Date: 2008-11-02 11:52:02 Created: null
A game from 1997 purchased for 29 crowns in 2003, how good can it be by today's standards?
Pretty darn good, actually (of course, some of us might say).
The backgrounds are the most animated and living I can remember in any adventure game ever. People walking around, moving lights, fog, rain, it all adds up to an amazingly alive, atmospheric and faithful recreation of Los Angeles anno 2019. The backgrounds are actually better than the characters walking around in them, a highly pixelated bunch that could use a couple more animations when talking. They don't interact much with their surroundings either. For example, when you find and pick up an item your character doesn't animate picking it up. In fact, Ray may not even walk over to the spot where the item is. Instead, a spinning view of the item is shown at the spot where you found it and a little sound effect is played. It may not sound very immersive, but I really don't mind. And besides, I like to think that you don't really pick up and carry all those clues anyway, but rather just register them in your database.
I've looked around on the net a bit, and evidence indicate that the characters may be built from voxels. Voxels can be thought of as three-dimensional pixels, which means you can rotate, scale and do other nice things with them, but also that they're a lot more demanding for computers (they apparently can't be 3d-accelerated either). That explains the lack of detail in characters nicely, and also the fact that they seem perfectly able to follow the camera moves that are used every now and then. Seems like a pretty fair tradeoff to me.
I have owned this game for a while now, but I still haven't finished it. I've got the classic adventuregame bug called walking-around-trying-things-at-random-with-no-idea-of-what-to-do-next-osis, the disease that can drive people to walkthroughs. Not me though! I'm going to crack it eventually, and probably wonder why I didn't earlier as well. I think I'm pretty far along in the game though, and it sure is fun and atmospheric when you're making progress.
October 5th, 2003
So now I did finish it, but I also did resort to a walkthrough for a pointer in the right direction. The thing I needed to do to get further felt like it shouldn't be necessary, it was just a hook that needed to be lifted because it was programmed that way. Still, I woulnd't have minded finding it out myself :-) ...
I think I'll do some replaying later, even if I dug up some guides to find out about alternate endings and other stuff I didn't find as soon as I was done. All those side details and tracks I didn't even suspect on my way through make the game feel a lot more impressive since what I did felt like the intended way all the time. I'm so used to games haiving only one working way to do things that I don't think about alternates after I think of one way to do something. I should keep from reading more walkthroughs and do some replaying, the game's worth it. Pity nobody else seems to create demand for games like this anymore. And granted, I didn't exactly pay full price on the day of release either ...
For some reason, I often suspected the game of being "broken" when I got stuck for too long. I don't know why, but maybe it was related to hearing about the supposed "real time" in the game, and the fact that some characters can disappear from their usual places sometimes when you enter an area. It never did break down though, the only glitch I found was sound dropping out sometimes, possibly from clicking too wildly on things causing sound clips to be played, and a quick save and restart always fixed it.