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Low-Spoiler Guide to The Longest Journey




Welcome to my Longest Journey hints page. (-: If you're new to this series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea behind them is to point gamers towards things they might not have tried in each game rather than giving step-by-step instructions or divulging puzzle solutions. There's not much point in playing an adventure game if you know the puzzle solutions in advance, after all, and there's no point at all in playing a mystery game if you've already had the plot spoiled for you. So these pages are as close to spoiler-free as possible while still providing some valuable Longest Journey hints and tips. If you are looking for the solution to a particular puzzle, I recommend the UHS site--due to the way their pages are set up you can only see one hint at a time, so you can get the answer to one pesky puzzle without ruining all the others for yourself. My site, meanwhile, focuses on exactly the things UHS and other traditional walkthroughs don't: the non-critical parts of the game, little detours you can take, extra details you might miss if you did only what was strictly necessary to complete the game. If you want even fewer spoilers--you're considering whether or not to buy the game, for example--please try my Longest Journey Review page to find all the pertinant information in one convenient spoiler-free package.

Now, on with the game!

The Longest Journey Hints and Tips
The Longest Journey Walkthrough
The Longest Journey Cheats and Links
The Backseat Game Designer: Longest Journey Critique


The Longest Journey Hints and Tips

The Longest Journey is a recent adventure game put out by the prolific Adventure Game Company. Like their other titles, The Longest Journey gives you a simple 3D point-and-click interface with which to move a pre-assigned character through a sequence of puzzles and a largely linear plot. This offering is a post-modern fantasy adventure. There are no bugs in this game (at least, none that I found), and no serious gameplay issues. However, there are a number of things you may want to be aware of before beginning to play in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the game. Without spoiling anything:

Time Management: Time does not pass in The Longest Journey. There are occasions on which you will need to wait for the time of day to change, other characters to finish something they're working on, and so forth. However, the only way this event will ever occur is if you take an action to trigger it. You could leave your computer running all week, and a one-hour lunch break will still never end until you have completed the next quest in line. So first of all, don't worry about deadlines (even when you have been warned to act quickly)--it is impossible for you to miss a deadline or change the pace of this game in any way. Second of all, if a game event is not occuring, it's your responsibility to scour the map for some way to facilitate it or something new to do or say that might trigger it. The hour will not change without some unrelated help from you.

Main Character: You control one character, April Ryan. Though April's pre-existing feelings about things (her backstory, the NPC's, her job, and so forth) are set, if you accept and work with that much, you will have some control over her reactions to new things she encounters through the conversational choices you make for her. This is very much worth doing.

Conversations: Dialogue in The Longest Journey is fairly interactive, because you get to choose April's response to most comments made to her. This is one of my favorite game features; there's no better way to draw you into a character than to give you some ownership of her actions and attitudes, which, in a genre still as linear as the graphic-adventure game, means determining for yourself her reactions to pre-scripted events and things other people say. In each TLJ conversation, you can choose from a set of three or four different lines to make April react to a new NPC with sarcasm, kindness, naivete, irritation, or something in between. To me this is a refreshing breath of interactivity; to others it may seem daunting. Let me set your mind at ease right now: no conversational choice you make will ever prevent you from progressing in the game, so you're perfectly free to choose any response you consider appropriate. In fact, conversational choices you make in one dialogue will generally not influence future conversations and events. (The exception being a couple of junctures where you're asked to make a decision about what action you're going to take next during the course of a conversation, as you're then assumed to be taking that action. Common-sense stuff.) It is possible to miss snippets of information in many conversations, because A) you may not be able to return to a topic you didn't ask about yet once you've moved on, and B) sometimes different pieces of information will be revealed based on different conversational choices April makes. If it's going to bother you to miss such details, just save the game before speaking to anybody, and you can reload and replay the conversation until you've seen all possible conversations. It's not at all necessary, though.

Movement: Movement is rather slow, and unlike in some graphical adventures, there's no way to shortcut past it. Double-clicking will make April run, which speeds things up somewhat, but if you have three screens to pass through to get back to an NPC you need to talk to, you're still going to have to watch her jog all the way across all three of them. Mercifully Marcuria and Alais, the two locations that require the most back-and-forthing, have overview maps you can click on to shortcut to a specific location. In a couple of areas, an exit is not mouseable until April moves to one side of the screen to scroll it over a bit. Pressing "X" will reveal all exits on your screen, if you ever get confused.

Action: There are a few action sequences in this game, but their outcome is always preordained, so don't worry about reloading. If April is captured, she is meant to be captured, and nothing you did would have changed this. (The exception is in Chapter 12, when guards may catch you if you walk out into their line of sight; they will escort you to the beginning of the area if this happens, where you can try again.) Also, it is impossible for April to die--on a few occasions she is menaced by a foe, and it certainly adds to the ambience of the game to try to defeat the foe as quickly as possible, but the fact is even if you stand there staring at the screen for ten minutes doing nothing, the foe will never hurt her and you will never lose.

Inventory: Examine everything, before and after you pick it up: April's reactions are often interesting.

Savegames: The Longest Journey does not let you name your savegames, unfortunately, so if you're used to saving them every five or ten minutes, you could easily wind up confusing yourself. Since there is no way to die or lose this game, no substantial bugs, and no makeable mistakes, you don't actually need to worry about saving your game very often--once at the beginning of each new chapter should do you fine, unless you prefer to save before talking to NPCs (see above).

April's Diary: When you find April's diary, you can't read it by clicking on it. You have to go to "game functions" and click on the diary option there. Then you can read about some of April's backstory. From then on, whenever the diary flickers and makes a little noise, it means April has made an entry in it. They're often worth reading.

Reviewing Logs: The Longest Journey has the welcome feature of saving all the previously viewed animations and a complete conversational log for reviewing at any time. You can save yourself the hassle of having to go back and ask a character to repeat himself simply by skimming through the conversation log; take advantage of this.

The Book of Secrets: The panel on the front page that can't be opened will be unlocked when you finish the game, or earlier if you complete an easter-egg about halfway through. There's nothing that special in it, just the art you got glimpses of when the game was loading (including the sexy sketch of Charlie,) and some outtakes of the actors flubbing their lines and fooling around.

Gameworld Notes: I was confused about 'Venice' and 'Newport' at first. Though it's not explicitly stated until later, Venice is a suburb of Newport, which is a city within 23rd-century America, not in outer space. The year is 2209.

Problem Spots: There are no potential dead ends in The Longest Journey, and no realtime sequences per se. (There is one instance near the end of the game where you can be caught by a guard if you don't maneuver carefully enough, but the game will just start you over at the beginning of the area; there is another area where an NPC loses an object if you don't tell him what to do with it quickly enough, but the object is replenishable, so you can just send him to fetch another one.) Subtitles are available.

Go on to the The Longest Journey walkthrough...

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