Friday, February 6, 2004
Posted by Philip Colmer in "SOFTWARE" @ 10:00 AM
Interacting with a given scene largely consists of tapping on the view until you find something that gives you some potential actions … well, that's how I played it, anyway, particularly when I got stuck :D Typically, the first option will be "Examine", which gives you a description of what you are looking at. If there is an "Inspect" option, this will give you a closer look at the object, as shown in Figure 7. This allows the game to give you the opportunity to interact further with objects in the scene that would otherwise be too small. Clicking back on the main picture closes the inset. Another way that the game helps you along, sometimes, is by providing a "Think" option against an object or character. Choosing this might sometimes give you a clue as to what you can do next.
Figure 7: Interacting with the elements of the scene.
Sometimes the logic of a puzzle is just too darned illogical! This is partly caused by the linear nature of the game – if you try to progress in an order that the game doesn't allow for, it simply doesn't happen. For example, you've just saved someone's life and the game muses that you might not have done the right thing because that person will now be more irritating than ever. You go off to another room and start searching around. Part of the search reveals that a desk contains a pack of cigarettes, among other things. OK, but there is no means of picking up the cigarettes, so maybe it was just part of the narrative. There doesn't seem to be much else you can do in that room, so you wander back to the other room, where you find the person you saved. OK, click on them and choose Think. The game suggests you might want to smoke a cigarette to annoy them. Ah … but hang on, we couldn't get the cigarettes! Go back to the room with the desk, check the desk again and this time the game deposits the cigarettes into the briefcase. Tapping on the cigarettes gives you: examine, smoke, use with and combine with. Hmm … tap on "Smoke"? What? The game just said "I don't like that". OK – let's go back to the room with the person in and try again. Nope – same result. Let's try using the cigarettes with that person. Huh? Now the game is saying "That won't help me …". Persistence, though, finally pays off when you discover that tapping on the person themselves now has a new option of "Smoke" on it and tapping on that gets rid of them.
Thankfully, once you understand that this is how the game works, you soon settle into a pattern of always looking around to see if something has changed as a result of your actions. Also, as I've already said, the game won't let you make a mistake so if there's something you need to pick up in order to achieve something later on, it won't let you go anywhere if you haven't got the object.
Figure 8: Félicienne talking to Mr Belleville.
As you progress through the game, you encounter more characters and the text uncovers more intrigue and twists to the plot. At times, when the game needs to move the plot on a bit, you will only be given one choice of what to say. One such occurrence is your first encounter with Mr Belleville – a few pages of plot story and one of the first major twists in FADE appears. And that's where I stop giving any more spoilers away :lol:
The original game was written in French and, on the whole, the translation to English has been done very well. There are occasional spelling mistakes or the wrong word, but they are very minor and don't really affect the overall high quality of the game.
If you get stuck in the game, the Fade Team do have forums where you might already find an answer or PDA Gold has a walkthrough of the entire game. When playing the game for this review, I found the walkthrough to be helpful but a bit skimpy in detail, so you might not always find the exact answer – you might still have to tap on bits of the screen you haven't tried yet :)
As I said right at the beginning of this review, it isn't until you get to the end of the game that you find out why the game is called FADE. The ending tries to provide an explanation for all of the twists and turns you've encountered on your journey. To a large extent, I think it succeeds and the end result is a really good journey. One that I might take again after I've forgotten bits of it and when I don't have Internet access so I can't cheat again :)