Kathy Rain

aka: Kathy Rain: a detective is born
Moby ID: 79519
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$9.99 new on Steam

Description official description

Kathy Rain is a 2D graphic adventure game with classic point-and-click mechanics. The game starts on 25th September 1995 when the protagonist Kathy Rain hears from her roommate that her grandfather Joseph has passed away. Reluctantly she returns to her hometown to attend the funeral and talks to her grandmother. Along the way it is revealed why Kathy's mother Shannon took her away, what happened to her father, and why she has not seen her grandmother for such a long time. Soon after Kathy left with her mother, a strange incident happened that left her grandfather in a vegetative coma. As Kathy is a journalism major she honours her granny's request to investigate the event. The people of Conwell Springs are not eager to bring back the past, especially when it turns out a suicidal young artist also took a secret to her grave. The game takes place over the course of five days.

The mouse is used to move Kathy around and interact with the environment. When one more than one action is available, different icons appear on a sign, such as 'examine', 'think about' or 'talk to'. Items are stored in an inventory where they can be combined or be used in the environment. Certain clues are added to a notebook, which are then used as starting points for dialogue options. Optionally the Space Bar can be held to display all interactable objects in the environment. Kathy cannot die and it is possible to save at any moment. Kathy rides a motorcycle and this is used to travel between the different locations. There are about 40 hand-drawn environments, a soundtrack and full voice acting.

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Credits (Windows version)

98 People (91 developers, 7 thanks) · View all

Written by
Designed by
Programmed by
Character Art, Animation and GUI
Background Art
Portrait Art
Visual Effects
Music
Sound Design
Sound licensed from Freesound.org
  • www.clifftopgames.com/freesound_credits.htm
VO Direction and Recording
VO Editing
Casting agent
Kathy Rain
Eileen Summers
Mary-Elizabeth Rain
The Red Man / Creepy Radio Voice
Charles Wade / Joseph Rain
Sue Myers / Newscast Reporter
Sherriff Boyks / Biker Bartender
Lenny Marks / Clyde
Franklin "Goober" Goldfarb / Air Force Base Phone Operator
Beau "Big Beau" Brunson / Claude
Jimmy "Cocky" Chochran / William T. Price, "Father Bill"
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 74% (based on 12 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 19 ratings with 1 reviews)

This could be the beginning of a new series

The Good
It is 2016 and both technology and trends are developing so quickly that games in 20-years-backwards style are considered retro... Still, I like this style. To be honest - I don't even know what is the dominant trend in adventure games nowadays. Perhaps there is no domnant trend and independent retro games are as much a part of the landscape as big productions. Perhaps hand-painted graphics are already becoming a part of the ordinary style again. All I can say about it is that for me this movement back to hand-painted graphics is a movement in a good direction. I still very much like both hand-painted graphics - simply called "VGA" in the early 90s - and high-resolution EGA graphics which are often just amazing as examples what beautiful sceneries can be done in just 16 colors. On the contrary, I never liked the development which started gaining ground in the 90s. Graphics which I call "photo-graphics" (for example "Gabriel Knight 2") are boring - too ordinary (a part of the charm of hand-painted graphics is this bit of a fairy tale atmosphere they carry) and too stiff in their combination of the protagonist's movement against a photographic background. 3D graphics were first just ugly (I always had the impression that natural sceneries in primitive 3D don't look natural, but rather like a world after a nuclear armageddon) and later they became just too sleek and glossy. Another disadvantage is that they are much "heavier" in terms of file size... Anyway, "Kathy Rain" is done in the hand-painted style, in a resolution which was the most typical for early 90s and is now considered retro. Much attention is paid to details and light effects - the overall effect is closest, perhaps, to Wadjet Eye's Blackwell series (especially the later games, after the first two which still had relatively simple graphics), which seems the most important inspiration and model for "Kathy Rain".
The game's main strength is good storytelling. This was definitely done by people who know how to create characters that won't bore players. Kathy herself is an expressive character with her characteristic punk/biker style, but first of all the authors were able to add some emotional depth in an unobtrusive way. Kathy's grandfather, even though he is already dead at the beginning of the game, is another captivating character - we learn much about him and the mysterious accident which Kathy is researching.
And then the atmosphere-building aspect... The game starts simply as an adventure game of the detective/mystery type and it slowly becomes more and more creepy... Kathy's dreams become uneasy, tormenting ad the story progresses to its culmination when Kathy enters the "ghost house" on day five. (An interesting aspect it that it's open to different intepretations - is it really happening? Is Kathy dreaming? Or perhaps just tripping, since she inhaled the intoxicating smell of a psychoactive plant? Still the story never moves fully towards enabling a rational interpretation - what is happening in this strange world has influence over "normal reality".) This is comparable to the first Gabriel Knight game which starts as a detective story with a paranormal twist and develops towards horror, especially on day nine.
And another important thing - once again we get a real, expressive female protagonist. Women form a half of the world's population - in fact even slightly more than one half - but are marginalised to the point of being considered uninteresting. Some examples show that - at least in the most commercial areas, such as mainstream cinema - authors are discouraged from creating strong, interesting female characters by agents who believe that the public is not interested in that.
Something a bit on the margin, but still related to the point: it reminds me of an essay by the Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovych, who told of a seminar for Eastern European writers done by a French literary agent. This speaker advised them to hide their long and complicated Slavic names under neat-sounding pseudonyms, not to write too long prose, to pay more attention to romance... everyone mostly sat still until Andrukhovych's friend said: "This is way too little. We should also stop being ourselves". An example of dangerous "Gleichschaltung" of literature - similar mechanisms could perhaps explain too much attention on male characters in movies and games. Still, when games such as "Kathy Rain" are made, this shows hope - female protagonists are no longer something strange, suprising, a deviation from the norm. Perhaps feminism has already managed to convince people that women are as much full and interesting persons as men...

The Bad
I wouldn't say it's a big flaw - any text of culture draws from other ones. Still, despite Kathy being a well-created, captivating protagonist, it can also be said that parts of her biography are repetitive and unoriginal. I haven't mentioned some specific other games without reason - it could be said that Kathy Rain is a "spiritual cousin" to both Gabriel Knight and Rosa Blackwell. Parts of their biographies are found here again - perhaps the most striking similarity is that all of these characters lost a full family early. OK, it can't be denied that sh happens also in real life - my father is dead too. But in these games it is somewhat artificial - the character's families are "sacrificed" by the authors. Actually, it could be said that in case of Gabriel Knight and Rosa Blackwell it is even more artificial than in this one - from the point of view of the story Gabriel's parents die just to confirm the Ritter family curse, Rosa's - to provide circumstances for her aunt's insanity. In case of Kathy Rain it's more nuanced, but still a teenie weenie little bit annoying when you think "oh no... here comes a combination of Gabriel Knight and Rosa Blackwell...".
By the way, not only biography has many similarities - one scene in the woods is really similar to how Gabriel Knight went to the voodoo ritual in the bayou by using a police tracking device... But no, this one isn't even annoying anymore - I found it fun that a similar idea is employed. It's rather a nod to Gabriel Knight games than a lack of original ideas.

The Bottom Line**
In fact this aspect should be mentioned in "The good" - but I'll leave it as a summary. Perhaps the best thing about this game is that it shows great potential. "A detective is born", says its "blurb" line - but Kathy doesn't just go from a student to amateur detective within this single story. A whole series of games could sprout from this one and I hope that the authors realise it too. They have just created a captivating character who could still develop in different directions. Let's hope that she does and that this is just the beginning.

Windows · by Nowhere Girl (8680) · 2016

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  • MobyGames ID: 79519
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Game added by Sciere.

Android, iPad, iPhone added by Ingsoc. Windows Apps added by Koterminus.

Game added July 3, 2016. Last modified December 4, 2023.