Thursday, 7 October 2010

White Chamber

This week's challenge was White Chamber, a point and click adventure sci-fi horror, this was once more a challenge set to me by Zane. I was never really a fan of the point and click genre and as If to add salt to injuries, I was also never a big fan of the horror genre, so my progress through this game was going to be a painful one.

White Chamber was developed by Indie developer Studio Trophis, consisting of three employees based in the UK, the game was released back in 2005, but sadly Studio Trophis closed down in 2009 due to the members of the team being busy with life and other projects.

So I started this game slightly wary, as a child point and click adventures scared me, no matter what the consequences or surroundings, potentially because I didn't really have the power to go "Well here's my 12gauge", If you mess up, then chances are you'll face the consequences because you don't have the power to stop it, this could have potentially been me being unfair, but it still stuck to this day and I felt that fear whilst playing White Chamber (I guess you can say it added to the atmosphere).

The game's actual surrounding were some what scary, it takes place on board a space station with a some what typical "Eurgh, where am I?" intro, the sort that fills in for a weak ass plot, it's sort of saved towards the end but for a good hour and a bit you're still under the same weak ass story line.

Throughout the game you begin to pick up video logs from a member of the crew, he describes his feelings and what's going on; I felt these pulled me out of the story doing the exact opposite of what they were supposed to do, for example, I'm in a room where any thing can come through a door and slaughter me, I don't know If It would, but It could - Now, I put on the video and the game cuts away from me and to the video, I now know nothing will get me, I'm safe, I've practically paused the game and watched a video on Youtube about the back story and even then the information given to me through the medium of the videos was weak, I also couldn't take any of the character's seriously because I felt like they were the rejected cast of Yu-Gi-Oh; No joke, I honestly think the artist for this game potentially went to his cupboard of videos from when he was 12 and went "Hmm, who can I plagiarise today?" even down to the way the eyes are drawn, it's kind of ridiculous.

The actual backgrounds weren't much of an improvement, it was like Gears Of War and Fallout 3 had a special love hug which ended in this some how, the textures are bland and boring but some how brushed under the rug with a "Well, it's a space station..and there's blood and stuff" I mean for a period of time you see the station without the blood and stuff, and it's the complete opposite - And I realise what they were trying to do, like a sort of clashing look "Here's a space station before shit went down" and "Here's a space station after shit went down" sort of thing, but it doesn't work, you can also see textures that have been overlapped like some bad spriting job that 10 year olds do when editing their favourite Sonic character to be their new fursona.

The puzzles in the game were some what easier than I expected, I didn't really struggle with any except the last puzzle, which wasn't really a puzzle merely a lack of observation on my part. There aren't actually many puzzles within the game, I mean like real puzzles; Most of the game consists of "Do this, it's over there" sort of thing, with the exception of a droid unit that you can use at one part, the rest is pretty easy.

The soundtrack and noises throughout the game are more annoying rather than scene setting, lots of ominous "Oooh horror" sounds, and the usual loud foot steps on metal; There's one scene that forced me to turn sound off infact, just because it was A. So unbearably loud (With no adjustment option) B. So annoying.

The game is fully voiced in both English and German, but with only two characters throughout the game both sounding like they belong in Yu-Gi-Oh abridged with surprisingly British accents; I'm not sure how many times I heard the phrase "I CANNOT USE THAT WITH THAT" or "WHAT EFFECT WOULD THAT HAVE" I'd rather that were in text, atleast that way when I did cock up I wouldn't have to deal with that annoying voice - Course in reflection it could merely be a sort of psychological experiment, you know like they do with monkeys that get answers wrong, but instead of getting an electric shock I get Miss. Union Jack telling the quite obvious, perhaps I'd have preferred If she'd have had some sort of comedy to her voice "Really, you wanna use the axe and the blanket together? Really bro? We gonna do this...Fucking..geez..".

Whilst this game features four endings; I managed to get the "best" ending first time round, but the other endings don't require any more skill or tact to get, merely a choice right towards the end of the game, some what disappointing from what I'm told most games of this genre have multiple endings that are generally varied and require much larger range of objectives to complete.


Rundown

Graphics

The characters were a disappointing set of Yu-Gi-Oh clones and the backgrounds were painted with a horribly dull brown paint.

To add to the current complaints, most of the textures are just copy and pasted over, which is obvious from certain areas where the texture pattern doesn't quite fit and looks some what silly.

2 / 5


Sounds

The soundtrack was made up of painfully dreery sounds, which whilst some might say were atmospheric, they weren't - Merely annoying.

Whilst I applaud their usage of character voices, perhaps a little less voice from the main character would have been appreciated, especially the scenes where that character would repeat the same lines.

I also found the footsteps annoying, once more some would claim these as atmospheric, but they were more frustrating like a clock ticking directly in your ear.

2 / 5


Story

The basis of the story is some what weak, I'm honestly sick of everyone playing the "I have no memory" card merely so they don't have to set up a real background and can put the character into any situation they like.

It picks up a little towards the end, but events throughout are some what sporadic and don't really make much sense what so ever.

3 / 5


Gameplay

The puzzles were hardly exciting and most of the game was merely walking back and forth collecting components until some thing sort of happened and when some thing did happen, you'd use a some what obvious tool to fix this.

Could have done with more puzzles like the droid puzzle.

2 / 5


Overall entertainment

The game filled up a good hour or two with some what boring gameplay mechanics a lack of challenge and a weak plot, maybe worth a go If you really enjoy sci-fi horror or more specifically Yu-Gi-Oh---I mean, point and click adventures.

2 / 5


In conclusion

The game has a poor plot, poor puzzles, frustrating sound effects and sound track as well as annoying vocals and to add to this it has horrible visuals like a horrible 90s Anime series.

I would honestly give this game a miss, unless you're really into sci-fi horror point and click adventures.

Then again, what do I know - This game has been outlined as amazing by several reputable sources, so maybe I'm missing the point? Who knows.

Thanks for reading.

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