Adventure News

December 2008



Classic point-and-click adventure from Italy now in development

There must be something in the water that's making Italian game developers feel adventurous these days, as production on yet another new point-and-click title from Italy has now been announced in the form of Audere Semper.

A Latin phrase meaning "to dare always", Audere Semper tells the story of a young journalism student in Rome named Elisa Flavi. Craving more excitement and opportunity as a reporter than her internship at the local newspaper provides, one October day a coded message arrives that Elisa manages to decipher. The message she uncovers, however, is only the first part of a deeper, much darker mystery in the heart of the Eternal City that will ultimately force her to "choose between the scoop of a lifetime and her own ethics."

Throughout the game, Audere Semper will take players to more than 35 different locations, including many of Rome's important monuments that have been faithfully recreated. A traditional third-person adventure, the game also includes the use of "interactive ideas" that can be used as inventory; a technique becoming increasingly popular in recent games.

This game marks the development debut from Adventure Productions, but the company is no stranger to the genre, having published localized adventure titles in Italy for the last two years. The current goal is to release the game in Italy by the end of 2009, with an English-language version prepared during that time as well. No firm details have yet been announced for international versions, however, and will likely involve local publishing partners for worldwide distribution.

For more information about Audere Semper, and to see a cinematic teaser for the game, be sure to check out the game's official website.



Special edition of Shadow of the Templars for DS and Wii officially confirmed

Finally ending months of one of the genre's worst-kept secrets, Ubisoft has officially announced that it will be publishing a "Director's Cut" of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars for the Nintendo Wii and DS systems.

Long hinted at by the game's developer, Revolution, the special edition of one of the most acclaimed adventures of all time is not a mere port of the 1996 PC original (known in North America as Circle of Blood), but will include new locations, puzzles that capitalize on the unique controls of each system, enhanced character animations from acclaimed comic book artist Dave Gibbons, and a "a new and explosive narrative interwoven with the first story", in which photo-journalist Nico Collard "witnesses the brutal and horrifying murder of one of Paris's richest and most influential statesmen." Soon Nico joins up with visiting American George Stobbart, whose quiet vacation is suddenly disrupted by an explosion in a quiet café in Paris, drawing him into a centuries-old conspiracy that traces back to the legend of the Knights Templar.


If you haven't ever experienced the PC original for yourself, be sure to read our extremely rare five-star review of the game. The Broken Sword Director's Cut is currently scheduled for release on both DS and Wii in March 2009.



Conspiracy thriller targets first quarter of '09 for wider European release

In this season of deep spiritual meaning, along comes a new trailer for Memento Mori, the conspiracy thriller from dtp that centers around a series of paintings of the Angel of Death that are protected by a secretive religious order.

When a painting goes missing from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and replaced by a forgery, young police officer Lara Svetlova is assigned to the case. An expert in art theft, Lara is assisted by a former counterfeiter named Max Durand, and together the two of them begin an investigation that takes them across Europe in pursuit of a Finnish cult known as the "Eternal Sleepers", whose members have vowed to keep any painting depicting the Angel of Death out of the public eye by any means necessary.

The new teaser includes a variety of in-game footage and cinematics that emphasize Memento Mori's dark, foreboding atmosphere. At 48 MB, the trailer can be downloaded from WorthPlaying or FileFront.

No release date has yet been announced for Memento Mori, but the game is targeting a release throughout Europe in the first quarter of next year. In the meantime, be sure to brush up on the game through our recent preview and the official website.



Jane Jensen pens Christmas-themed precursor to Gray Matter

Any time's a good time for a new story by Jane Jensen, but just to make it a little more seasonal, the acclaimed author and designer has just released a Christmas-themed short story that helps set the stage for her upcoming adventure, Gray Matter.

Released on her Gray Matter blog, the story recounts "a lonely Christmas in the Eternal City", as aspiring-but-struggling street magician Samantha Everett finds herself all alone in Rome on Christmas Eve. An American with no family of her own to spend the holiday with -- and on this day, not even a paying audience for her talented act -- Sam's high hopes for the evening soon turn to despair, at least until she finds an opportunity to share a little Christmas magic of her own.

In Gray Matter, Sam will eventually find her way to the English home of neuro-biologist Dr. David Styles, where she becomes an assistant to the reclusive scientist who lost his wife tragically many years earlier. Her first assignment is to find six volunteers from the local university for a series of experiments that begin harmlessly enough, but soon take a turn for the surreal. Controlling both Styles and Sam at times, it'll be up to players to solve the unexplained mysteries of Dread Hill House.

Gray Matter is currently scheduled for release some time next year. In the meantime, be sure to check out the tale of Sam's Christmas.



Rhiannon developers announce production on next adventure

Having singlehandedly put Wales on the adventure gaming map this year with the release of Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, now Arberth Studios is right back at it with the announcement of a new adventure called Coven.

Coven, as the title suggests, is a story about a witch... or is it? In 17th century Wales, Megan Jones was purportedly hanged as a witch, but according to Arberth, "while England and Scotland were hanging and burning hundreds accused of witchcraft, Wales exercised pragmatic tolerance; there are no records of witches being executed there", so something is clearly wrong with this account. In this modern day adventure, players must solve the mystery of why she was killed, and why the ghost of a black dog has been haunting the nearby river bridge ever since.

Called to the small town of Castle Avon to receive an inheritance from an unknown Aunt, players soon find themselves caught up in a tale dating back to the "frightening witch-hunts that coincided with the English Civil War, traversing the Rebecca Riots, the British Agricultural Revolution and World War II espionage, to the terrible threat that has come to grip the fate of the town following your Aunt's demise." Only by assuming your aunt's "occult responsibilities" will you be able to get to the bottom of this centuries-old mystery.

A first-person point-and-click adventure, Coven will feature many of the same qualities as Rhiannon, but improve on certain areas gleaned from player feedback. Not only will graphics be enhanced and navigation made better, but a quick travel map will cut down on travel between distant locations and a new method of recording progress and offering hints will be implemented.

Arberth is currently targeting the third quarter of 2009 for completion, though it's still very early in the game's production and this date represents a preliminary target only. In the meantime, for additional information about Coven, including some prototype script extracts, be sure to check out the developer's website.



Retro-themed 8-Bit is Enough now available for download

The season finale of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People promises to be the hottest episode yet, both literally and figuratively, and today gamers can find out for themselves, as 8-Bit is Enough is now available for download on PC and Wii.

The fifth and final episode features none other than the one-armed dragon Trogdor, who manages to escape his own arcade game and begin a fiery rampage across the real world of Free Country, USA. Trogdor isn't alone, either, as other influences from the 8-bit gaming era emerge to plague the town as well. To put a stop to this retro invasion, it's up to Strong Bad to plunge into the 8-bit game worlds they came from, gathering help from old and new friends alike before finally confronting the "Burninator" himself.

As with each of the season's previous titles, the new game is available for purchase either as a standalone episode or part of the full season package for PC. On Wii, the game costs 1,000 points through WiiWare, and is available today in North America, with distribution in Europe to follow shortly.

For more information about 8-Bit is Enough, be sure to check out our hot-off-the-presses review.



First of five point-and-click comic adventures to bring popular Israeli comic to life

Those who like their adventures in small episodic slices will be pleased to know that a new comedy series called Pizza Morgana has now been unveiled by indie developer Corbomite Games.

Based on a popular cartoon by Isreali writer Uri Fink, Pizza Morgana casts players in the role of a young girl named Jackie, who suddenly finds herself "accidentally teleported into a magical dimension filled with monsters, vampires, faeries, and daemons, which all just happen to be employed as pizza delivery guys." Helping players get accustomed to this bizarre world is Abbie Positive, the pizza delivery vampire who acts as Jackie's guide. Little has been revealed about the plot beyond that, but the first episode will allow gamers to "play through the events that lead to Jackie's teleportation into the world of TerraMagia."


According to Oded Sharon, the CEO of Corbomite, the new series will be presented in 2.5D with hand drawn backgrounds using a classic point-and-click control scheme. The developers are targeting both casual and experienced adventure gamers, offering two different levels of difficulty to satisfy both types of player preference and ability. With its heavy emphasis on comedy, the English version of the game will also feature voiceovers by Hollywood actors, though no names have yet been announced.

The "first season" of Pizza Morgana will consist of five episodes in total, to be sold through the game's official website. Episodes will be sold individually, but much like Telltale Games has done in recent years, Corbomite also plans to offer full season subscriptions at a reduced price, and hopes to release a packaged retail version at season's end.

Production on the debut episode is well underway, having already reached beta stage, and the target release date should occur some time in spring 2009.



Title and teaser unveiled for season finale

The season finale of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People is turning the corner for the final stretch, and at last the game has come into view with a title, screenshots, and cinematic teaser now unveiled.

Those who have been following the series so far will have noticed the Trogdor arcade game in Strong Bad's basement, and in 8-Bit is Enough, the legendary dragon breaks free of his gaming shackles to wreak "burninating" havoc on the land. Along with Trogdor, other 8-bit games are materializing in the real world as well, and it's up to the foul-tempered masked one to deal with the problem. Not exactly a white knight, but what can you do?

No firm release date has yet been announced, but 8-Bit is Enough is expected some time later this month for both PC and Wii. In the meantime, head on over to the Telltale website for a streaming cinematic trailer of the game.



14th century psychological thriller delivered in combat-free sequel

Fans of the unique 2006 murdery mystery Daemonica will be pleased to know that RA Images and Cinemax are combining forces once again to create Legends of Daemonica: Farepoynt's Purgatory for release late next year.

If Daemonica is less heralded than most contemporary whodunits, that may be because its isometric presentation and light combat more closely resembled an RPG than a traditional adventure at first glance. That won't be the case with the sequel, however, as the developers have confirmed there will be no combat or action sequences in Legends of Daemonica, opting instead to aim somewhere between classic point-and-click gameplay and modern cinematic adventures like Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.

While starring the same tortured character as its predecessor, Legends of Daemonica is not a direct continutation that requires any knowledge of the original. In the new game, Nicholas Farepoynt arrives with twelve other characters on a mysterious island in the 14th century. Farepoynt can communicate with the dead, and it turns out that his fellow visitors all have special gifts of their own. But they've been brought to the island to be "purified" of these talents, so it's up to players to help Farepoynt escape.

Presented in full 3D, this psychological thriller places a heavy emphasis on the player's ability to impact events and the attitudes of others by the choices they make. Some choices have only minor effects on the storyline, while others will result in much greater consequences that continue throughout the game.

There is already an official website for the game, which provides additional information about the game's storyline and characters.



Free flash game "Behind the Dangerdesque" now available online

Never one to willingly share the spotlight with others, Strong Bad is back in the news today with the release of a new solo freeware "roomisode" called Behind the Dangerdesque.

Conceived and developed by Videlectrix, the two-man team that refuses to let technology or actual substance stand in the way of a good idea, this release will pioneer a new gaming model for the ages. As its creators boldly declare, "unlike so-called episodic gaming, *room*isodic gaming allows the player to explore an *entire* *room*, guaranteeing at least several minutes of quality entertainment!"

There's no need to take the company's word for it, thank goodness, as their first effort is freely available at the Videlectrix website and playable in your browser. Starring Strong Bad's alter ego Dangeresque, the well-meaning if totally crooked cop who appeared in last month's Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, the game tasks players with solving a complex robbery case without ever stepping foot outside the office. And deprived of such pesky things as cutting-edge graphics or complex controls that might interfere with the gameplay, the roomisode promises so much fun it just might make you toss your whoozit before you're done.

Strong Bad will return later this month for the final big-budget, full-scale "episode" (passé as those now are) of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People.



First episode now available exclusively for iPhone and iPod Touch

While adventures on the Nintendo DS has become increasingly popular in recent years, the genre has yet to establish much foothold on other mobile devices. That may be about to change, however, with the launch of the first episode of 1112, an original new series exclusively for iPhone and iPod Touch.

The debut adventure from independent French team Agharta Studio, 1112 tells the story of Louis Everett, an average middle-class citizen living a very normal life with his nosy wife in New Jersey. But Louis has lately been experiencing constant headaches and strange dreams, and an unpredictable event is about to turn his life upside down.

Created with the intention of making full use of iPhone and iPod Touch capabilities, 1112 is displayed in hand-drawn backgrounds with 800x600 resolution and highly interactive environments. The interactive 3D items can be zoomed in and rotated, and the puzzles include realistic touch-based actions.

Unlike other episodic series, 1112 promises to be a true serial, with each episode introducing a teasing twist at the end that will carry over into the next game. The episodes are planned to run between 4-6 hours each, with the first episode priced at $6 and future episodes reduced to $4. The first episode is available now, though the developer is promising an update imminently to correct any translation problems with the launch release.

For more information about 1112, including a revealing trailer of the first episode and instructions for purchasing the game, check out the game's official website.



The "Ultimate Puzzle Adventure" and White Wolf of Icicle Creek shipping to retailers

It's a good day for Wii owners, and even better for those who missed SAFECRACKER: The Ultimate Puzzle Adventure and Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek the first time around, as Wii ports of both games are now shipping to retailers in North America.

Not to be confused with the 1997 game of the same title, SAFECRACKER: The Ultimate Puzzle Adventure was originally released for PC in 2006, casting players in the first-person role of an expert safecracker hired to find the last will and testament of a recently deceased billionaire. The wealthy eccentric has hidden the will behind a series of devious puzzle-protected safes that players will need all their wits to overcome.

Last year's PC release of The White Wolf of Icicle Creek marked the 16th adventure for Nancy Drew in Her Interactive's successful series, but the new Wii port represents the plucky detective's first foray onto home consoles. Promising a "variety of gesture-based mini-games with the Wii Remote" in this version, the game sends Nancy to a lodge in the Canadian Rockies, where dangerous, unexplained incidents are occurring. With a wolf eerily howling at night and further frightening the guests, it's up to players to help Nancy find out whether there's a connection and put an end to the troubles.

For more information about each game, be sure to read our PC reviews of both SAFECRACKER and The White Wolf of Icicle Creek.



Atari to publish adventure collection for both PC and Wii worldwide

For those who have held off on the downloadable episodes of Sam & Max: Season Two in favour of a potential store-bought version down the line, today's news brings you one step closer to that reality, as Telltale and Atari have announced a partnership to bring the second season to retail. And if you were holding out in hopes of seeing the Freelance Police again on Wii, that wish will come true as well, as the game bundle will be released for both PC and Wii next year.

The five-episode Season Two, which originally released for PC between November 2007 and April 2008, pitched Steve Purcell's beloved canine shamus and hyperkinetic rabbity thing back into a wide array of new and unproved shenanigans. From Santa's workshop to Easter Island to that hopelessly bureaucratic place where bad lagomorphs go after death, the comic crimefighting duo even hop back and forth through time as it's once again up to them to save the world as we know it... and maybe cause a little mayhem of their own along the way.

While series developer Telltale Games offers its own PC disc package, the deal with Atari will expand the series onto Nintendo's console and make the bundled games available on both platforms to worldwide retailers for the first time. The full season will be fully localized in French and German, with Spanish and Italian subtitles available.

There is no firm release date as yet for either version of Season Two, with just a general "2009" target specified for now.



Autumn Moon's long-awaited comic adventure now available

It may have felt like an eternity in the making, but A Vampyre Story is finally ready to leave its mark on the adventure scene, as the game is now shipping to retailers in both North America and the UK.

While some leapt at the chance to download the early release of the game, the retail launch of AVS will now put remaining players in the shoes of Mona, an opera singer-turned-vampire. Reluctant at first to embrace her vampiric nature, Mona seeks to escape her imprisonment in the Draxsylvanian castle of Baron Shrowdy and return to Paris to resume her career. To overcome the many obstacles in her way, however, she'll not only need the help of her bat friend Froderick, she'll also have to come to terms with her own unique abilities.

For more details about A Vampyre Story, be sure to read through our recent preview or check out the game's playable demo for yourself.

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