March 28, 2015


H+A Entertainment, 1997

Mortalus is a mixed bag of genres with an excellent plot enough to elevate it to some good position. Game play is more puzzle-solving then overcoming combat sequences, which may be skipped by simply hitting a key on your keyboard. The game starts with a voice-over introduction by the squire of Sir John, which is no other, but you, and a slideshow of the abandoned Citadel of the Brotherhood. The hero tells us how he loses Sir John and meets Brother Peter, a novice in the Dark Brotherhood, who gives him the Book of Dark Knowledge and a curse known as Curse of the Black Hand. The quest starts and your main objectives are to find the Chalice, unravel the secrets of Mortalus, save the world from being dominated by the Servants of the Hand and finally, achieve mortality.

Graphics in Mortalus are similar to Myst kind of games with 360-degree panned view that the players control by keeping the left mouse button pressed while they view left or right. The screen changes to a still image once you leave the mouse button. There are plenty of full-motion video cut-scenes with real actors acting the roles. While the hard-to-solve puzzles are logical and good in quality the combats are even harder and completely keyboard dependent. Sound and music is bit creepy at times and gets annoying but there are no controls to get rid of it so the Windows volume control is the only way to decrease the volume. As for the recommendations, I will only recommend this game if you love puzzle-solving adventure games or if you have nothing else left to play but Mortalus.

Piri, the Explorer Ship

Sebit, Inc., 1998

Piri, the Explorer Ship is a unique and little known interactive adventure game created by a Turkish gaming company. The game is set aboard Piri, a 16th century carrack ready to embark on a quest to unravel the hidden secrets of Piri Reis’ map that he made in 1531 by copying most of it’s parts from the Columbus’ maps. Piri Reis was a great Turkish cartographer and a corsair in the Ottoman’s empire and he lived most of his life exploring different places and lands.

Back in the year 1926, the western part of Piri Reis’ map of 1513 was accidentally discovered in Topkapi Palace when it was undergoing major renovation for getting converted into a museum. Since, no work of Columbus was in existence then, this map was taken as the only source to represents Piri Reis’ and Columbus’ shared cartographic skills.

As you start the game in the Captain’s role aboard the ship, the old Captain’s voice welcomes and invites you to go ahead and unravel the hidden secrets of the map. In doing so, you need to sail from Istanbul to Dakar, Seville, Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro docking your ship in different places, exploring different lands and cultures and gathering information using ship’s highly sophisticated mechanisms, which in return will help you in finding the secrets hidden in the map.

Visually, the game presents superb quality pre-rendered 3D graphics with a mouse driven interface commonly found in most Myst type of games. Sound and music are equally nice and very entertaining. The game box contains a copy of the Piri Reis’ map of 1513 to consult and find clues and hints for most of the puzzles and problems, which in return are quite hard for most novice adventure gamers. Finally, I would highly recommend this game to all hardcore adventure gamers, who love challenging adventure games with a unique theme.

Noir: A Shadowy Thriller

TSi, Inc., 1996

Noir is a thrilling whodunit adventure game and the classical efforts of Jeff Blyth, an acclaimed filmmaker, to create an adventure game. The game is set in Los Angles of 1940s and you are playing the role of a private detective ready to go on the trail of your missing Colleague, Private Detective Jack Slayton. Jack was working on 6 different cases before he mysteriously disappeared and you are sure that one of these cases is obviously the only reason behind his disappearance but which one, you need to find out by looking into each and every case's file available on Jack's desk. As you study the cases and visit these clients you discover that somehow these cases are linked to each other at some extent, which involves few Nazis, a posh nightclub, a dead race horse, a missing dog, a stolen crate from an opium den in Chinatown and a mysterious butler. To complete the game, you need to investigate and solve all these cases by venturing the dark underworld of Los Angles, where death lurks and one wrong step could be fatal for you.

The most distinguished feature of this game is that it is completely done in black and white by compiling full-motion video cut-scenes and still photographs of actual places or studio sets in Macromedia Director. In addition, the mysterious Noir atmosphere is spiced up with ambient music and sound effects that will definitely remind you all Noir films' music released between early forties and late fifties. While the game play is reasonably nonlinear the puzzles are very generic and can be solved without much difficulty by most adventure gamers. Overall, Noir is quite an interesting mystery adventure game and must not be missed by us, adventure gamers.

Hopkins FBI

Kult Edition, 1998

Hopkins FBI is an excellent adventure game that combines wacky sense of humor with extraordinary creative puzzles in a very compelling and exciting story. An infamous criminal and terrorist, Bernie Berckson was sentenced to be electrocuted for killing uncountable people in a terrorist missile blasts in two Californian cities but somehow, he remained alive and managed to escape the execution. FBI's Special Agent Hopkins, who captured Bernie the first time, is now reassigned to follow his trail and arrest him and his other gang members.

After the escape, Bernie Berckson is now leading a new terrorist organisation. Playing the game as Hopkins, you will be assisted by Samantha Collins, your girlfriend and another great FBI agent. You must follow a trail of ruthless murders, resolve the mystery of kidnapping of world class scientists, travel through air and sea to many dangerous and strange locations, meet and interact with strange characters and finally apprehend Bernie Berckson.

Graphically, the game is a solid treat of excellent and high-quality retouched hand-drawn artwork with colorful and smooth animations created by putting together frame by frame. Puzzles are mostly inventory based and very logical in this linear storyline, which is marred by some very annoying arcade sequences. Music and sound quality are very atmospheric and good. All in all, Hopkins FBI is an excellent point & click adventure game to play without doubt and I highly recommend it to every adventure games player.

Alice in Wonderland

EMME, 2001

Alice in Wonderland is an excellent puzzle-solving adventure game for kids age 7 and above. The game is based on the famous storybook, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll, which tells the story of a little girl named Alice who follows a white rabbit in a hole and falls in a dream world into the realm of Queen of Hearts. She explores this enchanted land and meets many strange characters and animals. In the game, she falls and lands in a room with many doors of different sizes and in order to enter these doors she needs to change her into different size by drinking magic potions available in the room. Each door opens to different places of the wonderland. Each screen offers a puzzle or some arcade sequence. Sometimes, solving a puzzle in a place changes something at another place. Puzzles are quite interesting and their quality varies from easy to moderate but none of them are too hard as the game was created with little kids in mind. There are some arcade games also added for extra fun in the game.

Graphically, the game has excellent quality and colorful background, 3D rendered characters and objects and very nice animated cut-scenes. Alice is played by a real girl, who has been filmed and used as an animated sprite over the still backgrounds. Control interface is totally mouse-driven and the inventory and other options slides down as you move the cursor to the upper area of the screen. Sound and music is very melodious and entertain the players throughout the game. All in all, this is a nice game, which can be played and finished in just few hours.

Return to Ringworld

Time Warner Interactive, 1994

Return to Ringworld is the second and the last game in the science-fiction adventure game series based on Larry Niven's well-known Known Space series of science-fiction novels. The sequel begins from the point it was left off in the first game. The puppeteer race is saved from being exterminated and now our main characters, Quinn, Seeker and Miranda Rees are on the run, trying to hide from all the major species for they have passed themselves as fugitives. While looking for a place to hide, Quinn and his companions make their way back to Ringworld in order to uncover some evidences that may prove them innocent. But, on Ringworld they unwillingly get involved again in saving the universe from the mischievous plots of General Carson, who is planning to unravel Ringworld's hidden secrets, which may bring disaster to the Universe.

Graphically, the game uses Super-VGA 256-color palette with average quality 2D graphics and nice animated sequences. The control interface is almost the same except you can now switch back and forth to any of the character at any time by selecting his or her icon, which would be fun if the gameplay was non-linear while playing a character but unfortunately its not and many puzzles need to be solved first by a particular characters in order to play any other character. Puzzles are quite easy to solve for hardcore adventure gamers while they are logical and mostly inventory-based. Music and sound quality is good and the CD-Rom version of the game was released with digital quality speech. Overall, Return to Ringworld is a nice game to play and most recommended for the fans of science-fiction adventure games.

Missing on Lost Island

Riki Computer Games, 2002

Missing in Lost Island is a traditional adventure game with ordinary graphics quality that doesn't meet the 3D standards of modern games, thou it does refresh the memories of "old-school" adventure games, especially the early LucasArts games. The intro sequence starts with a short fighting scene, where some pirates shoot Tim and Diana with their ray guns and teleport them into another dimension in different a period of time. The game starts with Tim standing in a crater in his birthday suit and his first mission is to save his modesty by finding something to wear, which is just the beginning. His main goal is to follow Diana's trail, who has already past this period of time years ago. During your search and rescue mission you will play four chapters and each chapter exhibits four different time periods. The game has multiple endings, which depends on the path you choose to play during the game.

The game puzzles are mostly logical and inventory based and not so hard to solve by hardcore adventure gamers. There are many characters to interact using multiply choice dialogue options, which in return are quite humorous. Navigation and other controls are completely mouse-driven, where the cursor changes it shape according to the action required. Graphically, the game pays homage to old classics like Simon the Sorcerer, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and Monkey Island series. As a bottom line, I would say that Missing on Lost Island is indeed a nice adventure game to play and add in your personal adventure games collection.