Rating by Antrax posted on Jun 15, 2013
Looks like a fan game
This is easily the second worst part of the series, after the borderline unplayable second installment. The game is short, easy and ultimately pointless.
The art and interface have been revamped. The new look for Larry is a matter of taste, I personally had no issue with it. The interface is now standard point and click.
The major problem with the look of the game is an unbelievable amount of asset reuse. The limo, airplane, and airport repeat over and over again. There is almost no music and very few sound effects. The whole thing looks like it could fit on a couple of floppies. It would be acceptable for a fan game, but this is supposed to be a production-quality game, and it's really not.
The writing is still up to par but the game is so short and there are so few locations it doesn't make up for the lack of content.
Unlike previous games, it's impossible to die (or at least, I was unable to). You can again reach a dead end but due to the game structure, these don't require a lot of backtracking and are quite obvious when hit.
The game is divided into several short segments. Unlike previous games, "getting the girl" is trivial. The Larry segments consist of a puzzle to get to the right place (always the same puzzle), the girls are usually quite willing, so the only challenge is in maxing your score, since there are sometimes two or three ways to go about things, some worth more than others.
This is not a fair challenge, though, as often you would have to know what's about to happen to figure out the better approach - it's impossible to know how many times the "speech" icon can be used before you're moved to the next scene, unless you've just reloaded a saved game.
There are no puzzles - some obstacles, but they're all extremely localized (no object re-use between segments) and your inventory usually has one or two items to try with the one or two interesting hotspots in the screen.
The Patti segments are better designed. Your motivation is clearer and there's at least some feeling of accomplishment beyond "remember to turn on the camera at the right time".
Still, the game is unreasonably short, with the longest section being a video poker sequence that was clearly thrown in as padding. There is no sexy twist like the "liar dice" game in LSL 7 - this is more reminiscent of playing blackjack to earn money in LSL 1. You have to save-scum and the interface is awkward, and the whole thing is boring and silly. Also the payouts are ridiculously wrong: you get 3 on 1 for making a set, for instance.
Overall, there's no real reason to play this game. It's not challenging, it's not interesting, the "cut scenes" are awkward paced and the few good jokes just aren't worth the hassle. Since the series doesn't really have a plot arch to speak of, you can as easily skip this as you probably skipped part 4.
Time Played: 2-5 hours
One of the best ever
The Dig is, for sure, one of the best point and click adventures I've ever played in my whole life. And I assure you, people: I've played a huge lot of them in my life. The Dig has everything an adventure game should have: a great story and plot, great characters, great gameplay and, of course, lots of good puzzles.
Graphics were, back in the time, a great achievement, even in 320x200x256 colors and musical scores were delightful. The dig is a whole great project from its roots to the top. In a single word, unmissable.
Time Played: 10-20 hours
Classic horror game
Phantasmagoria still is one of my favorite adventure games. It's story feels like a classic horror movie and presents the player a lot of scary moments and uncomfortable scenes. The ambience has a clear sense of gothic and the whole story reminds me of old horror movies, such as the shinning, for example. Roberta Williams did give us a 360 grades twist in terms of adventure, bringing the player, for the first time, more matured contents in all senses.
Gameplay, however, is very simplified and finishing the game reveals itself a very easy thing. Puzzles are also too easy for a mature game such as this, and that constitutes one of the less pleasurable things of Phantasmagoria. If you haven't played it yet, this 1995 game will still be a nice bet for a great time. Totally recommended.
Time Played: Under 1 hour
This was the second part of Roberta William's Phantasmagoria and, even having a totally different story, it was one of the best FMV games I've ever played. Lorelei Shannon did a great job while creating this game's plot, characters and story. Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh delivered a dark and wicked atmosphere, full of tense moments and great fun. Puzzles are fair, characters actings are nice and the whole game shows a fair amount of realism.
For all lovers of the first Phantasmagoria, lovers of Gabriel Knight series, I have one single advice: play this game now. It is indeed a great graphic adventure.
Time Played: 5-10 hours
Slightly worse than the first episode
I actually thought this was a bit worse than the first episode. Sure, there are some exciting aspects to the story, but it isn't developed in enough detail to be really interesting. Many of the characters are largely irrelevant and you almost don't learn anything about them. There are a few twists and turns leading to a cliffhanger ending. All in all it is an okay story, but the story in the first episode was better developed. In this episode it feels like the designers were trying to make the story more exciting by making some characters rather unique and creepy weirdos, but we are not given nearly enough background information about the characters for this to really work.
Like in the first episode gameplay consists of searching crime scenes for evidence and photographing it, then playing minigames to analyse the evidence and finally linking different piece of evidence to each other.There are a few new minigames but these aren't any more challenging or otherwise interesting than the minigames in the first episode. The crime scene investigation itself is still mainly a matter of photographing everything you can see, and the only challenge lies in the fact that some objects are hidden and it take some searching to find them. There are not always any hints given to where to look for these objects which makes this searching only barely preferable to pixel hunting. The linking of evidence is probably the most interesting aspect of gameplay but it could have been improved by recording the information that you are given when you first analyse each object so that you don't have to remember this. Although I suppose needing to take your own notes outside of the game is not all that inappropriate in a crime investigation game.
Time Played: 5-10 hours
Rating by Antrax posted on Jun 8, 2013
A fine conclusion
The final game in the Trilby series nicely ties together all the plot threads. As such, it's a very plot-driven game, with very few segments that can be considered "puzzles"
The interface is similar to the second game in the series, which is a bit clunky (most everything takes two clicks, changing your mind takes three) but serviceable.
The "two worlds" motif is used a lot more sparingly, so you don't have to play an entire game listening to a loop of whispers. Nevertheless, the game is no less atmospheric than the previous ones.
Obstacles are organic, which lends itself to not many puzzles, all solvable either by exhausting dialog or by a single inventory use. Thus, the game is not very challenging, and similar to its predecessors, some days take one or two minutes of play to complete.
There are again some "avoid the killer" moments, but they're handled much better than in the previous three games. Instead of random appearances and a reflex test, this time it's a sort of puzzle, not requiring dexterity to complete.
I encountered only one technical issue, though it's an annoying one - pressing Alt+Enter returns the game to the main menu. Seeing as I'd expected it to switch from full screen to window, that was a nasty surprise. Lucky I saved not long before that.
All in all, I wouldn't go so far as to say that the previous three games are worth it just to play this one, but if you happened to catch any of them and liked it, this one is highly recommended.
Time Played: 1-2 hours
boring story, I can't say that I would play this game again
Time Played: Under 1 hour