Safecracker II - fun and games!

Posted by: Reenie

Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 02:28 AM

Safecracker II Review
by Reenie

First of all let me say that this game is not for everyone. There are no dragons, spells, special effects, spies, quests, mummies, worlds to save, power gems, space ships to fly or holy relics to reclaim. There is nothing but a series of safes to open, all of which present you with a variety of challenges from simple to maddening. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, don’t buy this game, don’t play it, and don’t complain about it later. ‘Nuff said. wink

BACKGROUND
At the beginning, your environment is limited to a small part of the interior of a mansion. You have to begin right away to open safes in order to get keys to open doors to the rest of the mansion. The story line is pretty much nonexistent: it is basically the tired cliché of the eccentric millionaire leaving a behind a hidden will that all of his relatives want to find. You don’t meet the millionaire or his relatives, but I hope you didn’t buy this game to socialize -- you bought it to be pleasantly tormented by a series of diabolical challenges. There are notes and letters left lying around to give you hints about the missing protagonists and their personalities, but that is it for people. You are on your own.

GAME PLAY
The graphics are good throughout the game, with great detail and well-rendered colors, highlights, and three-dimensionality. The musical background is so insignificant that I can’t even remember it as I write this a day after finishing the game. Character movement is slide-show fashion, although within each "position" you can rotate 360 degrees and fully scan up and down. There is no padding or bogus hot spots; everything that you can interact with is obvious. You don’t waste any time on false leads, like scanning every book in the library or opening every cabinet in the kitchen.

Immediately at the start, you get a map of the mansion. It expands as you gain access to more of the mansion. The map also keeps track of all the safes by showing a red "X" in each room where a safe is located. Once you have solved a safe, its "X" turns green. This helps when you are deciding where to go next. I recommend you also draw your own map because you will want to annotate it, to remember which safe is which. Some need a card key, some need a special shaped key, some need a combination of numbers, some need some special handle or cranking device. Once you open a safe and find a key or device, you’ll want to remember where to go to use it.

Keeping notes is important for other clues as well. You’ll find clues as well as red herrings, and it is easier to just copy them down than to try to remember everything. In any case, the end safe combo cannot be obtained without collecting and combining four sets of clues that you can’t contain in your head.

The inventory is standard, as is its use. Once you have correctly used an inventory article, it is "crossed out" in your inventory. This makes it obvious what items are still "live" when you open inventory and makes management easier. You don’t pick up any bogus inventory, so no effort is wasted there, either.

THE SAFES
So, on to the safes. All of the safes "reset" if you back away. I liked this feature because sometimes I would get confused and want to start over. So I’d just back out, then go back in.

The first few safes are pretty easy, and you rapidly gain access to the whole lower floor of the mansion. A couple of the safes at first seem to have no obvious solution, but then you look harder and start to see a pattern. With several of them, I felt I got the solution by luck. With one, I still don’t know how I got it. For most, there is a definite and addicting "AHA!" feeling when you get the green light and the door opens. happydance

I never got the sense that any puzzle was a cheap shot or was presented without giving you an adequate chance to solve it. That is not to say that they were easy, just not "tricky" in a mean way. The game is fun. No one is mocking you, like in 11th Hour, although the dead millionaire has left behind some snide notes of congratulation. You don’t need an encyclopedia or a degree in physics to have a fighting chance to solve everything. For the most part, everything you need is to be found in the mansion itself. You just bring your brains with you.

Having said that, there is nothing as simple as finding a key inside of a drawer or a combination written on the inside cover of a book. You have to work for everything. You do get some keys, but only by opening another safe first. You do get some combinations, but only by figuring out complicated clues in the house – or opening another safe.

All safes are opened by first solving a puzzle. Yes, there is a slider puzzle. Yes, there is a Magic Square puzzle. And yes, there are several of the "push-a-button- and-watch-the-effect- then-push-again" type of puzzles that take some time just to figure out the WHAT of the objective before you can begin to solve the darned thing.

SUMMARY
It doesn’t take that long to play this game, unfortunately. I wish it had gone on much longer. Even including the time that the game was running in the background while I was working on a puzzle solution on paper, it only took about 9 hours to run through it. Seems to me there isn’t that much effort involved in creating a few puzzles like the ones required to open these safes, and the puzzles are the raison d’etre of the game – so why not just have more of them? I loved the game, and was ready to restart it from scratch again as soon as I finished it. It was really fun, just too short.

I give the game an A for interest, presentation and challenge. I give it a D for length, only because I didn't want it to end.

GAMING PLATFORM
Windows XP
Intel P4 (2.4GHz)
ASUS P4T-E motherboard
Western Digital 120 gig HD
500+ RAM
Soundblaster 5.1
nVidia GeForce 4 TI 4600 video card
Direct X 9.0+
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 07:49 AM

Well done, and thanks a lot. I have it, but it will most likely not get played for awhile.

From what I've heard, I'm sure I'll spend at least 8 hours on the first slider rolleyes
Posted by: Reenie

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 12:29 PM

I'll watch the "Hints" forum, and be happy to provide clues to anyone who gets stuck. Don't worry, anyone will LOVE this game that likes puzzles.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 01:26 PM

That's very good of you, Reenie.

Thanks
Posted by: Becky

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 02:50 PM

Thanks Reenie!
Posted by: Dineke

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 05:38 PM

Hi Reenie,
I wish i could express in writing what i think of the games i played like you and all the review-writers do praise

You are absolutely right in the review but i still could't resist clicking on drawers, books and kitchen-cupboards laugh

wave
Posted by: Reenie

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 09:42 PM

I just realized I listed my own gaming platform rather than what the game recommends. You don't need as much as I have. The box says you need the following:

Windows98/2000/XP
P3, 800 MHz
64 MB RAM
700 MB HD available
DirectX 9.0c (sound card)
16x CDROM
64 MB DirectX 9.0c (video card)
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/10/06 09:48 PM

Thanks Reenie. That's always good information to have.
Posted by: chrissie

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/18/06 02:27 PM

Thanks so much Reenie for such a good review. I wasn't sure whether to buy this game or not. But you have done such a brilliant job of describing it I know what to expect. I didn't think it was for me but would now consider it if I ever run out of adventure games!!!!!

praise
Posted by: MsMercury

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/20/06 04:38 PM

I wasn't sure about this game either, Reenie, but I think I could be tempted now. Thank you for a great review. bravo praise

Mary wave
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/20/06 06:27 PM

Just tempted, Mary?
Posted by: howlingwolf

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/23/06 08:11 PM

I myself was wondering if I would like this game or not-that is why I have put of buying it so far. I do like puzzles like the ones you mentioned so now I am tempted to play it-for I am in a gaming drought right now looking for new stuff to play while waiting anxiously for the new games I want to come out next month.
Donna
Posted by: Reenie

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/23/06 09:20 PM

For me, it was the bounty of puzzles. I love a good puzzle, and it is really what I like most about Adventure gaming. (I started with the original Myst...) So, I just loved Safecracker II. Just bare-bones puzzles. thumbsup
Posted by: howlingwolf

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/24/06 12:48 AM

Reenie-
Sounds good to me. I checked out the price and it was only like 19.99 so I think I will pick it up. Thanks
Donna
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/24/06 08:43 AM

Come back and let us know what you think, Donna wave
Posted by: Skylark523

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/25/06 05:52 PM

I'm playing it right now and it is fun. I just found my way to another floor and the feeling was very rewarding. I made the mistake of not taking notes such as Reenie suggested and I'm paying the price of backtracking each time I open a safe and get another clue or object. All in all, a very entertaining game..........so far. LOL! Sky.
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 09/26/06 09:56 PM

Sky, glad to hear you are enjoying it. I'm a huge note taker laugh
Posted by: Rushes

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/02/06 05:08 PM

I was hmm-ing and err-ing over whether or not to buy this game, and I'm so glad that I eventually did. I played it over the weekend and had absolutely the best time with it - so much so that I went straight back and played it all over again. laugh

The graphics are very rich and detailed, I loved exploring every nook and cranny of this house. The satisfying "ting!" and the green light flashing on every time you correctly crack a safe - very rewarding.

Some of the puzzles took just a minute or two. Others involved a lot of head-scratching and brow-furrowing, but they were still fun (well, apart from the evil slider safe and number puzzle, both in the Museum; those just made me bilious).

A keeper, most definitely. thumbsup
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/02/06 05:19 PM

Rushes, Sliders make me bilious, too.

Glad to hear you really enjoyed the rest of the game, though. wave
Posted by: Becky

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/02/06 06:09 PM

I'm still stuck at the slider safe! lol

I think I'm going to have to admit defeat and get my 10-year-old to do it for me.
Posted by: Reenie

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/02/06 09:55 PM

Becky, be sure you know the design of the bracketed dollar sign before you start. Think about where the pieces should be. Then, the best way to approach the solution is to start in one corner, get those four tiles right, and then work your way across or down. When you get to the last four squares, they solve themselves.
Posted by: Becky

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/03/06 10:34 PM

Thanks -- I know the design (sneaky place to put it, by the way) but I've been focusing on the middle dollar sign figure. I get that right, then can't get the edges right.

I'll try it your way and see if that works better for me! Thanks. thumbsup

I still think they should have put the slider later in the game (like last, maybe).
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/04/06 08:43 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Becky:

I still think they should have put the slider later in the game (like last, maybe).
Or like, Not in the game! Have I mentioned I hate sliders rotfl
Posted by: Becky

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/04/06 09:01 AM

Give me bonus dynamite to blow up the slider safe. (Hey, maybe they did and I just haven't searched hard enough to find it.)
Posted by: Rushes

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/04/06 11:42 AM

35 sticks of dynamite and it would be a very short game. laugh
Posted by: Reenie

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/04/06 12:18 PM

Becky, because of the way that slider works (four pieces move at the same time), you can't easily solve it by working from the center out. You need to start from one corner and work your way in, getting each 4-piece section correct before going on to the next. If you understand this, it is a relatively easy slider.

Reenie
Posted by: Becky

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/04/06 01:04 PM

Thanks Reenie -- will try!
Posted by: Leeana

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/07/06 09:27 AM

quick question and if it were posted I do apologise my question is I bought the first game and it seemed to me that it was a "Timed" game you had to be out of the house at a certain time??? that is why I gave safecracker up!
Becky does Safecracker2 have anything thats timed?I cannot tell you how much I hate timed sequence!
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: Safecracker II - fun and games! - 10/07/06 09:35 AM

Leeana, I haven't played the new Safecracker, but I think I've seen that question before.

The answer was no, you don't have to be out of the house on this one by a specific time.

I hate timed stuff too, but don't think it is an issue with this game.

edit: Here is the thread I remembered