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The Moment of Silence
(hx) 06:41 PM EDT - May,26 2005

Developed by House of Tales (The Mystery of the Druids makers), The Moment of Silence is a point-and-click adventure game about a global conspiracy. The Moment of Silence is set in New York City in 2044. You play the role of Peter Wright, an advertising executive currently heading up the Government's Freedom of Speech' campaign. When a heavily armed SWAT team storms your neighbor's apartment, you must uncover the truth behind his mysterious disappearance as you become drawn into the deceptive worlds of corruption and power....

The Moment of Silence is played from an isometric standpoint, and each scene features a static camera which can't be moved. The game uses the traditional point-and-click adventuring approach for character movement. Indeed, everything is managed with the mouse (except for an "H" key for hints and "M" for your friendly Mobile Messenger). Double clicking forces him to, awkwardly, run to his destination while a single click will either offer an examination of the object in question or and interaction with it.Yeah, the pathfinding could really do with some tweaking - Peter will often have to backtrack to a previous "node" to get to an area that you'd think would be a short straight walk. Needless to say it's pretty annoying.

The story is fairly lengthy and will take some time to finish (>15 hours). You will have to talk to more than 30 different characters to unlock the mysteries to why this person was taken into custody. The game's developer, House of Tales, decided to make a great portion of the game entirely dialog-based, so instead of solving complex puzzles or tracking clues you're forced to listen to people talk about things that may or may not be relevant to your adventure - this game would more accurately be described as a dialogue adventure game, because at least 75% of the story and clues comes from people you talk to. Of course, there are some puzzles too. They are integrated into the environments and even the story, so there is a reason for doing what you are doing, most of the time. They are never illogical, but sometimes you will need to combine objects in inventive ways. The puzzles aren't the greatest I've come across, but that said contain a reasonable mix of inventory and logic based elements. They include the traditional item combination and manipulation, fetch quests, and ultimately a few pixel hunts. There are no tile puzzles, no mazes, and you can't die during the game. Many of your inventory actions require exchanges with other characters, with children, hackers, electricians, just about anyone who can help Peter acquire true information.

I wasn't overly impressed with this game, but it was still OK. There is a lot of dialogue to get through, and the game does take a certain amount of patience, but if you are a fan of adventure games, and enjoy a good conspiracy story, then this will be right up your street. However, if you do not enjoy point and click adventures, then this game probably won't convert you.

related links: demo, homepage, walkthrough

System Requirements: 1.0 GHz Pentium III or Higher (2.0 GHz recommended), 128MB RAM (256 MB required for XP), 64 MB 3D Video Card (128 MB recommended with DirectX compatible driver), DirectX compatible sound card, 24x CD-ROM drive (24x CD-ROM Drive Recommended), 3.5 GB Hard Disk Space, DirectX 8.1

snd: 3/5 - solid voice-acting, good ambient music
gfx: 3/5 - fairly good, backgrounds are nicely rendered, character models are stiffly animated, some nifty effects here and there, some flashy FMV cutscenes
playability: 3/5 - surprisingly deep story, some challenging puzzles, not for those with a lack of patience!, long and involved conversations, with little action, excessive travel mechanics, clues can be vague
genre: point-and-click mystery/adventure game
platform: 4 CDs (DVD ROM in Europe)
release: February 2005 (US)
developer: House of Tales
publisher: The Adventure Company
Overall: 68%

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