9.21.2005

Six good old-fashioned adventure games

Pinhead Games is a developer with three solid releases so far, and more on the way: the film-noir styled Nick Bounty series, A Case of the Crabs and its sequel, The Goat in the Grey Fedora; and Tales of the Odd: Brain Hotel, an adventure set in a comic-book world (at a supervillain convention, to be precise). All three feature an interesting plot with strong elements of humor; good gameplay with well-implemented puzzles; and a smooth, well-designed interface. There are a lot of colorful characters, and all the dialog is voiced. In short, these are everything a good classic adventure game should be -- a point underscored by the numerous awards they've won.
Help and walkthroughs for all the games can be found on the site's own forums.




PASH is a game I have a lot of fondness for. It's a Flash adventure in which you must scour a dilapidated city to collect your scattered belongings and fight off the grrroms, wicked bug-monsters that terrorize everyone. You choose your own avatar, a combination of hip, photorealistic clothing and a cartoon body. This visual mix lends PASH its unusual flavor -- all the backgrounds are photos of abandoned, run-down urban locations, while all the characters and many of the objects are Flash cartoons. Add to that the funky electronic beats of the soundtrack and the odd, lilting quality of the characters' voices, and you get that unique PASH atmosphere that I can't quite define. Browsing the site's links, it seems that PASH is actually a Munich clothing manufacturer, which would explain the avatars' trendy threads -- though not much else about the game. Anyway, it's a quite fun, and nice to look at.
A couple of hints and help at the Nordinho forums, but it shouldn't really be necessary, as the game is pretty linear.




Peasant's Quest is a Homestar Runner parody of classic Sierra adventure game King's Quest. The graphics and game mechanics are just like the first several KQ games -- arrow keys to move, and type all commands, like "TALK KNIGHT." Features Homestar Runner's usual brand of humor -- a great take-off on the adventure games of old.
Walkthrough on Homestar Runner Wiki.




Inspektor Wombat is a very nice adventure game. You play a charming old German detective who collects numerous unusual objects, talks to people, and solves mysteries. The cartoonish animation is very cute and well-done. The game is German, but there is an English version. The commands, objects, descriptive text, and dialog are translated, but unfortunately, in-game texts -- such as the "blackmail letter" you begin the game with -- are left in German. I haven't played the whole game yet, so I don't know how much of an obstacle this is.
Help and a walkthrough are provided in the English forum, however.




As you may have noticed, these are all third-person adventure games. Up next: first-person (or "Myst-style") adventures, of which I have very many.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous orangeguru:

After all these years I still don't get adventures. Apart from the early Lucas Arts games I never really enjoyed them. I guess I am too stupid for riddles?! ;-)

02:43  
Blogger bluewyvern:

Oh, I just love them. And the difficulty of gameplay varies...some are just collecting items, combining them in obvious ways, and proceeding to the end. But what I really love about them is just exploring new and interesting places. I'm really into the idea of place (which is one of the reasons I love the Myst series so much). I also like games with really well-developed characters, like Sierra's Quest for Glory series (which also has some pretty great locations!) I guess that's what interests me more than the puzzles.

12:43  
Anonymous orangeguru:

Myst was for me an Artbook with some interaction attached.

I always thought that 3d adventures are the new adventures - compared to the very old text adventures a la Infocom?

But you are right - good characters and stories make it most interesting. But how many good writers have you seen in the interactive busines lately?!

12:52  
Anonymous Ladysusan:

Is it just me, or does Inspektor Wombat dress a lot like Wallace of Wallace and Gromit?

16:48  
Blogger bluewyvern:

orangeguru: Oh, I'm not fond of 3d. The technology isn't yet so good that things don't look awkward and bulky and polygonal...but with a 2d interface there was *art*. I really like the painted backgrounds and 2d sprites of classic adventure games like Quest for Glory, or the slideshow format in games like Myst, or the top-down views with painted tiles and 2d sprites in games like Ultima. (My three favorite game series, btw.) Games that make the jump to 3d suffer terribly. Quest for Glory 8: Mask of Eternity was an ugly, blocky disaster, and turned plot-based adventure into demanding 3d action -- so much jumping! So was Ultima 8: Pagan, which introduced an awkward physics system and eliminated a lot of the classic Ultima gameplay elements, like a party and character portraits. Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire was still a good game only because of the 2d elements that they kept, like the scrolling backdrops, and because they didn't let the 3d technology change the essential nature of the gameplay. And Myst made the transition all right, I suppose, but I still miss the old slideshows.

I wish 2d would come back, but 3d seems to be the new standard.

LadySusan: Wow, you're right. I just happen to have splurged on the "Wallace and Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures" dvd after work last night -- it's sitting here on my desk -- so I could quickly check. And it does seem to be the exact same costume. But Wombat automatically dons an overcoat and hat when he goes outside, which I think is a nice touch.

16:58  
Anonymous Anonymous:

The PASH link doesn't work! Do you know what's wrong?

Ladysusan

22:12  

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