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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Atari

 

Developer

Quantic Dream

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 2, 2005

 

 

- Great story with a lot of plot twists

- A real "cinematic" experience

- Adjustable difficulty level for the "action" sequences

 

 

- Too many "action" sequences

- Pixel hunting to make progression still hasn't been eliminated

 

 

Review: Max Payne (PC)

Review: Gabriel Knight III - Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned (PC)

Review: Post Mortem (PC)

Review: Shenmue II (XB)

 

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Indigo Prophecy

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

There are games that can be cited as having some kind of influence on Indigo Prophecy.  The Shenmue games are one, the Gabriel Knight games another, but the game that I most recalled was Max Payne.  Indigo Prophecy is an adventure game with more than a few Dragon’s Lair sections where quick reactions are necessary, but it’s almost the polar opposite of the shooting found in Max Payne.  The common link is the snowed-in New York and a soundtrack that is so reminiscent of the melancholy tunes from Max Payne that early on I expected the pinched-faced Max to show up in the background somewhere, dual colts at the ready.

 

Click here to see image gallery for this game (Opens in new window)

 

Indigo Prophecy begins with a murder.  The catch is that you’ve committed it.  It’s a clever opening and it was enough to hook my attention.  Fortunately, the story is interesting enough that it kept me playing beyond the initial novelty.  There is a definite X-Files feels to the proceedings – there’s a level of dread and apprehension to just about every scene and there are a number of unexpected and downright weird plot twists.  Indigo Prophecy heightens this further by switching up the point-of-view of the action (and mixing in some quick-cut images to offer some clues).  You start as the murderer, Lucas Kane, panicking over just about everything as he attempts to figure out what’s happening.  The detectives – the obsessive and stacked Carla Valenti, and the swaggering Tyler Miles – are mostly just tired as they hunt down Lucas.  The play of each characters personal stories and their backgrounds with the main story arc help flush out the characters in way that I haven’t really seen since Gabriel Knight II: The Beast Within. (The strong voice acting also helps.)  And as strange as the story can get, the characters almost always remain believable.

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Indigo Prophecy also has three different endings.  And though they are the result of your actions late into the game, each chapter can be played slightly differently, which can have minor implications in proceeding chapters.  The developers also include the option to go back and replay any completed chapter so you can go back and try different ways to complete the chapter.  

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Indigo Prophecy doesn’t rely on the standard point and click method of so many adventure games.  Although you can set-up your own control scheme, you control each character with the keyboard and mouse (or a gamepad) and as you pass “hot spots” icons appear at the top of the screen indicating how the mouse should be moved to perform an action or look at something closer.  For instance an icon pops up indicating you can pick up the coffee pot.  You press and hold the left mouse button and move the red dot that appears in the direction (or pattern) indicated.  The same convention is used during conversations.  For the most part I have no complaints about the controls – the camera angle can even be changed on the fly – but you’ll still have to manage a fair amount of pixel hunting, as aspect of adventure games that the genre hasn’t managed to eliminate (like spotty path finding in real-time strategy games).

 

I can’t say I ever got stuck on a puzzle or what to do next but I did wind up getting thumped often by the arcade/twitch portions of the game that pop up all too often and sometimes at unexpected times.  You have to perform rapid button presses to complete some actions, like sit-ups but then there are conversations that have to be fought through by correctly hitting the correct directions indicated by a Simon-like interface of flashing lights.  Having to perform rapid-fire directional presses makes sense in some cases, like escaping from giant luminous bugs but during a coroner’s investigation of a body?  Why?  It only acts to throw your attention off since you can’t concentrate on what’s happening, only on the flashing lights.  There is the option to set the game to “easy” which helps to cut down on the complexity of these sequences but I would have appreciated less of these altogether.

 

Instead of doling out points, Indigo Prophecy rewards players with boosts to their mental health.  Have a drink of water, +5 points.  Succumb to Carla’s fear of enclosed spaces (i.e. goof up the button presses controlling her breathing), -10 points.  If this gets low enough the game ends.  Fortunately, it’s not too difficult keeping your mental health solid.

 

Although much of the enthusiast press has taken a shot or two at Indigo Prophecy graphics.  I’d have to say they’re just fine – the lip synch could have used some tweaking, but the gritty feel of the game – the screen actually appears gritty – creates an overall sense of grimy hopelessness.  At times Indigo Prophecy is very minimalist without much detail (the snow and darkness help tremendously) but many of the interiors are full of detail though much of it is just scenery and not something to interact with.

 

Will only adventure fans appreciate Indigo Prophecy?  If the arcade/twitch sequences were eliminated or even reduced, this would be an easy recommendation for adventure fans because even though Indigo Prophecy is grim, it’s also engrossing (nevermind the pixel hunting in some areas).  As it is, adventure fans have little to choose from – at least in this case, it’s a good game so it’s not like Indigo Prophecy needs to be picked up because it’s the only game in town classified as an adventure.

 

- Omni

(November 13, 2005)

 

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