|June 19th, 1999||by Zero|
DEVELOPER: LK AVALON
PUBLISHER: Project Two Interactive
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:
- P 75
- 16MB RAM
- 4X CD-ROM
- SVGA 1MB RAM Video card
- 180MB free hard disk space
- Windows 95
MY RECOMMENDED SYSTEM:
- P 90
- Windows 9x or Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0
- 32MB RAM
- 16X CD-ROM
- SVGA 1MB RAM Video card
- 180MB free hard disk space
- Windows 95
- PII 266
- 64MB RAM
- Diamond Stealth G460 video card (I740 chipset)
- 36X CD-ROM drive
- Creative AWE 64 value edition
SIMILAR TO: Myst, Riven, The Seventh Guest, The Eleventh Hour and lot's of others
I've gotten an interesting respone from LkAvalon. Here is it:
First of all, thanks for the very good review. Here is a bunch of comments regarding your Reah review.
1. Size of actor footage.
I checked the size of footage and you seemed to be quite right (I expected you numbers to be incorrect) - there are 4'6" minutes of actor footage on average on each CD disc but the length varies much from disc to disc.
9'49" 3'07" 3'44" 1'53" 7'30" 2'34" outro
Only actor footage has been made with Adobe Premiere 4.2, the rest of AVI files has been created with proprietary compression utility.
The render time was ranged from 7 to 40 minutes per frame on Pentium Pro class machine - I wish there was the hardware capable of rendering something similar at 1 fps :-)
The compression has been significantly lowered on DVD ROM version which has almost doubled the data rate. The results are much better (visit www.reah.com to see the comparisons) yet the compression artifact are still visible, especially on actor footage - we have reached the limits of Cinepak codec.
I don't know why you couldn't replace music WAV files with your own - the game should play any WAV files with the same filenames.
The DVD version uses MPEG Audio Layer 3 compressed WAV files which are at full CD quality (44.1 kHz, 16-bits) and are slightly longer and there's the additional track. The CDROM version for North American markets uses the same music the DVD version does.
Voice overs (or rather voice dubbing) is not perfectly synchronized because the actors were acting in Polish and they were later dubbed into English. We put a lot of efforts to achieve a decent lip-synch but obviously it wasn't possible in all cases.
The first game in this category was The Seventh Guest. This game was described as an interactive movie. The biggest complaint about this sort of games is that they are all movies and no gameplay. This game packs a huge 6 CD's. This ensures that the audio and graphics are of a very high quality. Now let's find out if it offers gameplay.
The installation copies all the music files to your hard disk. The are wav's recorded at 22 kHz, 16 bit stereo. There are 7 different tracks, ranging from a mysterious dark music, to music that's so light it makes you float. Unfortunately you can't replace them. I tried to replace them with my favorite wav's but the game crashed.
The movies are stored in AVI format. To be precise they are 608*348 in 24-bit color at 25 Frames/Sec. The are Cinepak Codec compressed to 475 KB/Sec. The audio of the movies is PCM 22 kHz 16 bit Mono. This data rate means that there are only 22 minutes of video on a CD. Since the walking of the character is done in full motion video you can except to get around 4 minutes of actor footage on a CD. Side note: The game was made with the help of Adobe Premiere 4.2.
The video's are in English. There are subtitles in 6 different languages. This is a great way to learn another language. When you start the first CD you get an intro that lasts for about 2.15 minutes. The voice-over is good but could be better, sometimes it just sounds to boring. The intro tells us about a reporter that is entering another dimension where he gets stuck....simply facing the unknown.
It all sounds very dark, but this game isn't that dark, maybe the ending is a little psychological intimidating, but overall this game isn't anything like a horror game. That was to be excepted since the game is rated for all game players. That doesn't mean the 18 ones among us can't like this game, hell no, I love it.
There are about 22 puzzles to solve. You can solve most puzzles by using your brain and watching closely in the environment. An example: the first gate you face has got some strange symbols on them, if you look carefully you see that they are horns from animals. After looking around you will see that there are 3 discs that point at a certain symbol. Each of the discs has got an animal on them. So the solution is simple. Later on you will have to use your brain more. Example: steam can brake walls. Throwing water on a big fire makes steam. So you got to create fire, wind and water. Pressing the water symbols in the correct order creates water. The correct order can be gotten from the environment. Sometimes plain speed is all that's required. There isn't a help system that gives you hints, but after a few tries you will know how to solve the puzzles. Some puzzles look impossible to do, but they can be solved even without knowing what you're doing. With some of the puzzles you will need your inventory.
WOW look at those screen shots. A lot of time has been spend rendering them. The shadows are correct, 24-bit color, excellent textures, nice water effects, the ghosts are really see-through and the houses are done with different colors. Now that's something the newest video card can't render with a frame-rate above 1 Frame/Sec. Unfortunately the movies needed compression. That means that some things don't looks that sharp when moving. One of the actors has an ugly piece of clothing at his shoulders (probably a compression error).
There are 7 sound tracks. The total music time is 30 minutes. Since you won't finish the game that quick, you can expect to hear the music tracks quite a lot. This isn't bad at all since they are quite good. They accompany the mysteriousness of the game quite well. Since there aren't any voices or heavy use of instruments, you won't hear them playing through your head all the day. In fact you stop noticing them very quickly. This is a very good thing since you need to think a lot. The only bad thing is the voice-overs. They aren't synchronized with the lips of the actors.
One mouse button does it all. You can go forward by pressing the mouse button when the cursor is pointing forward. You can look around when you are standing still. Just hold the mouse button down and go left or right and the character moves left or right and, when the scene allows it, you can also look up or down. In games like The Seventh Guest you could only press the left side of the screen and the character would just turn left. The Hive was the first game that used this technique. In certain levels of The Hive you can look around to see where the enemies are coming from. The interface will tell you when you can look up and down or when you can use an item in a scene. When you can pick up an item you see a hand. Just clicking will make you pick up the item. You can place the item somewhere when clicking on an object (not the item) when the item lights up. It's so simple. There aren't many options (these games don't need them) and all of them can be accessed through a pull down menu or with the F1 through F10 hotkeys.
It's a very clever designed game. You don't need to solve the puzzles in a specific order. You can always do that puzzle later. Also you always know what you're doing. Best of al it isn't just puzzling all the way. Sometimes you need to do something, like get water for someone. The great actors, beautiful graphics, the dark music and the plot ensure that you play through this game. Due to the clever design of the puzzles (you'll get a step further each time you play a puzzle) you won't loose your frustration.
It's a nice plot. I won't talk about it too much, but I will tell that you'll walk in a variaty of cities and learn more and more. Also all the questions will be answered at the end of the game.
Great game that's really worth playing. I think it should be the new standard in movie-games. Especially with the DVD drive breaking through, developers shouldn't forget about game-play!
Questions, comments, suggestions? email me!
- Movies are 640*480
- Great actors
- Puzzles won't frustrate
- 360 degrees movement
- You know what to do next
- Voice over isn't synchronized with the actor's lips
Screen shotsThe screen shots are JPEG's. That means the are compressed and not as good as the movies. Moreover a movie isn't one picture.
This reminds me of Myst.
Earth has some very advanced techniques in this game. Unfortunately you won't spend any time there.
Say aren't you a ghost?
Nobody said anything about not having hurt the actors. No wonder they act so well.
And you think your P III and TNT2 Ultra can render that. Think again.
That's some strange elevator.
REAH has some civilization.
The first puzzle.