“Enclosure” Review and Interview with Femo Duo Entertainment

 

Introduction. This is the first non-AGS game we review here, and belive me, it is well worth it. The creators, Femo Duo Entertainment, have obviously put a lot of effort into their creation and I will try to describe just how good the result is.

            Plot. You play Mike Goodman, a mountebank, who with his girlfriend deceive superstitious people. They have been called to the oil station “Mary” in Greenland to investigate the spirit of a dead Eskimo. What I liked about the plot is that you always think about the mystery, something that has been a definite goal of the creators. Also, you are not alone on the godforsaken station “Mary”. There are about a dozen interesting characters, each with his own motivation to be there. The plot is remarkably well written, and is definitely the best part of this great game.

            Graphics and sound. Not a lot to say here, the game was made with NAGI, an engine similar to sierra’s AGI one. This means that the graphics are 160*100 EGA (16 colors) and that the only music/sound there is comes from your favourite PC speaker (the thing that beeps when you turn the computer on). The technical part of the game is the absolute maximum you can do with these limitations, although in a game with such a great storyline and gameplay that hardly matters.

            Gameplay. The game uses the standard AGI parser, and happily it recognizes many words, synonyms etc – you really won’t have a problem expressing yourself. The puzzles are logical and diverse, something not that often seen in amateur games. The thing I like about the gameplay most, however, are the tiny things not seen in early sierra games. For example, at every 50 points, you are given access to several “did you know”s about the making of “Enclosure”. Or, if you are not familiar with a character in the room, there is a hotkey to introduce him to you with a brief info. Or, if the game sees that you are stuck, it gives you a subtle hint in order for you to proceed. I think you got the idea – the making of “Enclosure” must have been fun fun fun!

            Conclusion. “Enclosure” is one of the best freeware adventure games out there, and definitely the best AGI fan made one. I suggest you go and play it now, if you haven’t done so yet, or read the interview with the creators just below, if you have.

Tell us a bit more about yourselves.

 encl.gif

  [Joker] We’re a small team consisting of three people who make freeware

games for your (and our own) pleasure. We have a long history of making

Beat-m-ups, but it has been mainly Adventure games for the last two-three

years.

 

Which adventure games are among your favourites (both commercial and

freeware)?

 

– [Joker] Commercial I have to say Laura Bow – Colonel’s Bequest. That game

used to scare us to death and was a source of inspiration for ‘Enclosure’.

Then there’s Phantasmagoria: Although the critics didn’t think highly of

this game I just loved it. A nice first attempt of Sierra using life actors.

Also, there’s Leisure Suit Larry in  the Land of the Lounge Lizards; it was

the first agi-game I played and actually finished as well.

 

  [hwm] I’m fan of the early Sierra games and most of LucasArts games.

 

  [Joker] Yes, LucasArts of course! Indiana Jones & Monkey Island are great!

 

How did you come up with the idea of ‘Enclosure’?

 

– [Joker] It’s been said that we got our idea from John Carpenter’s ‘The

Thing’, but that’s not true. We were searching for a desolated location far

away from civilization with heavy weather-conditions for our story to take

place. Antarctica seemed perfect at first, but because of certain aspects

within the story we later changed the location to Greenland.

 

  From the start is was clear it was going to be a Whodunnit with a macabre

twist. There was no solid storyline yet, but I started making sceneries &

the story and its characters were made up along the way. Like mentioned in

the game the first draft wasn’t really working for us, so we rewrote the

whole story & restyled some of the characters. And changed and added alot of

things after the first version was ‘ready’. It was a lot of work, but a lot

of fun whole the way.

 

Why AGI?

 

– [Joker] Well, I simply love the retro-style of AGI & it was a real

challenge to make a horror-game with such a limitation when it comes to

resolution & palette (16 colors). And working with AGI is a lot of fun as

well as we experienced with an earlier game of ours in AGI.

 encl2.gif

Do you think that the text parser gives freedom that point and click and

direct control cannot achieve?

 

– [hwm] In certain aspects, yes. Mainly because a text parser can give any

interaction with every single object on screen. So a text parser can be used

to give any commands, even stupid ones; the programmer can add all kinds of

responses to those actions. Point-and-click and “direct control” kinda

limits it by giving a couple of icons/keys/verbs to use in combination with

a share of objects, and for example a “kill”-command is not often included.

That being said, point-and-click and “direct control”, when properly

executed, does work in my opinion. Lucasarts proved this every time and

Sierra did so once or twice, for example with Gabriel Knight: Sins of the

Fathers.

 

Have you tried AGS?

 

– [Joker] AGS is a whole new ballgame: 256 colors, hardly any

music/sound-limitations & less memory-problems. I played numerous AGS-made

games (commercial and especially freeware), but I didn’t do any programming

in AGS (yet). I think this will surely happen in the future…

 

Do you have plans of remaking ‘Enclosure’ with AGS?

 

– [Joker] No. A sequel: maybe, but the whole idea of ‘Enclosure’ was to make

a horror-game in AGI.

 

What projects do you have currently in production?

 

– [joker] We’re not working on anything concrete right now, but we’re full

of idea’s so there’s bound to be more. We’re working on some non-adventure

games & hwm is busy starting projects he’ll eventually abandon (laughs)

 encl3.gif

Do you think that adventures will come back on the main scene?

 

  [hwm] I think the “death of adventure games” is a little bit exaggerated.

While there are indeed less adventure games being released the last few

years, especially “traditional”  ones (by “traditional” I mean

non-FMV-puzzle-stuff), graphic-adventures were never that much part of the

main scene I think. Most of the 80’s/90’s graphic adventures were made by

either Sierra or LucasArts, when they stopped making them on a regular basis

(somewhere in 1997/1998, shortly after the FMV boom), the genre lost their

main contributors. Nevertheless, Lucasarts did release some “traditional”

adventures after this and more recently games from other developers like

Runaway, Syberia and The Longest Journey were made. The latter two having

sequels (developed). But to answer your original question: I think they

won’t be coming (back) to the main scene. The games of the future will

depend heavily on on-line possibilities and I believe adventures won’t be

able to make that switch without becoming a RPG.

 

Which do you prefer: A humorous and light-hearted game that will make you

roll on the floor laughing (like most lucas games) or a game with deep and

serious plot (like many sierra titles)?

 

– [Joker] Well, it totally depends… Sometimes I feel like a humerous game

more than a serious one and sometimes it’s the other way around.

 

  [hwm] I’ll have to go with Joker on this one.

 

How much time did ‘Enclosure’ take to make?

 
– [Joker] A year and a half at least: I think all in all the game itself

took over a year and the testing half a year: We had a very thorough tester

who was very into detail and I think that contributed to the quality of

‘Enclosure’. So, programmers out there: Listen to your testers!!

 

Thanks for your time.

 

– You’re quite welcome.

 

 

Enclosure

Creators: Femo Duo Entertainment

Download from the official website

AGS Ezine score:

90%

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