Adventure News

November 2005



Quirky comic adventure goes musical

MTV meets ancient Egypt in the latest promotional trailer for the upcoming adventure, Ankh. The new movie features the game's cast singing and swinging in a lighthearted musical.

Unlike the game's first trailer, which can be streamed directly from the official website, the new trailer must be downloaded. The file is almost 23 MB, and can be found at sites like Gamers Hell and WorthPlaying.

Ankh is a comic 3D adventure that tells the story of Assil, a young man who inadvertently gets himself cursed by a mummy, and must find a way to remove it. The game has been released to early acclaim in Germany, and is due for release in English early in February 2006.

For more information about the game, be sure to read our recent interview with Ankh's project leader.



New supernatural installment to ship in early December

Independent developer Big Time Games has announced that the second installment of the ongoing Delaware St. John series has gone gold, and that orders should begin shipping in the first week of December.

The new game, called The Town With No Name, once again follows the adventures of Delaware St. John and his partner Kelly Bradford. This time, their supernatural mystery takes them into an uncharted, deserted town deep in the woods of Northern Maine. Deserted of living human inhabitants, that is. Arriving twenty years after the entire population disappeared in a single night, Delaware must attempt to unravel the town's chilling tragedy.

The game can be ordered directly from the Big Time Games website for $19.99 (U.S.), plus shipping.



New adventure based on popular Italian comic

Artematica, the developer who recently brought Martin Mystere to the PC, has turned to another popular Italian comic for its next game, Diabolik.

Created in 1962 by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani, Diabolik is not an ordinary comic book hero. Along with his partner Eva Kant, he is a skilled thief whose knowledge of science and electronics plays an important role in his exploits, as do the lifelike masks he uses for disguise. While stealing (mainly from criminals), he wears a skintight black body suit and arms himself with daggers he can throw with incredible precision.

Being developed for both PC and consoles, Artematica calls the game a "innovative graphic adventure, completely real-time and really faithful to the character!"

No release date has been projected yet, nor an announcement of an English release, but we'll be keeping a close eye on the new interactive adventure of Diabolik.



Casual desktop mystery served up as shareware

Mystery lovers looking for a dose of desktop crime solving may find what they're looking for in The Butler Did It!, a new game from Finnish indie developer Draconus Entertainment.

Called "a coffee break adventure game" by its creators, The Butler Did It! is a short third-person point & click adventure inspired by the board game Clue (or Cluedo in Europe). With random killers and clues offered each time through, virtually every experience is different from the others, which gives the game its replay value. The game's website promises sixteen different suspects, each of which can be the murderer, accomplice, or victim, in more than a million different scenarios.

The game features many familiar elements of full-scale adventures, including an inventory, dialogue trees, various interactive cursors, and a journal. It also includes different emotional approaches to interrogation, much like the recent Law & Order: Criminal Intent game. You'll need to be quick, though, as the clock is ticking on your investigation, so you'll need to identify the killer before your time runs out.

The Butler Did It! is being offered as shareware, with a 16 MB download available for free. The free version contains only the lowest difficulty level, the time limit is half the length of the full game, and the case is always the same. To unlock those other remaining 999,999-plus scenarios, you can purchase the game for $19.95 (U.S.) from the Draconus webshop.



Train yourself for the full version, currently releasing worldwide

With 80 Days currently releasing around the world, a second playable demo of Frogwares' globe-trotting 3D adventure is now making tracks.

The new demo places Oliver Lavisheart (and you) aboard an ornate "super train", the Goliath. Naturally, the train has broken down, and with the clock ticking, it's up to you to repair the train to get yourself underway again.

Like its predecessor, the demo weighs in over 500 MB, so it's not for the faint of modem. For all others, you can grab the download at sites like Gamers Hell and 3D Gamers.



Announcement of year-long hiatus short lived

After a heart palpitation-inducing announcement of a year-long hiatus for the promising Rise of the Hidden Sun, it seems 'Rattlesnake' Jake Dawson has climbed right back in the saddle.

Citing a busy schedule that would impact the production of the game in 2006, AG's own "Adventure Architect" Josh Roberts originally revealed his plans to put the game on hold. However, Marc Fortin has now been promoted to interim project manager in Roberts' absence, allowing the game to continue production as scheduled. Fortin has served as both artist and art director on the game, which should allow for a smooth transition.



Results in for amateur Interactive Fiction competition

The eleventh annual IFComp is now over, and the votes have been tallied. Head over to the results page to find out the winners.

IFComp is a yearly competition wherein contestants compete to create short Interactive Fiction (text adventures) games within a give timeframe.

The competition entries can be found on the download page, for those eager to play through all the submissions.



Website launched to campaign for game's resurrection

A new website, SaveKQIX.Org has been started to work towards the reinstatement of the cancelled King's Quest IX project. The group hopes to prove to Vivendi that there is a huge market for the planned fan-sequel, and that if no official sequel is forthcoming the project should be allowed to continue.

More information on the project, and means by which you could help save King's Quest IX, can be found at SaveKQIX.Org



Developer of The Sapphire Claw announces two new games

Juniper Games, the independent game developer headed by Steve Ince, has recently announced two new games, Mekapods and Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso. In addition to Juniper Crescent -- The Sapphire Claw, Juniper Games hopes to release all three games over the course of the next two years.

Although neither of the new titles could be considered a traditional adventure, Ince describes the primary gameplay as "fundamentally adventure based".

Mekapods is an Adventure RPG featuring "a group of fun robots in a quest for the ultimate secret that will change their world." Forsaking the random battles that characterize many RPGs, Mekapods centers around a "robot built from re-cycled parts, who discovers tantalising hints of a dark secret buried in the deepest corners of his mind. In a bid to discover how to access these strange memories, he uncovers a conspiracy that has existed for thousands of years."

Mr. Smoozles Goes Nutso is an arcade adventure game based on Ince's Mr. Smoozles online comic strip. In this game, gamers will "play as Ed and help him avoid the now dangerous Mr. Smoozles, who's been turned completely nutso by the evil Goragons -- dark creatures from another dimension, who have totally messed up reality.

Three games in various stages of production at once is demanding, but according to Ince, "A fantastic opportunity has come along that will allow Juniper Games to take advantage of a number of game ideas in fairly rapid succession. By taking an independent route to market I will build on my ideas for rich, character-driven gameplay with plenty of fun and high interaction density."

For a more in-depth look at the new titles, check out the newly-designed Juniper Games website.



Got Game offers a sample of multi-platform puzzler

Mac users frequently get left behind in the world of gaming, but not so with RHEM 2. Got Game Entertainment, the North American publisher who released the new puzzle adventure for both PC and Mac on November 1st, has just made a demo available for Macs.

Like its 2003 Myst-styled predecessor, RHEM 2 promises more "non-linear gameplay, an immersive, non-violent story, and mind-bending puzzles". A direct sequel in both story and gameplay (though not requiring knowledge of the first game), RHEM 2 will have players join brothers Zetais and Kales as they "explore a mystifying hidden city in underground caves far beneath the earth's surface." A first-person point & click adventure, the game will have you venturing "ever deeper as you explore a maze of clandestine caves, secret rooms, and intricate walkways, tunnels and water systems. As you marvel at beautifully detailed environments and solve clever puzzles, you must search for an enigmatic artifact that must be found and photographed before you return to the surface."

The demo weighs in at 58MB, and can be downloaded at Gamers Hell or Mac Game Files.



Busy developer of Lifestream and Shady Brook hasn't been slumbering

Chris Brendel is at it again. The independent creator of Lifestream and Shady Brook is well into development of his next title, Awaken.

In the new first-person, point & click adventure, the player assumes the role of William Thane. Already down on his luck, his day is about to get a whole lot worse. According to the official website, "You wake up. The last thing you remember was lying in bed at home. But you aren't home anymore. Looking around, you quickly establish four things: you're in a prison; your clothes are missing; your hands are tied; and you can't remember how you got here." To make matters worse, you'll soon find that you're trapped with six others -- one of whom is a psychotic killer.

Over the course of six hours, you'll need to piece together the clues to the killer's identity and escape before you become a victim yourself. Despite the danger and the limited timeframe in the game's plot, however, there are no ways for the player to die, and no actual time restraints.

There is no official release date projected for the game yet, but Brendel is targeting the second quarter of 2006 for the game's completion.



Longer trial period, skippable mini-games highlight new release

Telltale Games continues to dominate the news this week, as today the company released an updated version of Out from Boneville for download.

The developers have clearly been listening to feedback about the first episode based on Jeff Smith's popular Bone comic. Responding to requests for a longer gameplay sampler, the update features a 30-minute trial period, which should give players a better sense of what the full episode has to offer. The new version also fixes some compatibility issues identified in the original, and includes the option to bypass mini-games at designated points in the tale -- a feature that will come as welcome news to players who have less interest in dexterity-based challenges in their adventures.

For those who already purchased the game and wish to update, the new download is compatible with the codes received from the original. As before, Out from Boneville is only available through Telltale Now, and the total download is roughly 50MB.

For more information about the game, be sure to read the Adventure Gamers review.



New web-based comics from Steve Purcell on the way, too

Almost two months after their initial sneak preview, Telltale Games has formally announced their Sam & Max adventure game project. Though they're still keeping pretty tight lipped, they have put up a boldly designed Sam & Max mini-site on their page, answering a few questions about the game.

What’s the history of the Telltale team with Steve Purcell?

Much of the team from LucasArts’ Sam & Max Freelance Police are now at Telltale. Telltale CEO Dan Connors had been the producer for Freelance Police, CTO Kevin Bruner had been the programming lead and Creative Director Graham Annable had been the lead animator. Ties between Telltale staffers and Steve go way back to the time when Steve worked in the Art Department at LucasArts. Dan was involved with LucasArts’ Sam and Max Hit the Road and Steve even taught Dan how to spearfish and smoke cherry cigars on Lake Ewok when Dan was just a snotty-nosed little punk.

Also present in the announcement is some concrete news about when we'll next see Sam & Max appear in comic form. In a question appropriately titled, "Is Steve ever going to do any more Sam & Max comics? What the hell is his problem?" it's revealed that Sam & Max's creator Steve Purcell is working on a serialized Sam & Max adventure which will be released as a series of webcomics on Telltale's Sam & Max page, as well as Purcell's upcoming Sam & website. For those keeping track, it's been about 10 years since the last full Sam & Max comic story.

Telltale promises sporadic updates to their Sam & Max site in the coming months, with more formal news sometime in early 2006.



Investigate crime scenes - Las Vegas style

Ubisoft announced today the latest addition to the CSI series, titled 3 Dimensions of Murder. Like the three previous installments, this game will be based on characters and storylines from the TV-series, and will be launched worldwide in the spring of 2006.

The game will take place in Las Vegas, and players will work alongside Gil Grissom, Catherine Willows and the rest of the Las Vegas cast, once again using forensic equipment and techniques to investigate crimes. This new installment will be the first to take advantage of real-time 3D, and Ubisoft also promises to introduce more character interaction, and longer, more immersive storylines.

Interestingly enough, 3 Dimensions of Murder will be produced by the former LucasArts employees of Telltale Games, who are probably best known for their Bone adventure series and their highly anticipated work with the Sam & Max license. What impact this will have on CSI's gameplay remains to be seen, but it is indeed exciting to see such seasoned adventure game designers behind a CSI title.

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