Reviewed: September 10, 2010
Released: August 3, 2010
The year is 1894 and the town of Plymouth, England is wrapped in fear as heinous acts occur in the once thriving port. In Alter Ego, the newest point and click adventure from Future Games (Black Mirror), players find themselves following the exploits of two completely different individuals as their paths cross as a rash of brutal murders follow the desecration of an aristocratic tomb.|
The story follows Timothy Moor, a poor Irish conman and petty thief and his total opposite, the law abiding and enforcing British detective Briscol. These total opposites have nothing in common, but that soon changes as things turn dismal in the town of Plymouth. After the funeral of one Sir William ďThe White BeastĒ Lewis, a man rumored to have killed fifty victims for his own pleasure, the town is sent into disarray as news leaks out that this monster may have risen from the grave to terrorize the town once again. It is up to Timothy and Briscol to join forces and get to the bottom of things.
I personally like Moor as he is not the sort of character one expects to play in an adventure title. Moor is the type of man that uses charm to get what he wants out of anyone and wonít lift a finger unless it will gain him something in exchange. His only goal at first is to find his friend Brian and make some quick money so he can get to America. Briscol on the other side of things reminds me a lot of Dr. Watson in some regards. He is very professional for a new officer of the law, despite having a bit of trouble reporting for his first day on the job.
Alter Ego utilizes a standard fare point and click interface that anyone new to the genre as well as veterans can pick up on with ease. Also true to the adventure genre is the pixel hunting required to actually click on the item you want to interact with. For those that find themselves stuck or unsure what to do, there is a built in hint system that allows you to see all the clickable items and location exits. This is activated by hitting the F1 key on your keyboard. Iíve seen this feature become ever more present in todayís adventure titles probably as a means to make to these titles more accessible to all flavors of gamers and in most cases it works well.
The neat thing about Alter Ego is the fact that you are playing the same adventure from two perspectives. It actually feels like you are playing two different games. Timothyís half comes features a man that just picks up and steals various objects to aid him in tasks such as removing shackles or planning a break in. His actions also aid Detective Briscol down the line unbeknownst to each other. Detective Briscol on the other hand actually collects evidence using tweezers, makes plaster molds, and interrogates possible suspects.
The one thing that does seem out of place in Alter Ego is the near lack of any type of puzzles, which is a usual staple of the adventure genre. This does take any sort of real challenge out of the experience and leaves you with a more story-driven adventure. Most of the time you will be combining the 150 different objects to help you do task like making copies of keys. There is one moment where you have to find a safe that I really enjoyed because of the clever means in which you have to uncover the safe. Itís the kind of puzzle that I liked to think up when I was younger.
Graphically Alter Ego is nicely designed adventure that is very dark at its core. I liked all the different locations, some which were creepier than others but all well crafted. One of the things that I really liked about Alter Ego were details like moving curtains, flickering lights and the atmospheric animations such as rain. It really helped to set the mood of the dark nature of Alter Ego. The short cinematic moments throughout the story were also nicely done especially one particular scene later on.
To back up the somewhat eerie visuals, the small bits of music here and there help build a little bit of tension. There isnít a lot of music in Alter Ego at all but whatís there is enough in my book. The voice acting is my personal favorite when it comes to the sound department. Timothyís Irish drawl is pleasant to listen to as he tries to use his charm to sway others into helping him. I also like the voice acting of Briscol and all of the British townsfolk and officers that you encounter. It just gives the overall experience a believable feel to it.
Alter Ego was a fairly enjoyable adventure, though the ending didnít really grab me and the almost lack of puzzles didnít really help its cause. I did like the unique presentation of using two characters and play styles to carry the fairly interesting story along. The story itself sort of reminded me of something that I read from a Lovecraft story and that alone was what made the adventure worthwhile. Alter Ego would make a nice starter adventure title for someone new to the genre but for someone seeking a challenge it wouldnít be my first choice. Itís definitely worth a play though.