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#88197 - 06/18/02 02:36 AM Jazz and Faust
Lundar Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/09/00
Posts: 890
Loc: Texas,USA
JAZZ AND FAUST REVIEW

Jazz and Faust is indeed an interesting adventure game but with several things that hold it back from being the game it could have been. This game is from Russian developer 1C and it is their first adventure game released in the US. If you were expecting a game in the likes of The Longest Journey from Funcom in Europe or Syberia from Canadian developer Microids you will not find it here. If you want a smaller game that has some good qualities and fun, Jazz and Faust is your game. I have divided feelings on this game, on the one hand I loved it for what it attempted to do and yet on the other it should have been so much more. Let me explain by listing its pros and cons as follows before I explain what this means.

PROS:
-Diverse and detailed environments await you. I was impressed by the level of detail within many of these, as you will see, such as the wonderful design of the buildings and detailed skys within the game. It is evident that the developers of this game wanted to show us an environment which is rich and vibrant in color and detail.

-You will play as two characters, Jazz, a type of sailor that smuggles goods and has a passion for treasure and riches and Faust who is an honest and trusting sailor who falls in love for a fair lady within this game. You will get to see the story from two different perspectives and be able to traverse the mysteries and complexities that each of the characters gets involved in, especially with a plot involving murder and revenge within this game and the search for a legendary treasure. The use of two different and diverse characters is a feature I wish was implemented in more games which allowed you to see different viewpoints on the story being told. I enjoyed the fact that with each character you were able to do certain things differently within the environments depending on whether you were Jazz or Faust. This was indeed a highlight of this game.

-A game that is logical and reasonable and can be completed in about 20 hours.

-The music is very soothing and appropriate to the areas that you are in.

-Most of the puzzles are easy to understand and figure out.

-Very interesting ending that will surprise you indeed after you have completed the game with both Jazz and Faust.

-You will see varied animations such as the waves in the water of the ocean, signs moving, fog within a cemetery and so much more. It is obvious that the intent of the creators is to take us into a living and breathing world in which to play in and in some respects they accomplished this.

-There is humour throughout this game. I did laugh in a few instances due to the hilarious nature of what the character was doing or saying within a particular scene.

CONS:
-The voice acting in this game will have you wondering why professional voice actors were not hired or why they chose to include voice at all. Jazz sounds much better than Faust though. Faust and other character voices sound as if they are tired and are reading directly from their lines without any emotion or effort. A few of the voice actors such as the one that voices Lousa, do a decent job though and save this game from being a complete loss in this area. There is simply no excuse for the lack of quality voice acting in this game as this area should have been given more consideration than it was.

-There is a puzzle within the game that you may not expect that involves putting pieces of something together. It is frustrating in how the player must control the pieces in this puzzle. The excessive clicking required within this puzzle actually makes it harder than it is supposed to be. I eventually figured it out but I did desperately hope that they had made it easier to move these pieces such as that demonstrated with similar types of puzzles in many of the Nancy Drew games from Her Interactive.

-The sound effects within this game could have used much more work and effort but are adequate enough to do their job.

-There are typos in text and glitches if certain items are clicked on the wrong character. For example, playing as Faust, try clicking the money bag on Hank or the silver coin given to you by Hugo on the oriental dealer. Serious testing should have found these glitches and clearly illustrate the lack of polish within this game.

-There are times when certain things do not make sense within the story and feel as if they were just thrown at you. The story while interesting does not have the impact that it should have had, due to this fact, and many aspects of the game world are not fleshed out or explained in detail. You do feel in instances as if you are rushed through the story instead of at a pace that you will enjoy and in a way that you can comprehend everything that is happening around you. There is a great story to be told within this game, they just had a hard time exposing us to the heart of what could have been a much better story.

-Certain puzzles do not make any sense at all as well and you must play "the what do I do now game" with your inventory items because you do not know what the developers of this game want you to do in a certain location. This forces players to repeatedly click all of their inventory items in a specific location until a desired action is achieved. Some of the items are so obscurred within certain areas that you have to literally click all over the place until your cursor highlights indicating that there is an action to be performed within the area. If they would have fleshed out the story and conversations better, or made it easier to locate key items, instances like this would not have been as frequent or as frustrating.

-In certain sections you can't even read the characters text in the dialog box because the yellow text color used blends in with the background in that area. For example, if you are at the desert scenes you will see this happen when you view the characters text come out in the dialog box in this area.

FINAL OPINION:
When all is said and done and you consider the points I mentioned above, it is very evident that this game was rushed and could have used more time in development and more time in finding the bugs and glitches that were found in this game. Having been a beta tester for many other games I do not understand how many of these things I mentioned got through testing without being fixed. There is no excuse for the lack of polish and intense testing that should have been in there first release of an adventure game in the US. Does this make this game unenjoyable, no, but it does make one aware that the potential of this game could have been higher if given more development time and testing.

Jazz and Faust is still an enjoyable game nevertheless and I would suggest this game, as long as the limitations of this game do not bother you. This game does not have to strive to be like other games I mentioned but it could have easily been in certain aspects a much better game. It is hoped that the developers will take the excellent qualities within Jazz and Faust minus the inherent flaws and from this experience produce an even better game for the future. If you find that the inherent flaws within this game do not meet your expectations then I would suggest that you pass on this game and purchase Syberia which is now available or another game reviewed more favorably within this review forum. Having said all that, I had an enjoyable experience with this game! If you can live within the limits of this game, you will indeed enjoy what it offers and have fun. I leave it in your hands now to decide whether this game interests you or not.

FINAL GRADE: C+
-SUGGESTED GAME/CONSIDER BEFORE YOU BUY-
(This game is easily a B- rated game with its vibrant and stunning graphics and unique gameplay that relies on telling a story through two different characters. Glitches, lack of testing and polish, lackluster voice acting, and other elements discussed above bring this down within the C+ category. Jazz and Faust is a small and fun adventure game that is suggested and you should consider before buying this game if you are impressed by what it does well or pass on it and try some better games out there.)

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#88198 - 06/18/02 09:01 PM Re: Jazz and Faust
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks Lundar for the nice review. I myself would give the game a B. I am still playing the game, but I am really enjoying it.The one part in the game I hated was the dreaded Headstone puzzle, for the life of me I couldnt put it together, and a nice Boomer sent me a saved game .For that part only I would give it an F----.For anyone looking for an easier game to play I would recomend it.And plus you dont really need a walkthrough, its not really too hard to understand how things go.Graphics are good, and I think the voices of the characters arent too bad.So I give it a B. wave

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#88199 - 06/22/02 08:14 AM Re: Jazz and Faust
syd Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/12/99
Posts: 12306
Loc: Body in California/Heart in Ha...
Excellent review Lundar - I wanted to wait until I finished the game before I commented on it. As much as I liked this game (and for some reason I really did like it), the things that you brought out that bothered you were legitimate gripes. The voice acting (especially of Faust) left much to be desired. Jazz was positively animated compared to Faust (and why on earth did Faust keep brushing the knees of his pants? The man couldn't have had any material left on them by the end of the game). And the dialogue was interesting to say the least, but I chalked that up to the fact it was being translated from Russian into English and it's tough going from one language to another - especially a language as difficult as Russian. I'm sure the English way of talking translates pretty funny into Russian.

Graphics were beautiful in my opinion. The water lapping on the shore, the day and night scenes, the sunrise. All very well done.

I also enjoyed the story - even though some of it didn't make sense and I do wish they would have fleshed it out a bit more. And the ending was a surprise.

All in all I'm in the same league as catsmom - I'd give it a solid B.
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Dark Side : Risen
Light Side:

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#88200 - 09/27/02 06:14 PM Re: Jazz and Faust
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35199
Loc: southeast USA
I've started playing it. I'm enjoying it so far, but I'm only up to the part where Jazz arrives in the place that looks like something out of "The Arabian Nights" (Khaen). I noticed some of the voices of the people Jazz met sounded like Monty Python-type character actors and I actually enjoyed them.

The animations like the boat moving in the water, the water movement itself, and the sound effects, are really quite nice.

Maybe I should post again after I finish and get through playing as Faust. I don't think Jazz sounds bad at all. But in the brief time I heard Faust when he met Jazz, I didn't think much of the Faust voice. I thought the guy Faust was fighting had a fun voice though. The game does have a humorous aspect.

It's great that you don't need the CD in the drive after you install.

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#88201 - 09/29/02 11:39 AM Re: Jazz and Faust
nickie Offline
Grand wizard of high mucky muck
Adept Boomer

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 13453
Loc: Texas
I loved this game, and I thought you did a very good review, except I would agree with the other posters that it is a B+ rather than a C game. You did bring up some flaws, which kept the game from being an A in my opinion, and I'm hoping, as you said, that the developers learn from their mistakes, and can't wait to see the next product they release. It did feel rushed in parts, and there really isn't an excuse for not correcting language or spelling errors. It looks like they were leaving the potential for a second game, and I really hope they do it. Hugely entertaining, humorous,capable of being solved without clasping a walkthrough every minute, well done graphics, especially of water. I didn't mind the voice acting at all, and it positively glowed compared to the voice acting of Watchmaker.
_________________________
"How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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#88202 - 10/12/02 07:46 PM Re: Jazz and Faust
JMK Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2582
Loc: California
Thanks for the review! I'm playing it now, and, although it isn't the best, I'm enjoying it. I think Faust could have been more realistic, but Jazz is a lot of fun. The headstone puzzle took me hours to figure out! eek

Jean
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Playing "World of Warcraft", "Oblivion",and "Silent Hill 2"

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#88203 - 10/12/02 08:17 PM Re: Jazz and Faust
Skinny Minnie Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 04/29/02
Posts: 190
Loc: Southern MA
I really liked Jazz too; how they work in the switchover of characters is interesting and fun as well... happydance
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