Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire VGA Remake review

It’s rare I don’t know how to start an article but such is the occasion here. AGD Interactive, formerly known as Tierra, have recently released their long-awaited remake of the Sierra classic Quest for Glory II. It’s not just that it was in production for seven years that unsettles me, I’m uncertain how am I to write the review. Since this is an almost 1:1 remake, should I only concentrate on the renewed aspects of the game? Or should I also the remark on the aspects of the original? I suppose I shall helplessly try to balance the two, so read on…

The first thing that makes a grand impression is that the game was in production for seven years, and it’s quite obvious that they were well invested into the project. The amount of effort put into the game is nothing but vast, and it shows on every scene of the game. Whether it’s the dirty streets of Raseir or the endless desert, the backgrounds and dialogue portraits are at least as much polished as those of any Sierra game from the early 90s, and the animations are as smooth as they can be in the charming pixels of the 320*200 resolution. Not much more can be said about the graphics of the game – pure eye candy.

The plot of the game (which remains intact from the original) plays out like the next tale from the Arabian Nights – all with sultans, viziers and genies. Of course, there’s also quite a lot of the typical Quest for Glory humour, and some hilarious references – “Of all the Djinn joints in this town, you had to walk into this one.”. A rendez-vous with the Marx brothers is also not uncommon in the game. In the end, the game never quite takes itself too seriously, and only benefits from that – it is a satisfying experience which leaves you with a smile once you’ve finished it.

The soundtrack of the game consists mainly of revised themes from the original game, and, while it is obviously professionally made, quite frankly, I find it a bit bland. Of course, the music is appropriate and well-timed, but it’s hardly memorable. The game is not voiced, but then again, nor were the remake of the first game and the third installment, so it does not really bother me.

What is most impressive about this game, however, is its technical side. The Quest for Glory games are traditionally far more complicated than the other Sierra series, mostly because of the alternate classes which you can play; hence the different solutions to the puzzles, different events etc. AGDI have managed to implement all that in AGS, and the result is a game that feels exactly like the remake of the first one. And hats off to that.

Perhaps the biggest innovation which Trials by Fire VGA offers is the combat system. Unlike that of the other Quest for Glory games (with the partial exception of the fourth one) where combat was a synonym for “click the attack button”, here we are offered a well-developed and challenging combat system with special moves, combo attacks and different strategies for each character class.

Of course, a game of such scope cannot be perfectly flawless – I myself found a few minor bugs, but they did nothing to mar my impressions. There are other flaws though – those of the original. For instance, the desert, which is endlessly vast, only has three or four places of interest, or the labyrinth-like alleyways, through which you have to find your way at least two times.

It’s hard to criticise Trial by Fire VGA, though. Not only is it easily the most ambitious AGS game ever released, but it is also immensely polished. And an aficionado of the classic adventure games can only be grateful for the finished product.

Note: I shall abstain from scoring this game, since AGDI are not responsible for all of the game’s aspects.

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire VGA Remake

Creator: AGD Interactive

Website

Ben Jordan case 7: The Cardinal Sins review

Introduction.

Managing to produce six games of a series is a feat in itself, but Francisco Gonzalez (a.k.a. Grundislav) set out to finish the series with two more, in which all the loose threads would come together. Has he succeeded with the penultimate one? Read on.

Plot.

Recently returned from his ‘vacation’ in Greece, Ben Jordan has a fight with his family, who say he needs a better job than a paranormal investigator (the narrow-minded bigots!). Luckily, he gets a mysterious phone call from a man accused of murdering a priest, who asks for Ben’s help. Wanting to prove to his parents that investigating the abnormal is serious business and seduced by the idea of visiting the ancient city, he packs his bags and flies to Rome.

As the subtitle of the game would suggest, the plot this time revolves around catholicism. During his investigation, Ben gets to visit a few churches and learn a thing or two about certain saints and religion as a whole. While the game hardly is the next Gabriel Knight III in this aspect, the story is well-researched and rarely feels contrived. The surprisingly mature climax just shows how much Grundislav has progressed since he started the series.

Ben Jordan case 7

Ben Jordan case 7

Graphics.

If you are already familiar with the series, you won’t feel this game any different than the rest in visual terms. The backgrounds are once more rather pretty, detailed and most of all functional, while the characters are well animated and have neat character portraits. The graphics don’t add an awful lot to the experience, but they don’t subtract from it either.

Audio.

Peter Gresser is once again responsible for the music, and he has improved vastly since his soundtrack for the sixth case. The tunes are memorable and appropriate, while preserving the overall tone of the game’s atmosphere. However, I feel that an Arcade Fire song shouldn’t have been used for the closing credits – I’m sure that Gresser would have composed an equally emotional track.

The game is also fully voiced, which adds a lot to the experience. The cast is solid, if not superb, and obviously a lot of time has been spent lip-syncing all the speech. And look out for the Italian accent of Ben Jordan, it is something that will make you fall of your chair!

Gameplay.

Grundislav bets on investigative gameplay rather than far-fetched puzzles this time, and it is a winning bet indeed. The puzzles consist of mostly interrogating certain characters and putting the pieces of the crime jigsaw together. There are a few inventory-based puzzles as well, although they are nothing too zany. One may say the puzzles are logical and easy, but this is very much preferable to the contrary.

A negative aspect of the gameplay, however, remains the downright linearity. Not only aren’t there alternate paths nor solutions, but everything has to be done in a specific order. For instance, you can only pick a certain costume from a costume rack once you’ve found good use for it(and once the location has gone out of your mind, too). Call me picky, but that’s something Grundislav can do and has done better, and I hope he does not disappoint in the last game of the series.

Conclusion.

Despite some minor flaws, the seventh installment of the Ben Jordan series carries on the tradition admirably. The Cardinal Sins is an unexpectedly mature game and the cliffhanger it ends on can only make you wait in anticipation for the closing game.

Ben Jordan case 7: The Cardinal Sins

Creator: Grundislav

Website

Overall rating: 85%

“Blackwell Unbound” Review

Introduction. Dave Gilbert, the first full-time AGS game developer, has recently released the long-awaited prequel to “The Blackwell Legacy”, “Blackwell Unbound”. But as the standards are set high by his previous games, does his latest creation meet them?
Plot. You play Lauren Blackwell, a bitter medium in New York in her quest to relieve lost souls in the city, and her sidekick, Joey. The ghosts the duo has to set free in this game are two and seemingly disconnected – a lonely saxophone player and a middle-aged social outcast. During the game you get to meet a wide variety of characters – from a journalist to a Jamaican music producer, all of which have their own agenda, as well as secrets. Characterisation has always been a trait of Dave’s games, and he follows his principles again this time. The story is wonderfully told, and at the end you really feel like you’ve experienced something special. Thumbs up, Dave.
Graphics. This time, Erin “The Ivy” Robinson (creator of “Spooks”) is fully responsible for the graphics, and her work is truly remarkable. All the backgrounds are immensely detailed, as are the characters. The animations seem smooth and fluent. On the whole, the visuals of the game not only help to convey the story to the player, but add a great deal of atmosphere themselves.
Music and sound. The aspect of the game which absolutely made my day though was the music, created by Thomas Regin. The slow saxophone which prevails over the title theme just IS the game itself, and each and every track on the game’s soundtrack just screams atmosphere. The style of the music is mostly late night jazz, although it occasionally varies. I don’t know if the composer responsible for the soundtrack has any releases, but I’m sure I’ll look for his name in the future. The sound effects in the game are also on par. The cast voicing the game is also good, with the two leads being particularly on form. There were some slight volume problems with some characters, although these are few and far between.
Gameplay. Dave sticks to his tendency not to emphasise on inventory-based puzzles, and it is once again all for the better. Instead of thinking how to use the chewing gum with the dog leash, you make logical connections between clues and facts, and spend time interrogating characters. As you control two characters in this game, a considerable amount of the puzzles involve co-operation between them. Also, each of them has their own methods and traits, and this is well-integrated into the gameplay. You can also solve the two cases separately, which Dave claims is non-linearity, although your actions don’t actually affect the story. The playing time varies, although a good guess would be about four hours. “Blackwell unbound” is a game which is both challenging and fun to play.
Although the version I played was the first released to the public, there were no major bugs and just a few very minor technical flaws of no importance. Once you finish the game, there is a ton of bonus features. DVD-style commentary, additional music, interview with Erin Robinson and bloopers, to name a few. For the inexperienced players, there is also an in-game tutorial. The game is available either as a download for ten dollars, or on CD for twice as much. The CD version also includes a separate cd with the soundtrack. I personally consider the price to be more than fair, for what Dave’s offering.
Conclusion. Dave Gilbert loves what he’s doing, and this is quite obvious in his latest game. A masterfully woven story, pretty graphics and a soundtrack which could have been composed by Angelo Badalamenti make it a must have for all fans of the adventure genre. One can only eagerly anticipate what Dave is going to do next.

Overall score:
95%

“Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 6 – Scourge of the Sea People” Review

Introduction. The Ben Jordan games are arguably the most famous AGS game series. There is hype around each one, sometimes even before the actual development of the game began. Recently, Grundislav has released the sixth game of the series. Does it live up to the expectations, though?
Plot. After their last case, the paranormal investigation trio, led by Ben Jordan himself, decide to take a break and go on vacation. The chosen spot is Athens, Greece. Not before long, however, their way is diverted and they find themselves into another paranormal mystery. This time the dreaded monster are the sea people – humanoid creatures who live under the sea and drag people to the ocean at night. The story is also loosely connected to some legends from the Greek mythology, which is a nice touch. It never goes too deep in that direction though, and most of the time, it is pretty straightforward. Anyone who enjoyed the plots of the previous Ben Jordan games is very likely to enjoy this one too.
Graphics. While the game may not rival “A tale of two kingdoms” in graphical terms, the backgrounds are detailed and nicely animated, and so are the characters. There is not much else to say, really – visually, the sixth Ben Jordan game is much like the other ones.
Music and sound. A significant change has been made to the development team – Ghormak, who was well known for his work on the previous Ben Jordan games, has been replaced with Dark Stalkey. While the music of the latter is as professional and catches the mood of the game just as well, the change in style is significant. Ghormak wrote catchy music, which could be listened to and fully enjoyed even without the game itself. Dark Stalkey relies more on the blend between in-game atmosphere and soundtrack. Needless to say, the necessary sound effects are also present.
Gameplay. The puzzles you have to solve in order to progress in the game are mostly inventory-based, and none are too tricky or mind-bending. However, some of them feel like they’ve been thrown in just to prevent the player from going further too quickly. Such niceties as optional puzzles and alternate paths are also omitted, this time. Don’t get the impression that the game isn’t fun to play though – quite the contrary. It’s just that previous games have set the standard higher.
Conclusion. Grundislav plays it safe with the sixth Ben Jordan game. Fans of the series will surely not be disappointed, but it feels more like an intermezzo between the previous games and the final and most decisive two parts which are to come.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms Review

Introduction. It is not so often that a full-length AGS game gets finished and released. Even more scarcely a full-length game that does not compromise with any of its technical aspects sees the light of day. And one of these rare occasions, doubtless, is the wonderful “A tale of two kingdoms”.

Plot. The game is set in a more or less typical fantasy world, in which you play a mercenary commander called to come to aid to a human kingdom against the goblins. However, things quickly go out of hand when the king is murdered and the protagonist is convicted(falsely, of course) of his murder. While the plot itself is nothing grand or particularly impressive, it is splendidly told and keeps the player going till the end of the game. Another positive thing about is that it is  carefully planned – I mean that there are many subplots, which the player may, or may not follow. Each character in the game has their own way and this is also well reflected in the often witty dialogues.

Gameplay. The complex plot is told using a complex gameplay structure, which to a great extent resembles the one used in Gabriel Knight III – certain compulsory actions you have to perform in order to progress further and lots of optional ones for you to explore. “A tale of two kingdoms” also borrows the timeblock structure from Gabriel Knight III, and much to its benefit. Each of the characters performs their own actions and duties, instead of dully standing in one place waiting for you to interact with them. The optional side quests add a lot to the replay value of the game – there are five of them, each consisting of at least a few puzzles. Moreover, there often are alternate solutions to many of the puzzles, and getting a full score is more than a challenging task indeed. The puzzles are logical, for the most part. Even though there has been an obvious effort to avoid pixel hunting, it’s not a complete success – I, for instance, found it particularly hard to find a certain hole in the ground, which was crucial for further progress into the game. The game offers several alternate endings, although there is no non-linearity per se to speak of – at its core, the plot remains the same whatever you do. The endings more or less depend on how many of the side quests you  finished successfully. Last but not least, this is a lengthy game – you’ll most probably need 15-20 hours to finish it, and if you want to complete it with full score, you could easily double that time.

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Graphics. However, the aspect in which “A tale of two kingdoms” truly shines is the art. The backgrounds are all excellent, drawn in a style similar to the sierra titles of the early nineties. They are smoothly animated, and appropriate effects are also present – for instance in an autumn forest background leaves are softly falling to the ground. Many unnecessary animations have also been put effort into – entering a lake screen you may see an otter swim in it, then get out and leave the background; birds often fly by, sometimes they are also sitting on a branch. All those and many more add to the splendid atmosphere of the game, and I take my hat off to all the artists and animators who have obviously done their best. The character animations are also smooth, and their respective portraits are gorgeous.

Music and sound. A number of musicians worked on the game’s soundtrack, and, frankly, it shows in both its strong points and drawbacks. Most of the music fits the game’s atmosphere quite well. There are some immensely beautiful pieces as well. There were also some which, in my opinion, suffered from unfulfilled potential. And there was the mercenary camp piece, which I found extremely annoying – to the point of skipping the text just to get out of that screen as fast as possible. Appropriate sound effects are also present, although they do not really excel. The game features no voice acting, which is quite understandable, considering the amount of spoken lines there would have been. All in all, the music and sound of  “A tale of two kingdoms” add to the atmosphere, and they occasionally stand out.

Conclusion. “A tale of two kingdoms” is easily one of the best AGS games ever, up there with King’s Quest II VGA and Apprentice. It is more than likely to appeal to anyone who liked the King’s Quest or Quest for Glory series, as it captures the best of their atmosphere. It should also be stated that this is the first large-team game I know of that has been released, and all the team members should be congratulated for that. Cheers.

 

A Tale of Two Kingdoms

 

Overall Score:

95%

Da New Guys Review

 Rarely are AGS Games which try to be funny indeed such. “Da New Guys” is one of the few which do not fall short of their goal to entertain and make people laugh.

It tells the story of three wrestlers, namely Simon, Defender and the ironically named “Brain” who are trying to get their home back. As the hilarious plot thickens, they are separated from each other on the ring, and some long forgotten past is revealed. Overall, it’s an amusing and enjoyable story which will keep you playing till the end.

A definite strong point of “Da New Guys” is the tongue-in-cheek humour. Almost every interaction leads to a witty joke, and it is interesting to hear the different comments of the different characters.

The graphics are pretty mixed – there are some great and detailed backgrounds, as well as some with plain walls only. However, even the weakest background is above the average AGS standards and it does the job. Most of them are quite detailed, too.

The character art follows this example. While the main characters are nicely drawn, detailed and animated, there are some NPCs ( a wrestler called “Stone cold”, in particular) which seem like patches. Of course, it’s a good thing that the mediocre graphics seem like patches, not the good ones. The game features more than 30 rooms and about 15 characters so it is understandable that the creator didn’t have time to  polish them all.

The game is one of the few voiced AGS games, and one of the fewer that actually do it right – each of the characters speaks in his own accent, perfectly suiting his appearance. It is also admirable that the creator voiced all characters by himself, and still, I wouldn’t have known that had it not been for the closing credits. There are also some nicely thrown in sound effects, although they don’t quite reach the standards set by the voice acting. The music tracks which the game includes are sadly not written especially for the game, but they do the job and suit the atmosphere well.

Another area where “Da New Guys” excels is the gameplay. I must say that the puzzles, even though a bit on the easy side, are perhaps the best I have seen in an AGS game – they are logical, ingenious, and most importantly, various. I take my hat off to the creator for not just throwing in some inventory based puzzles to stop the player from progressing further into the game but actually interweaving them with the story perfectly well. Another thing worth mentioning is that at after a certain point of the game, you are given control of the three main characters at once, in a style similar to, say, Day of the Tentacle or Goblins. It’s a thing not often seen in AGS games and also the way of solving the puzzles involving the three characters is unconventional – they help each other and everything you do falls in place as in a jigsaw puzzle. The game is also quite lengthy, with four chapters and an approximate playing time of 5-6 hours.

“Da New Guys” is doubtless one of the most inspired AGS games ever released and will be one of the main favourites for an AGS Award. It’s a must play for anyone who likes entertaining puzzles, awesome tongue-in-cheek plot and endless funny jokes.

Da New Guys

Creator: Ice Man

Website plus download

AGS Ezine Score:

90%

AGS Team Challenge Deluxe Special Feature by Ian Welch

“The Great Stroke-Off” review

Packed with a wad of sleazy innuendo comes this quirky little golfing adventure, from Old School Point ‘n’ Click, the winning team from this year’s AGS Team Challenge.  You play as Ned, who’s working at his Uncle’s Mini-Golf course during the summer holiday.  It’s the day of the big competetion, The Big Stroke-Off.

Let’s start by taking a look at the Graphics.  The Backgrounds are pretty, and considering it has a cartoon style, they have a very nice style to them.  There’s a problem, however, and that’s the fact that they’re so stylised and cutesy, that they’re almost devoid of detail.

As for the character art, there’s only technical issues.  They’re well drawn, with a style of they’re own and they compliment the backgrounds well, but they do sometimes have problems with their outlines act a little funky.

Musically, I can’t help but be impressed.  It’s simple yet comic melodies fit perfectly, and add a lot to the atmosphere of the game.  A novel idea is the inclusion in to game of a main stereo, pumping the music into speakers located around the golf course, allowing you to interact with it and thereby turning the music off if you so wish.

great.gif

Interfaces. These have the potential to make or break a game.  All the other parts are important, sure, but if a game’s got a lousy interface, then that’ll have a major effect on the quality of play.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t very impressed with how this game fares.  It’s a cross between the LucasArts “Words/Inventory at the Bottom” style and the Sierra “Icons Along the Top” style.  Okay, fine.  I made those titles up, but that doesn’t matter right now.  What matters is the fact that the GUI in this game seems like an undecided mish-mash of two styles, and doesn’t seem to be as well thought out as it should be.

More important than the interface, is gameplay.  Plot.  Puzzles.  How enjoyable it is to actually sit in front of the thing.  The Great Stroke-Off has a well thought out plot, some clever puzzles and lots of in-jokes and comic references.  It’s only downfall, is the humour.  Sure, everyone likes Nob Gags, but this game takes it a step too far.  It’s starts witty, but quickly ends up being feeling rather immature and forced.
All in all, I would have to recommend this game, even with it’s faults.  Keep in mind the history of it, though.  As part of the ATC, it means that it’s gone from conception to completion in just two months.

Overall Score: 65%

 

ATC Exposé.

The AGS Team Challenge.  Elite squads of five rough and tumble AGSer’s team up.  One background artist.  One spriter.  One musician.  One coder.  One writer.  Together, they’re issued the challenge of creating a full length game, in a month or two, that will beat the rest of the teams’ efforts.
In theory, this sounds like immense fun.  Reality rarely matches up to hypothetical situations, though.
Sure, it’s provided some good games.  Two of a Kind won an AGS Award at this years ceremony.  But for the most part, it’s a not as good an idea as it seems.
I, myself, competed in the last two competitions.  As did my slave driving Editor, Vel.  I’ll explain the situations i faced.

In the first ATC I entered, I was the musician.  We were all given teams by random.  Most of my team, I’d never even heard of, let alone spoke to before.  Our team started well, but soon after people were off doing other things, and we had no time to finish.  We vowed to continue making the game, even after the competition was over, but still nothing got done.
So, next time around, things got changed.  You could now form the teams yourselves, and the time frame was changed from one month to two.  I was undecided for a while, but I finally entered as a musician, again.  This time, things were off to a terrible start.  Our spriter lost his internet connection shortly before the beginning.  We thought we could carry on.  Two weeks later, with nothing really concrete, our background artist goes AWOL, too.  Needless to say, we didn’t carry on.
In my opinion, the ATC is a bad idea.  I’m grateful to Andail for organising everything, but I’d recommend we call it a day.  For one thing, making a full length game is tough.  Making a full length game that you’ve got no real passion for is tougher.  Making a full length game that you’ve got no real passion for in a short space of time and having to rely on four other people is just ridiculous.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Vel, told me I should use this piece to suggest what I think should be done to improve the ATC for next time.  In all honesty, I’d have to suggest putting it out of it’s misery.  Take it out into the field, pat it one last time and say goodbye.  Then put both barrels from a sawn-off through the back of it’s head.

Buccaneer II Preview

“What? Didn’t you already preview that one?”, you might think. Why yes, we did, but this project has been revived and has undergone quite some changes, which we thought might interest our readers.

For anyone not familiar with the plotline of “Buccaneer II”, that is a game about a retired buccaneer, now an intrepid merchant, trying to build his own life. We join him once again when there is a new rival to face in business, and this one is determined to put Richard, the protagonist, out on the street. The plot is set in Renaissance Holland, and the historical mood will be recreated appropriately.

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A thing that will help recreating the atmosphere is the digital soundtrack, to be composed by yours truly, which will take its influences from the Gabriel Knight games.

But most changes made have been gameplay-wise. First of all, the game will use the “Gabriel Knight: sins of the fathers” interface (don’t be fooled by the screenshots, be them new and exclusive), and it will feature a fair amount of action sequences, swordfights, in particular. Of course, you will be able to skip them if you do not like arcade elements, but I do consider that they’ll bring a fair amount of tension in the game.

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And now comes the ultimate question “When?” with its ultimate answer “When.” Seriously though, in spite of not being able to predict exactly when the game will be released, the game’s creator, Hobbes, expressed certainty that the game will be released by the end of this year, and judging by his inspiration and rate of work, I think he will keep his deadline.

A demo will not be released, but an in-game trailer will. This way it will build anxiety of the release with no spoilers of the actual game.

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Buccaneer II looks better than before, and all we can do now is keep our fingers crossed that we will be able to experience this game as soon as possible.

Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 4 Review

 

Recently, the fourth installment of the growingly popular “Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator” series has been released to the public. Case number 3 was the best one thus far, so my expectations on this one were quite high. Did it continue the tradition of each case being better than the last one?

Plot-wise, most definitely. The story takes place in Berkley Square 50, London. Ben Jordan is called to solve an old mystery, along with four other paranormal investigators. And here is where the game gains its charm. The character development is considerably better than the previous three games. The investigating crew, formed in step, has its rather distinctive characters, and the relations between them are quite well-represented too. In my opinion, the story with its great character development is the strongest part of the game – it keeps you playing till the very end.

The graphics of the game are at the level of the other Ben Jordan games, i.e. not particularly beautiful, but functional. The backgrounds are more or less detailed and since there are enough of them, they’ll keep your attention. Another good thing that must be said about the graphics is the character animations. There are plenty of them, and almost every action is drawn, not described by the narrator. As in the previous games, appropriate character portraits are drawn for each character, with the suitable mood changes. A nice touch indeed.

bj4.gif

The music of the game is a bit different from that in the previous games. In former cases Ghormak relied heavily on the catchiness of the tunes, but this time the music is not omnipresent, nor as memorable as in previous games. However, it does suit the situations in the game it is written for, and thus is more like a movie soundtrack than a game one. It’s personal which one you prefer, though I’d say ‘game’ anytime. Another nice addition to the ‘sound’ column are the superb sound effects by Dark Stalkey, suiting the dark theme of the game perfectly.

In terms of gameplay, I must say that case 4 by no means outdoes the previous ones. While in case 3 we had multi-linearity and clever puzzles, here such does not exist. It takes more trial and error than pure logic to beat the game. And at times you just have to talk with everybody in order to find out what you ought to be doing. On top of it all, there is a maze with identical screens. Let’s hope that in future, Grundislav will try harder in that aspect.

I encountered no bugs while playing this game, and I doubt you will, judging by its linear structure. The Paranormal Investigator’s handbook (the manual) is as good as ever, although that’s not really that important.

On the scales, “Ben Jordan case 4: horror at number 50”, while not better than the third one, is as good, and hence an enjoyable and recommendable experience.

 

 

Ben Jordan Case 4: Horror at number 50

Creator: Grundislav & co

Download from here

AGS Ezine score:

80%

Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator Case 3 Review

Another game I was quite looking forward to was “Ben Jordan: paranormal investigator – case 3”. And I must say, it excelled all my expectations.

The plot is quite strong – Ben is investigating a Scottish village in which rumours of witchcraft have spread. This time, it develops as the player progresses into the game, a great addition that was not present in previous installments of the series. Another outstanding idea by Francisco Gonzalez is to create two different ways to finish the game – each one worth playing, with different events, graphics and puzzles. This actually makes the game more or less non-linear, which I really fell for.

bj3.gif

The graphics are in the same style as in the previous games, quite solid. There are even more animated character portraits and places to visit.

Music was a great part of the previous two Ben Jordan games, and this one is no exception. The digital music pack, which is included in the game download, enhances the wonderful atmosphere even more and often you will find yourselves doing nothing but just listening to the background music.

As for puzzles, they are various and fun to solve. There is one for which you will need to swap to another application, though, which can be quite distracting – in my opinion the creator should have put the book with the code not in the package as a html, but in the game as an inventory item… or something.

On the whole, the third case Ben Jordan solves is the best so far, and we are most certainly looking forward to the next ones!

Overall Score:

85%

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