Mourir en mer Review

Introduction. One of the good, but underrated AGS games released in 2003 is “Mourir en mer’. As the title says, the game is French, and has recently been translated. Let’s now look through the pros and cons of this game.

Plot. Unlike most AGS games who pretend to have funny plots(but do not), “Mourir en mer” has a rather bold and tragic one. You play a sick and insane boy who is dying, due to his vile father’s behaviour. His last wish is to see the sea, which he has heard of from “Moby Dick”. Your goal is to fulfill this wild and last dream.

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The good. The graphics are nicely drawn; the style fits the mood of the game well. The animations are also smooth and the character art is wonderful. Throughout cutscenes, there are many close-ups which add to the cinematic feeling of the game. “Mourir en mer” also ran slickly without any bugs, which is very important to me. The interface worked quite well, despite the fact that it is an almost exact copy of the sierra GUI. One thing that struck me was a superb blur effect depending on the character’s position, much like in a movie. As much as I’d like to continue with such compliments to the game, I’d have to go on with

The Bad. First and most important of all, the game was originally released in French. So far so good, but the translation, to put it in one word, is awful. The dialogues can hardly be believed, and some lines said by the protagonist suit Macaulay Culkin in “Home alone” more than an insane and dying boy. Another weak point in this game are the puzzles. At the beginning there is a difficult timed sequence, which requires MacGyver style thinking and good timing – something that does not suit the mood of the game at all. Later on, there also are puzzles that could not be solved by an insane youth, which include distracting – while the protagonist in real world would rather grab the cell phone and run, he has to distract its owner. The puzzle design would sure fit any less serious game, but it does not fit a game with such plot. Another poor thing is the lack of music and sound – not a single tune or a sound effect. A definite minus – appropriate music could enhance the feeling of this game.

Conclusion. While not the best game ever made, “Mourir en mer” is an enjoyable game which sometimes does not reach its goals, but is nonetheless fun to play.

Mourir en mer

Creator: Dorcan

Download from: Dorcan’s website

AGS Ezine score:

65%

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Grr! Bearly Sane Review

Introduction. The recently released game named “Grr! Bearly Sane” is one of the funniest AGS games I have played. It most certainly isn’t your run-off-the-mill adventure game. Let me start with the

Plot. Dan is a carnival entertainer dressed in a bear costume. But his life is not as good as he wants – his boss is constantly humiliating him, knowing that Dan needs the money to pay for his apartment. But now Dan is fed up with his boss and wants to get the world rid of him. And that’s when the game starts. “Bearly Sane” has a hilarious plot, and the situations are such as well. There is some violence throughout the game(after all, your goal is to kill your boss), but it is made in a funny way and it does not bother the player. To sum it up, the hilarious story of “Grr! Bearly Sane” will surely get you entertained.

Gameplay. The game is rather short, I think that no one will have difficulties finishing it for less than an hour. The interface is a verb coin GUI, with one added element. That’s the “Anger meter” – it shows how angry Dan is – and depending on its level, the main character will perform different actions. A really cool idea, but I think that it was kind of underrated in the game – I hardly remember a puzzle in which you had to use it. It also could have made the game at least partially non-linear, but, alas, it does not. The game ran almost flawlessly, except for one or two bugs and a few typos. On the whole, “Grr! Bearly Sane” is a very enjoyable experience, although its few flaws.

Graphics. The art of the game is very pleasant. The backgrounds are very nicely drawn, in a unique style, which really fits the carnival theme. The best thing about the graphics though is the character art – the character designs are very cartoony, and the amount of animation is immense – not very often you see so many animationsin an amateur adventure game. Infact, I think that there wasn’t a single “You do this and that” message throughout the whole game. It is pure pleasure watching the smooth moving pictures – Dan scratching his back, a seagull flying… A very enjoyable thing to do if you ask me.

Sound and music. The music of the game, while fitting and well composed, is not made especially for “Grr! Bearly sane”, which in my opinion is a definite drawback. On the other side, there is a very nice credits song performed by the game’s creator himself. The sound effects in the game are many and various, and all of them match the atmosphere perfectly. At the end of the day, the sound and music in the make the experience even more pleasurable, though the music could have been written especially for this game.

Conclusion. “Grr! Bearly sane”, one of the best AGS games released,  is definitely a game worth playing.

Grr!Bearly Sane!

Creator: Duzz

Download from: Duzz’s Website

AGS Ezine score:

85%

Neverquest Preview

Another rather overlooked but promising upcoming game is “Neverquest” by Jeroen Dekker.

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It is going to be a funny spoof of classic fantasy RPGs. You play Nob, a young man who has just learnt about his origin from his ex-master magician. And of course, he goes searching for gold. What? It sounds cliché? Yes it does, but it is really funny. In the demo which the AGS Ezine got its hands on, there were numerous jokes making fun of adventures, RPGs and fantasy in general. Definitely one of the funniest AGS games I’ve played.

The graphics are done in a nice low resolution, in a cartoony style quite reminiscent of early Lucasarts games, and for speech it uses sierra-like talking windows. Although the graphics aren’t the next best thing, they do fit the game quite nicely, and most importantly, there are numerous animations, which make the world of the game more immersive.

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“Neverquest” will use a MIDI soundtrack, and judging from the tunes in the small demo Jeroen has made the style of the music will be in the style of the first Quest for Glory game. There are also many sound effects in the demo, which also makes the atmosphere better.

As for gameplay, “Neverquest” will use a rather standard point and click interface, quite like Lucasarts games. And while there was no combat in the small demo, the creator said that we may expect such in the full game. On the scales, the puzzles were logical, and the interface was intuitive.

On the whole, “Neverquest” will be one of the funniest and most entertaining games when released. And speaking of release dates, it will be finished somewhere in late 2004. Another promising game to the growing list added here!

Project Katrina Preview

Project Katrina is a new fan-game in production based on the character from “Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness”. Unlike all the other fan-games, PK will not feature the Hero as the main character, but Katrina instead. For all who have not played Quest for Glory IV, I will say that Katrina is a gorgeous mysterious character, who turns out to be a vampire near the end. Without a doubt a very exquisite choice for a main character.

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What stunned me about this project though are the unbelievable graphics. The look exactly like sierra’s early 90’s ones, but just in higher resolution. The only flaw I noticed is that their version of Katrina does not look much like a mysterious vampire, but that could be ignored for now – who knows what kind of a plot will the team think of?
            Music sounds as if it was made for Quest for Glory IV. It sounds very pleasant; it will surely not bother the player, but will enhance the atmosphere.

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Now comes the ultimate question: “When will it be ready?” Unfortunately, it gets the ultimate answer “When it’s done.” But be sure to look for this game in case it gets done!

Awakening of the Sphinx preview

One of the promising, but not widely know AGS games in production is “Awakening of the Sphinx” by Andrew MacCormack. It is one of the few historically themed games, and it is set in Egypt.

The main character, General Homerheb, a low born man that has worked his way through the army, meets the vizier, who tells him that if the Pharaoh was got rid of, he’d become the regent and would give Homerheb nobility, something he would need in order to get the attention of the vizier’s daughter. The plot is very accurate historically, and the supernatural stuff that is in just seems to fit the game.

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As for graphics, they are not the best I’ve seen, but certainly not bad – the amount of effort put in the backgrounds really shows. Characters, while not that well drawn are very smoothly animated and seem to fit the artistic style of the game. On the whole, graphics are put much effort into and that really shows.

The music of the game is so far well composed, and I’ve heard some soft Egyptian rock tunes (if there is such thing). The game will hopefully feature a digital music pack and a speech pack, something that would surely make the atmosphere stronger.

The thing that I like most of this game(so far) is that it is going to have optional conversations and documents with historical facts – something very reminiscent of the Gabriel Knight games. While the average gamer will concentrate on the story and puzzles, the knowledge-loving one will spend time reading documents – this will lengthen the gameplay even more.

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“Awakening of the Sphinx” is going to be released in late 2004, but we can expect a demo within one or two months. Thumbs up!