Adventure News

July 2007



Another Age featured in GameTap's latest monthly update

New episodic content for Myst Online: Uru Live continues to roll out on GameTap at regular intervals, and today marks the launch of the latest episode called "Familiar Voices".

Like its predecessors, "Scars" and "A New Light", the new episode is highlighted by the release of an all-new Age known as Jalak. This Age is the first from the newly-elected D'ni Restoration Council (DRC), and features "an ancient arena that was once used for D'ni competitions and will allow players to compete and even create their own games."

The storyline of Myst Online is also developed further with the updated content. Cate Alexander is now the DRC leader, but power struggles within the council have begun to spread throughout the cavern, where "rumors of a war continue to grow, but a voice from the past returns to offer new hope."

To find out more about "Familiar Voices" and Myst Online, head on over to the game's official website.



New indie adventure blends historical facts with original fiction

Add a dash of conspiracy, a pinch of danger, and a large dollop of buried secrets and you have a recipe not unknown in the adventure genre. However, throw in some 16th century history and epic events and people of the Old Testament and you have Adam Syndrome, the debut title recently announced by independent Israeli developer Dark Motif.

In Adam Syndrome, Professor Adam Reed has just lost his wife after a mysterious set of circumstances. In his quest to find the answers to her death, Reed finds himself following the trail of John Dee, a 16th century occultist and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. This trail will take him all over the world, visiting "ancient lost cities, futuristic laboratories, underwater complexes, gloomy cemeteries", among the fifteen distinct locations. Throughout the game, Reed will learn of his role in a conspiracy dating back to the time of the Great Flood and biblical giants known as the Nephilim, and he will encounter members of an elusive society who want to unveil a secret buried thousands of years ago.

The traditional third-person, point-and-click adventure will feature high-resolution pre-rendered backgrounds with real-time weather effects, and over 50 characters to interact with along the way.

Adam Syndrome is currently targeting a third quarter 2008 release. For more information on the game, visit the developer's website.



Telltale and GameTap partner again for a new round of episodic gaming

It was so much fun the first time, they figured they'd do it all again, but even better the second time. This refers, of course, to Sam & Max: Season Two, an all-new collection of episodes for the Freelance Police, announced today by Telltale Games and GameTap.

Following a similar format to the critically-acclaimed six-part Season One that ran from October 2006 to May 2007, each episode of the new season will once again premiere exclusively on GameTap, followed by a commercial release for purchase and download directly from Telltale. To the delight of non-GameTap subscribers worldwide, however, this time around the fifteen day exclusivity period from Season One has been reduced to only a single day.

While the first season proved to many that TV-styled episodic gaming could succeed in the right hands and with the right franchise, Telltale still believes that there's room for improvement. While maintaining a focus on the irreverent humour and zany escapades fans expect of Steve Purcell's characters, along with the basic structure and gameplay of Season One, Telltale's design director Dave Grossman hinted that the new season will aim to tell "crazier stories, and telling them better". According to Grossman, there will be "some changes to the world; improvements that were born out of player feedback and our own desire to create the smoothest and most entertaining experience possible."


One of those changes is apparent in the first Season Two render released today. The image is set in Stinky's, the diner on Sam & Max's street that was closed throughout the first season.

No firm date has been established yet for the launch of Season Two, nor the number of episodes confirmed, but the first episode is expected some time this fall.



Latest installment available soon at major retailers

If you're a gamer who likes CD-ROMs just as much as visiting abandoned amusement parks, you're in luck. While it's been available for purchase and download for the past month, the boxed version of Delaware St. John Volume 3: The Seacliff Tragedy has begun shipping to North American retailers.

Controlling both psychic detective Delaware St. John and his partner, Kelly Bradford, for the first time in this paranormal mystery series, players will investigate an abandoned amusement park four years after a tragedy that resulted in a hundred deaths. This time around, you'll need to help decipher Delaware's visions and use Kelly's scientific abilities to deal with the evil Shadow People and solve the mystery of what happened in the park.

The game will be available at major online retailers and other brick and mortar locations. For more information, be sure to check out our review of the game.



Xbox 360, Wii versions to join PC release this fall

Following the announcement of CSI: Hard Evidence for the PC almost eight months ago, fans were just about ready to send out a CSI team of their own to investigate the missed spring deadline and resounding silence since then. That silence has been broken with the announcement of Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii versions to be released simultaneously with the PC version this fall.

Hard Evidence will once again take place in Las Vegas with Gil Grissom, Catherine Willows and the rest of the team from the popular television series. Developed by Telltale Games, the new game will include another set of cases to solve using the latest forensic technology and tools. More cast member interactions, new forensic tools and a new garage lab will be added for reportedly longer gameplay. The console versions will provide even greater exposure to the already popular series, as this marks the first time a CSI game has been released on either system.

To help pass the time until the delayed release date, players can get a look at the first case of the game with a new trailer put together by UbiSoft. Head on over to GamersHell or WorthPlaying for the 32 MB video.



Playable sampler introduces latest Sherlock Holmes adventure

In preparation for the North American release of Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened this September, a playable demo of the game was unveiled recently by cdv USA and Focus Home Interactive.

In The Awakened, the third Sherlock Holmes adventure from Frogwares, the great detective and his trusty cohort, Dr. Watson, find themselves traveling around the world to investigate numerous disappearances that have been linked to a cult devoted to Cthulhu.

Taking place at the start of the game, the demo begins at Holmes' familiar residence of 221b Baker Street before moving out onto the nearby streets of London. Reportedly offering about one hour of gameplay, the demo allows players to control Holmes, with Watson assisting, as the pair "investigate crime scenes, interview witnesses, search for clues and use a broad set of tools to examine them."

For download links to the roughly 500 MB demo, and for more information about the game, visit the official website.



Playable sampler released for independent adventure

Since being announced last year, Atropos Studios has been hard at work getting Diamonds in the Rough ready for release, resulting in the release of a playable demo.

The third person, point-and-click adventure centers on Jason Hart, a high school dropout, who discovers he has special abilities that are of interest to a mysterious organization, Diamonds in the Rough. Throughout the game, Jason will come to discover the real purpose of this organization.

The demo, which includes a self-contained introduction and a playable portion, introduces Hart, and how he came to be employed at Diamonds in the Rough. The playable portion focuses on getting and reading a report, written for the Diamonds' organization by a fellow employee, Sydelle. The game manual, included as a PDF, explains the interface, which includes a thought system that will contain clues and be used to solve some of the puzzles in the game.

At 95 MB, the demo can be downloaded from the official website.



New adventure closely based on Stevenson's classic tale

Well over a century after Robert Louis Stevenson first took readers on an unforgettable swashbuckling adventure, game developers are now returning to the fabled Treasure Island in the hopes of finding interactive riches buried in the original tale. While Destination: Treasure Island proved to be a loosely-connected sequel, soon players will have the chance to live through Stevenson's own classic story in the upcoming (and aptly-named) Treasure Island.

The new game by German partners Radon Labs and HMH Interactive puts players right in the 18th century shoes of 17-year old Jim Hawkins, who discovers an old treasure map of the legendary pirate Captain Flint and sets sail aboard the Hispaniola with a crew that includes the one-legged Long John Silver and his talking parrot. Little does Jim know that the scheming crew has plans of its own, and the voyage quickly becomes a thrilling quest over land and sea for Flint's buried riches. According to HMH, the game will stay faithful to Stevenson's original story, recreating all the main events, locations, and characters from the book, while updating the dialogue slightly and adapting the story in minor ways to better suit the gameplay.

Treasure Island promises to use a traditional adventure interface, combining familiar third-person perspective and point-and-click controls. The graphics will be presented in full 3D, using dynamic cameras with real-time visual effects. Players will of course be tasked with solving a variety of challenges, including the likes of inventory, dialogue, and logic-based puzzles, along with some integrated mini-games. There will be plenty of character interaction, as well, and each NPC will feature its own changing daily routine.

HMH holds the worldwide publishing rights to Treasure Island, and has confirmed that an English version of the game is planned and negotiations are already underway for international distribution partners. There is no date scheduled for the English release yet, but release in German-speaking territories is currently targeted for late this year.



First commercial xii release to aim for wider audience

Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Taking that dictum to heart, xii games not long ago announced Resonance, a science fiction adventure targeted for commercial release some time next year.

Although Resonance is the first for-profit project from xii games, the label has previously produced two notable Underground titles: the minimalistic space drama Anna and the certifiably strange What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed (recently reviewed by Adventure Gamers). These games won acclaim as unique and innovative examples of the adventure game form, but Vince Twelve -- the man behind xii games -- admits that their mind-bending logic puzzles turned off many adventure gamers. Resonance will therefore be a more conventional third-person adventure, with a focus on storytelling and lighter puzzles:

"Resonance is set in a not-so-distant future when a particle physicist's mysterious and spectacular death starts a race to find his hidden vault and claim his terrifying new discovery. The player will take control of four complete strangers whose lives become entangled in the aftermath of the physicist's demise. They'll have to learn to trust each other quickly though, because in less than 72 hours, an event will take place that will change the world forever."

Even while targeting a more mainstream audience, Resonance promises to offer a number of fresh ideas. One unusual feature is a triple inventory, consisting of the standard collection of items, as well as a short- and long-term memory for the characters. How this system will be integrated into the gameplay remains to be seen.

Resonance is written and designed by Vince Twelve, with character art by Shane Stevens (Mind's Eye, The Shivah), background art by Latvian artist Nauris Krauze, and music by Nikolas Sideris (Linus, the just-released A Tale of Two Kingdoms). The release date is tentatively set for some time in 2008. In the mean time, a developer's diary is regularly posted on the xii games official web site.



Playable sampler now available for 3D mystery

It's time once again to plot a course for your favourite download site, as today JoWood and The Adventure Company released a playable demo for Dead Reefs.

The demo plunges players right into the thick of the 18th century 3D action. Playing as investigator Amadeo Finvinero, sent by the king to an island off the English coast following an inexplicable murder, you'll need to "chase suspects through the forest, free yourself from deadly traps and outfox some of the bad guys", among some of the demo's various activities.

Dead Reefs is a keyboard-controlled, third-person adventure set against the backdrop of an old pirate curse. According to legend, the slaughter of an ancient order of monks led to the discovery of an evil relic that has doomed the island inhabitants to a "horrifying madness" and a new murder every nine years. After the 11th such apparent murder, Finvinero is tasked with solving the latest mystery and finding a way to stop the evil plaguing the island once and for all.

The 160 MB demo is available for download directly from JoWood's official site, or from standard download sites like FileFront.



Crystal Shard tells Tale of Two Kingdoms

The long-awaited A Tale of Two Kingdoms has finally been released. This Sierra-style fantasy adventure tells the tale of two warring kingdoms that must band together to fight off a goblin invasion. It is a story of treachery and magic, spun into a full-length game.

More than two years in the making, A Tale of Two Kingdoms was created by an all-star team of Underground artists and developers. The 95 MB game can be downloaded from the Crystal Shard website.



First game featuring fictional astronaut due later this year

As if blasting into space at ridiculous speeds isn't adventure enough, now one of the most famous astronauts in the world is getting ready for an all-new adventure. No, it's not Neil Armstrong, Juri Gagarin, or even Albert the monkey. It's the fictional Perry Rhodan, coming to save mankind on PC later this year.

Although lesser known outside of its native Germany, the Perry Rhodan series has endured for over four decades, with multiple authors contributing to more than two thousand novellas. The various storylines have covered many centuries and galaxies and even dimensions following the first lunar landing by U.S. Space Force Major Rhodan and his crew, during which they discovered an alien spacecraft.

In the game version of Perry Rhodan, a joint production from Braingame and Deep Silver, the year is 1346 in the New Galactic calendar (A.D. 4934). When the center of world power is overturned by a surprise attack and his girlfriend Mondra Diamond is kidnapped, Rhodan finds himself caught up in a complex web of deceit, and even his own friends are a hindrance in discovering the truth. But there are even larger mysteries to be solved, such as the relevance of the "Arkonidic secret service Tu-Ra-Cell" and the legacy of a race of "angel-like beings, that at one time traveled to the breadths of the universe in order to save it from its destruction." As he begins to probe deeper, Rhodan soon discovers a much greater danger, and only he can stand up to another overpowering opponent.

Perry Rhodan will be a traditional 2.5D adventure, enhanced visually by such features as real-time lighting and shading and atmospheric weather effects. More importantly, the story has been written under the direction of the series' main current author, Robert Feldhoff, with assistance from Austrian Perry Rhodan author Michael Marcus Thurner. The inclusion of both writers reflects the commitment by the development team to creating an authentic Perry Rhodan experience for fans of the series, though they're quick to point out that the game will be just as welcoming for newcomers with no existing knowledge of the books.

The game is currently scheduled for release in German-speaking countries in November 2007, to be followed by localized versions released in France, Italy and an English version in the UK.



English translation of Japanese DS adventure confirmed

News of a Japanese adventure game coming to the Nintendo DS is becoming relatively common, though it's often uncertain at first that they will ever release in English markets. After the February 2007 release of Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village in Japan, similar doubts began to arise that we would ever see the game translated. Now, however, word has come out of Nintendo's E3 presentation that the game will be released in North America under the name Professor Layton and the Curious Village in December.

Mr. Allen Reinford, a wealthy man, dies leaving a mysterious will referring to a 'Golden Fruit,' the discovery of which will lead to Reinford's fortune. His puzzled family asks for the help of English archaeologist Professor Layton and his assistant Luke to find this fruit. The challenge consists of large numbers of logic, spatial and mathematical puzzles, interspersed with exploration of the village, which will provide more information that will hopefully lead to Reinford's Golden Fruit.

The game's puzzles, reminiscent of DS titles like Brain Age and Brain Training, were designed by Akira Tago. Although less famous elsewhere around the world, Tago is the writer of the series of Head Exercises quiz books, which are extremely popular in Japan. Many of the puzzles come directly from the books while some were written by Tago specifically for the game.

While there isn't yet an English website for Curious Village, the official Japanese website shows the characters, screenshots and a trailer highlighting the animation and puzzles. The game is set for release in North America on December 3, 2007.



New Jonathan Boakes ghost story to be published this October

There's been an eerie silence of late surrounding Jonathan Boakes' new supernatural adventure. But like any good ghost story, just when you let your guard down, Got Game Entertainment jumps out of the darkness with the announcement that a publishing deal has been signed to bring The Lost Crown: A Ghosthunting Adventure to North America this October.

This time out, the creator of the Dark Fall games joins forces with a team called Darkling Room to combine "classic ghost story inspiration and modern ghosthunting techniques." In The Lost Crown, players will join treasure hunter Nigel Danvers on a trip to an English coastal town in pursuit of an ancient mystery. There you'll need to employ real techniques used by paranormal investigators, as "your skills at ghosthunting, and detecting paranormal activity, will directly affect how the game continues."

The game world is presented in a combination of colour and black and white, and promises to feature "actual E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recordings, and photographs of unexplained entities captured by Jonathan Boakes while researching the game." For more information about The Lost Crown, head on over to the game's official website.

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