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E (Everyone)



Q3 2001



- Beautiful graphics

- Strangely involving

- Great for new gamers

- Great setting and atmosphere



- Overly simple gameplay

- Storyline is vague

- At times the gamer may not know what to do

- Very short

- Lame ending



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Road to India: Between Hell and Nirvana

Score: 6.0 / 10

People often ask me what the difference is between a hardcore gamer or game and a non-hardcore one. I donít really have a definitive answer, but I know when a game isnít meant for the hardcore crowd. That being said, unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands, donít play a lot of games and are new to gaming, or just plain love point and click gameplay, I canít recommend this title to you.


You play as Fred Reynolds, an American with an East Indian girlfriend who has returned to India for family reasons. There, she writes you a letter telling you that she never wants to see you again. You, being the dashing American rogue that you are, immediately jump on the next flight to New Delhi. As soon as you step out of the cab, in front of your beloved Anushaís house, you see her being pushed into a black sports car. As you run to her aid, the cab, along with your belongings, and the black car both speed away leaving you with an adventure to go through.

The first thing most gamers will notice is the great graphics this game has. The cut scenes are beautifully rendered, have a high resolution, and are quite detailed. New Delhi is made to come alive with ambient sounds coming from all directions. The backgrounds are nicely pre-rendered at a high resolution so that people and 




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objects that arenít part of the background, blend in naturally. This is both good and bad, but more on that later. Charactersí mouths move when they speak and the animation of their movements is fairly smooth.


The gameís mechanics are very simple. The gamer points at different objects, or directions in the world and depending on their availability to be affected, the pointing icon changes either to a hand if you can take something, feet if you 


can walk there, or a modified hand if the object can be affected but not in the present state. The gamer can also use gathered objects to affect other objects as well. At times collected items must be combined to be useful.

Gamers can also speak to certain other characters in the game and select from a group of dialogue options. There is no real choice or variation however, as gamers must exhaust all the dialogue options before they are able to stop talking to someone. The order in which in the dialogue is conducted also has no real bearing on the outcome either.

This simple level of gameplay really presents no challenge to the gamer as the game quickly becomes about just entering a screen and moving the pointer over everything to see what can be gathered, and in what direction to travel next. The linearity of the story and the gameplay, although extremely simplistic can be frustrating at times if you are missing an item and canít find it anywhere. This can occur especially in low-lit areas where items have been strategically placed to blend in to the background. This type of a Ďchallengeí isnít really what gamers will be thankful for. For the most part though, if you havenít missed an item, the game is fairly straightforward and you shouldnít be stuck at any point for long.

The story is quite vague and is not what gamers would call a solid one. The setting changes between Fredís dreams and when Fred is awake, yet the gamer is never really told what the significance of the events in Fredís dreams are. Also, without any background to the characters, gamers are forced to fill in the blanks themselves. The opening sequence introduces an explosion from a briefcase bomb and the disappearance of an actress and these are not referred to until the end of the game where they are revealed to be a large part of the story. Now this may be a plot decision by the designers but it just proves to be confusing. There is a continuing reference to the ĎThugs,í which are supposed to be an ancient Arabian gang, which is given no background in the game. I have one word for the ending without spoiling it for you: LAME!

The game is not without itís merits though. It is despite all itís flaws, strangely involving and not a chore to play. The length leaves something to be desired, but given the level of play it may be just right. I was able to finish the game in about three hours, so be sure to pay a price that reflects the value you will be getting.

I suspect that this is a title which Microids is using as a fiscal buffer so that it can produce other more meaningful titles. The game lends itself easily to translation into other languages, and the gameplay is no doubt, purposely simplistic to appeal to a wider audience. That being said, I saw this game released much earlier in the year when I was in France, and a friend of mine there bought it. I told her to be a wary as she was mostly a strategy gaming fan at that point, and I suspected this game of being a point and click adventure. When she did install it my fears were confirmed as it was a click and point adventure. However, she did enjoy the title and I, now that I have completed it, still donít like click and point games. So if you know you wonít like this game, playing it wonít change your mind.

- Mark Leung


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