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Looking for adventure game recommendations

posted by Davies on - last edited - Viewed by 1K users

My PS3 broke down a couple of weeks ago and so without access to my PS2/3 games, Blu-Ray movies and Internet at home I thought I'd take the opportunity to play through some retro classics that I somehow managed to avoid playing all these years. Alex Kidd (MD) was charming, Another World (PC, 15th Anniversary) was a rotoscoped beauty but also a harsh mistress and Chrono Trigger (SNES) and Chrono Cross (PSX) are the best J-RPG's I've played since Final Fantasy VII.

But now I find myself craving for some good old fashioned adventure game non-action. I figured that instead of re-playing my all time favorites for the 7591st time, I might attempt to broaden my experience and play a new (old) retro classic. This is where you can help.

Can you you recommend a traditional old-school adventure game?

Here's some quick points towards helping you understand what I'm looking for. These aren't rigid rules though:

* Ideally, a game from the 90s (i.e. with graphics that fall anywhere between The Secret of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, from a technical point of view). It's fine if it's a modern game with 2D backgrounds and, if possible, 2D characters.

* I'm open to playing a game with either easy or difficult puzzles but I tend to get bored of games which adopt the insanity inducing approach of anti-logic based puzzles (e.g. Use sticky syrup on tape to create sticky-tape / Use sticky-tape on cat / Use furry sticky tape on face to create a realistic mustache, so that you can pretend your someone else, who doesn't even have a moustache - which is an actual puzzle from Gabriel Knight 3 but at least it was a one off in an otherwise great game).

* On the subject of puzzles, an important factor is the type of puzzles. Generally I'm only interested in 'use-item-A-on-item-B' type puzzles, as opposed to the 'fix-a-mess-of-pipes-and-adjust-a-steam-gauge' puzzles of Myst etc.

* I'd quite like to play through an intelligent, gritty and mature story. Maybe a detective game? However, failing that I'll play anything that's good, be it zany, slapstick humor or a downbeat playable commentary on the failings of modern society.

* Please don't limit suggestions to the PC format only, I'm more than happy to play console adventure games too (providing I already have access to the console of course).

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Here's a quick list of the adventure games I've already played many a times. So please don't recommend any of these to me (although, if you haven't played any of them then I do recommend them to you). I'm sure I've left many titles out by mistake but I have left many more modern adventure games out on purpose because I'm really looking to play an old-school (or retro styled) game:

LUCASARTS
* Maniac Mansion
* Loom
* Indy 3 & 4 (Crusade & Atlantis)
* Monkey Island 1-5
* Sam & Max Hit the Road
* Day of the Tentacle
* The Dig
* Full Throttle
* Grim Fandango

SIERRA
* Police Quest I & IV only
* Space Quest I & VI only
* Gabriel Knight 1-3
* Phantasmagoria II

REVOLUTION
* Lure of the Temptress
* Beneath a Steel Sky
* Broken Sword 1-3 only

OTHER
* Tex Murphy 1-5
* Flight of the Amazon Queen
* Discworld 1 & 2 only (can anyone help me to get Noir to run under Vista)?
* I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
* Toonstruck
* Blade Runner
* The Longest Journey & Dreamfall
* A Vampyre Story
* Machinarium

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Listed Below are games that I own and have played to various degrees and in most cases given up on. If you can't recommend a game not on this list then maybe you could convince me to give them another go:

* King's Quest I, V & VI - To be fair, I've only ever really dabbled with the King's Quest series but out of them all, roman numeral six is the one that I've spent the longest with (probably hitting around the half way mark). What left me uninterested was the traditional, cliche fantasy setting and characters. Other than that it's hard to put my finger on why the series never hooked me but I do know that I've never truly enjoyed the experience of playing. Am I missing something?

* Simon the Sorcerer 1 & 2 only: I got put off the first game around two-thirds of the way through. Mostly because there was so much back tracking. Also, the cliche fantasy theme put me off (again). I only played 5 minutes of the sequel and it seemed improved over the original but maybe someone here could tell me just how much?

* Runaway - I actually completed this one because it's one of the nicer looking adventure games I've played and the puzzles were acceptable for the most part (with the aid of a walkthrough). However, the pixel hunting and seriously annoying characters dragged the whole thing down for me.

* Leisure Suit Larry 1 & 6 only - I certainly enjoyed the retro nostalgia of playing the original EGA game but I find the humor to be lewd in the most tasteless, pervy and nasty way. I'm not sure if there's some kind of satirical or ironic element in the dialogue or setup that's flying right over my head.

* Still Life - I was actually really enjoying playing this game until the thrilling plot of murder and corruption ground to a halt and the game insisted on making me solve a puzzle involving baking cookies for my character's dad by using the worlds most retarded cook book (use 1 tablespoon of love, half a jar of cuddles etc.). I had no access to a walkthrough so after 2 days of trying to get my FBI agent to bake f**king cookies for her bastard papa, I gave up. Does anyone know if I should start over, with a walkthrough at hand?

* Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island - Although flawed, I did enjoy playing through A Vampyre Story and therefore was looking forward to Vooju Island but I found the puzzles to be horrible and the use of colour to resemble the interior of a 7 year old girly girl's bedroom; all over saturated pinks and oranges. I stopped playing once around one-fourth of my way through the story, should I have?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. If you think this post's long then that's nothing. I already typed this mother out once and then my browser deleted it when I tried to post so I had to start over :( Plus the original post was even more rambling.

62 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • You've got a pretty good pedigree there. You've played most of the GOTTA play them games. I would recomend Gobliiins:

    http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/gobliiins_pack

    I've only recently discovered it myself, but it's kind of a one-room-at-a-time style adventure game (Kind of like Machinarium) but with the twist that you need to switch between 3 characters with different skills, Lost Vikings style. The writing's a little groan-worthy but it's old school all the way and lots of fun.

    Now if you wanted to get OOOOOLD School, there's always the exciting realm of text adventures. See what adventure games were like before all that "Graphics" business. Scott Adams wrote some great ones back in the day and all his old stuff is emulated and available through his website: http://www.msadams.com. Then there's always Zork...

  • Not sure if you can call it adventure. It is a point and click game but it's a horror one. It's kind of hard, I had to use an online guide to finish it. But the game did creep my out and there were two points that made me jump, and the ending sent shivers down my spin.

    It's called Scratches for the PC. It's about a writer who is trapped in a house and he keeps hearing scratching noises in the basement. As you explore the house you learn about the dark past of the ones who lived there and you start to experience things that question your sanity. But what ever you do, DO NOT, play the directors cut. Normally, the directors cut of games are better but the directors cut of Scratches is not. For some reason they replaced the original voice actors with new ones who were not as good as the first and they changed the ending to a worser one. Play the original and not the directors cut. Here's a trailer.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-ZtWd9oPPM

  • I am going to go ahead and name a recent adventure game that I am sure you'll enjoy.
    Gray Matter. It is penned by Jane Jensen, known for her work on GK.

    I also recommend the indie games that have some resemblance to the GK games called the Blackwell trilogy.

    Also, an 90's adventure game gem you have missed is Bad Mojo.


    Owh owh owh wait.....almost forgot the masterpiece that is The Last Express.


    Owh and Sherlock Holmes and the Serrated Scalpel

  • @Pak-Man said: I would recomend Gobliiins.

    Actually, I have a copy of Goblins 3 gavering dust somewhere. I bought it around 12 years ago expecting a traditional adventure game ala Monkey Island or King's Quest due to it being a Sierra game. I was more than a little peeved when I loaded it up and got this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_DSExNsvYI

    However, I'm much older, wiser (and dare I say uglier now). So, I'll see if I can go on an archaeological dig and unearth the box from my attic.

    @Pak-Man said: Now if you wanted to get OOOOOLD School, there's always the exciting realm of text adventures...

    Oh yes, I've played a few before (mostly the usual suspects such as Zork and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). I do intend to delve into the genre more thoroughly at some point. Leather Goddesses of Phobos sounds like it's particularly brilliant and very funny, have you played that one?

    @Pak-Man said: ...Scratches for the PC. It's about a writer who is trapped in a house and he keeps hearing scratching noises in the basement. As you explore the house you learn about the dark past of the ones who lived there and you start to experience things that question your sanity.

    It sounds and looks great. I'll be checking that one out for sure. Thanks.

    @Pak-Man said: I am going to go ahead and name a recent adventure game that I am sure you'll enjoy.
    Gray Matter. It is penned by Jane Jensen, known for her work on GK.

    Thanks for the recommendation but you're preaching to the converted. I've been waiting for Gray Matter for what seems like forever. I'm not sure I'll have the cash on release though so I'm hoping to find some cheap alternatives in the meantime like Scratches (which is only a few quid on Amazon).

    @Pak-Man said:
    I also recommend the indie games that have some resemblance to the GK games called the Blackwell trilogy.

    I'll be looking into that, cheers. The graphics look nice and retro :D

    @Pak-Man said: Also, an 90's adventure game gem you have missed is Bad Mojo.

    Could you describe the gameplay style a little please, I just looked at some screenshots and thought 'Myst with added roaches' but I'm sure you could do a better job selling it to me.

    @Pak-Man said: Owh owh owh wait.....almost forgot the masterpiece that is The Last Express.

    That's been on my to buy list for as long as I've been waiting for Gray Matter. I really must kick my arse into buying it soon because everyone seems to rate it highly.

    @Pak-Man said: Owh and Sherlock Holmes and the Serrated Scalpel

    Which system's that for? I've got a couple of Sherlock Holmes games for the Mega CD I think.

  • If there's one text adventure game I must recommend, it's "A Mind Forever Voyaging".

  • @Davies said:


    It sounds and looks great. I'll be checking that one out for sure. Thanks.

    .

    your welcome. Just remember. Stick with the original. They're selling the directors cut on amazon as well and I would hate for you to play that one instead of the original. The directors cut is just such a large step down from the original.

  • Oh yeah. Scratches is awesome.

  • I liked Samorost 2 (from the creators of Machinarium)

    I've also heard good things about the Syberia series.

    Lastly, Out of Order is a pretty good freeware adventure game.

  • Jolly Rover is pretty neat.

  • The only thing bad I've heard about Syberia is that it's "Longest Journey" slow.

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