Adventure News

February 2009



Memories of the Past to includes update of original episodes and new comic mode

After a rather inauspicious debut last year, Jake Hunter will soon be returning for three all-new cases in Jake Hunter Detective Story: Memories of the Past.

In Detective Chronicles, English gamers were first introduced to the private eye in three cases finally localized from their original Japanese and ported to the DS. The latest release will offer three new stories, one of which is made exclusively for the DS. It will also include a brand new mode called "Jake Hunter Unleashed", which features a distinctly comic art style and six "comedic stories".

In a more surprising development, Memories of the Past will even contain the original three episodes, this time "re-localized with creative imagination and flair", along with unlockable short stories, developer interviews and more.

No firm release date has yet been announced for the new Jake Hunter collection.



Comic adventure now available for download, shipping in the UK

It's been a busy time for Ceville, the diminutive tyrant of the self-titled comic adventure, and his hectic schedule has now been capped off by the game's release from Kalypso Media.

First there was the trailer, and then came the demo. But those were merely appetizers, and now players can jump fully into the under-sized shoes of the former ruler of Faeryanis. A nasty little cuss who delights in cruelty, Ceville's days seem numbered when he's overthrown as king, but when his treacherous advisor become a threat to the kindhearted new queen, it's up to Ceville to play the hero (in his own curmudgeonly way).

Ceville is now shipping as a standard boxed product in the UK, and is also available for download through multiple digital distribution channels, including The Adventure Shop.

Note: The Adventure Shop is an Adventure Gamers affiliate.



Publishing rights revert to independent Welsh developer

It's never a good sign when a shining beacon ceases to function, but disaster was averted for Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches when the publishing rights to the supernatural horror reverted back to the developers from its European publisher, Lighthouse Interactive.

Amidst increasing reports of serious financial difficulty for Lighthouse, today's announcement acknowledges that the "collapse of its UK distributor" resulted in the company's inability to meet its contractual commitment to Rhiannon's Welsh-based developer, Arberth Studios. Although the game was launched in the UK in 2008, it has yet to be localized for release in other European countries, and Arberth is now pursuing those opportunities with other publishers on its own. The developers have also acquired a "sizeable proportion of the remaining stock" of Rhiannon, and will be making it available through a number of outlets, including the game's own website (although not yet available).

Based on the collection of historical myths in the Welsh Mabinogion, Rhiannon is the modern day tale of an ancient rivalry that has carried on beyond the grave. In the rural home of Ty Pryderi, teenaged Rhiannon Sullivan has begun to experience disturbing phenomena she believes date back to a curse on the Pryderi household. Following in her footsteps, it's the player's role to discover the secrets of the haunted home, and put an end to the danger to Rhiannon once and for all.

Even as Arberth seeks to redistribute Rhiannon across Europe, the team is already at work on its second game, Coven. Lighthouse, meanwhile, is the publisher of a number of adventures besides Rhiannon, so it will be interesting to see if today's news causes any further fallout effect.



Latest Frogwares mystery to be released this April

Two of England's most famous (or perhaps infamous) figures will soon be squaring off in North America, as The Adventure Company announced today that Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper will be releasing to stores this April.

The fifth Sherlock Holmes mystery from Frogwares promises to be another dark thriller, as the great detective attempts to identify the serial killer whose brutal 19th century real-world murders shocked London's shady Whitechapel District and never were solved. This time, however, he's up against Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed fictional sleuth, who won't easily be thrown off the track as the death toll continues to mount.

Following a successful implementation in the "Remastered Edition" of The Awakened, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is the first new game to release with both free-roaming, first-person and point-and-click, third-person control options available. The game also promises an original new system for testing criminal hypotheses throughout the investigation.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is expected to be available at the budget price of $19.99 USD.



Retitled episodic seasons to release on Xbox Live Arcade

Whew! It's getting tiring chasing Sam & Max around all the videogame consoles. No sooner do we put the Season One Wii port through its paces than Telltale announces that both seasons of the Freelance Police's episodic adventures will be releasing in future on Xbox Live Arcade.

Along with news of the Xbox 360 port comes word that the two seasons will be getting new titles as well. Replacing the Season One moniker will be Sam & Max Save the World, while the second season will be renamed Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, the latter not only for the Live Arcade version but also the planned retail PC and Wii collections still to come.

The upcoming ports will mark the first appearance for Sam & Max on the Xbox 360, but Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures will be Telltale's debut on Microsoft's platform, paving the way for what will hopefully be a smooth transition for the Freelance Police behind them.

There are no firm release dates for any of new versions, so be sure to keep an eye on the release calendar for further updates.



Independent fantasy adventure targets third-quarter release

Proving once again just how global the genre can be, today’s news comes from Malaysia, where the independent E-One Studio has offered up the first details about its upcoming third-person adventure, Hidden Dawn.

Described only loosely as a “fantasy adventure to ‘save the world’”, Hidden Dawn takes a much different approach to its subject matter than ye ol’ traditional medieval-style fable. The game centers around an ordinary person whose special abilities are not her own, but rather belong to a unique item she carries – naturally, an item that others are eager to claim for themselves. Even these powers are not the standard types of might and magic, but “derive from tapping into the components of existence, such as vitality, the mind, power of material attraction, and unity.”

The backdrop to Hidden Dawn is the world of Empyria, home to several sentient species from both land and sea at an unidentified point in time. In the aftermath of a catastrophic battle in which a conqueror wiped out almost an entire group of people, a young girl named Heru sets out from her home only to discover that her family is being hunted for something she doesn’t even realize she possesses.

Heru soon learns of her access to the Essence, a “collection of abilities tapping into the fabric of the universe”, such as controlling plants, gravity, and even psychic thought. She’ll need to use these abilities to conquer various puzzles, from “physical ones in environmental travel, to shape-based puzzles requiring the use of certain Essence, to mental puzzles of pattern recognition, time-based puzzles and dialogue-oriented puzzles.”

Along with Heru as the main protagonist, the game will feature three other playable characters, each with their distinct role in the unfolding tale. Controlled using a mouse/keyboard combination, Hidden Dawn will also feature some Quick Time Events and light combat, though the developers claim this won’t represent a significant portion of the gameplay , aiming for a “cross between Dreamfall and Indigo Prophecy” in this story-driven adventure. Heru herself has no combat abilities, and players will be controlling her about 80% of the game.

Perhaps the best news of all is that the game is now well along in production. The team has been working on Hidden Dawn since 2006, and is now close enough to be targeting a release in the third quarter of 2009. No firm release plans have been finalized yet, but E-One is speaking to publishers now, and investigating every avenue available, including digital distribution and self-publishing online, though their main goal is to get the game on shelves as a full retail product.

We’ll be sure to keep an eye on Hidden Dawn in the coming months. In the meantime, be sure to check out the game’s official website.



Comic-based stealth adventure to release on multiple platforms

Like its covert protagonist, Diabolik: The Original Sin hasn't been seen or heard from in many months, with no new word or sign of its once-impending release. Now, however, Black Bean has revealed that the game will be launched on multiple platforms this April.

Based on the titular comic book anti-hero, created in 1962 by Italian sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani, Diabolik casts players in the role of the master thief, knowledgeable in science and electronics, and a master of disguise. In order to rescue his lover and usual partner in crime, Eva Kant, Diabolik finds himself caught up in a plot filled with "unexpected twists, intrigue, love and vengeance" in a game that promises a unique blend of traditional adventure-based puzzles and "fast-paced combat and stealth sequences."

It remains to be seen exactly where the game falls on the genre spectrum, but it will certainly cover a wide range of systems, as Diabolik will appear on the PC, PlayStation 2, PSP, DS, and Wii systems when it releases throughout Europe this spring.



Playable sampler precedes imminent UK release of fantasy adventure

With the UK release of Ceville close at hand, Kalypso Media has now released a small demo for the fantasy adventure.

Actually, the demo isn't smaller than most, but everything about Ceville centers around the extremely short titular tyrant. Ruler of Faeryanis, Ceville delights in cruelty, but when his kingdom is usurped and then jeopardized by the ruthless plans of his former advisor, it's up to Ceville to reluctantly play the hero.

The demo introduces Ceville when he is still the reigning king, but soon finds himself fleeing for safety and scheming to escape the castle unscathed. The nearly 600 MB demo can be downloaded from standard sites such as WorthPlaying.



New video offers first glimpse of real-time 3D characters and environments

The first few trailers for Still Life 2, including a new one just last week, have shown off the game's tense cinematics, but the latest teaser finally offers a first glimpse of its in-game 3D presentation.

The trailer introduces the game's two playable characters, FBI agent Victoria McPherson and journalist Paloma Hernandez, who experience the events of the sequel from two very different perspectives. While Vic seeks to track down the serial killer dubbed the "East Coast Torturer", Paloma is captured by him and must find a way to prevent becoming his latest victim.

One of the more controversial choices for Still Life 2 was its move from the detailed prerendered 2D backgrounds of the original game to real-time 3D environments, and though the new trailer shows little in the way of recognizable storyline, it does offer a representative sample of the new look.

At 12 MB, the teaser can be streamed or downloaded from WorthPlaying or streamed from GamersHell.



Dave Gilbert's "Oz Noir" mystery now available for download, trial demo included

As of today, adventure gamers no longer need a Kansas twister to get to Oz anymore, as Dave Gilbert's Emerald City Confidential has now been released for purchase and download.

The new game presents a much different version of Oz than movie fans are used to. As Gilbert describes it, it's "Oz meets Raymond Chandler" in a noir-themed mystery that casts players in the role of a private eye named Petra. Accepting what appears to be a simple missing persons job from the mysterious Dee Gale, Petra quickly finds herself caught up in a case that takes her "deep into the seedy underbelly of the Emerald City's criminal underground and beyond" where she will "encounter many characters both familiar and new, learn several magic spells, and uncover the answer to a dark secret that has haunted Petra all her life."

Emerald City Confidential marks the first game from Gilbert's Wadjet Eye Games to be launched by an external publisher, so to purchase the game, head on over to the PlayFirst website. The game is available for $19.95 as a download only, but a back-up CD version is also available for an additional $7.95. For those who prefer to sample the game first, a free one-hour timed demo is offered as well.

Adventure Gamers will have full review coverage of Emerald City Confidential soon enough, but in the meantime, be sure to check out our recent developer interview.



A Second Face, Ben Jordan and Nanobots the big winners at AGS's annual ceremony.

Adventure Game Studio is one of the most popular freeware tools for creating amateur adventure games, giving it one of the consistently largest selections of new games each year. The annual AGS Awards for games released in 2008 have recently been announced, with Ben Jordan 7 gaining four awards, A Second Face - The Eye of Geltz is watching us taking home Best Game and two other awards, while Erin Robinson's Nanobots took two of the awards that are informally known as "Rogers". Robinson also collected an award for Little Girl in Underland and Second Face author Le Woltaire collected Best Demo for the forthcoming game Dust to Water. Unusually, a non-adventure game, Colourwise, took four awards. Other winners included Once Upon a Crime, Quest for Glory II VGA: Trial By Fire, Limey Lizard: Waste Wizard and Beauties And Beasts.

The awards ceremony is available as an AGS game itself, where the characters from the game collect their awards, and a full list is available on the AGS blog.



Indie comic-styled adventure for Nintendo's handheld now in production

There are plenty of indie developers making adventures, and there are plenty of adventure games for the Nintendo DS. What we've yet to see is a first independent DS adventure, but now an Italian team called Impressionware is looking to change that with The Cabbage Incident.

In this comic-styled adventure, something has gone very wrong in the desert town of Hellthroat. An alien spacecraft has crashed on Earth, and a greedy businessman is using its technology to freeze food, but now the food is turning the townsfolk into zombie-like characters. As the little green alien "blob" who crash landed, players must control the various zombified characters by climbing on their backs, using their unique abilities to solve puzzles and complete some light combat and minigames.

The bulk of the The Cabbage Incident will be spent on standard point-and-click gameplay activities, exploring the village and surrounding environments like a cemetery, freezing plant, gas station, and canyon, collecting objects and using them to overcome obstacles. Not every character can perform every task, however, so finding the right pers... err, zombie for the job is part of the challenge. As a DS title, some of the puzzles will also incorporate the system's unique features like the microphone and touch screen.

In what will surely be good news for some, troubling news for others, the game will include some action sequences, as a SWAT team is lurking in the area to remove any and all signs of alien presence, most notably the alien himself. Combat will be reminiscent of the popular Metal Slug games, and the developers claim these sequences will comprise only about 10-15% of the overall gameplay, intended to add variety and excitement to the adventure segments, not to hinder players from progressing. An additional 20% or so will be spent on standalone, puzzle-based minigames, one of which is similar to Pipe Mania.


The bizarre cast of characters includes the likes of the simple, football-loving Billy, his reclusive crazy Uncle Fred, a bumbling prison escapee, and the town "kingpin" who owns everything in Hellthroat except the freezing plant. Comedic dialogues between characters will be an important part of the story, but all conversations will be automated, with no player-controlled dialogue trees.

With more restrictions for consoles than exist on PC, the developers will require DS-authorized publisher involvement to bring the game to market. For now that point is still on the distant horizon, however, as The Cabbage Incident is at a very early stage in production, and the small Impressionware team is working on the game between other fully-funded DS projects. Naturally, earlier publisher involvement and financing would allow them to advance the game's production schedule significantly, and the developers are hopeful for that opportunity.

It's encouraging to see more developers embracing the DS for original adventures, so we're pleased to help spread the word. The Cabbage Incident is definitely a game we'll be keeping our eye on, and we join the developers in hoping that publisher interest will get the game into our hands sooner rather than later.



Teaser for upcoming comic adventure introduces the diminutive tyrant

Sometimes it's good to be bad, and players will get a chance to experience just that in the upcoming Ceville. If there was any doubt of that claim, it's laid to rest in the new trailer launched today by Kalypso.

In Ceville, players control the titular former ruler of Faeryanis, a pint-sized tyrant with a definite "little big man" complex. When Ceville learns of a plan by the new queen's counsellor to conquer the kingdom with the help of otherworldly beasts, it's up to this least likely of heroes to save the day.

That doesn't mean he can't have a little wicked fun while's he's at it, though. The new teaser shows off Ceville's nastier side (or perhaps his only side, which just so happens to be nasty), as he engages in a variety of mischievous and downright cruel activities. The 52 MB video can be downloaded directly from the publisher's website or the usual download sites like WorthPlaying.

For more information about Ceville, be sure to check out the game's official website in preparation for its release in the UK later this month.



Cinematic video shows kidnapping of game's second playable character

With the highly-anticipated Still Life 2 edging closer towards release, the sneak peeks are coming more frequently. The latest glimpse into the gritty new thriller comes in the form of a new trailer showing the kidnapping of Paloma Hernandez.

Paloma is the second playable character in Still Life 2, along with FBI agent Victoria McPherson. The "East Coast Torturer" has just claimed another victim in Maine, and Paloma is conducting her own investigation as a journalist. That investigation soon becomes a simple matter of survival, however, as the gas masked Torturer shows up at her door mere moments after she's hung up the phone with Victoria.

The new video shows nearly two minutes of the suspenseful kidnapping of Paloma, and can either be streamed directly or downloaded from FileFront and other standard download sites.

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