Adventure News

June 2010



Long-awaited conversions of popular conspiracy thriller now shipping

Perhaps the biggest mystery of the popular Secret Files series lately has been when the Nintendo ports would begin to appear in North America. That day has finally arrived, however, as Southpeak announced today that Secret Files: Tunguska for the Wii and DS is now shipping to retailers.

First released on PC in 2006, the adventure stars Nina Kalenkov and Max Gruber as they are thrust into the middle of a modern-day conspiracy surrounding the massive 1908 explosion that wiped out a huge segment of Siberian forest. Nina's father may know the closely-guarded secret behind this mysterious event, but now he's gone missing, forcing Nina and Max to begin a globehopping adventure to find him and discover the truth for themselves.

While the Wii version of Secret Files: Tunguska is very similar to its PC counterpart, the DS version naturally has some changes, mainly for the better, as outlined in our review of the game. Both versions are retailing in North America for the budget price of $19.99. (Note that Wii games are region restricted, though DS games are not.)



Trail of the Twister now shipping for PC and Mac in North America

While others enjoy a nice summer vacation at cottages or on the beach, a good time for Nancy Drew is chasing after tornados, which is what the teen sleuth finds herself doing in today's release of Trail of the Twister.

In the 22nd Nancy Drew adventure from Her Interactive, the plucky teen goes undercover in a contest offering a $100 million cash prize to the team that makes the top tornado predictions. As if the natural elements weren't dangerous enough, however, "equipment starts failing and crew members are getting injured. Is it bad luck or is someone sabotaging the competition?" With Nancy Drew involved, the smart money is on the latter.

Trail of the Twister is now shipping to North American retailers in dual PC/Mac formats, and is also available for download from the official website.



First of five King's Quest-inspired episodes to release July 10

Their name was aptly chosen. Phoenix Online Studios has announced that their ambitious fan project, The Silver Lining, has once again risen from the ashes and will finally see the light of day next month. In February, the King's Quest-inspired project was hit with a cease and desist order from Activision, the current holders of the KQ license. Yesterday Phoenix revealed that they have reached an agreement with Activision to make The Silver Lining available as a free downloadable series. Episode 1: What is Decreed Must Be will release next month, with four additional episodes following throughout 2010.

In The Silver Lining, King Graham once again dons his feathered adventurer's cap and embarks on a quest to save his children, Alexander and Rosella, from a mysterious curse. Though its storyline is self-contained, fans of Roberta Williams' games will recognize many familiar characters and locations from the King's Quest canon.

This is not the long-running project's first brush with cancellation. In 2005, former license holder Vivendi Universal Games attempted to put a stop to development of the game originally titled King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has a Silver Lining. Though the company ultimately reversed their decision, the game's future was again in doubt after the rights to Sierra's adventure game library transferred to Activision in 2008. Both cease and desist orders were met by vocal complaints from the King's Quest fan base.

Episode 1: What is Decreed Must Be can be downloaded for free from the official website on July 10th.



Blood of the Cybermen now available to download free for British residents

Adventure fans in the UK have blood on their hands today, as the BBC has now launched Blood of the Cybermen, the second episode of the four-part Doctor Who: The Adventure Games series.

Following last month's release of City of the Daleks, which resulted in over half a million downloads, this month's episode features more "classic Who" elements, including "an abandoned Arctic research centre... an ancient relic... an off-screen terror." The episode was written by TV series writer Phil Ford and once again stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan as the two leads.

As with the debut episode, Blood of the Cybermen is available from the official website as a free PC download for UK residents, with a Mac version expected shortly. Those living elsewhere around the world will still need to wait a while longer, and likely pay a purchase fee once available, though dates and prices have yet to be announced.



They Stole Max's Brain! available for download today

Max has always been a little out of his mind, but he loses it altogether in They Stole Max's Brain!, the third episode of The Devil's Playhouse, released today by Telltale.

In the mid-season episode, Sam discovers his little hyperkinetic rabbity buddy with his noodle completely missing, prompting the canine shamus to go on a noirish rampage to locate the perpetrator. Even after discovering the pilfered grey matter, however, it's no small task to reunite it with Max's body, as other forces are after the unique psychic powers it contains.

They Stole Max's Brain! is available on PC and Mac now from the official website as part of the full-season Devil's Playhouse, and is expected later today on the PlayStation Network in North America.

For full details about this episode, be sure to check out our review of the game.



Art-themed thriller from House of Tales now available for download

With about 15 days left until its expected release, the ironically-named 15 Days surprised everyone with an early launch today at The Adventure Shop.

The latest thriller from House of Tales centers around three young activists who happen to be art thieves. Their latest job went very wrong, however, when the death of prominent politician put American Interpol Special Agent Jack Stern on their trail, beginning a tangled adventure that is destined to pull all four deep into the affairs of international politics, plus a few new art heists along the way.

15 Days is available for purchase and download now from Adventure Shop for $24.99 US or €19.99. For more information about the game, be sure to check out our preview of the game, complete with an interview with the developers.

Note: Adventure Gamers is an Adventure Shop affiliate.



Scenic Italian island revisited in updated double pack

The closest many of us will come to the scenic Italian island of Capri may be S&G Software's A Quiet Weekend in Capri and Anacapri: The Dream. If you missed these exotic adventure tours the first time around, now there's a second chance with the upcoming release of Mysteries of Capri, a double pack of new and improved versions of both games.

In A Quiet Weekend in Capri, players get to soak in the island's exotic landscapes in photorealistic detail, but this proves to be no vacation, as you'll soon find yourself sucked into a kind of alternate reality version of the island, where nothing is as it should be. In the sequel, Anacapri: The Dream, players assume the role of Dr. N, an expert in ancient civilizations called to the island to locate the dangerous Black Obsidian Disk, a legendary artifact with a dark history that now threatens the fate of the island once again.

The new 2-DVD collection is being published by Adventure Productions for 19.90 Euro (currently marked down to 17.90 Euro) at its online webshop, and will be released on June 22nd with no shipping cost. On that day, a new website for the Capri saga will be also be unveiled.



Debut videos for three highly-anticipated adventures streamed inside

It's E3 week, which means plenty of new videos for your movie-watching pleasure! There's a fairly light adventure representation at the show this year, but early highlights include the first trailers for Monkey Island 2: Special Edition, Portal 2, and Professor Layton and the Unwound Future.

The enhanced version of LeChuck's Revenge needs no introduction by now. The hugely popular 1991 adventure is returning this year on multiple platforms, complete with voiceovers, hint system, new control scheme, in-game commentary from the developers, and of course the ability to switch seamlessly between the original art and new high-definition art of the same scenes. The trailer offers an amusing take on the differences between versions when the game releases in July.

While many would dispute the notion that Portal qualifies as an adventure, few dispute its brilliance in melding various genres for a unique puzzle-based experience, challenging players to master the use of portals to transport instantly through different points in physical space. Though the sequel was recently been pushed back to 2011, the teaser hints at what awaits with glimpses of Aperture Science and an ever-delightful welcome message from GLaDOS.

After two successful DS puzzle-adventures for the titular top-hatted archeologist and his young assistant Luke, news of a third Professor Layton adventure comes as no surprise. In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, young Luke isn't so young anymore, as the protagonists receive a troubling letter from Luke ten years in the future with news that London is in disarray and in desperate need of the Professor's help.

Stay tuned to Adventure Gamers for more screenshots, videos, and news from E3 in the coming days.



New installment set to release in Germany this November

With the English release of Black Mirror II just barely behind us, now adventure fans can already start looking ahead to the newest installment of the dark horror series, as dtp officially announced production on Black Mirror 3, with a target German-language release date later this year.

After publicly teasing the upcoming announcement in recent weeks, at E3 dtp finally unveiled the first details and screenshots of the latest sequel. The new story promises to tie into the dramatic events at the end of Black Mirror II, covering 62 different locations in and around the Black Mirror Castle, some of which will be familiar to players of the original game.

According to the press release (beware possible spoilers for those haven't played the second game):

    After his flight into the woods, Darren stands with a burning torch in his hand, and turns to look back at the blaze engulfing Black Mirror Castle. Confusion reigns... A short time later, he barely reacts as the handcuffs are closed on his wrists. The police have arrested Darren as their main suspect, and subject him to extensive questioning. But Darren is numb to the events occurring around him, and he withdraws into a deep emptiness.

    After three weeks of detention – and tormented by sleepless nights, nightmare-like visions, and the chilling specter of murder and death – Darren is set free. Darren is now alone. He must try to find out what has happened, and lift the veil on his clouded past. What did he really see with those jet black eyes, what does the nightmare mean? Who is the mysterious person who posted bail and set him free? What dark force lies behind the tangled web of riddles, mysterious secrets and entwined relationships?

Incredibly, the game is so far along that it is scheduled to be released in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on November 5th. No details have yet been announced about the inevitable English localization, but stay tuned for more details about this game as AG's E3 coverage begins later this week.



First three games enhanced; boxed version to follow soon

Mystery buffs and FMV fans who have managed to miss the Casebook series so far now have another chance, as New Zealand developer areo has just announced a new "Special Edition" trilogy.

The Casebook series casts players in the first-person role of a young police recruit partnered with Detective James Burton. Over the course of two-plus hours of live-action footage, Burton interrogates the witnesses and suspects of three distinct cases involving child kidnapping, an apparent suicide, and murder, respectively, while players carefully explore crime scenes and process the evidence through a variety of forensic-based minigames.

Since the original release of Kidnapped, The Watcher, and Snake in the Grass, areo took player feedback to heart and enhanced the games with additional minigames for better gameplay balance, an evidence folder that is no longer automated, the ability to skip minigames, and a ranking system to gauge your progress, plus the obligatory "bunch of other little improvements".

The new Casebook Trilogy is available for preorder now at the official website for $15.95. Those who order early get immediate access to Kidnapped, with the following two episodes available on June 24th. The episodes are DRM-free, and even the free mini-case called Episode 0: The Missing Urn has been updated, and is free for everyone to download now. Those who previously bought the original Casebook episodes and wish to upgrade can pick up the new versions at a heavily discounted price, as outlined in the sit's Special Edition FAQ.

Further good news awaits for Casebook as well, as publishing plans for a boxed retail edition of the trilogy are now being finalized, and details are expected to be unveiled shortly.



TGC to publish the psychological horror in first quarter of 2011

The outlook for Alpha Polaris is shining a lot more brightly today, as The Games Company has announced the wordwide publishing rights of the pyschological horror adventure, to be released sometime early next year.

The debut adventure from Finnish studio Turmoil Games takes place at the titular oil research station in Greenland. High above the snowy fields, a powerful ion storm is building, bringing with it a "strange intermixing of reality and night terrors." As Rune Knudsen, a Norwegian biologist, players must "take on a desperate struggle against fear and death, and face the primordial force lurking beyond the veiled sky."

While the game is likely to see a release in German-speaking markets first, German publisher TCG is no stranger to the genre internationally, having successfully delivered several previous adventures to English markets, including Everlight and Simon the Sorcerer 5.

There is no firm release date planned yet for Alpha Polaris, but the developers are currently targeting the first quarter of 2011.



Jurassic Park and Back to the Future franchises targeted for release this winter

Whoever said the adventure genre was stuck in the past probably didn't have this in mind, but Telltale Games is reaching way back in time for its two newest series based on Jurassic Park and Back to the Future.

As first reported by the Associated Press and confirmed in a recent press release from Telltale, episodic series for both franchises are currently in early development, to be launched later this year on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. According to Telltale CEO Dan Connors, the new games should not be considered sequels, but rather tell new stories through "a new interpretation of their worlds for a new medium."

For those too young to have experienced them originally, Jurassic Park is the blockbuster 1993 Steven Spielberg movie that brought the Velociraptors, T-Rex, and a host of other hungry dinosaurs to life through then-unprecedented digital effects, before going on to spawn a pair of lesser-regarded sequels. Back to the Future is en even older movie trilogy, starring Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly) as a time-traveller forced to fix paradoxes he himself has created, with the help of mad scientist Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) and his time-hopping DeLorean.

Few details have yet been revealed about the new games, but according to Telltale, both series are currently slated for release this winter, with Back to the Future due up first, to be "followed shortly" by Jurassic Park.



Enhanced version available for download directly from developer

The trend towards updated Director's Cuts of older adventure games continues, as Spanish developer Alcachofa Soft has recently unveiled an enhanced downloadable version of The Abbey.

Originally released as Murder in the Abbey in North America, the game sends players back to the Middle Ages for a medieval whodunit. Grand Inquisitor Leonardo and his bumbling assistant Bruno travel to a remote abbey where a series of unexplained murders are occurring, and only they can solve the crimes and uncover the many dangerous secrets of the monastery.

The Windows 7-compatible Director's Cut includes a variety of enhancements over the 2008 original, including:

    - New scenes and several new puzzles and footage.

    - A new and spectacular final puzzle.

    - Revised playability, so that you can play in any order and choosing one path or another.

    - Visual improvements and changes: polished backgrounds, new characters, special effects, etc.

    - Double-clicking increases the speed of the main character movement.

    - New additional voice-over.

    - Modified conversations for a boost to the pace of the game.

The Abbey Director's Cut is currently available only as a download for $9.95 (or local currency equivalent) directly from the developer's official website.

For more details about The Abbey, be sure to check out our review of the original version.



Comic canine pirate adventure now available for purchase and download

Avast, ye pirate fans, thar be a new comic adventure released today, as Brawsome's Jolly Rover is now available for purchase and download.

Jolly Rover's twist on traditional pirate fare is that its hero happens to be a dog. In fact, so does everyone else. After the death of this father in a tragic joke cannon mishap, the lovable dachshund Gaius James Rover strikes out on the high seas to "three wild and untamed tropical islands, as he attempts to fulfil his dream of starting a circus, hampered only by pirates, villains, voodoo, love and considerable lack of loot."

The game can be purchased now from the official website (processed through BMT Micro) for $19.95, which provides a key code for activating through Steam. Jolly Rover is expected to be launched later today on Steam itself, along with a playable demo, and will soon be available through other download portals as well.

For full details about Jolly Rover, be sure to check out our review of the game.

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