Edna & Harvey: The Breakout
Description official description
Edna has a problem. One day she wakes up in the cell of a nuthouse and remembers nothing. But she knows that she needs to get out of there. After all she feels completely healthy and her stuffed animal rabbit Harvey agrees with her. So Edna has to find a way out of the asylum and discover why Dr. Marcel, the leader of the institute, keeps her there against her will.
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout is a classic 2D point-and-click adventure comparable to titles like Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle. On the box art it is advertised as "made by people who love Monkey Island". The player has four commands available ("look", "take", "talk" and "use") through which he can command Edna to interact with the environment. It allows Edna to pick up, combine and use items, talk to other people with dialogue trees and ultimately solve the many riddles that stand between her and her escape from the asylum.
Harvey also plays a very important role in everything. Since he is, as he says himself, a projection of Edna's consciousness, he not only has a funny comment on almost everything in the current location, he also helps Edna to remember doing specific things. In a process called "Tempomorphing", he can lead Edna back into the past to a situation where she learned a particular skill that is very useful in the present. In these visits to the past the player can control both Edna and Harvey, but only Edna can interact with the environment. Harvey instead scouts the proximity and examines various items. Since he can't use these items, he only acquires a topic from it. When the player then uses such a topic on Edna, she will be inspired to do stuff with that particular item or just say what she remembers about it. By doing so Harvey will ultimately inspire Edna to remember and use the skills she needs in the present. When the travel to the past ends, the game returns to the asylum and Harvey becomes uncontrollable again.
- Эдна и Харви. Взрыв мозга - Russian spelling
Credits (Windows version)
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Average score: 78% (based on 32 ratings)
Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 2 reviews)
At the moment it isn't clear, whether "Edna bricht aus" (literal translation: "Edna breaks out") will ever be released outside of Germany. At least for the time being, most visitors of this site will therefore not be able to play this game and writing a review may seem rather pointless. However, such thoughts are only trivial, when something really needs to be praised...
"Edna bricht aus" is a classical 2D point&click adventure, that's everything but modern. In fact, it could have been released 10 years ago as a quite similar product, but that doesn't matter. This quirky low-budget project is so uncompromisingly creative, that the technical side of things is absolutely negligible.
First of all, this game has a delightful cast of wacky characters to boast, with a lovely protagonist in the forefront. Edna is neither brave nor sexy, but she has a charming sense of humor, a jaunty esprit and a serious mental-health problem. She is completely nuts, but in a quite endearing way, that made me immediately care for her. Another good thing about this lady is, that she always carries Harvey around, who is a blue-coloured talking stuffed bunny. Harvey can be described as the dark side of Edna's schizophrenic mind, standing for her passion for all things wild and antisocial, dirty and rebellious. And even though he's only a soft toy, he's probably the coolest imaginary sidekick since Tyler Durden. His comments are adding lots of hilarious humor to the games many comical situations. And when you keep in mind, that his personality is only a product of the anti-heroine's mind, it adds an interesting layer to her as well.
Quite fittingly this strange duo, a lunatic girl and a talking toy, has to escape from a mental asylum. One could argue they belong there, but it also smells like evil conspiracy. All the signs are that Dr. Marcel, chief of the asylum, has erased Edna's memory, because she once knew something, he wants to keep secret. There's a mysterious connection between pro- and antagonist, a dark secret, a forgotten memory. In the end there are two ultimate goals: escaping from the asylum and finding out more about Edna's past.
The game starts rather slow with Edna being caged inside a padded cell. But once you've managed to get out and begin to meet the rest of the characters, the game begins to shine. There's a former stock market speculator, who first lost his money and then his sanity; a crazy Zen-Buddhist, who's wearing an aluminium-suit; a manic woman, who loves a depressive man; an old fellow, who thinks he is a frock coat (and at one point actually climbs into a washing machine) and many more. The weird characters turn this game into a really special affair. Thankfully most of them are very well voiced. There are a few exceptions, but at least the really important characters have just the right actors.
What's important: most of these characters are not only funny, but also quite lovable. In the worst case this game could have been nothing but a cheap comedy, that makes some fun of mentally disordered people, but thankfully it isn't. The many conversations are full of sometimes silly, sometimes hilariously funny jokes, but the characters never degrade to pure laughing stocks. Some of them are even dark and scary, like the mysterious Keymaster, a frighteningly intelligent madman, with whom Edna must cooperate, if she really wants to flee the asylum.
Plot elements like that, where you're forced to sign a pact with the devil, add a serious and dark note to the game. It would be an absolutely wrong presumption, if the visual style brought you to think, this game was aimed at children. Behind the joking attitude lurks actually a well conceived story, that deals with mental delusions and other serious stuff in an absolutely surprising manner, that hasn't been seen very often in video games. Edna is in fact somewhat like an emotional roller coaster ride: at one moment lovely and funny, the other moment dark and sometimes even tragic. It may not become apparent at first sight, but the game slowly unfolds a really cool plot, that gets highly dramatic towards the end. This is perhaps, what crowns the experience.
When it comes to gameplay, "Edna bricht aus" is a standard adventure, but a fantastic one. It's in many ways more reminiscent of older classics than it takes the modern route. An example is the interface: instead of having one of those "smart cursors", the game allows precise commands by giving you buttons for the actions "look", "take", "talk" and "use". What's more: the game's environments are filled with all kinds of manipulable objects. Unlike many of its modern counterparts, Edna has no "empty screens". Hotspots are everywhere, sometimes dozens within a single location. As your inventory soon gets filled with all kinds of stuff as well, this enables experimentation to a degree, that wasn't seen for a while. It also makes the whole thing more difficult, of course.
The game is surely tougher than its average contemporaries, but it's not unfair. The solutions to the mostly object-based puzzles are – consistent with the game's general style – sometimes quite insane, but they have their own weird logic, that can be figured out. For those, who listen carefully, the game is also providing numerous clues. The right idea often jumped during conversations to my mind, in which the writers frequently indicate ways to get rid of a problem. To separate the useful from the preposterous is up to you, of course. And it's not an easy thing.
One of the nicest aspects about Edna is, that the game keeps you entertained, even when you're stuck. No matter what strange idea you may have, the game has an answer for it. That's the reason, why experimenting with all that stuff in your inventory is so much fun. You can try out everything: you can use Harvey with every hotspot you can find and listen to his comments, you can talk to doors, chairs, bathroom mirrors and television screens, you can use all kinds of things with all kinds of persons – the game will react on it. A standard answer like "This won't work!" does simply not exist, here.
Do yourself a favor: don't run through this game using a walkthrough. Try out things, experiment with your inventory, use Harvey, amuse yourself. Even when you don't make progress for a while, the humorous outcomes of your efforts are worth it. And while all of this is pure old school adventuring, it's by no means something ordinary. Edna may not bring innovations to the genre, but it uses an old concept in such a fresh and original way, that the result is nevertheless outstanding.
I don't feel like wasting my energy with blathering about some minor annoyances of a great achievement. Of course, a double mouse click to leave the current location without having to watch the walking animation would have been a nice feature, that's unfortunately missing here. No big deal, unless you're in a pedantic mood.
What's really a matter of taste, are the graphics. I suppose you just take a look at the screenshots here at Mobygames, to get an idea of what I'm talking about. It looks old, it's 2D, the maximum resolution is only 800x600 pixels. Those people with a technological fetish will certainly hate it, others might discover, that the game's style is almost perfect. The only drawbacks are in fact the animations, which are either awkward or non-existent, and the music, which gets repetitive very soon. The game is actually quite long, but features only five or six short musical pieces, which are looped again and again. On the other hand, especially the theme, that's played during flashbacks, is really nice. And anyway this is no reason to trash such a brilliant game.
The Bottom Line
Edna surely makes no compromises. This game is remarkably different from anything else, you can find on the market. The general gameplay style may be typical LucasArts fashion, but the developers fortunately understood that retro isn't chic, when it just copies everything old; retro is chic, when it adopts certain elements from the past and forms something original with it. With its magnificent story, its cool setting, memorable characters and charming humor this is exactly what this game does. The result is great entertainment and a pleasure to play.
Windows · by micnictic (387) · 2008
Many new releases in the genre of adventures during the last few years have shown one thing: Adventures are far from being dead. Yet, only a few really shine - and "Edna Bricht Aus" is one of them. (I will just call it Edna from now on.)
On the first look the game might repel you: Its title, its overall design and its story look childish, the art style and especially the character animations seem rather crude at first. It may need a few minutes to get used to it, but then chances are good that you'll start to like it. The hand-drawn characters and backgrounds are quite original and a welcome change from too many 3D adventures with a somewhat sterile look to it.
To keep the description of the background story short: You play Edna, a young woman waking up in a padded cell in a asylum and you have no idea why or how you got there. One thing is for sure, you are definitely not crazy and need to break out. And your talking plush rabbit Harvey agrees with you about that topic.
So you start puzzling out of your captivity, using a simple, classic adventure interface with four interactions (look at, pick up, talk to and use), a functional inventory and a lot of humour. Once you got out of your cell you will meet and interact with the other residents of the mental home, including the beeman, Hoti and Moti, the imaginary conjoined twins, and the "king of the lounge" Adrian. And that is Edna's first big strength: characters. Needless to say all of them are more or less insane, but on a more clever and obscure level than you might expect. Dialogues are fun and play with the words, while the voice actors do an ok up to excellent job (especially for Edna and Harvey).
Another or maybe the big strength of Edna is the obvious love for details the developers had. Almost every single object you will see and be able to interact with produces different actions and funny remarks of Edna and Harvey for every item you try to combine it with. The artist even drew variations for several objects in the case you feel the urge to vandalize them with items like a pen or knife. I think there is any piece of furniture in the whole asylum I haven't scribbled on or splattered with ketchup. This is what really defines the "adventure" in Edna: Experiment! Once you have started to abuse your whole inventory for a good laugh, you might realize after a evening of playing that you haven't done anything else for the last two hours. Additionally this will greatly reduce frustration you might build up in other games by hearing the same old standard responses for every action you try.
Although the difficulty of the puzzles in Edna is about moderate (had to look in a walkthrough on two or three occasions, though) it needs a good amount of time to get to the end. The last point I mentioned contributes additional hours of gameplay, too. Considering the great value you'll get the release price of 30 Euro is also more than appropriate.
A little side-note at the end:
Daedalic decided to use no copy-protection at all, a policy I really appreciate and would love to see at other developers / publishers, too.
"Edna Bricht Aus" is a game about details. It's the little details that make it an exceptional title and it's the little details which prevent it from being perfect.
I have just finished the game and I am a little disappointed by the last one or two hours. Although the story was brilliant for the major part of the game it takes a pretty sudden spin into a darker theme at some point. And in my opinion it felt unfitting and unnecessary for the game. My only guess is that the developers thought they needed to add a more adult background and ending to the whole plot and overdosed a bit. I think not everybody will be bothered by this, though.
The other, probably more annoying, bad aspect of Edna is its technical side. The game is completely based on Java and seems to lack proper optimization. Loading and saving times are relatively long, compared to the used content. As another side-effect it is a bit of a hassle to backup savegames or port them to another PC because it saves some information in the registry, too. (Note: In order to store your savegames you need to 1) backup ALL EbaSaveGameX directories in your installation folder and 2) export the complete entry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\JavaSoft\Prefs via regedit. Copying the directories to a new installation and importing the .reg-file to the registry will then do the trick)
Last, but not least, the developers obviously hadn't the time or money to use an audio compression format, hence all audio files are stored as wav. With the extensive spoken texts in the game this results in an installation of about 6GB! Although current HDDs are more than capable of storing this amount, the size is unnecessary and needs a long installation time. A free compression format like ogg vorbis would have helped here.
The Bottom Line
Despite minor annoyances on mostly the technical side, "Edna Bricht Aus" is an absolutely great adventure I would recommend to anybody with the slightest taste for the genre. I think future adventures will have to compete against Edna in regards of variety and love for details and the humour and gameplay matches the ones of old classics.
Currently I know nothing about any plans to localise Edna for languages other than German, but I hope someday non-German countries will have their share of madness, too.
Windows · by Zonker (879) · 2009
- GameStar (Germany)
- February 26, 2009 - Best PC Adventure in 2008 (Readers' Vote)
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Sicarius.
Game added June 22nd, 2008. Last modified August 29th, 2023.