Disco Driscoll

Point and click, retro, music, meh...

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Trilby's Notes

The third, and most accomplished of the Chzo Mythos, Trilby's Notes places itself inbetween 5 Days and 7 Days in the timeline. Once again, we take control of the gentleman cat-burglar Trilby as he attempts to locate the poisonous idol at the Clanbronwyn Hotel in deepest Wales.

As we should expect by now, all is not what it originally seems, and far from being an idyllic country retreat, the Hotel turns into a living nightmare for our avaricious friend as it starts to shift between parallel worlds. Unfortunately for Trilby, one of these worlds is home to the Tall Man, a demonic apparition at the heart of the Chzo Mythos series, and one whose raison d'etre is causing pain. Oh dear.

Armed with tranquilisers and coffee to enable him to shift between the two worlds, Trilby sets off about the hotel in search of the idol which he knows is being held there by an exhibitor who is intending to display the item at a local fair, not knowing its full power.

The game differs from other Chzo games insofar as we use the cursor keys to manoeuvre Trilby and a text parser to get him to perform actions. At first I was sceptical on the parser, but it works well and there were no instances when I was playing through that I felt it was holding me back (ie., that I knew what I wanted but just couldn't express it). Usually, it's just a case of 'open door' and 'take pills', so it's suited to the game.

I say that the game is accomplished as it fleshes out the ideas and storylines from the 5 Days and 7 Days games, and it cannot have been easy for the author to slot the game inbetween the two existing games.

The sub-plot of the main game involves acting out scenes from the back-story of the idol, from its inception in a forest, through to its transportation on a slave ship. These are done brilliantly, and the sepia-tinted artworks add an eerie quality to the atmosphere of the game.

As with previous Chzo games, it's not for kids. The graphical style may not be particularly lucid, but some of the scenes are decidedly lurid. However, when you're telling a story about a pain elemental and summoning up witchcraft and torture themes, it's important that you can express this graphically.

Therefore, if you've played the other two games in the series, then Notes is a must. If you have yet to play any of the Chzo Mythos, then best not to start here as you may be somewhat confused by the storyline.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Which Way Adventure

It's a bit tricky to review this game as it's rather daft, so I'll just have to explain the concept and the humour, and you can judge for yourself. Let me say though that it's NOT FOR KIDS. Some of the humour and the situations are a little ribald for young minds.

Which Way Adventure is a choose-your-own-path game where you're presented with at least 2 options per screen to advance the story. Starting in the school playground, you can end up in the circus, travelling back in time, starting a nuclear war or being devoured by a manticore, amongst other things.

The game is a terrifically addled, referencing b-movies, video games and other such popular culture. If you have a puerile sense of humour (check) and you aren't easily offended by the concept of, say, sleeping with your own mother (erm...check?) then this is the game for you.

There are multiple endings, and even though some of them can be accessed in a matter of seconds, there is enough incentive here to keep coming back and discovering all the ridiculous and surreal universes in which the action can be concluded. Sitting through the nuclear holocaust cut-scene for the umpteenth time can be a little grating, but it's not a major bugbear.

There are little cookie scenes throughout the game that can be accessed if you're quick enough on the mouse trigger, and maybe one day you'll manage to get that damned uniform off before the manticore gets you...

...or maybe not.