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DescriptionPenumbra: Overture is a first-person survival horror game. Originally created as a tech demo to showcase the in-house developed HPL engine, the small team soon turned it into a full game, split up into two episodes (originally advertised as three), of which this is the first one.
Players take on the role of Philip. After his mother's death, he receives a letter of his father, a man he has never seen in his life and presumed dead. Philip is asked to destroy a set of notes, but instead he decides to travel to the wastelands of Greenland following the clues left in the writings. He ends up in an underground complex where he discovers disturbing facts about the past and events hidden from the rest of the world.
Unlike other survival horror games, Penumbra heavily focuses on adventure elements with physics-based and inventory-based puzzles, exploration, and a few action elements and scripted sequences, with a first-person perspective and mechanics similar to a first-person shooter. Players need to use the environment to operate items and machines, and build structures with items scattered around. Almost any item can be picked up and used as an active game element. Actions need to be performed through an appropriate motion with the mouse: hold and move left or right to swing a weapon, turn valves in a circular motion, pull back to open drawers and doors, etc.
Key items are stored in an inventory and need to be combined or used with objects to progress in the game. Clues and background information about the events are gathered through notes left behind and one-way conversations with a mysterious man called Red. Puzzles often require a lot of thinking, with both visual and auditive elements, and need thorough investigation of the environment. All notes are stored in a notebook and clues for puzzles and tasks are added a to do list.
Philip can collect weapons such as a hammer, a broom and a pick axe, but melee fighting is generally discouraged and rarely rewarded. Instead, players need to use the environment to set up inventive traps or avoid fighting altogether by using distractions or stealth to sneak past enemies. By hiding in the shadows, the edge of the screen turns blue and Philip stays hidden for all creatures. The environment is almost completely dark at all times, enhancing the horror experience. Light sources are very important, and Philip only has a flashlight with a limited amount of batteries, a glowstick and flares.
Next to a constant feeling of desolation, there are many disturbing events and horrifying elements, so the faint of heart need not apply. The game supports OpenAL sound.
- "Пенумбра: Темный мир" -- Russian spelling
- "Пенумбра 1. Истоки зла" -- Russian spelling (1C Company release)
- "Penumbra: Przebudzenie" -- Polish title
- "Penumbra: Overture" -- Steam release
- "Penumbra: Im Halbschatten - Episode Eins" -- German title
Part of the Following Groups
- 3D Engine: HPL 1
- Covermount: Level (Romania)
- Middleware: SDL
- Penumbra series
- Physics Engine: Newton Game Dynamics
- Setting: 2000s
- Theme: Frozen World
|4Players.de||Apr 07, 2007||83 out of 100||83|
|Adventurearchiv||May 12, 2008||80 out of 100||80|
|2404.org PC Gaming||May 08, 2008||7.5 out of 10||75|
|Playfuls||Apr 04, 2007||7.4 out of 10||74|
|Eurogamer.de||Apr 16, 2007||7 out of 10||70|
|FZ||Apr 18, 2007||70|
|Gamer.nl||Apr 11, 2007||7 out of 10||70|
|GameStar (Germany)||Apr 25, 2007||69 out of 100||69|
|JeuxVideoPC.com||Mar 19, 2007||13 out of 20||65|
|1UP||May 16, 2007||5 out of 10||50|
|Topic||# Posts||Last Post|
|Episode 2 = Final?||3||St. Martyne (3649)
Nov 06, 2007
|Question on Episode 2 and some theories about Red||11||Slug Camargo (589)
Jul 31, 2007
Key puzzleThe puzzle where a key needs to be retrieved by putting a newspaper under the door was also used in Fiend, Thomas Grip's first real game.
ReferencesThe crowbar you can find on Lake Utuqaq has the name "Freeman" on it, probably due to Gordon Freeman the protagonist of Half Life series. The glove worn by the hand holding the crowbar also looks like those Freeman usually wears in those games.
WhispersWhen approaching an artifact, some distorted and incomprehensible whispers can be heard. These are actually sentences in Swedish played backwards. Not all of them are clear enough, but one of them says: Det är ett väldigt snyggt spel har du någonsin spelat ett sånt spel (It is a very nice looking game - have you ever played such a game?)
Related Web Sites
- Mac Gamer Review (A review of the Macintosh version of Overture by The Mac Gamer's Alex McLarty (August 25th, 2008).)
- Partial Penumbra walkthrough by Jens Nilsson (posted on Independent Gaming)
- Penumbra: Overture (Official website for the series)
- Walkthrough on IGN (Step-by-step solution for Penumbra: Overture - Episode 1)
Sciere (831785) added Penumbra: Overture - Episode 1 (Windows) on Mar 29, 2007
Other platforms contributed by Sciere (831785)
Credits (39 people)
34 developers, 5 thanks