"Jack Orlando" from TopWare (I belive a Polish game company) is a detective story set in an unnamed coastal US city just after the end of Prohibition. The game is a 3rd person 'point & click' adventure. Jack Orlando was once a top detective, winning many awards and praise as shown in the opening sequence. Since then, Jack has fallen on hard times, and now frequents the very dives he used to bust during Prohibition. The story begins with your character, Jack, witnessing a shooting, and getting blamed for it. Your job is to find the real killer before you have to take the rap.
The game is typical point & click, with lots of inventory items available, but many are 'red herrings' and never get used. There are 3 or 4 major settings, such as Jack's apartment and neighborhood, Downtown, the Harbor, etc. But most are quite large and have lots of locations to explore. A good part of the game is spent Downtown, and it's a fairly large one, with many streets and buildings. There are several 'action' icons you use to control your character, an arrow to move, hand to pick up objects, magnifying glass to look at objects, and a fist & gun for when Jack has to get rough! (yes, you sometimes have to rough up some guys, and once or twice pull your gun, but these parts are fairly easy. You just click the fist or gun icon on the person you want to hit, and you pretty much can't miss).
One drawback, there are some 'dead ends' where you can get into a situation you can't survive, because you didn't pick up some item earlier in the game. (oh, did I mention you can die!). The 2 times this happened to me, I had to restore and replay about 10 or 15 minutes of the game, so it wasn't a big deal.
The animated backgrounds are very well done, sometimes colorful, other times drab as fits the environment. When speaking to characters (and there are quite a few you can talk to) a close up image of your character and the person you're talking to appear in the upper corners of the screen. When moving from one location to another, the animation of Jack getting into his car and driving off are very well done.
The game has a good musical score, and a song that was written for the game sounds like an old classic. For some reason, the sound sometimes got staticy, and occasionally would get real loud and freeze my game, forcing me to re-boot. A real bummer!
Voice Acting was not bad, especially Jack's character. He's a typical wise cracking detective, and the voice acting fit the part. I should note however, there is some rough language used in the game. One funny thing, I found two spots in the game where Jack is talking to a female character, and she will reply in Jack's voice!! Somehow there were a couple of lines given to the wrong voice actors!
The biggest drawback with this game are the technical problems. This is a DOS game, and uses VESA drivers. I couldn't get this to run under Windows 98 on my computer, and under DOS, it ran okay, but I never was able to get the sound configured correctly. I ended up playing on a laptop from work. (it was running Windows ME, and for some reason , had no problem, other than the sound static problems mentioned above.
Conclusion: I really enjoyed this game. The setting, characters, and story were all fun. There's just the right amount of humor as well. It's too bad the technical problems got in the way sometimes. One strange thing about this game, the box and manual are printed in Hungarian, and there is no indication that the game is in English. (well, I can't read Hungarian, so maybe there is!). I don't understand how they expected to market this to an English speaking audience. They went through the trouble of getting English speaking voice actors, but apparently never marketed the game in the US or UK.
Get it at: http://www.playinggames.bigstep.com
Pentium 166 or higher
DOS 6.0 / Win 95
32 megs RAM
8X CD ROM drive
SoundBlaster Pro 16, AWE 32
4 meg video with VESA support