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|The Longest Journey is the best graphical adventure game I've ever played, an absorbing fantasy epic featuring little action
but plenty of interesting characters, a rich plot, a highly evocative game world, and more interactivity than most adventure games provide.
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|This horror adventure follows the surreal travels of a man who may be amnesiac, may be insane, may be dreaming,
or may be the victim of a deadly medical conspiracy... or perhaps more than one of the above. A puzzle-based game in the tradition of Zork, Sanitarium
boasts sumptuous graphics and an eerie plot whose twists and turns really do all make sense in the end.
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Grim Fandango is one of the most original graphic adventure games ever made, featuring a good plot brimming with creative puzzles and a funky film-noir/magical realism
atmosphere. (The stylized skeletons are straight out of Mexican folk tradition.) Though the gameplay suffers from several frustrating interface flaws, none of them
are insurmountable; and this offbeat, clever game is well worth the trouble.
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|This third-person horror-adventure game scared the crap out of me in several places, which is probably the best compliment
I could pay to a murder mystery. Black Mirror does suffer from slow gameplay in places, and it's difficult to identify with the main
character, over whom you have little influence. Despite these flaws, though, the engrossing storyline, impressive graphics, and wonderfully menacing
ambience put this on my list of games not to miss.
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|This French adventure game feels sort of like a cross between playing Myst and watching an Ingmar Bergman movie.
The story is moving, the gameworld is absorbing, the scenery is beautiful, and the plethora of original mechanical contraptions convey an odd
sense of industrial wistfulness. Syberia's plot is rigidly linear and the puzzles require little brainpower, but the delicately haunting mood makes
it fun to play just the same.
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|This isn't a sequel so much as it is the second half of a single game, and so it shares nearly all the strengths, weaknesses, and beauties
of the original. If you've already played the first Syberia and enjoyed the experience, then by all means get Syberia II; it's just as good, and has a
slightly improved interface. If you haven't played the original Syberia yet, though, you really should play that one first.
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I am one of those annoying naysayers who never felt Myst deserved its reputation as the greatest puzzle-adventure game of all time--I solved
more of its puzzles through trial and error than by any exercise of intellect. The innovative premise and absorbing mood of this classic game are
justly acclaimed, however, and despite the obvious datedness of the interface and graphics, Myst's gameworld still feels more immersive than
most games on the market today.
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The third in the "Myst" series of puzzle-adventure games, Exile features an interesting storyline, good puzzles, and fantastic 3D graphics (still screenshots do
not do them justice), but the plot has little to do with the player and the gameworld rarely evokes the same sense of wonder as the original.
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I have to take my hat off to any game that can manage to make itself this scary without any blood or gore whatsoever. The
spooky ambience and level of suspense in Dark Fall are truly impressive. If only the puzzles in this game had been less simplistic,
it could have been another Myst. As it is, this is almost more of an interactive novella than a puzzle game; but just the same,
it's fun to play.
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This cartoon adventure game features a smooth point and click interface, good voice acting, and lots of humor; unfortunately the puzzles are a
little simplistic for an adult gamer, and the plot is very cliched. If you're fond of puns, repartee, and one-liners about piracy and pop culture,
this game makes a quick but enjoyable romp. It's lightweight, but it's lightweight fun.
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Based on the classic Agatha Christie mystery novel and play, this is a fun point-and-click adventure hampered somewhat by a
time-wasting interface and a dearth of interesting puzzles. Even if you've read the book or seen the play, it still won't spoil the
game; the identity of the murderer has been changed (something the mystery's plot was written to easily accomodate.)
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This modern adventure game franchise is up to 21 games by now, and except for the awkward first game, the quality is very consistent.
The Nancy Drew games are aimed at the young teen audience, but their interesting plots, evocative settings, and well-written dialogue make them
fun for adult players as well; downsides include their repetitive, simplistic gameplay and very small scope (only four
NPCs and 10-15 rooms to explore per game--it takes only 6-10 hours for an adult player to complete each one.)
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This is a fun little adventure game lacking in depth and breadth (it takes only six hours to complete and ends very abruptly), but notable
for offering flexible and creative problem-solving with multiple possible solutions to most obstacles.
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If you enjoy puzzles and have a lot of patience, this can be a great game-- the quality and variety of puzzles is outstanding, and the plot
is interesting enough to keep you involved. Unfortunately Keepsake also has just about the slowest and most passive gameplay I've
ever encountered before, and animations and lines of dialogue are unskippable, so there's no respite from it. If you can get past that,
this game is a keeper.
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Nibiru is the re-release of a 1999 graphic adventure game from Europe, and though the updated graphics and interface are state-of-the-art,
the mediocre writing and rudimentary gameplay make it feel somewhat dated and clunky despite itself. Still, this supernatural thriller does
get your adrenaline rushing in places, and there are some memorably intriguing puzzles in here making it an overall pleasant playing experience.
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One of the better Mystlike games, Schizm compensates for its formulaic gameplay and irritating interface with an engaging science-fiction storyline, a bevy of
challenging puzzles, and the Zak McKracken-style ability to switch back and forth between protagonists. The graphics on the DVD release are also quite beautiful.
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This imaginative third-person adventure game suffers from interface woes and glitchy puzzles, but offers a clever bifurcating plot that allows you to choose from
different endings depending on your perception of the heroine's priorities. Plus dinosaurs. Who can say no to dinosaurs?
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The fourth in the "Myst" series of puzzle-adventure games, Revelation features beautiful graphics, clever puzzles, and a convenient interface;
unfortunately, none of this compensates for the fact that this is primarily a stale retread of previous Myst games.
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A formulaic graphic adventure game about an international conspiracy, featuring a smooth interface and nice graphics but not much in the way
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An otherwise unmemorable Myst clone with a twist: Physicus is intended for kids age 10-15, and it teaches real-world physics
through a series of science-fiction puzzles. Originally written by a German science teacher, Physicus is unlikely to hold an adult gamer's
attention for long, but it's much more engaging than other educational software I've seen for this age bracket, talks down to kids far less,
and comes with a top-notch interactive physics encyclopedia that makes a useful study aid long after the game has been solved.
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Second in the 'Myst' series of puzzle adventure games, Riven does have pretty graphics and features original, challenging puzzles, but it is
hampered by a boring plot and painfully slow gameplay. This game is only for serious puzzle enthusiasts with plenty of patience;
most gamers will be more interested in the other Myst titles than in Riven (though they all come bundled together these days anyway).
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This sequel to Physicus is a boilerplate first-person graphic adventure with an educational twist: all the puzzles are based on real-world chemical
experiments. With little plot and dull gameplay, Chemicus
is unlikely to hold an adult gamer's attention for long, but my kids turned out to be really interested in creating explosions and throwing things
into virtual vats of acid. This game could make a real find for kids and younger teens who enjoy science fairs and/or graphic adventures.
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Written by the same game designer who brought us the Syberia games, The Sinking Island is another beautifully illustrated game
with an interesting plot, but unfortunately it is hard to enjoy it because of the boring, repetitive gameplay. If you are happy just
watching a memorable story unfold, this one is worthwhile, but if you like to take a more active role playing a computer game,
you are likely to be disappointed.
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This standard 3D puzzle adventure game ended up evoking Scooby-Doo more than Sherlock Holmes; the hero wanders around a genuinely creepy
old mansion randomly bumping into secret doors, pocketing household objects, solving puzzles, and wondering whether the mummies are really undead
monsters or just pretending to be. It's fun, and many of the puzzles are clever, but Sherlock Holmes it ain't... and the game is further marred by tedious
inventory puzzles, irritating timed sequences, and a lack of input into the mystery plot the game is supposed to be about.
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Vastly superior to its terrible predecessor Riddle of the Sphinx, Omega Stone suffers from improbable puzzles, a dull plot, and far too much
pixel-hunting, but its interface is much improved and it makes a decently fun play-through if you enjoy Mystlike games and are good at
suspension of disbelief.
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The dumb inventory puzzles and rehashed cliche of a plot would have been forgiveable if this cartoon adventure had offered the same kind of
low-maintenance and enjoyable gameplay its goofy predecessor, Curse of Monkey Island, did; instead, LucasArts decided to substitute the
subtle, difficult-to-control interface from their artsy magic-realism title Grim Fandango. The end result is unfortunately as mediocre as you might
expect from that description.
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Set in an attractive virtual reconstruction of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, this game is very short (it took me four hours to solve)
and offers only a handful of puzzles to solve, but it does give you a very good sense for what an ancient Roman city must have looked
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This horror feature was one of the earliest movie-style graphic adventure games, and also one of the first computer games to earn a "mature" rating.
Unfortunately, the plot is too cliched and the pace too slow to be effective as horror, and the game often attempts to compensate by stooping to
visual gross-outs. If you're looking for a really good horror game, try The Black Mirror or Sanitarium instead.
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This Mystlike game features beautiful photography and a creative premise--a graphic adventure set in an alternate-reality version of a real-life Italian
island, and a twist of fate that causes you to switch places with a boy from the alternate universe. Unfortunately, the
game design and production are so garishly amateurish that the game never really gets off the ground.
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This pioneering 3D puzzle adventure game has not withstood the test of time. Although the puzzles are still plentiful and fun, they have nothing to do with
the environment you're exploring, so they feel extremely artificial. The ghost story is thin and inconsistent, and the ending is just plain idiotic.
The whole game gives you the general feeling of wandering around a house watching random games and puzzles pop up at you
for no apparent reason. The more recent puzzle adventures inspired by 7th Guest are generally better than the original.
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Somehow Riddle of the Sphinx manages to combine the worst of the 80's-era "graphic" adventures (the ones that were really text adventures with
badly drawn pictures appended) with the worst of the 90's-era Myst clones. It's so low-budget it might be campy fun if it were less pretentious
and had a less aggravating interface, but it isn't, and it doesn't.
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