Monday, March 30, 2009

5 Days a Stranger

After many thoughts on this subject, I've decided that the first review about an AGS game will be 5 Days a Stranger by Yahtzee. It doesn't mean that's my favourite. ;)
First of all - the official site. On the AGS-site the game can be found here along with a detailed voiting and comments of people who have finished it (or are still playing it). You can download it here or here.
Since you can read on the sites I've mentioned above a short resume of the story, I will safe this poetry and get straight to the hard stuff. :P

Story: Now despite the couple of critics I'll mention bellow, the story "fixes" all negative sides of the game. It's creepy and full of suspense all the way from start to end. I really love it. It's like an award winning mixture of thriller, horror and sci-fi. On some places it's even scary. Yes, something that I've seen lately in a game. Maybe because of the fact that it isn't full of butchering, rape and other types of violence (well the first one IS actually part of the game ;)). It's because the game is tense. An aggravate tension. It starts very simple and one might think: "Oh, that looks so lame...". But shortly after the start the real story begins. I won't tell you more so that I keep the soup hot and tasty. ;)
Visuals: Well, here comes a little bit of my criticism. Animation's great. And plenty. Tribly (the main character) moves kind of stiff though (something that one can notice by the other characters too). Like dancing on coals. Rooms could have been with more detail. There are some of them that are nearly empty. Feels kind of weird when you know that this is a big old mantion (and the owner isn't poor ;)). The style is nice despite the criticism above and GUI that needs polishing (hard to see the icons since they are with the same color as the GUI-line where they are placed on).A couple of screenshots:

Sound: Great. A bunch of creepy sounds + cool background music that doesn't start getting on your nerves 2-3 minutes gaming.
Atmosphere: Take an old mansion full with strange sounds, add a thrilling horror story and great cast of characters and you'll get 5 Days a Stranger.
Dialogues: Nothing special. No quotes to be remembered. No jokes (well, a couple but some people might think they're not :P). But it fits great with the story and adds to the atmosphere.
Puzzles: What is an adventure game without puzzles? Well, it simply isn't an adventure game. Here you have some very well thought puzzles. But on my opinion they are too easy. Yes, the game is supposed to be short, but I think there could have been more (I know I'm greedy :)). Nothing that doesn't make sense. So it fits perfectly.
Overall enjoyment: Superb. I think that this game is one of the top AGS-games.

Play 5 Days a Stranger during the night with lights out and only the screen showing some light activity. You will get some very nice shivers down your spine when...No, I'm not telling you. You can see for yourselves. ;)

AGS - Adventure Game Studio (Chris Jones)

Since a lot of my future reviews will be based on games developed by the AGS-community, I'll present this fascinating software product.

First of all here you can find the main entrance of AGS.

Now some of you maybe ask themselves: "Whut the hell is that guy talking about? Whut is this AGS? What's so awesome about it? Hell no, this sucks..." Patience is the key to success. :)
Adventure Game Studio (AGS) is a software product created by the adventure guru Chris Jones(in the forums known as Pumaman or CJ) with one main goal - development of adventure games like the old classics from LucasArts (Monkey Island, Full Throttle, The Dig, Maniac Mansion etc.), Sierra (Quest for Glory, Space and Police Quest etc.), Virgin Interactive (Beneath A Steel Sky) and many other game developers that made the real adventure gaming back than in the 80s and 90s. Of course the fact that AGS has been developed for adventure games doesn't mean that one has to stick to that. There are very successful attempts of making RPGs and side scrolling actions. So even if you don't like adventure games, you can make a game that fits your style (haven't seen anyone make a strategy (RTS or something), but that doesn't mean it's not possible).
Some of the great features of AGS are:
- incredible variety of features
- intuitive and easy to use interface (you need no more than an hour to get used to it)
- supports DirectDraw and DirectX (so you can make some shiny 3D stuff too)
- supports OGG, WAV (uncompressed), MP3, MIDI, MOD, XM, IT and S3M audio formats(although you'll probably need half of those)
- supports AVI, MPG and OGG Theora video formats(so you can make cool intros/outros and cutscenes with some very complex animations and import it as video in you game)
- although you can develop games with AGS only under Windows 98 and above, you can play them on Mac and Linux as ports(no development but at least you can play cool games on those two OSs)
- many many other amazing things(visit the AGS-website for more)

Now when you have read all this, you start wondering: "That probably costst tons of money!!! :(" Well, actually that's another splendid feature of AGS - it's not 100 but 101% free. :) You can even go commercial (for details contact CJ) and earn from this.

Now is the time for a painful fact - if you want to make a really great game, you'll need to script day and night. But even for a complete what's-that-scripting-stuff guy it takes short time to learn at least the basics. Even if you have problem there are tons of great tutorials (+ the official Manual) and the above mentioned community that is always there to help you add some "flesh and blood" to your dream-game.

AGS also has a big variety of Plugins and Modules created by the community. They make it a lot more easier for the developer and can also do fantastic things (effects etc.).

Download it and see for yourselves.

System requirements:

#Pentium or higher processor
#64 Mb RAM
#Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP or Vista with DirectX 5 or above
#Supports all DirectX-compatible sound and video cards

Note: I use to many times words like "awesome" and "amazing". Well that's not enough to describe AGS. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adventure Games Bloggie Opening

Hi everyone. This is/will be one of the many blogs dedicated to the amazing world of adventure games. So if you're not a fan of this genre, skip this page and go somewhere else. ;)
In this blog I'll list whatever adventure games I've played, friends of mine have played and so on, and so on. Previews and screenshots will be available of course. I'll try to make the previews by myself (well, for the games i've played of course).

Note: I would like to apologize for the many mistakes I'll make (grammar, punctiuation etc.). :)