Adventure News

August 2008



Samorost developer unveils in-game footage of full-scale adventure

Fans of the cult-favourite Samorost games have been anxiously awaiting the first full-scale adventure from Amanita Design, and a new gameplay trailer for Machinarium is sure to increase anticipation all the more.

Machinarium is set in a bizarre metallic world populated only by robots. The game's protagonist is a little robot who has been unjustly expelled to the scrap yard behind the city. Players must guide the little robot back into town to rescue his friend robot-girl and stop the bad guys from the 'Black Cap Brotherhood' before they can bomb the central tower that houses the city's ruler.

The new trailer provides almost a minute of in-game footage, showing off the game's stylish hand-drawn graphics and simple point-and-click gameplay. Samorost veterans will see many similarities to the developer's previous works, though differences in Machinarium will include such things as a small inventory and the ability to interact only with objects the protagonist can reach. The trailer can be streamed directly or downloaded from the IndieGames website.

No firm release date has been set for Machinarium yet, but Amanita is currently targeting completion for the "first half" of 2009.



Black Mirror 2, Penumbra: Requiem, Unsolved Crimes videos released

The video trailers continue to roll freely these days, and now there are three new additions, with teasers available for Black Mirror 2, Penumbra: Requiem, and Unsolved Crimes.

The highly-anticipated sequel to Black Mirror takes place twelve years after its predecessor, this time casting players in the role of a photographer named Darren. Working for a boss he despises, Darren becomes captivated by a beautiful woman, and when trouble arises for the young woman, Darren suspects his boss and seeks retribution. This sets in motion a journey to Willow Creek, England, the home of Black Mirror Castle, even as Darren begins to experience terrible, unexplained nightmares. The teaser reveals only little of the new game, instead emphasizing its connection to the original game instead. The 25 MB download can be found at GamersHell. Note that those who haven't played Black Mirror may see scenes that spoil some surprises.

Shortly after the launch this week of Penumbra: Requiem, the downloadable expansion to the popular horror adventure series, a trailer was released with a sampling of in-game footage. Like the previous games in the series, the third and final instalment includes plenty of physics-based interaction as you guide the first-person playable character named Philip deeper into both an underground complex and into madness. The 18 MB video can be downloaded from FileFront or streamed directly from YouTube.

Not to be outdone by its PC brethren, the DS weighs in with a new teaser for Unsolved Crimes. Assuming the role of a rookie New York police detective in the 1970s, players must solve eight independent cases covering three distinct game styles, including a 3D crime investigation, crime quiz, and some action elements as well. Development of Unvolved Crimes was recently finished in preparation for its September release, and now the trailer can be viewed or downloaded from FileFront.



City Interactive's conspiracy thriller targets fourth quarter release

Ancient conspiracies have long been a staple of the genre, and adventure fans can now prepare for more hotly-contested secrets in the form of City Interactive's Testament of Sin.

Originally unveiled under the name Testament of Faith (but come on, sin is so much more tantalizing), the game stars a young archaelogist named Sylvie Leroux. Upon uncovering a dark secret that dates all the way back to biblical times, players must guide Sylvie on a "perilous journey through the countries of the Mediterranean", as others are trying to acquire her mysterious discovery for themselves, while an "influential organization" will stop at nothing to keep the secret safe.

To help set the stage for Testament of Sin, an official website has now been launched, which provides additional information about the game, most notably a look at the central characters.

No firm release date has yet been revealed, but the game is currently scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year.



New Russian adventure sneaks to market with little fanfare

For a game called Outcry, there sure hasn't been much heard about the latest title from The Adventure Company, but it's ready to make noise now, as today the game shipped to retailers in North America.

Developed in Russia under the name of Sublustrum, the game casts players in the role of a middle-aged writer who receives an invitation from a brother he hasn't seen in years. Upon arriving, however, you learn that the brother has since disappeared, and as you begin to delve deeper into the mystery, you'll learn that he was secretly working on a machine that could separate a person's consciousness from its physical body.

For more information about Outcry, which will retail for the budget price of $19.99 USD, be sure to check out the game's website, listed under its original title.



Download-only expansion released, now with trailer

It's not often you see a genuine "expansion" to an existing adventure game, but that's exactly what's happening today, as Paradox Interactive has now released the download-only Penumbra: Requiem on GamersGate.

Beginning with Overture, the Penumbra series was originally planned as a trilogy, then scaled back to two games before its unanswered questions inspired a third and final instalment after all. The storyline of Requiem picks up where last year's Black Plague ended, with the game's protagonist "falling deeper into madness which forces him to fight some inner demons as well as outer ones." The new game isn't just a continuation, however, but an expansion that requires its predecessor to play.

Update: To coincide with the game's release, a gameplay trailer for Requiem has now been released, which can be streamed directly from YouTube.

For those who already own Black Plague, Penumbra: Requiem can be downloaded alone for only $9.99 USD. Alternatively, since Requiem isn't a standalone experience, a Gold Pack is also available with the two games combined.



Long-awaited remake of Sierra classic available for download

AGD Interactive, formerly Tierra Entertainment, has released its long-anticipated remake of the Sierra classic Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire.

Like the team's other projects, which so far include remakes of the first two King's Quest games, QFG2VGA sports updated VGA graphics, a point-and-click interface, and digital music. The game also features an updated combat system, a text-parser option for conversations, and a few minigames not seen in the original.

Quest for Glory is a series of five hybrid adventure/role-playing games. Players assume the role of a wannabe hero--a fighter, magician, or thief--solving puzzles, casting spells, and fighting monsters as they progress through an overarching adventure-game-style quest.

The 85-meg game can be downloaded from AGDI's newly updated website.



Cinematic teaser released for Strong Badia the Free

If it seems like the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People was just released, that can mean only one thing: it's almost time for the next one! To help players get in fighting shape for the second instalment, Telltale Games has just released a teaser for Strong Badia the Free.

In the new episode, Strong Bad rebels against the King of Town's unfair email tax, only to find himself placed under house arrest as punishment. After freeing himself from his imprisonment, the foul-tempered masked one "goes on a mission to unite the local warring factions under the Strong Badian flag."

The trailer offers a... umm... rousing political speech from Strong Bad, and can be streamed directly from the official website.



Medieval murder mystery available soon at budget price

If you're in the mood for a new murder mystery, the last place you might look is in a monastery, but that's exactly where players will find themselves in Murder in the Abbey, which has now shipped to North American retailers.

With its Name of the Rose-style theme, the new medieval whodunit from Spanish developer Alcachofa Soft casts players in the role of a former Grand Inquisitor named Leonardo. Along with his young assistant Bruno, Leonardo is sent to a remote abbey to investigate a series of mysterious crimes, only to find themselves the near-victims of foul play. Players must dig deep to uncover the monastery's closely guarded secret -- one which, as you'd expect, could just threaten the foundation of the Church itself.

Murder in the Abbey will retail at the budget price of $19.99 USD. For more information about the game, be sure to check out the official website.



Encore ships latest Kheops, White Birds adventures in North America

It's often feast or famine when it comes to new adventure releases. Fortunately, today is the long-awaited feast day for the latest adventures from Kheops and White Birds, as Encore has now shipped Dracula 3: The Path of the Dragon and Sinking Island to North American retailers.

Feasting will certainly be a prevailing theme in Dracula 3, though players must try to avoid becoming the feast themselves. Loosely connected to the previous Dracula games Resurrection and The Lost Sanctuary (but unrelated to the recent Dracula: Origin), the new instalment of the popular first-person vampire series sees players controlling Father Arno Moriani, who's been sent to Transylvania to investigate a potential candidate for sainthood. The "stigmata" he discovers, however, are believed by the locals to be the mark of a vampire, and Father Moriani must question his own beliefs to discover the truth behind the mystery.

In Sinking Island, Benoît Sokal and his team at White Birds have created a traditional whodunit with a very untraditional twist. As private eye Jack Norm, players must travel to a small tropical island to investigate the murder of its eccentric billionaire owner. A violent storm rages throughout the game, and players must guide Norm in locating clues and sifting through the stories of ten suspects in order to pinpoint the culprit. Time is short, however, as the entire island is sinking under the colossal weight of its centerpiece tower. For those who'd prefer to sink or swim, Sinking Island offers a simulated "timed" mode, though a more leisurely untimed option is also included.

Both games are part of Encore's "Mystery Adventure Games" lineup, which you can read more about at the official website.



Alternate "what if" version planned for the Wii and DS

Sunny Blonde is a teenaged girl who'd always be up for a good makeover, and now her first adventure is getting a radical overhaul of its own, as dtp revealed at the GC in Leipzig that a special alternate version of So Blonde is in production for the Nintendo Wii and DS.

The original PC version of So Blonde, which is still awaiting a widespread English release, features the spoiled, materialistic Sunny. Separated from her family during a storm aboard a luxury cruise, Sunny passes out and later finds herself washed ashore on a tropical island, all alone and without her cherished belongings. What's worse, she's somehow been transported several centuries back in time to an age ruled by pirates.

The Nintendo version will be neither a full-fledged sequel nor a straight port of the PC original, as it's based on the same premise but offers an alternate storyline. According to So Blonde's writer, Steve Ince, the new game poses a "what if..." scenario based on Sunny landing on the other side of the island and befriending the shady "One-Eye". While many elements will be common to both games, some characters and locations from the original will be missing from the Nintendo version and others introduced as the storyline moves in different directions. According to Ince, one of the new characters, Nathaniel, is even playable at times, and to accommodate the change in perspective between games, "the story and dialogue have been re-written and the gameplay re-designed."

It's a creative approach to the issue of cross-platform releases, avoiding the redundancy of straight ports in favour of a standalone experience while still utilizing resources of the original. The Wii and DS versions will have differences of their own, but only technological ones according to system capabilities, as both follow the newly re-imagined storyline.

While no official release date has been announced, an early estimate has targeted the middle of 2009 for completion. Hopefully by then its PC predecessor will have managed its long-awaited English market release.



A Vampyre Story, Culpa Innata II, Alter Ego videos now available

The Games Convention in GC always brings a flood of new adventure trailers, and this year is no exception, as three new videos are now available.

First in line is Autumn Moon's A Vampyre Story, which is gearing up for its long-awaited fall release with a new teaser. The "guided tour through Draxylvania" shows a nice sampling of in-game footage, providing a short-but-sweet glimpse of the many stylish characters and locations players will encounter as they guide Mona, gifted singer-turned-vampire, and her mischievous bat pal Froderick towards her dream of singing in the Paris Opera. This 55 MB video can be downloaded directly from the official website.

The debut trailer for Momentum's Culpa Innata II: Chaos Rising hints mysteriously at the next adventure for Peace Officer Phoenix Wallis. First announced at the GC and targeting a fall 2009 release, the sequel is a continuation of last year's title, with Phoenix heading into the "rogue state" of Russia to continue her investigation of a shocking series of deaths in the supposedly-idyllic World Union, even as she begins to question her own worldviews. This time out, she'll be accompanied by a second playable character, Russian detective Anatoly Pavlov. The 33 MB trailer can be downloaded (in English) from the German site Adventure-Treff. Note that the trailer contains nudity, so discretion is advised.

The latest adventure from Future Games is also now on display in the first trailer for Alter Ego. Referred to by its developers as a "successor" to Black Mirror (though not to be confused with the official Black Mirror sequel), Alter Ego tells the 19th century story of two very distinct characters, police detective Bristol and a thief named Timothy Moor. A series of brutal murders follows the disappearance of the notorious Sir William's body from its grave, and both men find themselves drawn deep into what might be a supernatural mystery. The 18 MB English trailer can also be downloaded directly from Adventure-Treff.



Port of Cyan's classic now targeting Apple's fast-growing smartphones

Leaving absolutely no stone unturned, it seems, the ever-portable Myst will soon be coming to yet another new platform, with production currently underway on an Apple iPhone version.

While the 1993 classic is certainly getting a little long in the tooth, the rapidly growing iPhone market is a natural fit for Cyan's first-person puzzler following ports to the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS in recent years. The news was first revealed by Cyan in a post at the Myst Online forum, claiming that three company employees, including Rand Miller, were responsible for the "outside funded project" that they've unofficially dubbed "iMyst".

The game's slideshow format should allow for an easy transition to the iPhone, though of course some of the once-dazzling visual appeal will be sacrificed for the limitations of the new platform. No further details of the project have yet been revealed, but surely everyone knows by now that Myst casts players alone into the world left behind by Atrus and his sons, a world threatened by the the abuse of mystical linking books.



Trailer shows first in-game footage of Quantic Dream's genre-defying thriller

Let the genre debates begin about Heavy Rain, as at long last the first veil has been lifted from Quantic Dream's new interactive thriller with the release of a gameplay video from the Games Convention in Leipzig.

The PlayStation 3 exclusive first dazzled gamers with an impressive character-focused tech demo two years ago, but little has been revealed about Heavy Rain since then. Like its predecessor, Indigo Prophecy, (Fahrenheit in Europe), the new "noir-thriller" promises to be a genre-defying title which focuses on player-directed interactive storytelling rather than traditional gameplay conventions.

At GC, a scenario known as "The Origami Killer" was demoed, showing the playable character named Madison entering the house of suspected serial killer, only to find herself trapped when the killer returns home. Through the use of contextual, icon-based actions, players choose their own narrative course from the many and widely varying paths available, some of which promise to radically alter the outcome, Along the way, players will also encounter a number of Quick Time events, and success or failure at these timed button-pressing sequences further alters the outcome of a game that promises to be a unique experience each time it's played.

The video released includes a small sampling taken from the GC demonstration, and the 13 MB trailer can be downloaded from WorthPlaying or streamed directly from GameTrailers.

So while we still may not know exactly how to categorize Heavy Rain, the video makes it clear that Quantic Dream's latest opus will be one to keep a close eye on as its undefined "late 2009" release date approaches.



New detective mystery announced for first quarter of 2009

There's no rest for promising young FBI agents, it seems. Having just completed her first murder investigation in Art of Murder: FBI Confidential, now Nicole Bonnet is off on another new mystery in Hunt for the Puppeteer, as recently announced at the Games Convention in Leipzig.

In the new game, a serial killer has struck several times in brutal fashion in the U.S., and now a first victim has appeared in Paris, displaying the same trademark clue: a doll dressed in 17th century clothing. During the course of the investigation, players will guide Bonnet across two continents, from France and Spain across the ocean to New Orleans and Cuba, making some startling centuries-old discoveries along the way.

Update: To coincide with the game's announcement, City Interactive has also released a cinematic trailer, which can be streamed directly from GameTrailers or downloaded from WorthPlaying.

A traditional point-and-click adventure like its predecessor, Hunt for the Puppeteer has no firm release date as yet, but City Interactive is currently targeting the first quarter of 2009 for completion.

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