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Old 08-07-2008, 11:59 AM   #141
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Hmm. I assume I need to find a way to keep the Firebird as a bargaining chip, or otherwise prevent Kronos from leaving the train at Vienna if I want to find out what happened to Tyler Witney. As it stands, Cath exchanges the Firebird for the gold, then decides to keep it. Who knows what happens to those pesky Serbs then?

The worst thing about arriving at Vienna is that it makes me think of Ultravox. Anyway, I'm going to take a break from The Last Express for a while; retreading the same ground is too frustrating for me.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:47 PM   #142
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So, no more impressions?
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:42 AM   #143
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Althoug I have been reading other people's comments, I haven't posted my impressions as promised. Sorry. (Didn't feel up to it emotionally, sad things happening in real life.) But I will tonight.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:43 AM   #144
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Whenever you feel like it...
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:01 PM   #145
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I will.
Honestly.
Later tonight!
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:12 AM   #146
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You know, either post here or un-sticky the thread...
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:27 AM   #147
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Whatever happened to Fienepien?
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Old 11-16-2008, 02:21 PM   #148
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The AG Scene of the Week and the thread about the TLE soundtrack reminded me of this community playthrough. I apologize for never posting my final comments as promised. I lost two important people in my life, which was a bitter blow, even though death and mourning are to be expected at my age (60). I stopped playing adventures for a couple of months and I didn't want to post on forums.

@Vel: Only mods can stick or un-stick threads.
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:52 PM   #149
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I'm very sorry for your loss, Fienepien. I hope you feel better now, and it's great to have you back...
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:04 AM   #150
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Not sure if it's best to revive this old "Playthrough" thread, or to start a new one, but as I'd like to comment on a few things that were written back then I thought I'd choose the first option. If (for whatever reason) that was the wrong option, someone please let me know...

I remember the adverts for "The Last Express" back when it came it in the late 90's, but was unconvinced about it at the time - think it was the "realtime" asect that left me worried, not wanting a game where you just had to "click. click, click" as opposed to thinking about your decisions. So I didn't play it at the time. Over the last year or two, when browsing on here, I've noticed that a few players, whose opinions on other games are similar to my own, were clearly fans of TLE. Fien being the most obvious example, but also one or two others. So downloaded it (I think off GOG) a couple of months ago, and finished it last weekend. Having read the comments from the walkthrough, and a few other bits, just wanted to throw my own views out there & see if there's interest from others - I promised Fien I'd let her know my end conclusions:

A unique game. That's my first comment. There are a lot of adventures out there where you can compare & contrast, see what inspired something else, and so on. Not with TLE. It really is something quite different. I'm struggling to find any computer game that compares at all. I guess Fahrenheit slightly with the real time aspects, but can't come up with anything else. Closest maybe is the film "Murder on the Orient Express" which (if my memory serves me correctly - it's been abut 25 years!) not only (obviously) has the setting in common, but also consisted of Poirot gathering snippets of information and only working out over time how they fitted together - very similar to TLE.

Other plus points:

1. The setting & storyline - complex, clearly well-researched, re-creating beautifully a feeling for that early 20th Century society. Anyone with an interest in early 20th century history would surely be gripped by it from the start, and the details like the newspapers added to that. Of course, anybody without an interest in the period would be missing out on a major element of the game.

2. The characters - also well created, even the minor roles like the guards/attendents who discussed the political situation a couple of times when they were alone, with varying perspectives. Yes, there were a couple of cliches, Hr Schmidt most obviously, and also Abbott, but even they were brought to life and worked well.

3. The voice acting - follows on from number 2. It amazes me how people can be so full of praise for games like Black Mirror (1) and Secret Files when the characterisation & voice acting is so poor. No a problem that TLE has - it definitely goes in the top category of voice acting (with Longest Jouney/Dreamfall, GK (excepting Tim Curry in GK3), & Grey Matter). I don't think there's a single character where the voice acting comes across poorly. Connected to that is the fact that all (I think?) of the actors actually come from the country the character does & so can also speak the native language fluently.

4. Production Values - I read somewhere (maybe on here) that it was the most expensive game to produce at the time, and that doesn't surprise me. The care taken with the voice acting was clearly also used elsewhere. Graphics are rarely crucial to me, but the style they use in TLE works well.

5. Languages & Geography - unlike so many games, language really played a part. Apart from the fact that it's nice to hear varying languages being used naturally (as opposed to always English for no reason) and with (as far as I'm able ot judge) native speaker quality, it also gave the game a certainl tension as you weren't able to understand everything. Excellent. There were a couple of oddities though: Why did Hr Schmidt & Fr Wolff mainly speak to each other in English? It is possible that German wouldn't be her native language if (as I think she said) she was actually born in Hungary, but she's clearly fluent in it. Similarly, Tatiana & Alexei often speak in English I think.

6. Openness - the fact that there are lots of different things you can do in the game. The fact that I will probably replay the game very soon to hear bits I missed. It's a pretty unusual thing in an adventure game..

Ok, think they're the main positives as I found them. However, there are definitely some negatives. But that's enough for this post, I'll come to them soon...
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:14 AM   #151
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As I said though, there are some negatives to the game too (as far as I'm concerned anyway!):

1. The Interface - I'm not a fan of 1st person at the best of times (had to struggle with Tex Murphy too), but there are a couple of extra flaws here, as I notice 1-2 others have already commented. Where the arrows are & where they take you is not always consistent. Similarly, how the inventory works is flawed - that the scarf suddenly comes up to be offered to Fr Wolff without being selected is extremely strange, but then you do have to select the telegram to
Spoiler:
stop the bomb.
Not very consistent.

2. Bugs - with the real time element, the chance of a trigger not acting & the player being left in limbo-land is distictly present. This happened to us the firts time approaching Budapest. The option to sleep wasn't present at all (so we had to twiddle our thumbs for an hour or so) and then
Spoiler:
after dismantling the bomb, the train wasn't hijacked by the Serbs at all.
From what I've read here & elsewhere (thanks to Fien for the link) it's not an unusual problem. If you know how things go, then it's not so bad, but in our case, we had to consult a walkthrough & only then was it 100% clear that something had gone badly wrong...and gave away the next part of the plot into the bargain.

3. The Open nature of it all - there clearly were some people on the playthrough here who felt there should have been more direction/ help in the game regarding what you were doing. I don't really agree, but maybe the game could have made it clearer that it's not necessary to hear everything. I think many adventure game players (and I include myself here) feel they shouldn't/mustn't miss anything, but that's not actually true with TLE.

4. Feedback - while I don't agree in general that the game needed more direction, I do think there should have been more feedback at times. Most noticeably when
Spoiler:
reaching Vienna - it wasn't clear to us at all why the game ended, after all, you hadn't died & could continue the journey. We didn't realise at first it was because Kronnos had the egg - swapping it for the gold seemed an eminently logical thing to do. Similarly, later we only moved the egg to the front of the train when unhitching the rest because the egg had to be relevant, not because we understood logically why we should take it with us. And then, as has been pointed out, the puzzle for keeping the egg was somewhat flawed anyway.

Similarly, if not so extreme, when reaching the Serbian border, the game could/should have been clearer about the need to unhitch the train, though admittedly the clues were there.

We also got stuck because I presumed, when I heard Fr Wolff asking Tatiana to hide something from her, that it was the master key. Later when we discovered the egg, I totally forgot about the key - I think that could have been clearer (you heard Fr Wolff asking Tatiana to keep something safe at almost exactly the same time as finding out that the master key was missing.)

Finally my wife was distinctly unkeen on the fact that, after successfully getting the egg from Tatiana's bathroom & getting the phoenix to sing, it brings you...absolutely zero!! Now of course, it's important at the end, but at that point in time it was rather a damp squib. An adventure should give you a "reward" for solving a puzzle, not leave you mystified/infuriated.


5. Puzzles - there weren't many "real" puzzles in the game, which in itself I don't have a problem with. However, the ones there were, didn't work very well either because of the interface problem
Spoiler:
dismantling the bomb, showing the scarf
or because it wasn't very logical
Spoiler:
hiding the egg in Max's kennel even though the guard would return him there
.

6. Subtitles - It's a shame there's no option to also have subtitles for the English speech (It's done really well for the other languages). Even I sometimes have trouble catching bits (background noise etc) and my wife's non-native English-speaking & certainly didn't find it easy.

All in all, a great game, I certainly now understand why Fien & others are such fans & thanks to her, Kurufinwe, & Vel for the interesting insights in the playthrough and elsewhere. But the flaws stop it going quite to the top of my adventure games list (GK, Longest Journey & Dreamfall, followed by Broken Sword I, Gray Matter, & Monkey Island).

When I have time, I would like to respond to some of the comments made by people during the playthrough, but I'll leave that for another day.
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