Written by  :  MAT (181006)
Written on  :  Nov 28, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars2.67 Stars

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Innovatively Uninteresting

The Good

Okay, now if I say this game is boring, then that should qualify under 'against' section. Well, it's not that boring, it's just uninteresting. And innovate at that the best it could be. It just keeps making the game more and more interesting to you, changing the plots, adding nice twists and turns, adding interesting characters, suspenseful atmosphere, but but somehow, with all that effort, it just doesn't hook me right. But otherwise, I can't say I didn't have fun at all while playing it.

Right, so, the game has been set in the world a bit different than what we are used to see when it comes to noir things. It somewhat resembles a dark creepy eerie town where you will soon learn that nothing is impossible, and nothing happens as you expect. The city's called Ankh-Morpork (I guess Ankh because it can be considered a port to some point), and for a long time there is no rasistic things going on, and I'm not refering to different color, but rather to different races. So, humans, trolls, vampires, zombies, demons, werewolves, dwarves and other... something, they all live in symbiosis more or less. Of course, with creatures like those involved, they had to make a compromise in the law book, so they had to qualify murder as non-crime. Well, not always, it depended who and where was murdered.

You, with a background story that broke your heart, are the first guy ever to try to settle in the PI waters. Counting on restless and countless murders to get some case, you opened your door to everybody with a deep pocket. It's not that there is no law at all, there are, and they're called the Watch, but they just don't prove useful when it comes to solving plots, unravelling mysteries and saving the planet, or maybe they're just not paid enough. Lewton, PI, on the other hand, has nothing else to do, so he takes any case that will help him pay the rent (oh, how cliché).

Now, good thing about this game is that is has nothing to do with any of the two "Discworld" titles that were made before it. I know, I know, I didn't notice this game for far too long just because I thought it's all from the same chalice, but it's not. First two are more childish and much alike "Simon the Sorcerer", only not as good. This one is more serious, with typical PI phrases, eerie places and a bowl of suspense.

Music in this game is rather excellent, only there is not much of it in the entire game. Either I became deaf, or this game has no more than couple of songs in the entire playing period. Well, among those little bunch, it even has a vocal one, hehehe, and for those who have manuals, there are even words and notes for it. Graphic could also be considered well done, especially since it all looks as if it's using 256 colors. Well, maybe it does, I dunno, but places, rain&storm effects, and lighting effects are rather well done for something that looks as it lacks colors. Unfortunately, I can't say much about the characters, I mean, if they wanted them to look like that, then they were good, but I always tend to have normal looking human figures. As for the werewolves, dogs, trolls, demons and gargoyles, they were excellent made.

The Bad

Sound is... well, almost terrible. And I'm refering technically only. It has noises, and that's not acceptable for such a new game. I mean, even older games like "Indy IV" or "GK I" that used *.voc files for speech were like entirely clear in the game. Anyway, if you don't make it too loud, you may be able to skip the annoyance, at least you have both speech and subtitles in the game, which, by the way, I love to see in the game. As for the characters' speech, I don't consder it much good, either. I mean, it's somehow hollow, and it somehow clearly shows as if the conversastion was made that each of the characters was talking for itself, and they just mixed speech, not even trying to spot the right balance of conversation between the two (or three).

Controls should also be better handled. I mean, it not hard to master at all, but it takes an awfully lot of time using them as they invented it. I hope they didn't try just to prolongue the game by adding that. Sure, it's commendable to play full-screen without any menues, buttons or anything around or outside the frame, but commands just seem a bit too slow. And no, my computer wasn't slow for playing this plain adventure, with 384MB of RAM and 1GHz CPU, and solid 52x LG CD-ROM this should've all worked a bit better. Well, the game is from 1999, so if we take-out the time it was in development, they probably started making it two years earlier. But hey, I'm not complaining... that much, I could play with such interface, I'm just saying I've seen much better with some other adventures. This sure beats the crap outta that sticky "Myst" interface which was sad fact to be called an interface in the first place.

On the technical side, there are two things that are rather annoying. First one is that you always need to start the game with CD #1, not matter you stopped somewhere on second CD, and that switching CDs usually exits you back into windowses by minimizing the game window, so you have to click on it again. I really don't see the point of making that, and if they programmed such a fine game, I don't think they had lack of knowledge to fix that, either. And secondly, the game doesn't have usual subdirectory in 'Programs' pop-up window where you can click uninstall icon. No siree. You need to input CD #1 again, and click uninstall form there, and then wait and wait until it reads whatever its reading from a CD first. Well, we can't have 'em all, huh? Yeah right ;)

The Bottom Line

Detective game at its best, with half included things at its worst. Good enough to make you finish it nonetheless. Can't say it's addictive, but maybe I've just played too much adventures to be impressed anymore, hehehe. But it sure beats those "Discworld" games with which it only has title in common. And no matter what I said above for and against, I still think this is a pretty fine game, and glad to paid for it 35 bucks, even though so recently... ouch! :)