February 5, 2015

Dust: A Tale of the Wired West

CyberFlix, Inc., 1995

Dust: A Tale of the Wired West is one of those unforgettable adventure games that I played more than once, rather twice. This Western classic game is set in the year 1882 in a lawless town named Diamondback where you arrived as a total stranger after crossing the desert and fleeing from a notorious outlaw known as "The Kid". Upon entering the town and interacting with the folks you find out that there is something strange about it. People are frightened of something and seem suspicious about newcomers in their town. So, to gain their confidence and respect as a stranger you need to prove yourself as someone they can trust and share their hidden secrets. As you explore the town, which is rather limited to only those places where there is an action, you meet and talk to some nice and friendly characters as well as few bad characters, who invite you either for a duel or trigger some kind of arcade sequence. There are multiply tasks in this game that involve finding about a lost treasure, helping an Indian tribe in distress, finding gifts for the folks to please them and most of all, discovering your real identity. To accomplish many tasks you need money, which can be earned either by playing poker or blackjack at the Hard-Drive inn or fighting a duel with some bad guy.

The storyline is extremely nonlinear and the game can be ended skipping many events including some very interesting ones, but on the contrary, it offers a chance to play the game over and over again. The puzzles on the other hand are a mixed bag, which are either very easy or so difficult and frustrating that you start losing interest in the game, but none are impossible and can be solved with a bit more concentration. The most interesting feature in the game is the dated graphics with superb quality 3D pre-rendered backgrounds and characters that turn into 2D digitized real actors as you interact with them. Interface is point and click and items once picked can be examined in detail 3D inside the Inventory. Voice acting is excellent, which adds a lot of fun in the humorous dialogues. Sound and music are equally nice and meshes well in the Western atmosphere of the game. All in all, Dust is a great adventure game and must not be missed at all.