Tuesday 30 August 2016

Consulting Detective - Amnesia, She Wrote

Written by Joe Pranevich

Dr. Watson has taken to finding cases in the paper.

Last time, we wrapped up Holmes’s first case of the game and now it’s time to start in on the second. This one begins like the first with Watson reading about an interesting case in the London Times. A “Society Burglar” has managed to rob seven different high-society households, each time taking only a single valuable piece of jewelry and leaving the rest untouched. There were no signs of a search; it was as if the burglar knew exactly where to look each time. The most recent burglary was a Cleopatra tiara at the home of Sir Sanford Leeds on July 2. Holmes seems interested, but then he and Watson are interrupted by another case.

A gentleman named Gerald Locke arrives at Baker Street and tells us about the murder of Guy Clarendon. That case seems straight-forward: three days ago, Guy was shot dead in his hotel room with a woman, Frances Nolan, found standing over his body with a gun in her hand. Despite the evidence against her, Gerald is certain that she did not do it and his request is for us to prove her innocent. This sounds pretty fun!

Are these two cases connected? Or is the “Society Burglar” just foreshadowing the third case in the game? I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

Saturday 27 August 2016

EcoQuest - Anemone and Octopus

Written by Reiko

Adam Greene Journal #5: "Time to explore farther! I've done all I can in the city for now. It's too bad everywhere else is so full of trash too. And something nearby is wayyy worse than just trash! All the plants near one cave are dead. It must be that poison that's threatening the city. I've got to get in there and find out what it is without killing myself."

We're on the next stage of the quest to find Cetus, which seems to involve actually leaving the city to start searching. I swim down out of the city and find myself back on the overlook screen where I first saw the city after emerging from the kelp maze. This time I have full control, though, and plenty of time to look around.

Statue pieces don't count as trash, fortunately.

I notice a giant statue head off to one side that looks intriguing. As I approach it, the view shifts over to the next screen and I can look at it more closely. Apparently there's a "flashlight fish" stuck in the statue's ear.

I also find some trash to dispose of [10] (a doll, a plastic flamingo, an old teddy bear, and a pair of polka-dot shorts), plus a little mirror, which I pocket [2]. I need to catch that fish in the statue, though. I thought initially the mirror might lure it out if I reflected some of its light, but no. I think I need to catch the fish in the glass jar I have, but the problem is that the lid is stuck tightly on the jar. I tried to get it open earlier by using it on the fisherman, but nothing happened. There must be another way, but I don't see it yet, so I keep exploring.

Friday 26 August 2016

Missed Classic 27: Antheads: It Came From The Desert II (1990) - Introduction

Written by TBD

It Came From the Desert was recently voted the best Missed Classic we've played to date.

I heartily accept this award on behalf of the town of Lizard Breath

Oh great! This guy's back! He ran out of town at the height of the crisis last time. Surely someone in town has to be a better mayor than him.

With It Came From the Desert getting that accolade, it seems like an appropriate time to look at the sequel.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Consulting Detective - Revenge of the Egyptology Nerd

Written by Joe Pranevich

Inspector Lestrade, I presume.

Last time, we started our investigation into a series of “mummy murders”, three dead archeologists all connected to the excavation and transportation of a mummy to London. We had looked at two of the murders but were just starting to investigate the third. So far, we have one very good suspect (a strange reporter) but no motives. The game is afoot, as they say!

Just to recap, what we know so far:
  • Murder #1 - Dr. Ebenizer Turnbull. He was murdered in the tomb he was excavating in Egypt in March, but I have very few details.
  • Murder #2 - Andrew Weatherby. He was murdered en-route to London around April 5. He and Windibank were transporting some archeological finds on board the Eastern Empress at the time of his death. He was very seasick on the journey and spent much of the time in his cabin while his wife and a suitor (Mr. Uruburu) may have used that time for some indiscretions.
  • Murder #3 - James Windibank. He was killed in the British museum, strangled by mummy wrappings.
Time to figure out how poor Mr. Windibank died…

Sunday 21 August 2016

EcoQuest - Manatee and Sea Turtle

Written by Reiko

Adam Greene Journal #4: "Before Delphineus and the Oracle will let me start searching for Cetus, I've had to help everyone else in the city first so they'll trust me. I'm glad I could help them, but it seems like ALL their problems have been caused by human trash! Some of them were in critical danger and it's a good thing I showed up when I did! There are so few citizens left as it is."

Time to work on helping some more citizens of Eluria. I swim next into the lowest apartment and find the manatee again. This time I can ask why he's blue and bandaged, and he explains that he's holding his breath. He doesn't want to go up to the surface to breathe because he keeps getting hit by a speedboat (Ecological message +1).

He should be dead from asphyxiation by now...

That can't be good for him. Manatees normally surface every few minutes and can generally only hold their breath for about twenty minutes or so (one source said up to twenty-four minutes). So this isn't very realistic, as he was already blue the first time I saw him, before I dealt with the oil on the coral and gave the shell to the mayor. But anyway, it's less realistic that he even talks, so never mind.

Adam offers to go up to the surface with him and do something about the boat's propellers. I don't know what Adam has in mind, but up we go. On the way, the manatee is hit by some more trash drifting down from the surface. It never ends!

The boat in question is just sitting right there when we surface, with an old fisherman at the helm. Able to breathe again, the manatee immediately turns his normal gray color and hovers nervously while I look around. I decide to go ahead and just talk to the fisherman and see if I can explain the damage he's doing. (You'd think he'd notice a manatee wearing a cap and bandages, but he doesn't even notice me until I speak.)

Friday 19 August 2016

Missed Classic: Mewilo - Won! (with Final Rating)

By Ilmari

Happened so far: Martinique isn’t a paradise, which is mostly due to the European settlers, who brought forcefully slaves from Africa to work in their plantations. The master and the slave populations had mixed, but this had not raised the status of Africans. Instead, the people who had even a tinge of African ancestry were considered part of the slave population, and like in a cruel joke, masters who had fathered these sorry persons named them with anagrams of their own names. Slave rebellion of 1831 had not changed the situation, and even the eventual abolition of slavery did not make the economical situation of Martinique any better - descendants of the European settlers still formed the upper class.

Social injustice has caused personal tragedies. During the slave rebellion, slave called Albrand had burned down the house of de Ronan family. Arnaud de Ronan, scarred by burn marks, died soon after the event, but not of any physical reason. He had done something horrible he had to atone for, and even his death by grief wasn’t enough - Arnaud’s ghost was left to haunt a bedroom in de Ronan mansion. The only document about the events leading to Arnaud’s demise was a letter he wrote and gave to a local priest for safekeeping. After the death of the priest, the letter had through various events finally found its way to the possession of one Minerve Doussaint.

Obtaining this letter would be important, since it might be the only clue of a recent appearance of a zombie, awakened by Arnaud’s descendants taking again residence in de Ronan mansion. Is there some dirty secret hidden in the fact that Nanor, grandmother of Anselme Saint-Just, a local politician with African ancestry, has a name that is clearly an anagram of Ronan? What could a local sorcerer, Gwanzong, reveal about the zombie? And how to reach him, when he lives in a land infested with deadly snakes? And who is Man Cécé mentioned in the manual, but never heard afterwards? It’s time to put on my colibri shape one last time and find out…

Yes, I am trying to find a letter, could you please give it to me?

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Consulting Detective - Are You My Mummy?

Written by Joe Pranevich

Elementary, my dear Watson!

Our story begins bright and early one morning in the Baker Street residence of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, presented to us in a brief introductory movie. Watson is reading the morning paper and is livid at the Times for printing a story that “play(s) upon people’s superstitions”. Holmes recognizes the case immediately: a so-called mummy’s “curse” that has resulted in the deaths of three men. In fact, he’s been making inquiries already because he believes that the murderer is considerably younger than 4000-years old. The video ends and I am free to start my investigation.

Don’t most Holmes stories start with a “client”, someone that consults with Holmes to set him off on his way? It seems slightly out of character for him to just be picking crimes out of the newspaper. It’s possible that this sort of thing happened often in the original stories and I’ve just forgotten. Three murders to solve-- this should be fun!

Monday 15 August 2016

POLL: Reader's Choice 1991

It's that time again.

With only Ecoquest and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective still to finish it's time to get ready for the annual TAG awards, and for you to vote for the best Adventure game of 1991!

Saturday 13 August 2016

EcoQuest - Crab and Lobster

Written by Reiko

Adam Greene Journal #3: "I want to help find King Cetus, but nobody except Delphineus trusts me, because I'm human. I certainly didn't throw any of this trash down here. I'm cleaning it up for them! But that's not enough. I'm SO glad I took some of my dad's experimental fertilizer solution with me. That stuff is awesome at dissolving oil! I'll have to tell him it works. But not only do I have to find Cetus, now I have to stay out of the way of a huge scary manta! I think this quest just got a LOT harder."

Last time, I followed the dolphin down to his ocean home of Eluria and began trying to help the city by talking to the Oracle. Now I have to find the mayor and the guardian of the greens.

I don't think Cetus would appreciate this description of him...

Thursday 11 August 2016

Missed Classic: Mewilo - End to slavery

By Ilmari

Happened thus far: Supernatural things have occurred in the Parnasse farm in Martinique. Since the slave revolt of 1831, in which the master of the house, de Ronan, was burned and died afterwards of grief, some strange phantom has cursed a bedroom of the farm. The daughter, Octavie de Ronan did not get hurt, because she and her mother were safe at the neighbouring plantation of du Banville family. Octavie later married Raoul du Banville. Four months ago, a descendant of Octavie, Geneviève Hubert-Destouches and her husband moved into Parnasse. Geneviève aggravated some zombie when she was tilling the ground. A local seer, Papa Echevain, thinks the zombie is trying to revenge something that happened in de Ronan family. Hubert-Destouches family have called me, a famed parapsychologist to investigate the matter. I arrive in the form of a colibri, a day before the nearby volcano is about to erupt...

Calm before the volcano eruption

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Heart of China - Final Rating

Before I begin with the rating work, I'd like to say that my investigative work has proven that.. well, there wasn't actually a lot more to Heart of China. What they managed to put together at Dynamix was, pun not intended, a dynamic interactive movie. Reading the manual the first time, I more or less thought that they were trying to put together a game that had so many gameplay elements it might as well have shot for the stars.. and included some intergalactic travel while they were there. And sure enough, they did. What happened as a result of this is they put together something far too grandiose and couldn't follow through properly, so the only real 'gameplay changes' are of the 'go back and try again' variety, for the most part. Taking one path over another makes no particular difference, though it does seem as though the path I took was the only one that gave the 'best ending', with the rest all taking too long to have Eugene Lomax be willing to pay the full amount and as such not giving the 'Chi survived actually!' end. They clearly put heaps and heaps of work in, though, and this is shown nowhere better than the auxiliary supplements that come with the game.

They also give a clue as to what Almira, the 'crazy plant lady', is actually up to

Sunday 7 August 2016

EcoQuest - Seaweed and Oracle

Written by Reiko

Adam Greene Journal #2: "I thought I'd never see Delphineus again after I opened the gate, but he's back and now I get to help him with his quest! His city is SO COOL! But it's all full of garbage and oil that people have dumped. I've cleaned up some of it, but there's only so much I can do by myself. I also got to meet the Oracle, who told me a prophecy of a boy who's going to save the kingdom. Is that me? Either way, I'm gonna try!"

Days later, Adam is hanging out in the pool room again when Delphineus shows up again! He says things are worse and King Cetus is still missing. He wishes Adam could see his city, so Adam pluckily volunteers to join Delphineus.

Good thing we've got great diving equipment, then!

Friday 5 August 2016

Missed Classic 26: Mewilo (1987) - Introduction

By Ilmari

The name “Muriel Tramis” might not ring any bells with you, but when you hear that she is the creator of the dreaded Emmanuelle, you might get a certain impression of the quality of her games. Thus, it might come as a surprise that one of her earlier games, Mewilo, won some sort of award (la médaille d’Argent de la ville de Paris or the Silver medallion of the city of Paris. Since I will play Fascination, another game by Muriel Tramis, in the future, I wanted to have a more balanced view of her earlier games, beginning with Mewilo, which was also her first game according to Mobygames.

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Game 73: Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective - Introduction (1991)

Written by Joe Pranevich

The butler did it! (Again.)

I think it’s become something of a joke how excited I get when I’m about to start a game, but I am excited! I’m not sure that I’m about to play a fantastic game, but I am sure that I am about to play an influential one. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective will be the first adventure that we’ve played that is firmly on the CD-ROM and “full-motion video” bandwagon. Other games have included a bit of video here or there or audio narration (although the latter often enough only in a subsequent update of the game), but this one is-- I believe-- video from end to end. I only know this from brief research, but we’ll be finding out soon enough.

ICOM Simulations, the game designer, has a history of making influential (but not necessarily good) adventure games and we’ve already played four: Déjà Vu (1985), Uninvited (1986), Shadowgate (1987), and Deja Vu II (1988). The clearest way to see how industry-leading these games were is to look at their numbers: Déjà Vu and Uninvited are games 4 and 9 on our blog, respectively. Will this one live up to those legacies? Or will this be a speedbump on the way to the 7th Guest (1993) and the CD-ROM adventures yet to come? I have no idea! I honestly had never heard of this game before volunteering to play it.

This is what I do know: this is a game, based on a gamebook, based on a fictional detective, and created by an influential game development house. It’s probably going to be a long introduction...

Monday 1 August 2016

Heart of China - WON!

Written by Aperama

Heart of China is finally over! Well, I say finally – it feels like it only just started. It's pretty fair to say that I do feel a little bit like I was expecting more – but at the same time, the rather obscenely short playtime really allows the little things to stand out, good and bad. I imagine that if this were a game I'd put real money into, I might have replayed the silly tank minigame or the fight at the end a little more, perhaps? But I won't waste any more time with these thoughts. There's heaps for me to get through (not enough for two posts but almost too much for one) so straight to it!