Adventure News

January 2009



Grim setting detailed for upcoming showdown with Jack the Ripper

Here's something you don't see every day: adventure game news! At least, not recently, anyway. But after a quiet year so far, Frogwares and Focus Home Interactive are ready to make some noise with the first trailer for Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper.

The latest mystery for the great detective pits him against none other than the notorious real-life serial killer who managed to successfully elude police. In 1888, a series of prostitutes were brutally murdered in the shady Whitechapel district of London by a killer dubbed Jack the Ripper. The real murderer never had to contend with the likes of Sherlock Holmes, however, and the game puts Holmes (and players) hot on his trail.

Following its introduction in the "Remastered Edition" of The Awakened, this game includes the option to play either in free-roaming first-person view or third-person point-and-click. The game also promises to provide an "original crime scene reconstitution system" that allows players to test theories during the investigation.

Ironically, the new trailer features neither of the headline characters, but rather offers a lengthy in-game glimpse of the grim and seedy Whitechapel, with its "dark streets, oppressive atmosphere, constant poverty, alcoholics, beggars and prostitutes". The trailer can either be streamed directly or downloaded from the publisher's website.

With today's video launch also comes word of a short release date slip, as Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is now scheduled for May 2009.



Classic franchise to get casual online game treatment

Zork is back! Well, sort of, anyway. If the thought of being eaten by a grue brings back fond memories rather than inspires dread, today's news is for you, as Jolt Online Gaming has announced that it is reviving the adventure classic in a browser-based MMO called Legends of Zork.

The world of Zork, last seen in Grand Inquisitor more than a decade ago, is now in trouble. In Legends, "the Great Underground Empire has recently fallen and the land is in disarray. The Royal Treasury has been sacked. The stock market has collapsed, leading even mighty FrobozzCo International to fire employees from throughout its subsidiaries. A craze of treasure-hunting has swept through the remnants of the Great Underground Empire. The New Zork Times reports that trolls, kobolds and other dangerous creatures are venturing far from their lairs. Adventurers and monsters are increasingly coming into conflict over areas rich with loot. It's a dangerous time to be a newly-unemployed traveling salesman, but it's also a great time to try a bit of venturing."


Designed to be played with either a PC or iPhone with no downloads, this "persistent online adventure" casts players in the role of a "recently laid-off salesman and part-time loot-gatherer". It's unclear for now exactly what the gameplay will entail, and questions to Jolt have gone unanswered at this point, but the game's intentionally casual nature suggests it will be neither a full-fledged adventure nor typical online RPG, but rather a lite experience that falls between the two. Even that is only speculation, however, so we'll be sure to keep an eye on new developments in the coming months.

A Legends of Zork website has already been launched, though at the moment there's no additional information beyond today's initial announcement.



Unique "Game of the Book" now ready for purchase; playable demo available

One of the most enduring literary tales is Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, and at long last the classic French novel is coming to PC in Chris Tolworthy's Les Misérables: The Game of the Book.

An independent production begun by Tolworthy ten years ago, Les Misérables marks the first interactive novel in a planned series called Enter the Story. Though the developer refers to it as "more like a book than a game", it most closely resembles a "classic 'point and click' adventure game, with some refinements. Gameplay is simple: you explore, you listen, or you suggest." With its unique minimalist art style and faithful adaptation of the original story, Les Misérables invites players into the world of 19th century Paris, focusing largely on ex-convict Jean Valjean as he seeks redemption from his past.

The game is now available for purchase and download directly from the official website for $14.99, and an optional plain CD version is available for $10 more. The purchase price includes the next two installments of Enter the Story, which will be Dante's The Divine Comedy and an original work called Apeiron, due out in June and December 2009, respectively.

To sample Les Misérables for yourself, a playable demo is also available from the developer's site, introducing players to the game's distinctive method of interaction as Valjean attempts to escape the city sewers.