From Sierra

First published in Windowatch magazine.

Brief Description

You are a writer who has taken a cottage down by the coast so you can concentrate on your work. Getting your phone messages one evening reveals that your neighbour is in trouble and want you to come. Since you have nothing better to do, you find the keys and get into your car.

This is an adventure game meant for experienced game players. The cursor only shows you direction of movement. When you face a table of small items, you have to click all the items to find what things on the table you can carry. Some of the puzzles, it is obvious what you need to do to solve the puzzle. Others are simply trial and error solutions. There is a puzzle-box you find early in the game that has elements of both.

The graphics of the game are lovely. I'd say it's mainly 3-D rendered stuff, with a lot of texture mapping. The music is lovely, it adds to the atmosphere without being distracting. There is a story behind the game, that is slowly revealed as you progress.

Game play

This is a game where it is necessary to be very careful to look everywhere and try to pick up everything. It is easy to miss an item since the cursor does not give you hints on which items may be picked up. You carry a few items in hand, which you can use on the screen and the rest will be put into your bag. It is easy to exchange items by selecting one then clicking on another.

There is a lot of alien machinery in this game. Some of the items you'll need to try one control at a time and see if you can find out what each control does. Some of the more complex machines need a large number of things done, in a fairly controlled order.

Major hint for the game. It is not necessary for you to follow the kidnapper immediately. You'll know what this means when you reach that point.

Gripes about the game

It is very difficult to figure out if the reason that you can't progress beyond any block in the game is that you've missed something obvious in the immediate area or if you need an item from another area. Such as almost being able to move the submarine, but not being quite able to do so.

Another major problem with the game is that at times, there is an item somewhere on the screen you need to manipulate that conflicts with the movement arrows. You may accidentally turn around when you really wanted to pull or push a lever.


An interesting and entertaining game for experienced game players. It would be very confusing and frustrating for those without much experience. Even experienced players may want to keep a walk-through for this one on hand. Once you really get involved in the game, the storyline is quite good. What I've seen of the game would be suitable for the entire family, though I haven't played it through yet.

This game does contain most of the features that adventure game players find irritating. It is slow moving, it takes some time to really get into the story of the game. There are times when you have to hunt-the-pixel to find the right spot to pick or manipulate something small. There is at least one *really* irritating puzzle where you must get the timing just right. The machines don't give you hints to the method of operation so you just have to keep trying levers and switches until you learn how to use the machine.

I would suggest that this is a particularly good game to play with a group of people. Because of the level of difficulty involved, different approaches may solve problems much faster than one person trying it on their own.

Some final thoughts on the game.

If you loved the idea behind LucasArts The Dig, but thought that game was much too easy, you should try this one. If you want to try a game with alien technology, but aren't ready for a very difficult game, then you should try The Dig instead.