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Still Life
(hx) 12:36 PM EDT - May,30 2005

Still Life is an investigative horror themed point-and-click adventure game set in modern Chicago and 1920's Prague. In the game you play the role of the brilliant and subtly sexy FBI Special Agent Victoria McPherson (granddaughter of Gustave McPherson from Post Mortem game), investigating an ongoing serial murder case in Chicago. The game begins with FBI agent Victoria McPherson arriving at the scene of a murder. You find a woman naked and dead in a bathtub, the victim of a serial killer she's been tracking for some time. This is your first exposure to a lot of what you will be doing in Still Life. You can only hope to solve this case before things get really out of hand.

During her investigations, she discovers that all of the murders bare a striking resemblance to a case her grandfather worked on during the 1920's in Prague. Unable to finding any leads, Victoria begins to read her grandfather's case files in order to find out what happened in Prague and what it could possibly have to do with her case. When Victoria starts reading her grandfather's journal, you are transported to Prague of the late 20s. Then you start playing the second character - Gustav (Gus) McPherson. Your time with Gus will only be while Victoria is reading, but it adds a great dynamic to the game and really helps advance the story. There are a number of chapters in the game, moving you between the different time periods (2004 Chicago and 1929 Prague). You will solve the latest crimes to hit the streets, as well as seeing what happened to Gus back in 1920. There's a dark secret relating to these homicides that's just waiting to be uncovered...

The game utilizes the third person perspective rather than the first person perspective. The interface is mouse controlled, navigation is easy point and click, and you can get Victoria and Gus to run by double clicking. The best thing about the control in this game is how simple it is. You can literally play the entire game using nothing but the mouse. When a clue is found the mouse cursor will change, indicating that you can interact with that object. Most of the time, if you have an item that can be used, a little hand icon appears in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Also the game's inventory and item-usage system is very intuitive. You do everything from collecting fiber samples to taking and gathering photographs from time to time. The puzzles in Still Life are challenging, but not to the point of insanity. Most of the puzzles involve opening doors of one sort or another, and while some of them are fun. For instance, one particular puzzle is decoding a cookie recipe and making cookies. If you use every possible clue given by the game designers, there are 48 possible combinations to determine the right recipe. The only way to try a recipe is to combine all the ingredients and see if you're right. Another puzzle lets you use a remote controlled bomb squad robot to navigate through the maze of lasers. The goal is to get to the laser control panel and deactivate the lasers so you can walk through to the door.

One of the strongest points of Still Life is undoubtedly its graphic. Still Life is very dark in terms of atmosphere and art direction. There really is nothing light about serial killers and their victims. The crime scenes in the game are very real. The bodies are designed to make you shiver, and they do. There is a warning that the game has some gore, nudity (the bodies of women victims), strong language and mature themes, so you can't say you haven't been warned.

Overall, this is a hugely atmospheric, hugely enjoyable, logical and absorbing adventure game for grown-ups. If you had played Syberia 1 and 2 and loved them don't think, buy it.

Note: The game contains profanity, violent gory scenes and nudity. I would not recommend it for children!

related links: homepage, demo, walktrough

System requirements: Pentium III 750 MHz (Pentium III 1.2 GHz recommended), 128MB RAM, 32MB Graphics Card (64MB or Equivalent Recommended), 8x CD ROM Drive, DirectX8.1, Keyboard /Mouse/Speakers

snd: 4/5 - pretty good effects, excellent music, mediocre voice acting
gfx: 4/5 - gorgeous (Syberia engine), highly detailed prerendered backgrounds, dark, gritty and gruesome crime scenes, impressive cinematic sequences, only 800x600 resolution
playability: 4/5 - great atmosphere, surprisingly good storyline with open-ended conclusion, some challenging puzzles, a few glitches
genre: point-and-click adventure
platform: PC (also available on Xbox)
release: April 2005
developer: Microids
publisher: Dreamcatcher/Adventure Company
Overall: 84%

last 10 comments:

Anonymous(06:37 PM EDT - May,30 2005 )

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