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Playing traditional adventure games

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volsung

NetWatch
#1
Playing traditional adventure games

We have the "Playing Classic RPG's" thread (which is one of my favorites) so I figured, why not have a thread dedicated to the good old (and new) text and graphical adventure genre?

When we talk about adventure we talk about exploration and problem solving, not running down a slope in a tropical jungle shooting down jaguarbears and ancient deities with handguns. We talk about the almost dead genre that favored, above all else, narrative depth and rich visual scenes (whether drawn of described by text). In fact, I believe this (graphical adventure) to be the one PC or video game genre that best exemplifies why video games can be art. Essentially, a traditional adventure game is an interplay of literature, visual arts and music.

So bring it on!
 

volsung

NetWatch
#2
I'll start this thread by commenting on my recent and brief replay of one of my favorite adventure games: Loom.

Loom is a classic adventure game from 1990, one of the legendary LucasArts adventure games. It follows the story of young Bobbin Threadbare (yeah they really overdid it with the names and the guild puns...) who is a member of the guild of weavers. These weavers weave more than common thread: their thread essentially forms the fabric of reality. They command a mysterious device called the loom which can alter reality itself, but most of its secrets and intricate workings have long been forgotten since the demise of the oldest weavers. It is on the day of Bobbin's seventeenth birthday that things go awry and it seems an event prophesied by the loom is finally happening. For reasons that I won't spoil in here Bobbin finds himself alone and in possession of the powerful distaff of the elders (which acts as a channeling device, much like a wizard's staff). This distaff is operated by spinning drafts, i.e. spells, which consist of four musical notes (all on the scale of C major :p). And so the trip begins, and Bobbin must find where the rest of his guild has gone and why he is called "Loom child". Along the way he meets different people from other guilds, and finds out about a strange figure whose plans might endanger reality as we know it.



So get it and play it! It's a very short game (2 to 2 and a half hours) but it is certainly charming and magical.
 
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Gilrond-i-Virdan

NetWatch
#3
This is one of my favorite games as well. I usually play it on hard, where the notes aren't shown and you need to figure them out on distaff yourself (it's probably more for those who like musical instruments). The game is really original and amongst Lucas Arts adventures is a rare game in fantasy settings.

It's good to note that this game had some erratic history of version releases, which resulted in several versions with differences. There was a full VGA version for so called "FM Towns" computers. It had detailed dialogs (in text) with animated characters in close up portraits:




This version also features great soundtrack with music from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (which is continuously playing during each level).

Later they remade the game with full voice acting (which is quite great - especially Mandible has some superb dialogs), but they didn't manage to fit all the dialogs in the CD format, so they had to partially cut them, which made many places rather obscure. They also removed close up portraits, because they apparently didn't mange to synchronize voice acting with lips movements. Also, for some weird reason music on each level in this version plays only once and then stops.

In the end, if you want to enjoy the game, you probably should play both versions because you'll get the full story from the FM towns game, and great voice acting from the later PC release (both versions are playable in ScummVM).

There is also an audio story with the history of the guilds and events which predate the game (the story of Lady Cygna Threadbare and the Loom child) which was available as an extra for the game.

One of the problems with Loom is that it's hard to get it DRM free. Lucas Arts had bad reputation in that aspect - try finding any of their games on GOG for example. And once Disney got them, chances of that only went down. You can still buy CDs with different versions on e-bay though. It's a clear example how copyright paranoia hinders great art.

Some box art from the game:

FM Towns cover:



PC release cover:

 
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Fandango9641

NC Citizen
#4
I'm probably going to date myself here, but the adventure games that first pulled me in were those wonderful old Sierra classics. The early iterations of Police, Space and Kings Quest provided some of my fondest (and frustrating) gaming experiences. Brilliant games and a brilliant genre. I really should get around to playing Loom.

Red point to the first of you who can identify my first gaming nemesis:

 
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duskey

Booster
#5
<snip>
Red point to the first of you who can identify my first gaming nemesis:

Isn't it that Baines fellow from the first Police Quest? John Baines or something like that. The graphics appear better from what I remember, but I'm assuming it's a still instead of something animated.

Never played it, but it's definately on my list for a rainy day. I probably should have since I've loved pretty much anything else coming out of LucasArts back in the day.


Speaking of LucasArts: I often feel that The Dig goes underappreciated. It's not the fun wacky absurd comedy style of Monkey Island, Full Throttle or even Zak McKracken, but it's still a good adventure game in my opinion. There's probably 2 jokes in the entire game in total.
What really grabbed me is the exploration of this weird alien world and trying to unravel why it's now (seemingly) deserted. It's dealing with some pretty classic stuff such as greed, mortality and soul vs. body, although it doesn't really answer much nor does it present it very well. It's more of an undercurrent.

It sucks that LucasArts (now Disney) aren't up for putting the classics on GoG. Put up the Monkey Island series (don't bother with the 4th one), Full Throttle, The Dig, Loom, Zak McKracken, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis, Grim Fandango. I'd buy each and everyone of them for $5 each in a heartbeat.

I never got into Sam & Max
 

Fandango9641

NC Citizen
#6
Isn't it that Baines fellow from the first Police Quest? John Baines or something like that. The graphics appear better from what I remember, but I'm assuming it's a still instead of something animated.
Aye, it's Jessie Bains *gives REDpoint*. As for the rest of your post, man some of those titles bring back memories - Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade was actually the first game I ever played in VGA:



Blew my mind!
 

volsung

NetWatch
#7
@Gilrond,

I always play Loom on "expert" and I really don't think it's much of an issue finding out the right notes, it's part of the fun. You'd have to be tonedeaf to not be able to differentiate an entire tone. But maybe I'm being unfair. I played it once on Standard and to my surprise I got a different, shorter ending! I wonder if this has anything to do with the difficulty setting. I also played both the 16 color and 256 color with audio versions, and there are some other differences as well. People should play both.

@duskey

The Dig is underrated but it is also, in my opinion, the weakest of all LucasArts adventures. Even if the idea is somewhat original and interesting, the writing is full of stereotypes and cliches. I have to say I do like the animation very much, and the voice acting and cutscenes are top notch. The idea of transcendence and immortality is also not new, but they approach it in an interesting, fatalistic sort of way. I like it. But it is my least favorite SCUMM game.

My absolute favorite SCUMM games would be The Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis, Loom and the Monkey Island series (1st through 3rd). Second place: Maniac Mansion, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Full Throttle. Third: all the others. But I agree, I'd buy a complete SCUMM package from GOG in a heartbeat.

PS: Did you know there were several indie-ish games developed with SCUMM? For instance, Flight of the Amazon Queen (tacky but fun) and the very good Beneath a Steel Sky.
 
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Gilrond-i-Virdan

NetWatch
#8
About LucasArts -> Disney. Someone frustrated about the whole thing becoming even more locked up made a video:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=FtHMkPmmeLA

Rather cruel though to my taste.

@.Volsung.: Yep, I meant the hardest setting (i.e. "expert") above. I've red somewhere that if you don't play on "expert", you are missing some parts of the dialog about the weavers in the cathedral i.e. this one:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=61OqWM7gh5k&t=4m14s
where Cob dares to look under Bobbin's hood. On easier settings they don't show what happened to him (at least in some versions of the game).
 
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Gilrond-i-Virdan

NetWatch
#9
About Flight of the Amazon Queen and Beneath a Steel Sky it's good to mention that both games were released as free software a while ago.
 
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Gilrond-i-Virdan

NetWatch
#10
Continuing the classic adventures thread:

The Neverhood



This gem is also one of my most favorite adventure games. It's the story of Klaymen, a character who wakes up in unknown and obscure world and has to figure out what is going on. The game has a unique feeling to it, because it's entirely made with clay stop motion animation. Authors literally used tons of clay to develop it. Which other games do such a thing?



Besides a story in a hilarious world it features a brilliant soundtrack by Terry Scott Taylor.

Some examples:
https://youtube.com/watch?v=Wh4WnHlsbvM
https://youtube.com/watch?v=F37ZeulEWik

I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes the adventure genre. It's perfectly playable in Wine in Windows 95 compatibility mode. Unfortunately as with many older titles, it's not sold anywhere digitally, but you can still get old CDs on E-bay. Authors pointed out this unfortunate fact, but said there is nothing they can do, since it's now owned by EA, who aren't exactly known for common sense.

For the reference, authors are now working on a kind of successor to Neverhood, i.e. not a direct sequel story wise, but a game with similar values and approach - Armikrog. They plan to release it (DRM-free) on Linux, OS X, Windows and Wii U console.
 
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gedierond

Booster
#11
Wow, so many good memories from my childhood in this thread!
I concurr... Day of the Tentacle, the Indiana Jones games, Loom and the Monkey Island series (particularly Monkey Island 2) are among the best games I´ve ever played. I bought the special editions of Monkey Island 1 & 2 last year... so much awesomeness together!!

To the games already mentioned, I´d add the Quest for Glory series (I to V), by Sierra. The combination of great adventure with slight RPG mechanics, the possibility of tackling the puzzles in different ways according to your character class, and being able to import your character from one game to the next throughout the entire series blew my mind back then!

Also, if you play the entire series, you get a nice tour of how games evolved from the late 80´s to the late 90´s, just look:

Quest for Glory I (although there is a VGA version released later, after QfG II actually)


Quest for Glory V


In the first game you have recently completed your Famous Adventurer´s Correspondence School and set out to become a hero. You arrive at the village of Spielburg, and find out about a curse an evil ogress placed on the local baron. You then start your journey to greatness.

In each game your character visits a different land in need of a hero, with completely different settings.
The first game is set in a medieval germanic village, while the second is set in a middle eastern-like kingdom. The third game takes place in an African-like environment, while the fourth game is set in a Transilvanian-like, slavic village, with a much more grim atmosphere. Finally, the fifth and final game takes place in a greek-like, mediterranean kingdom.
Each game has plot devices and enemies inspired in their real-world counterparts mythologies.

All in all, a truly excellent series, full of variety and of course the well-known amusement of the old Sierra games. And it´s available in its entirety at GOG, at an absolutely bargain price.
 

Jack_in_the-Green

CyberPsycho
#12
I wonder if some of you have heard of "The Dark Eye". Originally it was published by an indie "multimedia" company called INSCAPE, that went down the drains shortly after. On top of replicating three of Edgar A. Poe's best horror stories, it gave you the unique and original (at the time) oportunity to both play the villain AND the victim... :p
Im currently starting a new playthough now, cause I never finished it. (As with some of the old adventure games, you COULD get stuck, depending on the order you did things, and that happened with me a couple of times).
 
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volsung

NetWatch
#14
I wonder if some of you have heard of "The Dark Eye". Originally it was published by an indie "multimedia" company called INSCAPE, that went down the drains shortly after. On top of replicating three of Edgar A. Poe's best horror stories, it gave you the unique and original (at the time) oportunity to both play the villain AND the victim... :p

Im currently starting a new playthough now, cause I never finished it. (As with some of the old adventure games, you COULD get stuck, depending on the order you did things, and that happened with me a couple of times).
So there *is* a game called The Dark Eye! That's confusing, considering The Dark Eye (Das Schwarze Auge) is a German RPG on which many PC games are based (Realms of Arkania series, Drakensang Series, Blackguards) including two graphical adventure games: Chains of Satinav and Memoria.

So Jack, where can you get this game? I assume you have a CD version? Does it run OK in modern systems? I read it had a bunch of ancient Quicktime videos.
 

Fandango9641

NC Citizen
#16
Poor Roger:

[video=youtube_share;QH-NmmPFWv0]http://youtu.be/QH-NmmPFWv0[/video]

I mentioned in our Broken Age thread, that the game doesn't seem to be anything like as challenging or punishing as I thought it would be. Here's hoping that part 2 delivers a little more in that regard.
 

Jack_in_the-Green

CyberPsycho
#17
So there *is* a game called The Dark Eye! That's confusing, considering The Dark Eye (Das Schwarze Auge) is a German RPG on which many PC games are based (Realms of Arkania series, Drakensang Series, Blackguards) including two graphical adventure games: Chains of Satinav and Memoria.

So Jack, where can you get this game? I assume you have a CD version? Does it run OK in modern systems? I read it had a bunch of ancient Quicktime videos.
Basically you cant... :p Best bet would be finding one in Ebay (maybe US$30 (for just the CD)+Shipping). I got the original version from back in the day (1995).
Or maybe GOG would have it someday ?(there IS a petition for it in their wish list).

Im not gonna lie, it has a tendency to crash on the Windows XP. The best way I could manage that is playing it on short chuncks of time. :p
 
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volsung

NetWatch
#18
For those of you who still have their Grim Fandango CDs, I want to recommend ResidualVM.

ResidualVM is exactly like ScummVM except for Lua based games. It is free and open source AND multiplatform! I managed to run Grim Fandango mostly flawlessly on my 64 bit Debian Testing. The website lists Grim Fandango support as being 85% complete (finishable with minor glitches) while other games (Escape from Monkey Island, Myst 3 Exile) are not yet fully supported.

All you need to play is a full game installation. Under Windows this should be straightforward. Under Linux the installer works with Wine but you should run with Residual to improve stability. Another alternative is using the custom launcher that takes care of some compatibility issues. In order to get a full installation, you can use the Grim Fandango replacement installer, which will let you copy your CD's contents to the hard drive.

Before playing make sure the game is patched, which fixes a certain puzzle that goes so fast in CPU's over 400 MHz (heh) that it's impossible to complete.

I'm still hoping someone *cough* GOG *cough* will release a patched and stable version of Grim Fandango in digital format, with a few extras. If you can don't miss out on Grim Fandango, one of the greatest games of all time.

 
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gedierond

Booster
#19
I'm still hoping someone *cough* GOG *cough* will release a patched and stable version of Grim Fandango in digital format, with a few extras. If you can don't miss out on Grim Fandango, one of the greatest games of all time[/Img]
It´s one of my greatest pending gaming issues... If/when GOG releases it I´ll but it instantly!
 

Jack_in_the-Green

CyberPsycho
#20
Yeah... good luck with a GOG Grim Fandango release... now that LucasArts is OWNED by Disney... Do not want to be a party-pooper, but it's a very sliiiiim chance...

Thnx for the link, Volsung, very much appreciated. :)
 
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