Adventure News

December 2006



Game about homelessness is released

Ivan Dixon has released his first game, Sydney Finds Employment. A comedy game with attractive, "period-style" cartoon graphics, Sydney has attracted attention because it also deals with some serious issues.

Sydney Claywood sleeps in a cardboard box in an alley, but when the church, government and businesses put in motion a final solution to homelessness, Sydney sets out to save himself and his friends.

The game takes an irreverent but compassionate attitude to the sensitive subject of homelessness, which can also be seen in the politically incorrect comics on Dixon's blog, where Sydney first appeared.

Players who enjoy a bit of social satire in their comedy adventures can download Sydney Finds Employment from the AGS Games database. The game is 11 MB in size.



Festive teaser follows official trailer with new game footage

With Runaway 2 having released in some territories worldwide, and still anxiously anticipated in others, Pendulo Studios and Focus Home Interactive have recently released two trailers.

The official trailer was released several weeks back, and shows plenty of enticing in-game footage of Brian and Gina's new adventure. The more recent movie is a seasonal offering with holiday greetings, and also includes a few scenes from the game.

The 40 MB official trailer and the 88 MB holiday trailer can be downloaded from the Filefront links here, or from most of the usual download sites.

An English version of Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle has been released in Canada and Australia, but its wider release in the UK and US are still to come in the new year.



Mobile adventure released as free browser game

House of Tales is in a giving mood this holiday season, as the German developer has just released its little-known mobile adventure The Paper Menace as a free browser game.

Developed in collaboration with elkware GmbH, who supplied the graphics, House of Tales wrote and designed the game four years ago, and released it originally only for cell phones. The new version is playable online using Java, and is a faithful recreation of the mobile release.

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Using the keyboard to scroll through an intuitive series of menus and interactive icons, The Paper Menace is an offbeat comedy starring a lowly government clerk named Miller, who soon finds himself forced to match wits against a deranged scientist. Dr. Patchsmith has invented a nano-raygun capable of reproducing paper on a massive scale, which threatens to cripple the economy by multiplying its already-overwhelming bureaucracy.

To play the game, head on over to the official website. For more information about the game, be sure to read through our mobile adventure feature.



Popular Russian adventure joins Valve's lineup

If given three guesses (or possibly even a hundred) to name the first adventure game to be released on Steam, Full Pipe probably wouldn't be the name that pops immediately to mind, though perhaps the most thematically appropriate in title. Nevertheless, the quirky Russian adventure has indeed become the first adventure to be offered through Valve's distribution system.

A third-person point-and-click adventure, Full Pipe takes place in a "surreal and psychedelic world". Somewhat reminiscent of Samorost or the Goblins series, the game consists of a "large microworld, divided into several levels of various composition. Game cells with diverse non-playing characters are connected with simple pipes you can crawl through. Each cell is one of a kind."

Assuming the role of an unusual creature named "Dude", players will have to overcome 39 different "quest scenarios" through a variety of smart cursor interactions and inventory applications. Along the way, you'll encounter eight different minigames to play, and interact with 45 unique characters, although there is no actual dialogue involved.

The game is available for purchase and download from the Steam product page for $9.95 USD. At present, no other English-language version of the game has been released.



Independent AGS adventures now for sale

Acclaimed freeware developers Herculean Effort (of Apprentice fame) and Dave Gilbert (The Shivah, Two of a Kind) have both just released commercial AGS-made games:

Herculean Effort's Super Jazz Man follows in the footsteps of The Adventures of Fatman and puts you in a superhero's shoes. Longer than either Apprentice game and set in "nostalgic low-color graphics", Super Jazz Man has four possible endings and will set you back $8.95 USD.

Dave Gilbert's Wadjet Eye Games have released The Blackwell Legacy, a complete, longer reworking of Gilbert's old Bestowers of Eternity game. Playing feisty Rosangela Blackwell, you find that there are skeletons in your family's closet and ghosts in the parks of Manhattan. The Blackwell Legacy costs $14.99 USD.



Playable sampler of TLJ sequel now available

If you've been waiting patiently for a Dreamfall demo since its release this past April, you may have forgotten what you were waiting for by now. But just in time for Christmas, Funcom has offered up a little stocking stuffer in the form of playable section of the game.

Of particular note for some people may be the size of the download, which weighs in at over 3 GB (yes, that's gigabytes), so only broadband users with generous download allowances need apply.

Dreamfall, of course, is the sequel to The Longest Journey. Taking place ten years after the events of the original, and featuring two new playable characters along with the familiar (if not quite the same as we remember) April Ryan, Dreamfall moved the franchise in a somewhat controversial direction. Instead of a traditional adventure like its point-and-click predecessor, the new game is a full 3D, direct-control adventure with some real-time action elements in the mix. What didn't change, however, was the central focus on story and character, allowing players to once again explore the worlds of Stark and Arcadia, and meet up with a variety of old faces and new in another epic tale.

The demo can be found at standard download sites like GamersHell and 3DGamers.



Comic duo's second episode arrives a day early

For GameTap subscribers with the 21st circled on their calendars in anticipation of the second episode of Sam & Max: Season 1, wait no more. In a surprise announcement, GameTap revealed today that the new game has launched a day early on the broadband entertainment network.

With many returning faces and all-new characters and locations, episode two (of six) picks right up where the last game left off. Situation: Comedy sees the comic crimefighting duo called to the local television studio, where an acclaimed talk show host is holding her audience captive. In order to get in, however, Sam & Max will need to prove themselves worthy of their 15 minutes of fame through a predictably wacky series of activities.

At present, Situation: Comedy is available exclusively through GameTap, which is currently offering a special discount of 99 cents for the first month of subscription. However, the game will soon be available for purchase and download from the developer, Telltale Games, either as an individual episode or as part of a full season pre-order. According to the official website, the game is currently targeting a release on January 5, 2007.



Storyline begins in preparation for early '07 release

As the long-awaited Myst Online: Uru Live nears completion, GameTap announced today that the game has entered the final beta phase, which is accessible to all subscribers.

As a beta, the game may still contain bugs being worked out. However, according to GameTap, the beta includes all final game features and the start of the official storyline. For those getting an early start through the beta, "characters and game progress will be saved when the game transitions from the beta version to final release in early 2007."

In Uru Live, players will help restore the lost civilization of D'ni in a multiplayer experience that "redefines the genre with its constantly evolving, player-driven plotlines and its exploration and puzzle-based gameplay." To help get players started, a video tutorial is available to players within the GameTap client. For more information about Myst Online, be sure to check out the game's official website.

For those interested in joining to experience the beta, GameTap is currently offering a special discount of 99 cents for the first month.



Playable portion of Agatha Christie's classic now available

It's time for amateur detectives to make use of their little grey cells, as The Adventure Company today released a playable demo of the classic whodunit, Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express.

In this second Christie adaptation by AWE Games, players control a brand new character named Antoinette Marceau. Antoinette is a representative of the train company, en route to Paris aboard the luxurious Orient Express along with famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. When one of the passengers is brutally murdered and the train stopped abruptly by a snowy avalanche, everyone on board becomes a suspect, and it's up to the player to guide Antoinette through her investigation. Poirot himself becomes injured and bedridden, but is available for help and offers his expertise when necessary.

The demo begins with the train being stopped in its tracks (literally) and Antoinette learning of the murder in an abbreviated version of events taken from the full game.

At almost 300 MB in size, the demo is fairly large, and can be found at standard download sites like WorthPlaying and 3DGamers.



Horror adventure set for North American release in March

Got Game Entertainment offered some welcome news for horror fans today with the announcement that it will be publishing the first episode of Penumbra: Overture in North America in March 2007.

The first-person, direct control title from Frictional Games, Penumbra: Overture is a planned three-part adventure with some elements of survival horror. Players assume the role of a man named Philip, who receives a letter from his dead, estranged father following the death of his mother. The letter implores him to burn a book in his possession, but instead Philip follows the notes in the book to Greenland. Once there, he's caught in a snowstorm and his only means of escape is to enter a mysterious metal hatch, which may just prove deadlier than the weather.

Using a combination of keyboard and mouse, players must solve puzzles and avoid danger using mostly their wits, an inventory, and real-time physics. With its advanced physics technology, Overture enables (and requires) the player to interact with the environment directly, including such things as opening and closing doors, and picking up and moving a variety of objects. With limited weapons available, combat is only ever a last resort, and players must find other means of staying alive.

Although not taken directly from Overture, a playable technology demo of Penumbra is available from the official website.



Scrounge up a copy of the indie adventure online

Independent Canadian developer Sagewood Software announced today that its debut adventure Scavenger Hunter is now shipping worldwide.

Scavenger Hunter seeks to address a common weakness in adventures: replayability. Unlike most games with a single linear, pre-scripted path, Scavenger Hunter "randomly generates a new playing field" from a total of over 4,400 pre-rendered scenes. According to the developers, "the AI software also ensures that tool locations, puzzles, puzzle solutions, treasures and their hiding places are changed each time the player begins a fresh game."

A point-and-click adventure using first-person perspective, Scavenger Hunter casts players as a member of an elite task force of the Inter-Universe Insurance Corporation. Throughout history, a race of extraterrestrial beings has been stealing artifacts and treasures, and it's the player's job to travel to a wide variety of alien worlds to retrieve the stolen items and seek to put an end to the thievery once and for all.

The game is available at the official website for $24.95 USD plus shipping. There is also a playable demo available on the site for those who prefer to try before you buy.



Site launch highlighted by Rand Miller podcast

With the launch (or re-launch, if you will) of Myst Online: Uru Live closing in fast, GameTap has recently announced the creation of the game's official website.

In addition to a variety of screenshots, wallpapers, and information on the new website, GameTap has also released a podcast featuring Myst co-creator Rand Miller. Running almost six minutes in length and available both for streaming and download, the podcast covers a range of topics and offers some insight into the goals of Myst Online as a unique MMO experience.

Myst Online, of course, represents the revival of Cyan's highly-anticipated but ultimately ill-fated multiplayer adventure Uru Live. The game was originally released in late 2003, but never got past a technically burdened "Prologue" and was canceled shortly thereafter, leaving Uru as a standalone single player game. The new version will launch exclusively on GameTap in the coming weeks, so it will be available only to players in countries where GameTap is available for the time being. An international release of the game is reportedly planned at some point in future, but no details have been announced to date.



Latest crime drama due out spring 2007

Now in its seventh season, the immensely popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation television series shows no signs of slowing down, and with well over 2 million copies of the video game series sold to date, the license is holding strong on PC as well. The latter trend looks set to continue, as today Ubisoft and CBS announced production of the next game in the series, CSI: Hard Evidence.

Hard Evidence will once again be developed by Telltale Games, who debuted with the last CSI game, 3 Dimensions of Murder. The new game is the fifth in the series overall, but the fourth to be set in Vegas, and will once again see players joining Gil Grissom, Catherine Willows, and other members of the original CSI cast in solving crimes using realistic investigative techniques and hi-tech equipment. According to today's press release, Hard Evidence will feature "forensic reconstructions and atmospheric crime scenes taken directly from the television show, including an all-new garage lab for analyzing large evidence such as cars and boats, improved evidence gathering, review and lab mini-games, and more areas to explore, resulting in longer play experiences."

CSI: Hard Evidence is currently scheduled for release in spring 2007.



Dark Obsession engulfs Law & Order spinoff

Legacy Interactive recently announced that Dark Obsession, the second case from Law & Order: Criminal Intent, is now available for online download and purchase.

Like its predecessor, The Vengeful Heart, the new case was originally part of the retail release of Criminal Intent. But for those who prefer their sleuthing one case at a time, Dark Obsession can now be found at the Legacy game portal or the Big Fish Games site.

In Dark Obsession, players assume the role of quirky Detective Robert Goren, called in to investigate a mysterious murder through careful investigation and Goren's unique psychological interrogation techniques. Enhancements to the original release of Criminal Intent and the online release of The Vengeful Heart include such things as auto-saving, scorekeeping, and a three-tiered hint system.

For those who prefer to try before buying, a free trial period of Dark Obsession is also available.

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