The Longest Journey

aka: Den lengste reisen, Den längsta resan, TLJ, The Longest Journey: D'un monde à l'autre, The Longest Journey: Najdłuższa Podróż, The Longest Journey: Remastered
Moby ID: 1439
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Description official descriptions

April Ryan is a struggling student artist in the year 2209, recently arrived in the big city of Newport. Lately she has been seeing strange, life-like dreams. Somewhere in the mountains, a mysterious white dragon talks to April, calling her the "mother of the future". When April wakes up, she dismisses the vision as a nightmare. However, an old enigmatic man named Cortez, whom April has spotted near her house before, unexpectedly tells her that she must face the reality in her dreams. Soon April learns that our reality is but one facet of a universe that consists of two parallel worlds: Stark, the world of science and technology, and Arcadia, the world of magic. Though raised in Stark, April possesses the ability of shifting between the two worlds, and must restore the balance in both of them before it is too late.

The Longest Journey is a third-person puzzle-solving adventure game. The player navigates April over pre-rendered backgrounds with fixed camera angles, interacting with people and objects through a simple point-and-click interface. The gameplay follows the traditional template introduced in LucasArts adventures, relying mostly on inventory-based puzzles and multiple-choice dialogues to advance the story. To help keep track of things, the game includes a diary, where April records her thoughts about important events, and a conversation log that records the text of every conversation.

Spellings

  • Бесконечное Путешествие - Russian spelling
  • 無盡的旅程 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

199 People (193 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 53 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 213 ratings with 17 reviews)

Blade Runner meets Final Fantasy

The Good
The Longest Journey (1999) was released during an era where many companies were either giving up on graphic adventure gaming entirely or attempting, with mixed results, to resemble the more action based play mechanics of Tomb Raider or Resident Evil. This is why everything about this game is not only amazing, but, for many older gamers, a retro ride down memory lane. The game features incredible animation, graphics, sound and music. The point n' click interface is easy to use and other user-friendly touches are added, like the ability to replay video sequences or toggle between text and or voice. The look and feel of the game shows influences of Blade Runner and Final Fantasy while adding its own creative perspective. Not many other graphic adventure games have been able to smoothly blend science fiction and fantasy as this game does. Nor do many games feature a strong female hero or positive depictions of gay and lesbian people. The game does feature some adult content, but it's used to help further the storyline and not simply to cover up the game's flaws or to push people's buttons.

The Bad
If I had a complaint about the adult content, it would probably be the suggestion that, as a child, April was abused by her drunken father. While it is handled well and helps define April, it is rebuked near the end of the game. Some of the attempts at comedy, seem a bit odd. For example, it does not really make sense that, in the distant future, rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur is hanging out in police station or that one of the most popular television shows is MacGyver 2200. The game also has a few, mostly fixable, bugs.

The Bottom Line
The Longest Journey is one of the last, great point n' click graphic adventure games. It combines some of the best science fiction and fantasy themes with its own original ideas. Its graphics, music, sound, voice talents, control and comedy are all praise worthy. The game deals with some interesting and thought provoking concepts related to art, philosophy, time, history, personal identity, cultural diversity, social class, sexism, sexual orientation, coming of age, child abuse, drug addiction, and human right. It's not a game for kids or adults who are uncomfortable dealing with these sorts of concepts in a game.

Windows · by ETJB (428) · 2010

Stunning. Absolutely brilliant.

The Good
I just finished TLJ, so I'm writing this with a very vivid memory of the game. And the conclusion? The Longest Journey is one of the most beautiful, immersive, spectacular games I've ever played.

The thing that strikes most about TLJ is its unique story; I'll admit I haven't read all that many books in my day, but I've yet to meet a story that's quite as... esoteric as that of TLJ. Somewhat reminiscent of an old favorite of mine, a movie called Flight of Dragons, TLJ manages to beautifully combine a classic fantasy world and a dark, futuristic yet contemporary Earth. The beauty of TLJ is how the writers managed to handle the distinction: Stark and Arcadia, the world of Logic and the world of Magic. The game is absolutely immersive: the open landscape and auspicious landmarks of Arcadia, next to the dark, claustrophobic Stark. Where in Arcadia I felt enthralled and free, in Stark the atmosphere is dark, brooding - as if evil is rampant on every corner... not once did I nearly jump from my seat, not because something surprising happened on the screen, but because the creepy atmosphere made me so nervous a creak or footstep in the house would freak me out.

Add to this the astounding artwork, the variety of settings (futuristic post-industrial world, a fantastic town, underwater city, deserted island and middle-of-center-of-everywhere realm) that are so beautifully thought out and drawn you can almost feel like you're there, spectacular background stories and depth of the game universe, and terrific voice acting to boot - and you've got yourself one of the deepest, most immersive games I've played since Star Control 2.

If that's not enough, this game has what is quite possibly the single best soundtrack ever to be featured in a computer game, written and perfected by Bjorn Arve Lagim. The soundtrack alone is worth the purchase, take my word for it.

The Bad
Unfortunately TLJ is not without its flaws, two serious and one minor. To begin with, the game is plagued with bugs. On my machine (AMD Athlon 1GHz, A7V133 and GeForce2GTS) -- and, to my understanding, on most NVidia-based video cards -- the game crashes whenever I try to enter the police station through the front door. Luckily there's another way of doing this, but that's hardly an excuse. Moreover, the game refuses to run at 32 bits per pixel on my machine, resulting in very dithered animation, thereby detracting from the beautiful graphics. And, to top it off, whenever I switch tasks (using Win2k), the 3D textures and alpha become corrupt and I have to restart the game.

That isn't a big deal, but worse is the fact that at least three or four times throughout the game I got stuck because I failed my pixel-searching (specifically, I didn't locate the valve on the machine next to the Boarding House, the light switch in the police station toilettes and another something I can't remember offhand). Also, being a linear game (which, so long as not blatantly obvious a la Max Payne, is not necessarily a bad thing) it happened once or twice that I didn't realize I had to do something before another event occured (for example [spoiler alert]: giving the map to Flipper before the pizza appears in the trashcan). That is the only reason I had to use a walkthrough, and I hate using walkthroughs.

The third problem is the fact that towards the end of the game (starting from the sixth episode or so where it's not as apparent, becoming a much bigger issue towards the tenth episode) some puzzles get much, much easier; for example, killing the snapjaw and finding the talisman isn't even a puzzle; neither is getting rid of the Chaos Vortex and helping Adrian fend off Gordon. The fact that monsters like The Gribbler and the mutant at the end don't even give you a run for your money is both good and bad: good because it means you can't die and won't have to reload, bad because it emphasizes the linearity of the game (or rather shouts it out loud).

Finally I'd just like to say that while the above detracts from the game, it by no means makes it unplayable -- just be prepared for an occasional grunting.

The Bottom Line
An incredible game with a deep storyline, great graphics and incredible music. Recommended for anyone who loves adventures.

Windows · by Tomer Gabel (4536) · 2001

One of the most original adventure games ever made

The Good
Well, everything: the plot, the music, the atmosphere, the puzzles, the voice acting (at least on the original, Norwegian version which I played) - it's all done so well that its downstraight impossible for me to complain!

The Bad
No complaints, sire!

The Bottom Line
After that you have played the game, you are left with the feeling of wanting more; not becouse of dissatisfaction, but becouse it was such a great adventure it seemed more of an experience then a game - which I wish it was.

This is not a game - but a rare interactive artwork. If you are an adventure gaming as myself: this game is your cup of tea.

"The Longest Journey" has pushed the envelope of adventure gaming further, and is one of those rare and unique games that will leave a lasting impression.

In my book: this is the best adventure game ever made, and I heartly recomend it if you are an adventure gamer looking for a game with splendid plot, excellent atmosphere and top-notch everything.

Windows · by Stargazer (99) · 2003

[ View all 17 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
remake? hvrsd hvrsd (1) Jul 11, 2007

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Longest Journey appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

April Ryan

The publisher of The Longest Journey, Egmont Interactive, actually tried to turn April Ryan into a pop icon to match Lara Croft. To that end, they cast a real-life model for April -- 23 years old psychology student Katja Koopmann of Bremen, Germany -- and toured the major magazine and newspaper offices with her, dressed up like April and sputtering lines like “I find April sympathetic” with a somewhat forced smile. Once the PR machine runs, even mediocre game sales can’t stop it. On her way to media star, the virtual April next recorded a song -- a dance remix of the 80’s Depeche Mode tune The Balance -- and Katja lend her voice. Egmont spiced April’s image up with exceptionally stupid PR blurb like “I want everything! Above all, I want to show the people of your world something of the life here!” Generally ignored by the public, the song entered the stores on April 14th ‘00, and stayed there. The corresponding video clip was never played on the music channels, the song didn’t appear in the radio shows, and nobody bought the CD.

Dreamweb

The main character's name is April Ryan, just like Ryan in the game Dreamweb, also published by Empire Interactive Entertainment. And the plots of both games have some things in common (the hero who suffers from nightmares and must save a world he/she didn't even know existed in the first place).

References

  • A reference to the Monkey Island series: April's pet toy is called Constable Guybrush. And yes, it's a monkey.
  • There are lots of references to sci-fi movies and fantasy themes. Most prominent are the references to Brazil, for instance, which takes place on a red tape-clogged insensitive world much like stark. Take a look at the lobby of the Church of Voltec, it's an exact replica of the Information Retrieval building on Brazil. Also the whole repairmen puzzle where they refuse to work on the grounds that it would require a specific form for them to do so is a spoof of the "Central Services" sequence in the movie. They are even dressed in the same way! There are many more, some more subtle than others.
  • Want Star Wars references? check out that strange metal ball on the entrance to The Fringe Café. It says "Death Star" click on it and April will spout famous lines related to it, like "Let's blow this thing and go home!" and she even tries to imitate the voices!

Sales

The Longest Journey was originally made only to be released in Scandinavia, but it then grew with the sales to cover Europe and the U.S. By June of 2001, The Longest Journey had sold 250,000 copies worldwide, 90,000 of which were in America.

Version differences

In order to preserve his foreigner condition, Cortez had his nationality changed from Spanish to French and was renamed "Corthez" in the Spanish version.

Voice acting

  • The character Marcus, who only appears in the first chapter near the Fringe cafè, and only has two lines, was voiced by Ragnar Tørnquist, the director/lead designer of the game for the English release.
  • In the German pre-release demo version, April was voiced by German pop singer T-Seven known from the, at the time, successful Eurodance group Mr. President. In the final game, April was voiced by Stephanie Kindermann.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 2000 (Issue #201) - Adventure Game of the Year
  • Gamespy
    • 2000 - Adventure Game of the Year
  • PC Gamer
    • 2000 - Adventure Game of the Year

Information also contributed by -Chris, Agent 5, jeremy strope, Karthik KANE, kelmer, Stargazer and Zovni

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by andyhat.

iPad, iPhone added by MrMamen.

Additional contributors: n-n, Robin Lionheart, curacao, Jeanne, JRK, Dec Ryan, Kabushi, Stratege, Zeppin, Laverne, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, MrMamen, FatherJack.

Game added May 14, 2000. Last modified May 30, 2024.