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Old 01-23-2006, 05:51 AM   #21
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I agree that the driving part of the intro could have used some sense of movement. You do get the Trilby climbing out of his car (with the sound of the door opening) before the full title comes up. He even puts his trademark trilby on as he gets out. Given you know trouble lays ahead (this being a game and not real-life) it's a nice touch that Trilby's opening monologue leaves him looking forward to "a painless and rewarding evening's entertainment"

Two things strike me about the exterior shot in the title. Firstly, the house must be some sort of reverse Tardis since its definitely bigger on the outside than on the insdie. I guess this is Yahtzee wanting to show the big manor house but not wanting to create a lot of rooms. Secondly, does it strike anyone else that the sky is a bit light for cat-burgling, especially when his fence called him "in the middle of the night"

I think the first day is intended as introductory. It gives the player a chance to get the layout of the house and a basic idea of the personalities of all the characters involved (except AJ unless you count unreasoning fear as a personality) You also get several opportunities to get some detail of the backstory of the house and recent events.(The newspaper, Phil's article, the TV, conversations at the house meeting) Its all exposition of course but introduced in a reasonable fashion rather than forced.

People disappearing does stretch the sense of disbelief. However, with the exception of AJs disappearance at the start (is he benind the shower curtain? No, how anticlimactic. ) it is just about feasible. The downstairs hallway is a 3-way junction. If you enter from one way and exit another that still leaves a 3rd route people could be hiding in. It's still a stretch though.

The things I like that comes through in this opening day is the little details that enhance the experience. We already had mention of the spooky sounds (the whispering is the one that freaks me out) but I also like the way Trilby's footsteps sound different on different surfaces and the creak as you open doors. I'm also amazed how well a white circle with a black circle inside convey fear when Trilby wakes up from the nightmare sequence.

Two questions arising from Day One
  1. Trilby wears a mask to hide his identity (he is a burglar after all) Why does he take it off the moment he meets someone in the house?
  2. Does the pool in the back garden remind anyone of the pool in Maniac Mansion?
Spoiler:
Though you won't find nuclear reactor cooling rods when you drain this pool
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:48 AM   #22
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I didn't hear any whispering. I was playing with my speakers pretty low, though, so I think I missed out on some of the sounds.
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:06 AM   #23
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The sound effects are somewhat randomly generated. I didn't get any whispering on Day 1 this time around either. Trust me, you'll hear it soon enough.

stepurhan, funny you should mention those things... In the commentary, Yahtzee mentions that the house must have a "reverse Tardis effect" because the exterior is so much bigger than the interior (though we haven't seen every room yet). Some of the rooms were intended to be bigger (like the lobby), but he was forced to make them all the same in order to save time.

Yahtzee also comments on Trilby removing his mask probably being out of character, but that "he had to do it sooner or later," so might as well get it over with.
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:30 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepurhan
  1. Does the pool in the back garden remind anyone of the pool in Maniac Mansion?
Spoiler:
Though you won't find nuclear reactor cooling rods when you drain this pool
It does a bit, but the backs allot bigger

It would have probably made more sense if he took his mask off after he found out that there was no escape and when he ran into Phillip.
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Old 01-23-2006, 12:42 PM   #25
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Speaking of Trilby removing his mask too early, another thing that bothered me is how intent he is on leaving the house from the very start. I mean, he gets in the first room, finds nothing of interest, and then, instead of leaving through the door to try and find something worth stealing elsewhere in the (supposedly deserted) house, he wants to just leave (through the window)! What kind of burglar is that? And then, he seems to immediately understand that the window being stuck is not a coincidence and decide to leave the house as fast as possible.

I dunno, but it felt rather awkward as far as characterisation goes. And wouldn't have it been more efficient (dramatically) to let the character slowly realise that he is locked in?
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Old 01-23-2006, 03:05 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
Speaking of Trilby removing his mask too early, another thing that bothered me is how intent he is on leaving the house from the very start. I mean, he gets in the first room, finds nothing of interest, and then, instead of leaving through the door to try and find something worth stealing elsewhere in the (supposedly deserted) house, he wants to just leave (through the window)! What kind of burglar is that? And then, he seems to immediately understand that the window being stuck is not a coincidence and decide to leave the house as fast as possible.

I dunno, but it felt rather awkward as far as characterisation goes. And wouldn't have it been more efficient (dramatically) to let the character slowly realise that he is locked in?
I agree, although hes not definate that hes locked in, he figures it out too quickly...

and is it just me or does this game remind anyone of Hugo House Of Horrors?
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Old 01-23-2006, 03:12 PM   #27
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For a second there, the meeting in the family room reminded me of And Then There Were None.
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Old 01-23-2006, 03:51 PM   #28
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It's a bit late for me to start it up and check but,

Is it Trilby wanting to leave the house immediately or the player?

After all, Trilby is a character under player control. Can you as Trilby root around the house looking for other things worth stealing? (Or at least not act like you want to get out of there as soon as possible)

Haven't got the special edition Snarky so my comments are just coincidence. Keep thinking I should get the special edition of this and the sequel though. I've enjoyed all the Yahtzee games I've played so far.
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:35 PM   #29
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I can't recommend the SE highly enough. Yahtzee's sensibilities are, obviously, very British and he offers an excellent commentary on the entire game.
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:38 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepurhan
Is it Trilby wanting to leave the house immediately or the player?
I'm pretty sure it's the player. That's why I don't understand Kurufinwe's comment above.
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:15 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legolas813
I'm pretty sure it's the player. That's why I don't understand Kurufinwe's comment above.
No, it's not. In the first room, if you try to open the door (to go explore some more, logically), he says something like 'No, I'd rather leave the way I came in'. Only when you've tried the window and found it stuck does he agree to open the door.
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Old 01-24-2006, 12:54 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
No, it's not. In the first room, if you try to open the door (to go explore some more, logically), he says something like 'No, I'd rather leave the way I came in'. Only when you've tried the window and found it stuck does he agree to open the door.
You're quite right. He does say something along those lines. You could argue that the empty safe and cabinet are an indication that the house has already been cleared of valuables (so he would be wasting his time and taking unnecessary risk by searching the house further) but its still a bit odd.
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and is it just me or does this game remind anyone of Hugo House Of Horrors?
It's just you Karmillo.
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Old 01-24-2006, 02:38 AM   #33
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Oh come on! theres allot of Hugo resemblenses(sp?) here!

Actualy now that I remember it....I think id be better bringing this point up after weve got further in the game
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:01 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karmillo
Oh come on! theres allot of Hugo resemblenses(sp?) here!

Actualy now that I remember it....I think id be better bringing this point up after weve got further in the game
Fair enough. I shall look forward to a proper discussion of this later then.
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:08 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe
No, it's not. In the first room, if you try to open the door (to go explore some more, logically), he says something like 'No, I'd rather leave the way I came in'. Only when you've tried the window and found it stuck does he agree to open the door.
I stand corrected. See I never got him to say that at the door because I had already tried the window. I always have to try everything, and just naturally I went from left to right.
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Old 01-25-2006, 07:48 AM   #36
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DAY 2
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:25 AM   #37
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Day 2 should be fairly straightforward. Perform a bunch of reasonably self-evident actions, watch the scary scene, and we're on to Day 3.

This is where the game really starts to get going, though. After the (to my mind) overly slow Day 1, the story has kicked in and there's some actual gameplay. It should start to become evident why 5DAS is regarded as one of the best non-professional adventures out there.


I always enjoy exploring libraries

Incidentally, look how small the actual background is on the screen. Yahtzee is painting less than half of the 320x200 pixels available. Again, a cost-saving measure that doesn't really have any negative impact on the quality of the game. This is where experience pays off.

I finally got sick of the interface, and started using the F1-F4 shortcut buttons. That really helps. The fact that clicking using any verb on somewhere that isn't a hotspot acts as a WalkTo is also highly appreciated. I think Yahtzee has done a good job salvaging an awkward UI, and I wish more games would utilize shortcut keys and offer alternative ways to control the game.

In this chapter, the limitations of the conversation system become evident. The options remain static throughout the day. Even after I've found all the (living) people, I can still only ask them about each other's whereabouts. It would be nice if it responded to my actions and current knowledge.

The idea that you can't make out AJ at the bottom of an apparently clear pool until you empty it out (and climb down into it) is typical adventure game logic. Of course, it's a lot more dramatic this way.

There's a case of "can't take it until I know why I need it" in Day 2, which might throw some people off track in the puzzle. The game isn't consistent with this, but I think it's pretty natural in the cases where it does use this limitation.

If you compare the location of the staircase on the ground floor and first floor (another Briticism), you'll notice that most of the upper story is actually hovering over thin air. I don't mind when house layouts don't make total sense in a game, but if you're providing me with a floor plan, maybe you should make sure that it's not glaringly inconsistent.

Things to do in Day 2
  • Turn on the TV.
  • Look at the painting in the dining hall. Does it look a bit different?
  • Look at all the books in the library, and try taking them.
  • Read the history of the DeFoe family.
  • Study the map.
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:53 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky
If you compare the location of the staircase on the ground floor and first floor (another Briticism), you'll notice that most of the upper story is actually hovering over thin air.
We've already determined that the house is topologically warped (the smaller on the inside than the outside thing) Why does this come as a surprise?

Will play and comment on Day 2 when I get in. At work at the moment.
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Old 01-25-2006, 12:42 PM   #39
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Well I finished Day 2. Not bad at all. Story is starting to build up and the puzzles are fair. Only problem I had with the puzzles was at first I thought you couldn't pick up the map, but I had only clicked on the wrong pixel.

One minor complaint about the dialogue. It's kind of strange that if you go upstairs first and talk to the woman, then go downstairs and talk to the kid in the dining room, the dialogue will not reflect that you have already been to the library.
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:50 PM   #40
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The "Where is everybody" dialogue is an obvious anomaly. I'm presuming it's a programming issue since you can exhaust all the other dialogue options. To properly reflect Trilby meeting everyone you'd need to programme all the dialogue trees 6 different ways to reflect the 6 ways you could meet the 3 characters.

The TV is showing different news and both Simone and Jim get mentioned. It seems odd that the police are at the house but can't apparently see people moving around inside. Those windows must really be odd.

I like Jim's dialogue The reference to Pratchett is nice (I like Pratchett as well). Is that more of a UK thing or does that work well all round the world? I think its slightly ironic in the circumstances that AJ's last words involved him "getting to the bottom" of the mystery (he certainly gets to the bottom all right ) And as for the comment that imprisonment isn't that different from boarding school.

Both Jim and Simone mention having dreams that sound astoundingly similar to the one in the cutscene opening day two. We as players know something is up but its good to have this further strengthening of the weirdness.

IN the library I like the way that the different blocks of books are coloured differently to indicate different hotspots. However, with the map, we get a problem with the interface again. The use icon is a bit clumsy (could have done with a highlight spot like the GK1 cursors) so its hard to center on those particular books.

It does seem odd that Trilby can't see AJ clearly at the bottom of the pool but, when the pool is full, the water does look a bit blurry. The lines down the side of the pool fade fairly quickly from the top. Maybe the pool has been a bit neglected (the new heir having only recently arrived) and the water has got a bit murky.

The main puzzle is a workmanlike standby. How to get an item you want from another character. I can't really see why you can't sweep the metal detector across the lawn (it's not that big) but I suppose starting from the pipe does make things easier. The real question is why is Trilby trying to drain the pool at all? He berates Philip for having his priorities wrong by treasure-hunting when he should be looking for a way out. Since the pool clearly isn't leaking how likely is it that there will be a usable escape route at the bottom of it?

Good work on the characterisation though. Phil comes off as brash, sarcastic and self-centred. Simone is the level-headed reporter. Jim is just the boarding school lad keeping himself to himself .

Another nice scary cutscene to finish the day. It seems a good time to mention the sparing use of music. Because you don't have it constantly in the background its more effective when it does come up. Especially the tension-building music of the scary moments. I believe it was all sourced from public directories rather than self-written which makes it even more interesting.
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