|The game opens with a shill scream|
|...And then some generic hard rock music into a title screen. COUNTDOWN!|
It's almost sad to be writing instead of reading these, but I'll try my best not to let anyone be disappointed.. well, aside from the fact that we're leaving QFG2, which I've already mentioned is quite possibly my favourite game of all time. Countdown: An Interactive Movie of Intrigue, Espionage and Suspense appears to be the next in a relatively short line of games we're going to see from Access Software - A.K.A. the creators of the Tex Murphy franchise. Seeing the familiar faces of Brent Erickson -- but more importantly, Chris Jones (the face of Tex Murphy) under the 'created and designed by' column is quite heartening, I'll admit freely, as I was quite worried this one could easily be a hunk of junk! At least the story is just about guaranteed to be good. Comparing the credits of the two games, it seems that Mean Streets had quite a few extra people working on it, though - if Mobygames is to be believed, only eight people actually worked on this game, which is a little concerning to say the least. (One of them is only there for 'additional text', at that, whatever that means!) Still, I've got faith in the ability of this crew, as all of the people who are listed in this game are veterans from Mean Streets, and the majority of them returned for Martian Memorandum - so they can't have mucked up too badly.
|Chris Jones - anybody who doesn't know this face by now on this blog has some catching up to do|
The manual doesn't exactly give amazing amounts of detail in regards to what I'm to expect, and isn't very graphical in nature. Apparently, I'm an American Intelligence officer (not Molly Meldrum, as I had so hoped - any Australian reader can fill you in) waking up in a government subsidized asylum for 'people who know too much'. But I have that ever-so-fun plot point of amnesia to deal with! (That said, the back cover informs me a little more, telling me that I'm Mason Powers, that I've just intercepted an ultra secret message about an international terrorist group - and that the CIA Section Chief, Frank McBain, is dead - allegedly at my hands! I'm already expecting there to be several playthroughs though, as there's another listed issue - 'You have 96 hours starting 12:00 am Wed. Oct. 7. You have until Sat. Oct. 10 at midnight to solve the game.' Ooh, boy! I love it when games give me deadlines! *gag* Still, that's not to say that the deadlines are going to be impossible, right? I'm definitely not heartened by its warnings of 'save often' (a common adventure game mainstay in manuals and death screens alike) - but I'll admit that my warning klaxon does seem to be firing away at the statement that I should 'play with a friend' and that I should 'play with the lights turned down for atmosphere'. Heck. There's even a hint book ad. And a help line ad. Yeeeah... I think Trickster might have picked the right time to stand aside..
|I can already tell just from this little screenshot in the manual that there's going to be some real pixel hunting pain|
The game appears to be using a modified version of the Tex Murphy/Mean Streets engine, which means I at least know what I'm likely to be in for as far as an interface - somewhat clunky, but mostly effective. It also shows pictures in the manual of a familiar conversation interface, even though I'm hopeful that they've at least taken out the 'remembering everybody's full name' sections of Mean Streets... but I'm really getting ahead of myself, here. I'll let you all know ahead of time that the blogging part of this is very new to me, and the thought of taking intermittent screenshots is definitely not one I'm used to.. doubly so with a timed game. With any luck, though, I should be able to get around my troubles and just focus on getting thoroughly lost in the world of Countdown. My copy forces me to choose my interface/sound options every time I run it up, even with it 'installed', which is quite annoying - and just from a few moments of fiddling with the opening screen, I can already tell that I'm going to be cussing a great deal at the game engine, making me click multiple times on things et al - I'll try not to belabour the point, though. Anyhow. Let's get on with it!
|The 1990s loved these slogans, didn't they? Did anyone ever really feel that 'they were right there'? Huh?|