'm going to turn left again to give myself sweet, merciful death. If it's even death that they're inflicting..'

      Well, I guess, feel free to campaign for it. (I'm at least nice enough to only want him to play Les Manley, which is painful but at least short and gives you plenty of time to make your mistakes. Which you'll make by doing things that seem perfectly rational.)

    5. Solution: I go watch a Let's Play and see if *I* think it is an adventure game.

      See, I'm watching Penumbra and there are a lot of puzzles. Lots of exploring in dark, but only 2 monsters you have to hide from in the first hour of the game. Then there is a puzzle of sorts to get away from one (Oneevpnqr gur qbbe, ohg gur tnzr xvaq bs tvirf gung njnl, fb abg fher vs vg pbhagf)

    6. @Aperama
      Haters gona hate. Your statement about AitD graphics is a "dirty, filthy lie". It had a wow factor when it has been released. You could not find such a 3D environment (ok, mainly assets) anywhere else. The Title was very innovative for the time being starting the new genre. And your comparison to Mario is... I have no words. Yeah, the gameplay at the beginning is trial and error (like some games on this blog) but many obstacles (enemies) can be managed in clever ways. In general your whining has no sense.

  5. I always seem to get stuck in these games by being unable to work out people's names. I never even considered West as a surname. Time to continue my playthrough (Yes, I used this post instead of a walkthrough when I was stuck)

    1. The first thing that popped into my head was Adam West. Shows how different people think. :p

    2. I definitely would have got stuck there if I hadn't learnt from my experience in game one. It was the names that screwed me up there, so I'm constantly on the lookout for them in the sequel.

  6. The saddest news of the day:

    Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Loom, The Dig, Indiana Jones, Full Throttle, Sam & Max, Zak McKracken...an era is over.

    1. Not to mention the games I knew them for: Dark Forces, X-Wing and Tie Fighter.

    2. From an adventure standpoint, this makes little difference. Tales of Monkey Island was developed by Telltale, which seems just as likely now that they're only involved in licensing their IP's.

      Of course! Anyone losing their job is sad news so I hope their staff finds new jobs in the industry soon.

    3. Not to mention Old Republic and the Lego Star Wars and Indy games also being handled by outside developers (Bioware and Traveler's Tales). This does offer a small gleam of hope for adventure gamers though, in that maybe they'll now be much more inclined to license out those classic adventure game properties than previously to folks who actually want to do something with them.

    4. I'm honestly waiting for an Indy remake/sequel/what have you. You'd get people buying for the name alone (it worked for Back to the Future, which was disappointing despite having a couple of well thought out moments). The star wars games will not end, even though part of me says they really should have long ago.

    5. Speaking of Back to the Future (Produced by Telltale Games) Telltale has now confirmed that their King's Quest game is canceled and the rights once more fully in the hands of Activision (who may or may not have actual nebulous plans for it)

    6. I skipped all non-adventure games from the list due to the audience, but yes Canageek, you're absolutely right. I was actually a member of the Emperor's Hammer many years ago where you enlisted in a huge "military organization" that did custom TIE Fighter missions. You got assigned to a wing under a squadron commander, had to report in at regular intervals with mission results, and where you could rise in rank depending on performance, get your own command, assign missions etc. Those were my nerdy days, and it was awesome. *sniff*

      The Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series was fantastic, I loved KotOR (including the second one), and the flight games (X-Wing, TIE Fighter, X-Wing vs TIE Fighter) were outstanding.

      I always had hope LucasArts would find a semblance of past glory again, and 1313 gave me hope. Unfortuantely that's cancelled as well. But as you say, hopefully other developers can do the old games justice, and not just let them be forgotten. I'm not sure though, as Disney hasn't made any big name games at all these last years, but focused squarely on casual gaming. In my mind that does not bode well.

    7. Lars-Erik: I never got into Tie Fighter vs. X-Wing, just the original single-player games.

      I view the Jedi Knight sequels to Dark Forces as the beginning of the end, as after that it was all Jedi, no rogues, no smugglers, no brave freedom fighters, just more and more Jedi.

      1313 was a great idea, but it looked like Uncharted in space :(

  7. It's a tough time in the industry in general. We are waiting for next gen consoles, consoles which people fear the public may not want. Mobile/tablet gaming is on the rise, free to play (for good or for bad) is becoming more of a thing. I guess the good out of all of this is that PC gaming is strengthening again. Some would say it's never gone away, but at least we're hearing a lot less "PC gaming is dying/dead". All of this is giving a lot of gaming companies out there pause.

  8. Heya Trickster!

    I'm finally finished! http://atomicvege.deviantart.com/gallery/

    I created a few more than 10. :)

    All are about 600 pixels wide. If you need larger versions, let me know. Pick what you want and I hope you enjoy.

    Again, sorry for the delay!

    1. That's fantastic Dave! I'll do something with them as soon as I get a few hours to tinker. Thank you very much! CAPs will follow as promised.

  9. There's a new modern point and click adventure game on GOG called The Cat Lady.

    The trailer is...well...absolutely terrible! Reminds me of David Firth without the genius.

    1. wow, yeah, I don't have much hope for that one. At least it'll be a few years before you get to that point.

    2. Funny, the game got a very good review at Adventure Gamers: http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/23373

    3. Well, the trailer may not be a good representation of the game, so hopefully it doesn't turn out that bad when Trickster sits down to play it.

    4. I followed the development of that game on AGS forums. I haven't had the time to play it yet, but reading about it gives me a feeling that it's probably very well written. And probably a very good game.