Adventure News

October 2006



TAC releases popular European conspiracy thriller

With Halloween upon us, The Adventure Company served up a treat today as the publisher announced that Secret Files: Tunguska has shipped to retailers across North America.

Released in Europe last month, Tunguska is a fictional conspiracy tale based on the real 1908 explosion in central Siberia that devastated thousands of square miles of forest. The third-person point-and-click adventure casts players in the role of Nina Kalenkov, whose father has disappeared and seems connected to his research into the Tunguska phenomenon. Along with Max, a second playable character, Nina will "explore some of the most fascinating corners of the world: Berlin, Moscow, Cuba, China, and the Antarctic", but she'll soon discover that "powerful adversaries are interested in her father's findings which are veiled in a shroud of secrecy."

For more information about Secret Files: Tunguska, be sure to read our recent review of the game.



Al Emmo, Ankh headline new download options

To the delight of many and the chagrin of some, digital distribution of adventure games continues to progress. After the inclusion of select adventures in the recent launch of Manifesto Games, now it's Telltale's turn, as several current adventures are now offered for download through the company's online store.

The Telltale website redesign unveiled this weekend includes a revamped store with some surprises. Along with the option to pre-order the full season of Telltale's own Sam & Max: Season 1 for the first time, several unexpected third-party adventures are also now available. Leading the way is Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine, the comic adventure by Himalaya Studios which was previously available only on CD-ROM. The download version of Al Emmo is less expensive than the boxed product, and may prove an attractive option for international buyers concerned with high shipping costs. Also included in Telltale's new catalogue are Deck 13's Ankh, the flash-based Samorost games, and The Vengeful Heart, which is case one of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Telltale, of course, has been one of the leaders in digital distribution since its inception, promoting download delivery for its own titles including Telltale Texas Hold 'Em and the Bone adventure series. The progression to adventures from other developers hopefully bodes well for alternative distribution methods for other games in future.



New trailer shows upcoming Ankh sequel in motion

With the German release of Ankh: Heart of Osiris imminent, an English trailer for the comic adventure is now making the rounds. The new teaser was actually released to little fanfare several weeks ago, but where circulation is concerned, better late than never.

The trailer is over 15 MB, and can be downloaded from such sites as GamersHell and WorthPlaying. For multilingual players, there is also a second trailer available, though it's entirely in German, and a playable demo in both German and French is now offered as well.

The English video offers a brief glimpse into the upcoming sequel, and players of the original Ankh will recognize such characters as Osiris, Thara, and the Pharaoh. Along with the main character Assil, Heart of Osiris will let players "meet old and new characters, mix new cocktails, and save the world!" Originally called an expansion because of its use of technology and assets from the first game, Heart of Osiris still promises to be a full-fledged adventure filled with the same tongue-in-cheek humour and zany situations as its predecessor.

According to developer Deck 13, localization for the game is well underway, so hopefully international releases will follow shortly, though no release dates have yet been announced.



Malcolm takes over your DS

Four months after the release of ScummVM 0.9.0, which had added support for The Feeble Files and The Legend of Kyrandia, version 0.9.1 of the famous open-source program which allows people to play numerous adventure classics on a variety of systems is now available.

Proponents of adventure gaming on handheld devices will be especially pleased with this release, as it adds support for three such platforms: the GP32, the GP2X, and the Nintendo DS. This makes even longer an already impressive the list of supported systems, which already included Windows, Linux, MacOS X, and a variety of consoles.

This release also fixes a number of bugs, especially for various children games from Humongous Entertainment, as well as Adventure Soft's The Feeble Files. A complete list of fixes can be found there, while a list of supported games and known problems is available here.

ScummVM is free software and can be downloaded from this page. Freeware versions of Beneath a Steel Sky and Flight of the Amazon Queen can also be downloaded from there.



The Seacliff Tragedy to retain interface of first two episodes

Proving that sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same, Big Time Games announced today that the third installment in the Delaware St. John series will be returning to the format used in the first two games.

Following the release of The Curse of Midnight Manor and The Town With No Name, the independent developer revealed its ambitious plans to move the next game from a first-person, node-based format to third-person, real-time 3D with direct control options. With the move came an extended development time, pushing the targeted release of The Seacliff Tragedy to November, a full year after the previous episode.

In recent months, however, it became apparent that returning to the original technology was the only way to stay on schedule and maintain the desired simplicity of control. According to company president Bryan Wiegele, there's still interest in moving the series to 3D in future but "it just wasn't the time to do it. The last thing I'd want is people being frustrated by a complicated interface. So for now the smarter choice was to move forward on our proven technology until we can get 3D to a level we're happy with."

While using a familiar interface, Delaware and his partner Kelly will be involved in an all new paranormal investigation in The Seacliff Tragedy. As they investigate a horrific event four years earlier that killed over a hundred people, the duo must explore an abandoned amusement park while being stalked by dark beings called the Shadow People.

As episode three approaches alpha stage, Big Time Games has also released a new set of screenshots that now represent the first look at the upcoming game, as they replace the earlier screens taken from the 3D engine.



First English sneak peeks available as the game ships in Germany

With Tony Tough: A Rake's Progress poised to hit store shelves in Germany, publisher ANACONDA has released two different trailers for the upcoming comic adventure.

The 15 MB movie is a teaser that offers a peek into the world of Tony Tough 2 -- quite literally, as it's shown entirely through a keyhole. The 17 MB video sets the stage for the game's opening mystery, as the small New Mexico town of Washington has just seen its population drop to a whopping 21. Young Tony will soon investigate, but first things first, as he's overslept and must get to school on time.

A Rake's Progress is a prequel to the 2002 adventure Tony Tough and the Night of the Roasted Moths. Players will once again control Tony, though this time it's the year 1953, and our nerdy, nasal-toned hero is only thirteen years old. Like its predecessor, the new game is a third-person, point-and-click adventure, though this time it's rendered in 3D, with a unique art style befitting its small town desert location.

For now, this is all there is to see of Tony outside of German-speaking countries, as there's no word yet on international releases.



New videos introduce Poirot and other game characters

The countdown is on to the November release of the next Agatha Christie mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, and in preparation for the game launch, three new trailers have recently been released.

The videos introduce the main character Antoinette, famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and many of the train's passengers, so fans can get started early on trying to guess whodunit. Reading the book provides no advantage, as the game reportedly offers a whole new solution to keep the suspense intact for everyone.

Ranging in size from 13 to 19 MB in size, the Antoinette, Poirot, and Passenger movies can be downloaded from FileFront. Alternatively, the trailers can be found at 3DGamers.



Quirky DS adventure ships in North America

Touch Detective becomes the first in a growing lineup of new Nintendo DS adventures to hit the market, as publisher Atlus U.S.A. anounced that the quirky mystery has now shipped to retailers across North America.

With its stylish visual design, Touch Detective has been highly anticipated since the Japanese version was first revealed under the name Osawar Tantei Ozawa Rina. Now fully localized and renamed, Touch Detective casts players in the role of a young girl named Mackenzie, who inherits the family detective agency and must prove her worth. With the help of her investigative assistant Funghi and her loyal butler Cromwell, Mackenzie's task is to solve four distinct cases to be accepted into the Great Detective Society.

The game will utilize the DS version of a point-and-click interface, and promises to make good use of the touch screen as players seek and examine clues and "interrogate a bizarre cast of suspects that include a cake-loving shark, a health-obsessed skeleton man, and a vertically-challenged hot dog vendor."



Development wraps, localization now underway

There hasn't been much news of late from Momentum AS about its debut adventure, Culpa Innata. But it turns out that no news was good news, as the independent developer out of Turkey was working hard to put the finishing touches on the futuristic thriller, and today they announced that development of the game is now complete.

With publisher negotiations for an English release underway, focus also turns to international distribution, and Momentum revealed that they have begun localizing for four undisclosed foreign markets.

A third-person, point-and-click 3D adventure, Culpa Innata is set in a utopian World Union society in the year 2047. But all is not well in the Union, and when a citizen is murdered in an outlying "rogue state", peace officer Phoenix Wallis is called in to investigate. What she discovers will challenge not only her understanding of the case, but also her belief in the very ideals of the New World Order.

For more information about Culpa Innata, be sure to read our E3 preview and check out the game's official website.



A new trailer is released by the Adventure Company

A trailer has recently been released for Secret Files: Tunguska by The Adventure Company, the North American publisher of the new game based on the real life Tunguska phenomenon.

In 1908, over 60 million trees were destroyed in an unsolved mysterious event. Playing Nina, you must delve into the secrets of Tunguska which plays a pivotal role in the disapperance of her father during a research expedition in Siberia. Her travels will take her across the globe to places such as Berlin, Moscow, Cuba, China and the Antartic, where dark forces will stop at nothing to keep the secrets of Tunguska well and truly buried.

Released in Europe already, Secret Files: Tunguska was reviewed here at Adventure Gamers and was praised for its high quality graphics and cinematic apperance as well as its easy to use interface. Despite criticisms of the story and puzzle design, the adventure bodes well for future releases from the new developers. The full review can be read here.

The 34 MB trailer can be downloaded from GamersHell.



A touch of Renaissance available through digital distribution

The PC adventure The Secrets of Da Vinci: The Forbidden Manuscript was originally released this April, and was called a "thoroughly enjoyable game" by our reviewer.

Now, one of the game's co-producers, Elektrogames, has announced that the title is available for digital distribution through its online store, at the price of $19.99 USD. Upon purchase completion, gamers receive an encrypted code, and can download and play immediately.

The Secrets of Da Vinci is the latest game by Kheops and its partner studios, and lets players explore the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci, discovering manuscripts and inventions. And, of course, solve mysterious puzzles.



Dave Gilbert casts his Wadjet Eye on episodic gaming

A new company called Wadjet Eye Games has been founded by independent developer Dave Gilbert, and the first project announced is an episodic series called The Blackwell Legacy.

Gilbert, best known for his freeware adventure Two of a Kind and fresh off his first commercial release, The Shivah, will once again seek to create a game with distinctly old school adventure gameplay and presentation.

The new miniseries builds on the story and characters first introduced in another Gilbert freeware title called Bestowers of Eternity. It stars a medium named Rosangela Blackwell, a reclusive would-be writer in New York City, and her "spirit guide", a ghost named Joey Mallone. In each episode, this unlikely pair will be called upon to "assist tormented spirits and investigate supernatural events." Their first adventure will see them confronted by an unexplained series of student suicides at a local university.

Each episode will focus on a standalone investigation, so it won't be necessary to play each game in sequence, though an emerging backstory will provide a connection between episodes for those who do. Each game will cost $14.99 USD and be available as a download directly from the Wadjet Eye website, though the company is also exploring the possibility of a boxed version. The current plan is to release a new episode every 4-5 months.

Gilbert also hinted at new adventures starring The Shivah's Rabbi Stone, though no details are available at this time. In the meantime, The Blackwell Legacy is due for release on December 16, 2006.



In PAL territories, at least

Midway today announced the release of the classic first-person adventure Myst for Sony's PlayStation Portable. The release has come through as a collaboration between Cyan Worlds and the European arm of Midway, and has now been made available for the PSP across all PAL territories.

This marks Myst's debut on handheld consoles, and the PSP version has been updated for the console's 16:9 widescreen format, and takes full advantage of the PSP's 16-million colour screen.

The Myst series should be well-known to the general adventure gamer, as it has sold millions of copies worldwide. Players sets out to explore an inhabitated island and unlock it's secrets through a mixture of puzzles and mazes.

The PSP release is available in PAL territories, and there is no word yet on a North American release.



Freelance Police return today in a "GameTap Original" premiere

Unless you've been blinded by a tear gas grenade launcher in the last month, you've probably noticed that Sam & Max were due to make their long-awaited return today in Culture Shock. For North Americans, the wait is finally over, as GameTap has announced the release of the first episode on the broadband entertainment network, along with a "Making of" documentary.

Culture Shock is the pilot episode in a six-part series that will resume in December and release monthly through next April. Each episode will premiere exclusively on GameTap for fifteen days, followed by a worldwide release for download and purchase by the game's developer, Telltale Games.

Between games, GameTap will also be running weekly episodes of the short-lived 1997 Sam & Max television cartoon and brand new machinima shorts created by Telltale. For a more detailed look at the proposed release schedule, be sure to check out GameTap's updated Sam & Max web page. It's an ambitious schedule with seemingly no margin for delay, so don't be surprised if these are updated over time, but fans can now pencil them in on their calendars.

Along with the Sam & Max goodness, GameTap also offers access to almost 700 other games and a variety of other entertainment for $9.95 USD per month or less, depending on the subscription package chosen. It's also possible to sample the service for a free trial period, which you can learn more about from the GameTap website. As of today, GameTap has expanded its market into Canada as it is seeks to become a more international presence, though the service is currently not available outside North America.

Today also marks a special day for GameTap in another way, as it's the first birthday for the Turner Broadcasting-owned "virtual game shelf". To celebrate the occasion, GameTap has announced the formation of its "GameTap Original" label, which will continue what it's begun with Sam & Max and the upcoming Uru Live in partnering with independent developers to provide more original content. No new titles have yet been announced under the new label, but today's press release revealed that "the GameTap Original stamp will identify soon to be announced episodic games based on renowned TV and film franchises."

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