Saturday, 16 May 2015

Game 53: Hugo II, Whodunit? - Final Rating

By Deimar

So before starting with the rating I have to state that I went back and finished the game “the right way” using Joe Pranevich’s ROT13’ed clue. To be honest, half of me wanted the game to be something else. I see some potential with the set up. The mystery might have not been great, but looking at clues like the will in the safe or the health insurance letter it could have been so much better with a little effort... But no. The “right ending” is just lazy. You can say “nobody” when Higgins ask you “whodunit” and then Harry congratulates you instead of laughing at you. I’m ecstatic. Let me show you how much by rating the game.

If you never thought I could guess it is probably because it is impossible to guess at this point without “failing” once...

Puzzles and Solvability

Hugo II has a major problem. There are not enough items to make the game interesting. In each section there is one item to interact with. Just one thing. You can have something to take. Or you may have to use something. And in some cases there is nothing to do at all. This scarcity makes the game’s puzzles really obvious. However, many of the obstacles in the game are only an obstacle because of the perspective or how to phrase the solution. For example, the venus trap garden, the bridge or the chasm in the cave. Having played the first one and reading Trickster’s rating I’m gonna give Hugo II the same points. I think the game is basically the same in this aspect, which is not a good thing.

Rating: 2

And because I hate this bridge so much...

Interface and Inventory

The interface is rather bad. I mean, it is an standard parser. However, in Sierra games or even text adventures you can look and be given a list of items in the room you can interact with. And most of the items in those games have an appropriate description. In this game there is no such thing. Or at least it is not common. There are some rooms with some of the interactive items listed, but in most of them you have to guess what is in the room. For example, the sticks outside the dog house or the cabinets. Granted, being a non­native english speaker this is more of a problem for me than or other people so I will try not to be too harsh on the game. However, the interface is still horrendous. The parser is way too specific in my opinion. There is no need to look at any item because the description is usually just the name of the object. Navigating the “mazes” (venus garden and the bridge) is unintuitive because you don’t know what you are actually hitting to trigger the death. No improvement after 1 year of development since the last one.

Rating: 1

Not to mention navigating this maze is as boring as watching a stone evolve

Story and Setting

So this is a murder mystery without any murder nor mystery. The game starts with a promising story only to diverge to exploration for the sake of exploration and random happenings (doctah, looking at you). Padding at its best. Then it goes back to the murder mystery only to make the player do some more random things that could have pointed to clues to solve the mystery but that in reality are red herrings that the player must follow because otherwise the game won’t end. And that is even more padding. There is a story in the game, yes. But it is so nonsensical and it is often so forgotten by even the game itself that it is not worth commenting. And I’m gonna avoid commenting of the suspicious similarities with Colonel’s Bequest.

Rating: 2

So why has this mystery suddenly become The Goonies?

Sound and graphics

Little to no sound. And when there is sound you wish there wasn’t. PC Speaker at the peak of its popularity. Regarding graphics, it is still the same Paint graphics as Hugo I. There are some screens that are noticeable because they look like scanned photographs. But those are too little and the change in art style is too noticeable. They are not bad, but by comparison with the rest of the game they kind of look like they were bad. If I don’t count the animals/murderer robots there are a total of 3 different models for the characters. And that’s giving that men and women models are different beyond using different clothes because the faces are all the same. The third model is the fat guy if you were wondering, represented by the gardener and the genie. And I’m pretty sure the three models are the same as the ones in Hugo I. As with the previous categories, not a lot of improvement in this regard.

Rating: 2

Completely on par with Space Quest IV. What a big change after just one year of development!

Environment and Atmosphere

That the history feels so disconnected is in great part thanks to the environments. There are a few (house, garden, street and cave) but they have so little to do with each other that it just feels like a random mess of screens until you have a game that lasts enough. The atmosphere is also lacking for the same reasons. There is no coherence. The game failed to present me an interesting scene. Or an interesting anything. It is simply a random mess.

Rating: 1

Behold!! A completely empty and useless screen!

Dialogue and acting

I think this will be the category in which Hugo II gets the highest rating. It is not estelar, but I can say it is acceptable. More often than not it is even funny, although there is not a lot to talk with the people in the house. Even though, they do have some personality traits that get reflected into the dialogue. So, there you go. A 3 as the highest score for this game.

Rating: 3

Well. You also have dialogue like this to be honest. But let’s not beat the dead horse...

2+1+2+2+1+3 divided by 0.6 is 18.33 which makes 18 the rating for Hugo II, Whodunit?. I think that’s about right. I mean, the first game got 24 but I think it felt more of a complete coherent game that this one is. As I’ve said, this one just seems like tying screens together to get a game of appropriate length. Joseph Curwen please come to receive your prize. Lots and lots of  CAPs!!

Cap Distribution:

100 CAPs for Deimar:
Blogger Award ­ 100 CAPs ­ For blogging his way through the game for our enjoyment

20 CAPs for Joseph Curwen:
Whodunit award ­ 20 CAPs ­ For guessing the game’s score

17 CAPs for Mr. Valdez
Amy award ­ 10 CAPs ­ For playing this excellent game with me
Alot award ­ 5 CAPs ­ For finding spelling errors
Cat Lady award ­ 2 CAPs ­ For identifying a cat scratching post

10 CAPs for Illmari
Rose award ­ 10 CAPs ­ For playing this excellent game with me

5 CAPs for Joe Pranevich
Poirot award ­ 5 CAPs ­ For revealing the murderer

5 CAPs for TBD
Genre Dissemination award ­ 5 CAPs ­ For mentioning a GOG sale

5 CAPs for Fry
Enigma award ­ 5 CAPs ­ For discovering what “b*g *a*pe*” means

5 CAPs for Jan Larres
Humanitarian award ­ 5 CAPs ­ For disseminating information about Mike Berlyn’s cancer fund

5 CAPs for Laukku
Double Fine award ­ 5 CAPs ­ For posting about Broken Age part 2


  1. For anyone wondering, CAPs for "The Hulk" and "Mission Asteroid" will be included with Space Quest IV.

    Wow. This is one of the lowest ratings on the blog. It only beats Psycho, Emmanuelle, and Merry Christmas. What terrific company...

  2. I think it's position as worst game of the year is surely safe, will it be the worst game of all time? Probably. Although there is a sequel...

  3. CAP Leaderboard updated! Exciting changes, like a new leader, and Joe Pranevich pushing Corey Cole out of the top ten.

    1. Really? I was only *5* points away from the Top Ten? Awesome.

    2. Looks like the full list has the right numbers but still has Corey Cole as 10th and Joe as 11th. Not that it matters much since they're 1 point apart.

      I'll probably be the writer with the fewest points. Good thing writing is a way to earn points, right?

    3. Strange, I see the full list in correct order.

      Alex has currently less points than you, Reiko, but you both will surely rise up in the list.

    4. Wow. Corey, Diemar, and I are only one CAP off of each other. This is a very tight leaderboard!

  4. Don't know what it is about that screen with Penelope in front of the purple doors in sound/graphics.. but it reminds me of the opening screen in Police Quest 1. Even though the similarities to The Colonel's Bequest are possible to point out, the game distances itself enough to not be plagiaristic (redhead in a blue dress with matching shoes) by just being.. well.. crappy. The key difference is that Colonel Dijon (so tempted to append 'Mustard' to that) is dragging everyone together simply for the intent of reading his will - there's no question as to his motive. Horace is just a batty old beekeeper who lets wild snakes and genies roam free on his yard.

    The BBC should GET David Gray for the Doctor Who cameo, though.

  5. Where can we download this game?

    1. The eternal pits of hell. (Or optionally, has it - - you could probably also get it by more illicit means if you were that way inclined but GoG has a habit of making you skip all of the 'make it work' steps that make games of this era so painful to play.)

    2. Are you insane?! Did some kind of brain-sucking bug attacked you in your sleep?! Why would you want to play this terrible excuse of a gam- uh uh. I'm not even going to call Hugo II that. It would have meant that it was entertaining. Playing it is more like throwing a gigantic top between your thighs as you sit in the lotus position; hoping it will stop before it hits your sensitive parts.

  6. Wait, what?! 18?! This piece of crap has 18 points?! My niece can produce prettier pictures than those on MS Paint! Seriously, the artwork looks like crayon doodles made by a kindergartener. Even Sierra's Hi-Res Adventures look better!

    Okay, probably not... but they're a decade apart!

  7. Huh, my inability to spell saved me from a very, very terrible game. Glad you reviewed it though, now I don' have to regret not being able to play it.