Still Life

Moby ID: 17411
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Two separate murder cases, in two separate lifetimes -- so alike .. so similar in the smallest of details that one could believe they were performed by the same person. Impossible! One of the crimes took place 75 years ago, while the other just happened! Is someone copying an old serial killer .. or is it remotely possible that the same murderer is still alive and committing more crimes?

Victoria McPherson is an FBI agent investigator based in Chicago. While visiting her father and talking about their family, they discuss her grandfather, former P.I. Gustav McPherson (from Post Mortem). Finding Gus' diary in an old attic trunk, she picks it up and begins to read ...

In this point and click mystery adventure, you'll play both Victoria in modern Chicago as well as her grandfather, Gus, in Prague in the 1920s. Meet and talk with over 20 characters, explore Chicago and Prague and solve puzzles while investigating in two time periods.

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Credits (Windows version)

236 People (228 developers, 8 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 76% (based on 56 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 77 ratings with 4 reviews)

A great horror/drama!!

The Good
The graphics, the risque scenes, and the plot all formed creates a wonderful experience better than watching CSI on TV. You're put into the shoes of a snazzy female detective to figure out who's killing who.

The storyline is pretty good, as you travel from place to place looking for clues and answers. The game even takes you back into the past with one of her relatives solving a case.

The graphics are top-notch, and the details can be seen clearly, even from the dust on the floor to the markings on the wall, all play a key role in the game.

You also get to play with some real-life equipment such as black lights to reveal a clue, to learning how to lift a fingerprint off a coffee mug with precision. The puzzles in the game are challenging and somewhat tedious.

The cutscenes varies, I have mixed opinions about it. Cutscenes heighten the plots of the game, and some are well constructed and vivid. Definitely not meant for the younger audience hence the Mature rating it gives.

The controls are simple just like any other adventure game. The usual click with the mouse to do certain things. Reminds you of Syberia.

The Bad
It's too short and leaves you hanging at the end. Wondering if there will be a sequel or not. Apparently they haven't announced it yet...

Voice is acting on par, but still sounds repetitive and from the same person in some cutscenes. Cutscenes are okay in some parts, and crappy in others. The gameplay is pretty much linear and doesn't offer much roaming around. It's also a slow game, I mean, who needs to see her enter the same building 5 times, and open doors, after doors, after doors.

The puzzles range from challenging to almost pulling-your-hair-out. One mistake and you have to start all over, some puzzles require you to continue the story, and you'll be spending hours trying to solve the same puzzle. So definitely not a good thing with casual gamers or lightweights.



The Bottom Line
It's a great game if you're tired of the usual CSI routine games they come out with. Has a great twist and has variety, plus a good learning experience in problem solving as well as realistic detective work. Not a game to recommend to minors, because it does show some disturbing scenes that would even wrench some folks out of their seats. A great classic Jack the Ripper game done with dialogue and puzzles to solve!

Windows · by Twilightseer (252) · 2006

Good story, OK game.

The Good
I hadn't really read anything about this game before I picked it up aside from the fact that it was an adventure game with a somewhat mature story. I found it by accident in a bargain bin and decided to have a go at it. Sometimes the games you haven't heard of really surprise you and turn out to be forgotten treasures.

The game is a story-driven old school adventure game, with two separate stories that are strangely connected to one another though a series of murders. You will find out exactly how as you progress through the game, and I feel it'd ruin some of the experience if I gave it away here. One story takes place in present time Chicago, and one in Prague in the 20's. I'll just leave it there and let you play it for yourselves to find out the rest.

After having just finished it with my fiance (we tend to play story-driven games or survival horror games together) basically it comes down to a few good and a few bad things. I'll start by listing the good things and leave the not so good for the next section.

The graphics in the game are really neat, mixing some pre-rendered with real time 3D in a really good way. They are done in a semi-comic book way meaning that the characters, while mostly realistic looking, have some exaggerated features that makes them look like something you'd see in any comic book but moving around in real time. Add to that some really well-directed cut scenes, and you have some real eye-candy. The cut scenes really shot the tempo up in the game when it started to drag along, perfectly balanced to get you revitalized to keep playing and interested in the next turn of events.

The story really sucked you in at times, and you really wanted to know what was to come next in the game. It was well written and very engaging, and you wanted to read every book or scrap of paper you picked up, just to get the full picture of what was going on as you made your way closer to the killers the in the two separate times in history.

I've read (after being done with the game myself) that a lot of people found the Xbox controllers kind of clunky, but I thought they worked really well. They reminded me of the first slew of 3D Lucasarts adventure games, like Monkey Island IV and Grim Fandango. You walk around in the scenes, and as soon as anything of interest shows up you get a little icon next to the item/person/event. I can only assume that the PC-game used the mouse, which obviously is more made for the point-and-click type games, but I can't say I had any complaints about the way they solved it on the Xbox.

And one last positive thing I have to point out is the music, at least at some of the key points in the game where it really shone, with choirs and strings and everything else you'd expect from any high-cost Hollywood movie.

Ok, I think that's enough of the praise... let's move on to the not-so-good parts now.

The Bad
I think you can ask anyone who's ever played this game if they liked the ending and I bet they'd just give you an angry stare. While I can see how an adventure game can be kind of short and since it is, in fact, more about quality than quantity. I can forgive the length of the game... but the ending? I don't know about you, but if you buy a game, wouldn't you like to know beforehand that you're going to shell out whatever a new game costs on what turns out to be basically half a game? I've read that Microids ran low on funds at the end of production, but I'm not sure that is a good excuse to just make what turns out to be a "buy another game for just as much money as you just did to find out how it ends" kind of deal. I read on the official site something along the lines of "fans eagerly await to find out how the story ends". Do they have a choice given the first game? I'll just put this one in the drawer of "disappointing endings that shouldn't even be considered endings" next to Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance I & II.

That was the main gripe about the game, and here are some minor ones, that while not really bad things, kind of just ruined the mood a little from time to time.

If a game is set in Chicago and Prague and both the main characters are american, how come more than half the cast has a very clear Canadian accent? I know this might seem petty, but it kind of ruined the mood a little of the game. It's like having nazis speak french in a WWII movie, but less obvious. I know the studio is based in Canada... but in my mind that's close enough to America to get some actual americans to play the parts instead of the locals.

The puzzles in the game. If you've played enough adventure games you'd be a little turned off by how these are done. They are either of the nature "pick up the only key and use it on the only door"-easy or "figure out this set of 10 characters that we just made up and convert them into numbers and then figure out how to open the safe with them"-impossible. Nothing in between. This made the game laughingly easy at times and "resort to FAQs"-hard at others, leaving it a very uneven game from a gameplay point of view.

And one final little thing. When you read some of the texts and books in the game, they'd made the interface so that you saw a picture of whatever you were reading in the background behind the text. Some of the things you picked up made it totally impossible to read some of the text because it had the same color as the text. While you could figure out most of it, it still felt like a poor design choice.

The Bottom Line
I'd recommend this game to anyone who liked a good story, but who won't mind putting up with the roller coaster easy-hard difficulty and the fact that you're going to have to buy the sequel (which isn't out yet) to see how the story ends. The graphics and music are really good in the game, and so is the writing. So if you can live with the flaws, by any means, pick it up. For the slightly more picky adventure players, there's always the Lucasarts classics to enjoy again (or for the first time for the few who never played them), since nothing ever since they all came out have been able to come close to them in quality.

Xbox · by Parf (7873) · 2007

Nice adventure/horror game... but leaves many things unsolved

The Good
- Graphics: Nice job! Graphics may not be breath-taking, but they are quite pleasant to the eye... in a dark, scary way. The characters and items are presented as 3D models, while the pre-rendered backgrounds are nice to look at. The lightning effects are well done, as well as reflection (the water looks pretty good).

  • Story: Quite interesting and intriguing. You play two characters through present and past time, trying to solve the mystery behind several murders.

  • Music/Sound: The music suits very well the mood of the game. Specially the music of the introductory sequence. The sound effects are also good.

  • Videos/Movies: The video sequences are very well done and add a sense of "action" and achievement. Some of them are quite gory and dramatic, so young players should avoid this title. One high point is that you can watch any video whenever you want (once you unlock it).

  • Acting: The dialogs are quite funny; the language used is (sometimes, not always) kind of rude / vulgar, but it adds a touch of realism I think.

    The Bad
    - Gameplay: Sometimes, gameplay is too linear. For example: you happen to find an item, but you won't be able to pick it up if a previous event has not taken place yet. Also some puzzles may be too hard (and sometimes annoying) for some people. But if you like challenges, this is your game.

  • Other: The game actually is fairly short (if you are good solving puzzles, that is). Also when you finish it, it just leaves many things unsolved... a sequel would be nice (actually, a sequel is a must - the developers seem to almost force the need of a sequel; I didn't like this aspect very much). But this is my personal opinion.

    The Bottom Line
    "Still Life" is a point-and-click adventure/horror game, where you play as a female FBI officer (Victoria) and a male private detective (Gus). The main goal of the game is to discover the criminal behind a series of murders.. or at least you think so. The agent Victoria is an appealing character to play as; but sometimes the sequences where you play as Gus happen to be more intriguing. It's OK since both of their investigations are linked and you direct both of them. Several secrets and surprises await for them.

The storyline is great (and very dark) and it may suck you in completely, despite of the hard puzzles. Discovering the story of Gus (linked completely to Victoria's investigation) is very interesting. There are jokes eventually (simple humor, nothing perverted) that relief a bit the dark atmosphere of the game.

As for the puzzles... you may want to use a walkthrough for some of them... though it may reduce drastically the playing time. There's a puzzle sequence that it's actually popular for being very hard, but you can easily find a saved-game to by-pass it in the net.

The interface is simple and elegant. The inventory is very clean (there are no useless objects cluttering it). You can either combine items, use them or take a closer look at them (you can rotate and zoom for examining them, which is very useful). Another high point is that you can save anywhere with no restrictions. I found no bugs with my copy (Spanish version): I finished the game with no problems.

"Still Life" is a very good adventure/horror game, despite of its linearity and hard puzzles. For me, the bad aspect about it was... well, you should've seen my face when I finished the game... my eyes seemed to be a pair of question marks (?_?). Many things were left unsolved; that's the reason because I both liked and disliked its end: the need for a sequel. But as I said, it's just my personal opinion; yours may differ completely.

Windows · by Christian Munive (5) · 2006

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

In the cutscene where the guard dog attacks Gustav, we see the dog on a leash, then without it, though the dog still acts as if the chain prevents it from getting to Gustav (cf. screenshots).

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeanne.

Macintosh added by me3D31337.

Additional contributors: Chentzilla.

Game added April 18, 2005. Last modified February 5, 2024.