The Hamlet Review by Andrew McCormack

The Hamlet is a game that came out of the 2004 AGS Team Competition. The team hadn’t worked together before, except for team leader Vel and music composer Petteri (who worked together on Who Wants To Live Forever). The game originally had to be produced to a competition pre-set deadline, and although release to the general public came later, the deadline pressures show, unfortunately. The game uses an interface similar to Gabriel Knight 3, a verbcoin with only available actions shown. As the plot develops, more actions can become available. Sometimes, the actions are a giveaway as to what to do next, although at other times they are red herrings. A status line gives hotspot names and the cursor changes over an exit, although this seemed somewhat erratic and unreliable. But there are good points. The graphics are good: nice talking closeups and character animation, and solid functional backgrounds. By faraway the best part of the game is the atmospheric music. The story has potential at the start, but then ends too quickly and too predictably. It looks like a project that would be so much better if it had had more time to be made. The different parts involved always seemed to be slightly out of kilter with the rest of the game: sound effects occured at the wrong point, or a door is mentioned being broken with a shoulder, while the animation kicks the door down. Another niggle is the linear nature of the whole plot. Many times, when you try something, the player character says “I don’t need to do that yet” or even just “No”! A bit more time in development could have given the player time to explore the world, but as it was the game just seemed like you were forced into doing  things in a certain order and so atmosphere was lost.Maybe the most disappointing thing about this game is the way that you can see the potential there. All the team members had obviously made some good efforts in places and all it needed was more of the good bits. A longer plot, more exploration ability, more build-up of tension, more character development, more nice graphics and music. The team known as “Creative Minds” which made the game are returning to the New Year 2005 team competition, although only two members are the same. I hope that a bit more polish this time can result in an truly excellent game and some fulfilled potential.

hamlet.gif

Overall Score:

57%

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