Adventure News

May 2009



Duo's first grand adventure heads to console and PC episodes now available individually

While PC players have been treated to two full episodes of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures already, Xbox 360 gamers have had to patiently wait for the series debut. That wait is now over, as Telltale announced today that Fright of the Bumblebees has been released worldwide on Xbox Live Arcade. The first of four episodes planned, Fright of the Bumblebees is available for 800 Microsoft points.

Alternatively, you can now pick up either of the first two PC episodes for purchase individually. Previously only offered as part of the full series bundle, each episode will now be available at a price of $8.95 from Telltale’s website.

Fright of the Bumblebees centres around Wallace & Gromit’s honey-making scheme, “From Bee to You”. When their supply runs dry, Wallace comes up with a growth-inducing formula that has comically disastrous results. For more details, be sure to check out our review of the game.



Animated video re-introduces The Blackwell Convergence's main characters

In advance of the next adventure of Rosangela Blackwell and Joey Mallone, Wadjet Eye Games has launched the debut of a series of short cartoons. These cartoons will serve as a refresher for Blackwell series fans, and an introduction for newcomers to the reluctant medium and her wisecracking spirit guide.

The first cartoon episode, “On the Town”, sees Rosa and Joey hanging out in a bar. Joey encourages Rosa to approach one of the male customers, with amusing results.

The third game in the supernatural adventure series, The Blackwell Convergence, is due as early as next month, and those wanting to investigate further can check out the official website.



Intro cinematic and in-game footage mark first live glimpses of the upcoming sequel

As gamers get set to return to Jules Verne's Mysterious Island once again in the adventure sequel from Kheops, now they can see for themselves just what is in store, as the first two trailers have recently been released.

In the original Return to Mysterious Island, young Mina overcame a variety of survival challenges when washed ashore on the abandoned tropical island once inhabited by Captain Nemo. Her rescue, however, so tantalizingly close at the end of that game, proves not so successful in this one, as seen in the introductory cinematic of the sequel. This video shows the ill-fated attempt to escape the island aboard a helicopter and the reason for Mina's forced return to her island home.

The second trailer provides a nice sampling of in-game footage, detailing some of the lush environments and new challenges awaiting Mina and her simian pal Jep, both of whom are playable characters in this game. Whether charming snakes, making pottery, or mixing and matching complex inventory combinations, the pair must overcome a whole new set of obstacles as they seek to discover the nature of the deadly green gas that is afflicting the plant life on the island.

For more details about the game, be sure to check out our recent preview. Additional information can be found at the game's official website, where you can also get downloadable versions of the above videos.



Spirit of genre's Golden Age captured in live performances beginning next month

While many have been calling "curtains" on the adventure genre for years, the term will get a whole new meaning next month with the launch of the theatrical production Adventure Quest at the Brick Theatre in New York.

Created by Sneaky Snake Productions, Adventure Quest is a nostalgic, experimental stage performance that merges live acting with vintage graphic adventure backdrops and 8-bit music to "evoke the world of '80s adventure gaming, particularly King's Quest and Quest for Glory." And indeed, the premise will sound more than a little familiar to any longtime adventure fan, as described in the play's promotional materials:

    The town of Perilton has been invaded by the dreaded Cult of the Octopus, and our dashing hero is the only one who can save it! Gasp as he evades bloodthirsty monsters and solves devious puzzles! Cheer him on as he fights to win the hand of the mayor's beautiful daughter! Watch as he meticulously collects inventory items, and then exchanges them with other characters for new inventory items, which are then used to solve more puzzles! Shift uncomfortably in your seat as the narrative becomes increasingly unhinged! Glance around nervously as characters are brutally murdered for no particular reason! Weep silently as your faith in a meaningful, ordered universe is irrevocably shaken!

If entirely conventional in its settings, however, Adventure Quest promises to delve into them using a unique narrative structure. Elaborating on the format, co-creator Chris Chappell explains that the hero will move through such places as a Town Square and Cathedral by speaking action commands aloud, resulting in "a disembodied voice that gives descriptions of screens and objects, tells him when he can't do something, or when he's given an incoherent command." As he progresses through these obstacles, the protagonist becomes more self-aware, motivating him to "find a way around the rigid rules of the adventure game universe." (And haven't we all been there.) In doing so, Chappell claims that Adventure Quest starts to "explore ideas about happiness, freedom, and violence, and it also allows us to move from the familiar cheerful world of adventure gaming into what is, frankly, some pretty dark psychological terrain."


Perhaps it's fitting that dark psychological terrain be evident in the play, as Adventure Quest will debut as part of The Antidepressant Festival in Brooklyn, running from June 5th-July 4th. The production will be performed four times, and general admission tickets are $15 each. Tickets will be available on site if quantities last, but to ensure seating early, they are offered already for purchase online. For complete scheduling details and further information about the play, check out the Adventure Quest Facebook page.

If you're in the area but can't make the original dates, Adventure Quest will also be part of a second gaming-themed mini-festival called Game Play later in July, though tickets are not yet available. Further information will be listed at the above website when it becomes available.



Notorious serial killer's first murder sets stage for playable sampler

If you're in the mood for a little Sherlock Holmes (or alternatively, feeling a little serial killing bloodlust, but let's go with the first one), you now have your choice of buying the full version of Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper or try out the new playable demo.

Now shipping throughout North America and various parts of Europe, the fifth Holmes mystery from Frogwares pits the great detective against perhaps his most dangerous foe yet. As he did in real life, the ruthless killer known as Jack the Ripper is stalking the streets of Whitechapel in 1888, brutally killing prostitutes and confounding police. If there's one man who would be able to identify the mystery murderer, however, it's Sherlock, along with help from his trusty friend Watson and a little player guidance.

The demo takes place near the start of the game, allowing you to "witness Jack the Ripper's first murder as a spectator." The sampler also demonstrates the game's unique ability to switch at will from a third-person point-and-click control scheme to free-roaming, first-person 3D.

To download the rather sizable 872 MB demo, you can find it at standard download sites like GamersHell or WorthPlaying.



Official details expected at E3 in two weeks

LucasArts is resurrecting its seminal Monkey Island adventure game franchise with a re-release of The Secret Of Monkey Island on Xbox 360. A game titled "The Secret of Monkey Island - Special Edition" was revealed today through a posting on the German USK game ratings board.

Sources have also independently (though unofficially) confirmed the existence of the project to Adventure Gamers, and indicated that it will be a downloadable game on Xbox Live Arcade rather than a retail Xbox 360 release.

Official details are expected at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which will be held on June 2 - 4.

The Secret Of Monkey Island is the first game in the Monkey Island series, originally released on floppy disk in 1990 for Atari ST, Macintosh and PC. It is unknown whether the Special Edition will feature up-scaled graphics or entirely new artwork to take advantage of the Xbox 360's High Definition resolution.

It appears LucasArts has recently taken a renewed interest in its older intellectual properties. In February, LucasArts revealed that the upcoming Nintendo Wii action/adventure game Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings would feature the adventure game classic Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis in its entirety as an unlockable bonus.

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Stylish independent adventure available soon for download

If the expression "no guts, no glory" is true, then tomorrow's launch of Downfall promises to be a glorious one.

Four years quietly in the making, the independent point-and-click horror from tiny English studio Harvester Games is definitely not for the squeamish, but it should appeal to those who like their adventures haunted with the stuff of nightmares. When Joe and Lucy Davis sign in to the Quiet Haven Hotel to stay overnight, little do they know what terrors the new day will bring. First Lucy disappears mysteriously, and in the morning the hotel has drastically changed, as "nothing is what it seems anymore. Joe is left alone, trying to understand what is happening, trapped between reality and the nightmare. Then everything changes again and the world turns black and white. Only the colour of blood is still red... And it's all around him."

Controlling multiple characters throughout more than seventy stylish hand-drawn locations, players will meet the hotel's other inhabitants, including a birthday girl crying all through her party, another girl having a strange, disturbing dream asleep in her room, and a doctor hearing voices from the walls, urging him to "perform a certain experiment". The game offers a mature storyline with multiple endings, and comes with a distinct warning of "scenes of violence and gore, sexual content and strong language". The game's creator, Remigiusz Michalski, claims that Downfall "is not afraid to feature exploding heads and cutting people in half with a chainsaw, all of which are animated pixel by pixel", a claim supported by the lengthy trailer available at the game's website. Rest assured, however, that the developer also promises clever puzzles sprinkled into the mix.

Barring any unforeseen delays, Downfall will release as a download exclusively on Direct2Drive on May 15th.



Haunted house mystery from Delaware St. John creator now in production

Usually a little decay is a bad thing, but a whole lot of decay should be a good thing this fall, when the new horror adventure by the creator of Inherent Evil and Delaware St. John is released.

With production on the Delaware St. John series currently on hold, designer Bryan Wiegele has now co-founded a new team called Wicked Cinder to work on decay. The first-person point-and-click game tells the story of a man named Jacob, whose family died two weeks earlier in a car accident. In his grief, Jacob shuts himself in the lovely home they just recently purchased, only to find that his living nightmare has only begun. As the "walls rot away, rooms that weren't there previously are exposed for Jacob to explore. The more he explores the more he uncovers the blood-soaked history of the house and realizes the truth behind the death of his loved ones. With the house crumbling around him, Jacob must figure out how to protect himself and what's left of his family from a malevolant supernatural force that's been plaguing the house for almost a hundred years."

Wicked Cinder is currently targeting a release in October. In the meantime, a website for the game has already been launched, though currently there's little more than the basic plot outline available.



Two adventures out of Russia now available through digital distribution

Digital distribution continues to gain a foothold in the genre, as not one but two different adventures from Russian publisher Game Factory Interactive have been released as downloads in recent days.

Diamon Jones and the Amulet of the World introduces a new but rather unlikely artifact-seeking Jones in the form of its titular hero. Down on his luck in a 1930s bar in Cairo, Jones learns of untold treasure awaiting in the Pharaoh's tomb, and so he sets out on an adventure that will take him from the desert to London to the mountains of Tibet in pursuit of the Amulet of the World. When he finds it, however, he's in for a nasty surprise, as the "natural order of the world" is upended in the process.

The game is available at Big Fish Games. While Big Fish is known more for its casual games, Diamon Jones is not a casual title but a large-file adventure game with a download size of 1.14 GB.

The other new adventure from GFI is a children's title called The Adventures of the Little Red Riding Cap. Loosely based on the classic fairy tale, the game tells the previously-untold story of the little girl's challenges before she's able to visit her grandmother in the forest. Needing to prepare some goodies to take, she finds herself visiting the local village which is "inhabited by simple, sociable folk who are always ready to accept the help of a curious and kind-hearted girl."

The Adventures of Little Red Riding Cap is available now through GamersGate.



Casual-adventure hybrid from Tex Murphy creators now available for purchase

Until now, the names Aaron Conners and Chris Jones may have made you think instantly of Tex Murphy, but that may soon change, as the acclaimed designers have just released their long-awaited new title, 3 Cards to Midnight.

A little word association should get you suitably prepared for 3CM, which is a new kind of casual-adventure hybrid that Conners and Jones describe as a "story game". Players control 30-year-old Jess Silloway, who can't remember the last few days of her life, and finds herself alone with a mysterious man who claims his Tarot cards can help restore her memories. Each card triggers certain images and words that are relevant to Jess' past, and only by associating related elements and solving puzzles will Jess be able to unlock new recollections and ultimately piece together the traumatic reasons behind her amnesia.

Available only for download, 3 Cards to Midnight can be purchased from the game's official website and select other download portals.

For full details about 3 Cards to Midnight, be sure to check out our review of the game. A free one-hour demo of the game is available at RealArcade.



Cyan Worlds responsible for latest portable conversion

Nearly two decades ago, Myst was helping to popularize the CD-ROM on PC. With the recent release of the venerable classic's latest iteration on iPhone and iPod Touch, now you don't need either the disc or the PC.

The story and setup should be familiar to everyone by now, as Myst casts players in the first-person role of a stranger stranded on a small island filled with peculiar gadgets and puzzles. Linking this world to others are magical books written by a man named Atrus, who's left a message urging you visit each world in order to collect the book pages in which he's trapped his sons, one of whom is responsible for the destruction of these once-glorious lands.

Myst has been released in various forms on numerous platforms over the years, but unlike other recent ports, including the disastrous Nintendo DS version, the new conversion was made under the guidance of the original series creators, Cyan Worlds, to ensure what they call a "definitive mobile Myst application". At only $5.99, the new Myst is easily one of the cheaper versions available as well, and can be purchased directly from your iPhone/iPod Touch at the Apple Store.



Tri Synergy to publish latest installment of horror series in North America

North American fans of the longrunning horror series Last Half of Darkness can look forward to the next chilling chapter this summer, as Tomb of Zojir will be published for PC by Tri Synergy.

In Tomb of Zojir, a mysterious book is found in the town of Shadowcrest that charts the path to the Isle of the Dead. Tales of the isle speak of ghosts and creatures that lurk in the shadows, and though hidden treasure is rumoured to abound, it’s also believed that the origin of a great darkness lies in an ancient temple, and only your mastery of the dark arts and science can penetrate the mystery.

If this summer is too long to wait for Last Half of Darkness: Tomb of Zojir, you can satisfy your appetite in the meantime by watching the official trailer below.



Second of four grand adventures now available for download from Telltale

If you fancy a virtual beach vacation, that's exactly what you'll find in The Last Resort, the second episode of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, released today by Telltale Games... Or at least, as close to a beach as you're likely to find in a West Wallaby Street basement.

In the new episode, rainy weather is spoiling everyone's holiday plans, so Wallace decides to transform the cellar into an indoor water world and invite all the townsfolk to visit. Naturally, one thing after another begins to go wrong, and it's up to the mild-mannered inventor and his loyal canine companion to save the day before their best-laid plans are washed away for good.

As the second of four episodes, The Last Resort is currently available for download only as part of a full season purchase for PC directly from Telltale, with the final two episodes planned for June and July. Each episode will also be offered for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade, though release dates for the console have yet to be finalized.



Playable samplers of new releases now available for download

For more puzzles than you can shake a stick at, a couple of mouse clicks are all you need, as playable demos of Gobliiins 4 and Pahelika: Secret Legends are now available for download.

The long-awaited fourth iteration of the Gobliiins series puts players back in control of three oddball goblins, each with his own unique skill. Balancing inventory use, brute (literally) strength, and magical ability, players must guide the goblins in cooperatively overcoming a series of challenges over the course of sixteen single-screen sceanrios. The nearly-100 MB Gobliiins 4 demo is not widely available at the moment, but can be found at the Impulse webshop (no purchase necessary to download the demo).

In Pahelika: Secret Legends, players are put into the first-person shoes of an adventurer travelling through fantastical worlds, solving devious puzzles designed to protect an ancient book called the Pahelika. At 32 MB, the Pahelika demo can be downloaded from GamersHell.

The full versions of both games were released for purchase last week.

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