We talked about (and argued, but it’s been lost to the archives) Halo 4 on the podcast but have yet to commit anything to digital ink, as it were. This is because Halo 4 felt like it deserved a bit more than a gut reaction to gameplay and graphics. This deserved some inspection into story and polish. 343 did not have it easy here, they were following in the footsteps of a highly vaunted developer in Bungie. This is the company that along with Epic lifted the XBox up into new heights. 343 had to come in and not just keep a series fresh, but make make it their own without pissing off legions of fans. Did they accomplish this task? You’ll have to read on.
And, oh, how my eyes widened to see that the 7th Guest and 11th Hour have been recently re-released for PC, courtesy of DotEmu [update: apparently headed for GoG soon too]. There is so much nostalgia here for those who started out playing PC games the likes of 7th Guest, 11th Hour and similar Sierra titles like the Shivers series. Damn you Stauf for taunting me! And damn you avatar for taunting… um… myself… “I’m going to have to start again” Ahhhhhh, the joyful bliss of sheer puzzle frustration and repeated failure. And that soundtrack… classic![edit: I had actually, although accidentally, originally written Faust instead of Stauf, the reference isn’t lost on me.]
Oh…. and the damn microscope game, the phrase written in cans without any vowels, and the tedium of the piano puzzle (luckily, I played piano at the time, and still remember the 7th guest theme to this day thanks to that puzzle). And the superimposed real actors on top of 3D environments!! This is one facet of the PC adventure era that I really miss. Just imagine how strange and bizzare modern dialog heavy games like Mass Effect or Uncharted would be if the cut scenes were rendered with real actors. [Seriously, can please someone make this happen, low-resolution digital actors superimposed on top of XVGA Normandy backgrounds?] There’s a certain campy-ness too it that will always hold a place in my imagination. I have nothing but love for these games.
A little investigative work reveals that Trilobyte games is still very much alive and kicking. Recently releasing the 7th Guest for iOS this past November, and have a number of products “in the queue” including the 11th Hour (assuming iOS release), Tender Loving Care, and something innocuously referred to as 7th Guest III (le gasp!) .
The puzzles in the 11th Hour kept my friends and I up until all hours of the morning (including NA Matt), increasing our frustration and deepening my love of this series. Tender Loving Care, for those keeping tabs, is a surreal cerebral interactive narrative, bordering at times on Cinemax-level softcore tension as you investigate the tangled relationships of the game’s characters. Its difficult to explain if you’ve never seen it, and maybe the closest thing we have to it today is QuanticDream’s Heavy Rain, or Indigo Prophecy, despite some obvious disparities.
It’s comforting to know that fans of classic point and click adventures are not alone. Welcome Back, Trilobye, I’m desperately looking forward to The 7th Guest III: The Collector.