Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - Where's the Cheese?

Written by The Trickster

My first Monkey Island 2 session covered my initial exploration of Woodtick. By the time I’d finished I really only had one lead, which was to go and purchase some wood polish for the peg-legged pirate…ahem…performance artist. I naturally started the second session by heading back to Woody the woodsmith to do exactly that. After exchanging the single piece of eight for the polish, I made my way back to the one-legged man and tried to give it to him. He wouldn’t wake up, but the game suggested that he actually wanted me to polish the leg for him. I used the polish on the peg leg, and the man woke up and gave me another piece of eight for my trouble. I’d kind of hoped that something more substantial might happen, and suddenly realised that I really didn’t have any other solid leads. I still had the wood polish though, so perhaps there was something else I could do with that? I couldn’t think of anything, so I decided the time was right to step outside Woodtick. There had to be more to this island than a few rickety businesses. As I crossed back over the bridge and walked to the right of screen, I confirmed that there was.

The great pirate Guybrush Threepwood, made to polish peg legs for a single coin. Oh the shame!

Scabb Island in all its glory. There's something exciting about seeing all the possible destinations on a lovely map like this.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge - The Largo Embargo

Written by The Trickster

I often find that having high expectations of a game leads to hindered enjoyment. What I find tends to happen is that I come up with what in my mind would be the ultimate experience, and when the game differs from that (which it inevitably does), I feel let down. That hasn’t been the case at all with Monkey Island 2 so far for the simple reason that it's pretty much impossible not to be entertained. Sure, I’m still playing through Part I of the game, but there has already been so much hilarious fun that I've literally had to drag myself away from it to write this post. Now that I’ve managed to do that, you'll have to excuse me if I cut to the chase so I can get back to playing it as soon as possible.

LucasArts were by now stealing a lot of techniques from cinema, and this opening "climax" is a perfect example.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Game 70: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (1991) - Introduction

Written by The Trickster

I'm excited. Are you excited?

If you’d asked me five years ago whether I’d end up writing guest posts for The Adventure Gamer, I would have told you that you were completely mad. But here I am, eighteen months after handing over the blog to the community, taking a break from a very different project to play through what many consider to be the finest adventure game of them all. I don’t really have a view on whether that label is justified just yet, as it has been about fifteen years since I last played Monkey Island 2. I remember very little of it to be honest, and am not even certain whether I’ve played through it more than once. After a lengthy break from adventure games (with the exception of the game that arguably started the whole genre), I sure am excited to get into it, but first let’s take a brief look at how it all came about.

Monday, 21 March 2016

The Year Ahead - 1992

By Ilmari

Something really special is cooking up on the Adventure Game -blog, and we might have more time than usual to wait before the surprise is ready. In addition, the first ever gaming year with the new regime is about to end, with only few games to cover in 1991. So, it's good time to get your CAPs rolling and to decide what games to add to the gaming year 1992.

It wasn't all fun and games in 1992,
it was also bad movies sprouting good TV series later

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Maupiti Island - Final Rating

By Ilmari

I think I have not yet faced any game, not regular nor a Missed Classic, that I would have so ambivalent feelings for. The game had many things I really liked, but also important elements that were so incompetently done. I am not sure which way the scales will tip, so let’s just begin scoring.

Puzzles and Solvability

I am still of the opinion that in a Deadline-style game solving the mystery should be counted as one puzzle, and it is doubly so in a game like Maupiti Island, in which you have to answer some questions about central plot events. In the main, this part of the game felt rather satisfying. Most of the plot pieces fit in rather well and finding out the relevant information was mostly a fair process. The only exception was the need to crack the code of the secret messages in the piano - the use of the chess book was just on the limits of a fair game and one name (The Wind) could only be learned from these messages. Still, I liked the puzzle with the piano itself so much that I am willing to ignore this one fault.

Like a piece of good puzzle, I might add

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Maupiti Island - Won!

By Ilmari

Last time I had just finished examining all the physical evidence and I was pretty certain what was going on in the island, who had killed Juste (Roy) and who was the disfigured body (Lucie). I still had no idea how to finish the game - there’s no command for arresting people. Thus, my only chance was to start solving the remaining puzzles.

Puzzle #1: How to play the piano

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Poll results: Should we change our colours?

By TAG team

Poll results seem quite clear - majority of our respondents were satisfied with the black background. Thus, we won't be changing it.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Maupiti Island - The Physical Evidence

By Ilmari

Last time, I had just concluded with interrogating everyone and finding out what happens in the course of two days. Now, it is time to investigate the surroundings. Before I go on to specifics, I’d like to make some general notes. This game is just full of items, and most of these are probably there for nothing - or at least I haven’t found any use for the many sets of playing cards, sextants etc. Furthermore, since majority of these items are not on plain sight, but often require diligent pixel hunting and meticulous use of different actions on different objects, I am not even sure I’ve found all there is to find. For these reasons, I am not going to make a detailed list of everything that could be found in a room, but merely point out things that seem important as providing clues or as helping to get forward in the game.

Let’s begin in Lange’s own cabin. As could be guessed, there were no real clues to be found here. I did find a letter from Lange’s friend Max, which sets the background for the projected third game in Jerome Lange -trilogy.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. - Final Rating!

written by Aperama

A harkening back to the best part of the game – the down-right impressive Boris Vallejo box art

Les Manley was a terrible game. Les Manley 2? I'm honestly not sure. The game had issues that weren't actually the same as the first game, so that's definitely to be considered a plus. I read over Trickster's comments as to the problems he found with Search for the King – sure, there were more than enough of them in their own right, but this game manages to skirt around them for the most part. The puzzles were illogical, but rarely actually 'difficult' – the game was very big on hand-holding towards the more difficult set of puzzles anyhow, so it passes the 'sequel' test there. The graphics are 'different' – not better or worse, just 'different'. In fact, I'd struggle to give Lost in L.A. any worse points than Search for the King in anything – but that's exactly why I'm not going to be comparing directly. Why, you ask? Well, the reasons here to my mind are two fold. Firstly, this game has technology to its credit that Search for the King couldn't dream of. The 'digitised actors' inserted into the game were always going to look better than the comparative chicken scritch of Les Manley 1 and some of its less than appealing screens. The target audience might be the same, but this feels more like a game where they've actually tried to target to that 'adolescent teenage boy' market a touch better than simply making a game that felt to be the clone of Leisure Suit Larry which Les is oft accused of being. Secondly? I'm a different person, and things affect me differently to Trickster. I have a particular (perhaps somewhat odd) feel that when puzzles have a certain range of feasibility they'll frustrate me – something where I feel like I could have gotten it without help had they explained things better hits me way harder than 'touch the lizard, win the game' on a personal level. I'd have asked for assistance if not for clicking like a crazy person over the screen at one point, and that just drives me bonkers on a very deep level. So without further adieu..

Friday, 11 March 2016

Maupiti Island - The Cast and Events

By Ilmari

I pondered long time what would be the best way to present these investigations. If I had just written down what I have been doing, it would have made for a boring story: “Stood on a beach for two days, first, there was no one to be seen, but then Chris came in sight and after him Bob, then Bob went away, but Anita arrived with Sue”. Instead, I decided just to write down what I have managed to learn about the denizens of the island and about the events unfolding during the game.



Bob is the captain of the Brisban, the yacht with which Jerome Lange also arrived to the island. He is
known as a good sailor and he had a relationship with the missing woman, Marie. Since Bob says that he doesn’t particularly like the island, we might assume it was Marie that kept Bob coming back to it. Indeed, Bob is said to be devastated by Marie’s disappearance and he spends a lot of time walking around island and calling her name.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. - WON!

written by Aperama

… I was at my wit's end. Was this even a game? There were so many ways it could have actually gone. Was it possible that the game was actually designed as a brainwashing tool to get people to join the Navy, or was that just an episode of the Simpsons? Was it really the lost Larry game, taken and perverted by an evil genius who realised that the true way of making money in his day was to gouge his prospective customers for hintbooks, calls to hintlines and the potential promise of seeing heavily pixelated cleavages? These questions and more were ones that I was never going to have answered. Mr. Laffer had stopped caring. He probably took the game as an innocuous thing that nobody actually cared about. Moved onto faux pornography or reality TV or something. The UPS man who played Lester P. Manley was never again found. He probably went back to his route. The deeper I dug, the shallower the actual future seemed. The US government couldn't possibly care about this, could they? Some dissolute branch? I had two choices – go insane, or just admit that I had searched for gold and returned with no redeeming qualities. I just wasn't sure if it would flow over me and be forgotten in days like it was while I was actually playing it, or whether Lester P. Manley would haunt my memories for years to come. My days as a sleuth were as far gone as Laura Bow. Sonny Bonds. That guy from The Last Express, whatever his name was. I guess it was really true – no matter how you approached it, this game made you LESS MANLY.

“And I'm not sure why!”

Les Manley is finished! WOOO! It's impossible to say just how much of a relief this is. As you all may have noticed, I'm pretty consistently using my first paragraph to give an idea of how the game 'felt' to me during a play session – this one actually didn't feel quite so rough, in its own way. The 'third act' of the game had one part that actually felt somewhat triumphant, which was the first time in this game I've felt anything other than either apathy or disdain – so that's a plus! Unfortunately, this was also where they threw all of their 'leftover puzzle ideas' – there are about ten puzzles in this section (though using the term 'puzzle' is probably a little bit over the top) all of which have exactly one solution and have to all be done in order to complete the game. (This game certainly has no 'red herrings' – they've used just about everything save a few descriptions on assorted scenery.) There is one 'alternate solution', I suppose? At least they did introduce a 'drop' command that's not usable anywhere else, as that does give a little bit of a hint as to what you're supposed to do. Overall, it's nothing like as bad as Les Manley 1 in this regard – there's only minimal backtracking to be had if you should manage to mess up, and the game literally spells out what you're supposed to be doing with your 'death' screen.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Maupiti Island - The Game Mechanics

By Ilmari

I really can't remember why Trickster originally moved
the game to 1991, but this picture says it's a 1990 game. Whatever

After the title graphics have disappeared, I am welcomed to the game by a question whether I want to load a saved game. This is actually the only time, when I am allowed to load a game. This is not just lazy coding, the manual says, but a conscious design choice - no one has the ability to tinker with time in real life, or if they do, the producers are willing to make a movie out of their life. I am still not sure, whether to congratulate the idea or curse it - I still have bad memories of a certain French game with no save games at all.

Then again, this decision does make sense in a game where time is of the essence. The game begins 31st of January, 10 AM, and ends 1st of February, 11 PM, with authorities arriving from continent and taking over the investigation. Every half an hour, the surroundings change - people move around and plot progresses. Every action moves the clock forward a bit, as does waiting around, doing nothing. There’s also a chance to wait for half an hour, and in your cabin you can sleep for an hour.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Conquests of the Longbow – Final Rating

Written by Alex

Conquests of the Longbow was a thoroughly enjoyable game to play. In fact, I wish that it were longer (there were so many people I didn’t shoot . . .). I have a feeling that the game will do quite well on the PISSED scale, as it seems to be one of the better games we have played on this blog in a while. Will it reach Secret of Monkey Island and Quest for Glory I and II heights? Read and find out.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. - Did I say WON!?

written by Aperama

… I decided that the only way to find my way out of this foxhole I was digging myself into was to finally speak face to face with the developer. Accolade died before the turn of the millenia. The game's credits took as long as the introduction to a Star Wars movie to read, but it was all of the 'actors' – none of the actual workers. Except for one name – and his website was written as though it were some sort of recursive loop – the only mention he ever gave to his shameful creation being something about 'designing and developing the first game to use actors against a blue screen'. I was fairly sure that was wrong, but that wasn't a question I wanted answered right now. He'd left no contact details – it was as though he knew that he'd be watched by others who were finding their way to this little secret. All this to make sure I could never really find the truth. I was backed into a corner with nowhere to look but up. How could I find my way out of a hole that didn't want to be filled? It wasn't just about the fact that the game had gone from 'Laffer appearance' to full-blown 'unexplained computer knowledge' – wasn't he in video production in the first game? When did he ever grow to learn so much about computing? Unless he wasn't actually supposed to be Lester – but Larry...

Okay, so I lied

Les Manley 2 has not been the breezy walk in the park that I had so hoped it would be. The game feels like it drones on forever yet actually goes nowhere. I've managed to take over a thousand screenshots just so that I can get decent representations of the conversations that take place as I go through – they're all held so briefly and with such a degree of general disinterest that I struggle to actually care that there are words on the screen. The irony is that through the plot and dialogue alike, nothing is 'bad' – there's plenty that I'd call 'cringeworthy' but nothing that actually makes me want to cry and hide in a hole. (The puzzles do that for the plot, after all.) It isn't quite bad enough to draw out true worry, just.. apathy. I see it in movie terms here (which clearly works due to the plot). There's universally 'good' – everyone loves Monkey Island. There's 'flawed' – maybe a King's Quest title here.. good in the right mentality. There's 'so bad it's good' which is a touch more rare in adventure game terms – in truth, I think everyone had fun with Emmanuelle and the like even though it was definitely not a good game – it's no Tommy Wiseau's The Room or Ed Wood film, given, but still. Then, there's 'bad, just bad'. This is unfortunately where Les Manley sits – it has some half decent parts, but none of them actually add up together to anything resembling a whole. I'd almost like to see what this really would have been like as an LSL title, here!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Missed Classic 20: The Hobbit - WON!, Final Rating, and More

Written by Joe Pranevich

The forest awaits…

When we last left our hero with the hairy feet, Bilbo had escaped from the goblins’ cave with the golden ring, but we also had to leave behind at least one puzzle: liberating Thrain’s key from the dungeon. I hope that the solution to the puzzle lies ahead, or at least that I’ll come up with some brilliant plan--but it could also be that the legendary randomness in the engine has doomed me to failure. Am I in a walking dead situation? How would I know? All we can do is press onward! As we marched east, we passed Beorn’s house (empty except for a packed lunch) and then ended the post at the entrance to Mirkwood. In the book, this is where Bilbo was nearly killed by spiders and elves, so this should be pretty exciting!

At the Forest Gate, we are presented with a fork in the road: we can go east along the Elf-path or south to the Old Forest Road. I honestly don’t remember what path Bilbo took in the book, but the road seems like a good place to start. It doesn’t take long to regret that decision as “pale and bulbous” eyes start to follow us. Two screens later, Bilbo is ambushed in front of a waterfall and we die. Time to restore and try the other direction!