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#87531 - 07/20/01 03:41 PM Passage:Path of Betrayal
syd Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/12/99
Posts: 12307
Loc: Body in California/Heart in Ha...
Passage: Path of Betrayal
Dragon Works Interactive

I couldn’t think of any better way to start off this review than with the developer, Darris Hupp’s own words (hey, I’m a contractor, not a writer)

“It all begins innocently enough, as most stories do. A young man sleeps soundly in the quaint farmhouse that is his home. He had drifted into sleep earlier that night thinking of nothing more distant than perhaps tomorrow’s chores. And yet the dreams came unhindered, the nightmare fully unleashed on his unsuspecting mind. He saw visions of terror, of death and destruction. An army had come into his land, an army of something he could vaguely see but never focus on. They were everywhere, and wherever they went, complete desolation was left to mark their passage. He saw people from his village, people he knew and talked to everyday, die screaming in agony. He saw them claw their eyes out with their own maddened hands. And he watched as the army burned his own home to the ground, his parents’ screams reaching him as if he were in the very room where they lay dying, but he could do nothing. And the sound of their cries never diminished even as the house lay smoldering in ash. It only rose in volume, and went on rising until he was sure his head would explode. And then he woke up. It took only a moment for him to realize the nightmare for what it was, and yet it didn’t fade. The aching terror remained inside him, and he could only hope, could only pray that it would remain that way. Remain as the fading nervousness of a passing dream gone terribly wrong. But it had been so real, and try as he might, he couldn’t banish the one thought that kept creeping into his subconscious. The voice that told him it wasn’t just a nightmare. That told him it was but a mere taste of a horrible future rushing headlong to greet them......”

With those words you begin your adventure. You play a 17 year old named Riff. Riff has never been out of the town of Serenity his entire life and always wished to see the rest of the world. He is about to get his wish, because he is told that his nightmare was a vision of what is going to happen at the next Passage (according to Windar, the family magic keeper). What is a passage? It is a portal into another land and it seems the one opening up onto Arcath (the prison land, which opens once every 10 years to allow prisoners to be sent there) was due to open in 2 days. And when it did, all you know what is going to break loose. It seems the Shifters have been plotting for years to invade Arkane and kill everyone they can find, including the royal family. Your mission is to warn the royals of what is about to happen and hopefully save their lives and everyone else’s.

Gameplay – point and click, 3rd person, inventory managed. The cursor highlights when you can interact with something or someone – speaking of talking – there are no voices – only reading of dialogue – some of which is rather long and slow. I would strongly recommend right clicking through most of it. At times the inventory management gave me fits and it took two or three times before I got something to combine or work properly. The puzzles are many, varied (no maze or sliders) and logical. If you pay attention, the game pretty much tells you what you need – it's just a matter of finding it. The game is played out in 6 chapters and you can’t go onto the next one until you have completed everything you need to do. There were also no dead ends.

Graphics – all hand drawn by Darris. They reminded me of the type of graphics found in King’s Quest 3. Did it bother me that Riff’s legs didn’t bend when he climbed ropes? Not in the least, because there was a story being told in this game that made you forget you weren’t looking at the latest and greatest 3D engine, slide show graphics. And I adored the music. I never got tired of hearing it – okay maybe in the mini Shifter arcade sequence because I got killed so many times There was a different piece of music for each area – I particularly loved the musical piece at the beginning in Serenity.

Now for the only real downer – there are few bugs in the game. One will prevent you from finishing the game if you can’t work around it. I managed to get through the sequence (the game ran extremely slow at this point) and save. However, I retried the sequence and could not get around the bug – it’s an “undercount error” and comes up in Chapter 5. I also lost my ability to retrieve my last 4 saved games. I had to rename them to the first few before I could get them. There were also some players that had cursor problems and disappearing menu trees (I never did) But when you take into account this was pretty much a one man show – there are not that many. Darris has also indicated that he is working on a patch to correct them.

In conclusion - for those bemoaning the loss of the good old days when you actually played your game rather than watch it being played for you, bemoan no longer. I doubt very much you will be disappointed in this little gem. This young man has created a wonderful game and I for one congratulate him on his first effort and look forward to another one.
Dark Side : Risen
Light Side:

I can only please one person a day. Today isn't your day. Tomorrow's not looking good either.

#87532 - 07/20/01 10:17 PM Re: Passage:Path of Betrayal
Jenny Offline
Grande Olde Dame
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 12/04/99
Posts: 31224
Loc: Northwestern New Mexico, USA
Yes, and the fascinating thing about Darris is that he apparently did this game in two years--from age 15 to age 17!!!

Impressive, isn't it?

"Once you give up integrity, the rest is easy." Anonymous
"Once you give up integrity, the rest is easy." Anonymous

#87533 - 07/21/01 07:27 PM Re: Passage:Path of Betrayal
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10323
Syd, I think you are an excellent writer But maybe - I'm being partial. Oh well.

This is an excelent review and fair minded as well. I agree with you that it is the story and how well it's told rather than fabulous cut scenes that make a game good to play or not.

It sounds like at an early age in his professional life, that Darris has got it right. I am eagerly anticipating my delivery and hopefully if I can't work around the game glitch towards the end - the patch will be out by then. I will tlerate a great deal for a good game - which this sounds like it is. Heck, Syd bought it - so why shouldn't I


#87534 - 07/22/01 02:25 AM Re: Passage:Path of Betrayal
jeannie Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 09/07/00
Posts: 493
Loc: yelm,wash,usa
Great job Syd. Altho I wasn't able to finish the game do to cursor glitches, I highly recommend it. Good on you Darris. I hope you write many more.

Hope is like a shadow, not easily lost.
There are no impossibilities. There are only limited thoughts.

#87535 - 09/02/02 02:29 PM Re: Passage:Path of Betrayal
SuMac Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 2006
Loc: New Hampshire
I just finished this game and have mixed feelings about it. I was bothered by the graphics at first, but then just started thinking of it as a children's fairy tale, and it became more enjoyable.

More problematic, however, was the glitchiness of the flashing cursors and text, sometimes making it very difficult to read the dialog. I also had a problem in Chapter 5 with the game completely freezing (I got a Corrupt File Message), but went back to two previously saved games and was able to play through to the end.

I admire Darris Hupp, or anyone else, who can singlehandedly create any kind of a PC game. The gameplay reminded me of Monkey Island 1, where, in order to solve a problem, you have to solve something else first, and before you can do that, you have to solve something else, etc, etc.

It was a cute story, with a lot of humor. I'm glad I played it, but probably won't play it again. smile smile

#87536 - 09/03/02 11:22 PM Re: Passage:Path of Betrayal
Mad Offline
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 28645
Loc: United Kingdom

Well reviewed Syd laugh

[Unfortunately, I couldn't get this game to play, despite Darris getting involved frown ]


Mad wave
Time : The Most Precious Commodity


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