Mr. Bill's Adventureland Review
Reviewed by Mr. Bill & Lela
It is simply amazing to us that this beautiful adventure game was created entirely by one man. We are convinced that he must be some kind of genius. The depiction of such a vast, highly detailed and realistic world alone would be enough to keep a whole team of artists busy for years. And so when you consider the enormous number of complex interlocking puzzles that he has included, it seems to be an almost superhuman feat. For this game is indeed every puzzle lover's dream. It reminds us, in many ways, of such classic puzzle games as Myst and Riven, and was obviously designed by someone who loved those games himself.
The quest is deceptively simple. As the game begins, you find yourself in a rail car, peering through a small window at the passing landscape as you travel to some unknown destination. But eventually, after passing through a final tunnel, a gate, and going across a rotating bridge, the track simply ends, and the car stops. According to the sign, you are in RHEM, but you don't know why you're here, so you get out and begin to explore.
You find it is a strange place, a very large city or facility of some sort that is inactive now, apparently deserted. Sheer, unscaleable rock cliffs surround it on all sides, and the only way out appears to be the way you came in. But before you have had time to poke around much more, a desperate man appears, someone who evidently has been trapped here alone for years, and he steals your rail car ..... your only means of escape. Now you are trapped, a prisoner of RHEM, and you know you must find another way out. But that, dear friend, turns out to be much easier said than done. Much, much, much easier said than done!
This is a very long, 1st person, 3D, point & click game, with an unusually small inventory and unlimited saves. Both options and inventory are hidden in toolbars at the edge of the screen, and all maps are built into the game itself. The CD can be played on either the PC or MAC, in German, English, or French, and a full install option is available.
It is a solitary game. There are no other characters or creatures to interact with. And as you soon discover, Rhem is a huge facility, a giant abandoned conglomerate of many interconnected areas and machines. It's a vast place to explore, and it's easy to get lost: we were more than once. And somehow the sheer size of this deserted place, and the desolate sounds that you hear, increase your feeling of isolation (there is no musical soundtrack, but sound effects are excellent).
There are canyons and catwalks, sandy places and waterways with floating bridges, locked doors and gates, hidden paths and passages with ladders and elevators, and buildings with multiple exits and levels, including one that even rotates to reveal whole new areas previously unsuspected. And the slideshow-style graphics are beautifully rendered, from water to sand, in awesome detail: we were particularly impressed with the treatment of textures (like weathered wood, stone and metal) and the expert handling of light and shadow. The place seems real, and the only thing that detracts from that is the fact that the water doesn't move.
But be forewarned this is not an easy game. You are challenged from the very beginning with just figuring out how to get around, and you must solve several major problems (like changing the water flow and turning on the electricity) before you can even start on your main quest, and find the 4 pieces of a letter that will enable you to escape.
Thankfully the many interlocking puzzles are all well thought out and logical. And they are all part of the environment (buttons, levers, valves) so there is no inventory to find other than the letter pieces. Nothing is timed, you can't die, and there are no dead ends. And clues abound. But you soon learn that careful observation of your surroundings and attention to details (like numbers, colors and symbols) is essential. Just remember that nothing that you see is there by chance, so taking notes and drawing diagrams is a must. And you will definitely need a good sense of direction!
Yes, Knut Mueller has created a game here that will challenge even longtime gamers. It will occupy you for days, perhaps for weeks, and even then there is no question that you may need to consult a walkthrough: we did. But hang in there, because we can also tell you that the sense of satisfaction that you get from finally solving one of those puzzles on your own is great.
We do wish that the background story had been more fully developed throughout the game, as it was in Myst. Nevertheless this game stands out as a shining example of why we believe that the future of gaming lies with independent producers, rather than with the large companies. We are very impressed. Great work, Knut!
Developed (2002) by Knut Mueller and published (2003) by Got Game Entertainment in the Americas.
Minimum System Requirements:
Hybrid Win / MAC CD ROM! (Hybrid means PC and MAC versions are on the same CD.)
PC: Pentium, 300 MHz; Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / ME / XP; 32 MB RAM; 12X CD-ROM Drive; 640 x 480 Display, 16 Bit Color; Sound Card; 20 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; QuickTime 4 for Windows or Higher; Mouse
MAC: 200 MHz Power PC; OS 8.5.1 - 9.2 / OS-X Classic; 32 MB RAM; 12X CD-ROM Drive; 640 x 480 Display, 16 Bit Color; Sound Card; 20 MB of Free Hard Drive Space; QuickTime 4 or Higher; Mouse
Where To Buy This Game:
Knut Mueller In the Rest of the World
OR: see our Places To Buy Games for other sellers around the world
Walkthroughs or Hints: