I’ve played through a preview version of Delaware St. John: The Town with No Name
and was pleased once again to hear the Delaware St. John theme music. There’s something about the music of strings countered by bell strokes that elicits a prickly, anticipatory feeling.“Why Do I Have These Visions?” – Delaware St. John
The game opens with Delaware narrating. He’s had a lot to think about since the spooky adventure of The Curse of Midnight Manor
. Pictures of Delaware and his associate Kelly accompany the narration, providing a sense of their ordinary lives between expeditions into the paranormal.
There’s a new character in The Town with No Name
– Simon, a friend of Kelly’s who is a research geek with a British accent and a sarcastic sense of humor. Well, Delaware calls him a “geek” anyway. The Town with No Name
uses a first person point-and-click interface, with still screens and no 360 degree panning. There’s an inventory at the bottom of the screen that is easy to use, and three buttons that operate the VIC (Voice Imagery Communicator). The VIC allows you to talk to Kelly and Simon, and to send them photographs and sound recordings of paranormal activity for analysis. Voice acting again is excellent.“Just Don’t Let This Place Trap You, Too” – The Usher on the Mezzanine
The Delaware St. John series excels at taking you to beautifully detailed, storied and haunted places, where past events gradually reveal themselves. Although you will understand the main characters a bit better if you play The Curse of Midnight Manor
before playing The Town with No Name
, it is possible to have a fine time in this second game without playing the first one.
The town with no name is a ghostly place even before you see the ghosts. There’s a cloud-swept night sky with a few stars peering down. Illumination comes from the moonlight and Delaware’s flashlight. This works well -- outside, there are reflections from pools of rainwater on the ground, and inside there are metallic and reflective surfaces that catch the light. The game has a dark atmosphere without seeming too dark visually.
Sometime in the past, the entrance to the town has been disguised so that no one will find it – weeping birches have been planted everywhere. The place is clearly in a state of disintegration. You’ll see cracks and holes in the sidewalk, rusting vehicles, aged and silvered window glass. Despite this, (because of this?) the place has a compelling, ethereal quality. A deserted playground graces the main thoroughfare. (I did try to dig in the sandbox with a shovel, but to no avail.) There are also many, many locked doors. Some of those doors eventually opened for me. Others are still a mystery.
There are two large buildings to explore here – one is a movie theater and the other – well, we’ll leave that as a surprise. The theater was built before multiplexes became a familiar part of our landscape. It’s a wistful place to explore, particularly if (like me) you have childhood memories of a small town theater with a similar layout. Yes, it has a mezzanine (always my favorite part). I also enjoyed discovering sassyladi’s photo. (I hope it’s not giving too much away to say that I found it somewhere in the theater.)
The second building in the game is massive. There’s a creepy interior courtyard, with a glass domed ceiling, and statues in classical and religious postures. I was left with the distinct impression that being a statue in that building was far more comfortable than living there.“I Know Who You Are, Young Man” – The Mystery Woman
There are more encounters with ghosts in The Town with No Name
than in The Curse of Midnight Manor
, and Delaware has become more capable at communicating with them. In this game, you are given dialog choices when talking to ghosts, and some choices will give you more information than others.
In The Town with No Name
, some of the characters you meet are (previously) lively young people -- this gives the story an innocent yet remorseful quality, particularly when juxtaposed with the eerie surroundings. The game’s background music adds greatly to the atmosphere. My favorite is the music that plays during the “It Has Come For You” sequence.
I’m beginning to get a sense of the weird things that were going on in this now-empty town. And the weird adults who thought they were in control of events. Clearly, at some point, disaster struck. There are hints everywhere, but I haven’t been able to put them together.
I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing the game in its final version. I hope it won’t be too long a wait, because I am now more than a little curious. Okay, make that very curious.Would you like to learn more about Delaware St. John: The Town with No Name? Read the full review by Inferno.