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#88442 - 01/08/03 01:04 PM Post Mortem
gatorlaw Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 11/01/99
Posts: 10312
Post Mortem
(A visit to the dark side)

I believe that Microids is one of the finest developers of adventure games out there right now. What a legacy of impressive games: Amerzone, Road To India, Syberia and now Post Mortem. After the release of Syberia - there were two games that I thought had the most promise judging by their site teasers, pre-release game shots and general around the web buzz. Post Mortem was one of these games.. The US release by Dreamcatcher is coming soon, but due to a few canadian distributors, Post Mortem has trickled into the hands of my self and a few other gamers. So what was all the excitement about and how did the developers do. I’ll start this review with a resounding - yes! Post Mortem lived up to it’s hype, with a few caveats. As for how it did this - hmmmm let’s examine the evidence.

The Prelude...

The game is installed, you start it up - suddenly you are soaring down into the city of Paris. However - you quickly learn, this isn’t the Paris of lights. No.. this is the dark side of the city and it’s people. The music and faded graphics are classic Film Noir. A couple arrives at a hotel. Enraptured with each other, they pay scant attention to those around them. Laughing, they go up to their rooms. Flinging clothing and cares to the floor, they quickly tumble into bed. They startle at a sound and sit up mesmerized by what they see. What happens next sets the stage for this horror tinged detective tale. In these brief visual flashes, we know that a fiend of unknown and hidden identity has committed a ghastly murder with fevered violence. Who were this silenced victims and what is going on. These are just a few of the mysteries in this game. This is a story of uncertainties. Who were the victims? Why were they killed? Who are the people in this plot? Who can you trust? Anyone - perhaps no one. Such begins the tale of our reluctant detective and jaded hero.

Act 1: The Usual Suspects...

I would normally start with the look of the game - but in this case, the characters are too good to wait. Our hero is an artist/detective. He is an American of uncertain background. How he came to Paris may not be important - or is it? There is a difference in him and it is not just an artists eye… He sees things, things that will be or maybe echoes of what was. He has friends or perhaps acquaintences would be a more apt term. Bebe, the hostess at the Alamet Bistro, It’s proprietor, Huillot, a man of easy ethics and questionable motives. There is another , Hellouin, who has been prying into the lives of others. An ally or perhaps a suspect or worse. And then of course the client, Sophia Blake. For in any seedy detective tale there is always a client. A beautiful woman, with secrets to hide - who may or may not pay her bill. The characters are engrossing in Post Mortem. The main character has a world weary tone to his voice, I thought it seemed perfect for the plot and surroundings. The remainder of the cast are well acted and fleshed out.

Act 2: The Plot Thickens...

The story in this game is defintely one of it’s strong points. That is saying a great deal - as I think Post Mortem is the finale to the Microids slam dunk started by the release of Syberia. . You have to look hard to find weak points in this game. Curiously there are two distinct layers to this games plot. There is the over riding plot line and then there is a thread that weaves it’s way through out the game - altered by varied choices you make through out your game play. It was very hard to articulate this feature - but I will try to describe it in more detail in a moment. In any event, there are twists and turns in this game, some will be anticipated others will surprise. The good guy bad guy line in this game is also murky at best. Some "friends" are far from perfect and probably can not be trusted too far. I love a horror tinged plot, with supernatural overtones. There are of course the predictable conspirators with evil intentions (hard to not think that with such grotesque and seemingly senseless murder afoot) But Microids managed to come up with a unique angle on a centuries old group and spring some historical surprises on this gamer. If this plot synopsis sounds a bit vague, it is intentional - I really don’t want to give away any of the delicious plot turns.

Act 3: The Stage is Set...

The graphics in Post Mortem seemed perfectly oriented to the mood of the game. Some may find them a bit on the dark side (meaning light levels). However, the cut scenes are crisp and easy on the eyes regardless of your preferences. The music is up front in cafes and such where it would be logically present and back ground only for other areas of the game. It enhances the sultry surrealistic tone of Post Mortem. Again - this was my kind of game. I adore the questionable ethos of Bogie, Film Noir and Hitchcock. So Post Mortem also gained my admiration..

Act 4: The Best Laid Plans...

Post Mortem is absolutely unique in the way it is laid out - or I suppose the way it is coded or structured. It has no dead ends. Yep that’s right no dead ends. This to me is the most impressive quality of this game. Now there are some tough puzzles. One takes pixel hunting to a whole new level. To me, this particular puzzle was a distraction. In fact, I played this game three times and it didn’t get any easier. There is also a suspect sketch that may force you to grab a cheat. However, this irritation was muted by the novelty and logical integration of the other challenges in the game. You will have to look sharp and pay attention to your surroundings and what clues are given through questioning the many characters. Still the main point I want to stress is that after three replays I truly ran across no red herrings and no dead ends. No matter what you do… or how you get a dilemma solved - you will not mess up the rest of the game path. In fact, I urge people NOT to look at threads or hints for this game. You will be totally confused by some of the things you will read based upon how you are going through the game. It took me a bit of time to figure this out. I spent a day looking for an item allegedly by an elevator - that would never be in my saved game as I had chosen a different path earlier in the game. There are at least two ways to get past every challenge. There are three endings to the game. I replayed it for a third time to get the third ending and ended up with an entire mid game cut scene I was unaware of. What this game does is ask the gamer to "just play the game" and trust their own efforts. I realize we have all been conditioned to panic if we use an item in one place - and it vanishes - then we run across another puzzle that looks like it can only have been solved with the first item. This game says - "so what - look for something else then" - and more amazingly - there will always be something else that you can use if you look for it. My technical knowledge is pitiful - but I suppose I just have to say Bravo to the designers/coders/developer of Post Mortem. What a tightly wrapped - cleverly crafted game. Bravo!!

Act 5: Finale...

Hard to tell that I liked this game a great deal - isn’t it. Heh-heh If you love a wicked mystery, with a weary disillusioned detective and a multitude of plot twists thrown in with a good dose of horror - then this is your mystery and a must play game.

Final Grade: A

Specs:

I played this on a creaky old:

PIII500
256 RAM
16 Mb Video
SB Live
DVD/CD Rom
_________________________




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#88443 - 01/09/03 09:19 AM Re: Post Mortem
Puzzlewoman Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 01/18/00
Posts: 1035
Loc: Minnesota USA
Laura,
I just read your review over at the Disscusions forum. Wow, you put so much into the layout, design of this! Bravo happydance thumbsup
P.W.
_________________________
"Why didn't Noah swat those two
mosquitoes?"
Currently playing: The next big thing

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#88444 - 01/28/03 12:05 PM Re: Post Mortem
nolalou Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 02/10/00
Posts: 5037
Loc: New Orleans, LA. USA
Nice job on the review! I enjoyed this game, espcialy since many problems have more than one solution, and the solution you choose to one problem can effect what you need to do to solve other problems later on.

I see http://adventuregamers.com just posted a review of Post Mortem, and it isn't a good one! The Reviewer has lots of complaints about the dialog. I didn't think the dialog was that bad, but there were times when you could ask about something or someone you havn't discovered yet. I considered this to be a relitivly minor flaw.

Louid

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#88445 - 01/29/03 04:23 PM Re: Post Mortem
Hanksdog Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 1318
Loc: Mandeville, LA
Gang......

I'm just finishing playing it and GET IT NOW !!!!
IT is a good game and a keeper for me. I don't like the conversatons where you haave multiple things to ask, if you ask the wrong thing the conversation ends.....MY advice is to SAVE at EVERY point right before you have one (conversation)...an old-time bullhorn/microphone device will we shown that conversaation is needed. SO...do yourself a favor..SAVE before. You really can't go back after a conversation has ended to get more info....I'm not as generous as Nolalou...I give it a B+ or A-......however it is good !!!!
Get it now!
Love ya Hanksdog and BLanche
_________________________
Overheard Titanic "What's the worst that can happen?" Rockafeller.Done Still Life, Myst 4/5 PLAYING NIBIRU, Next "And Then There Were None", RHEM 2.

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#88446 - 02/16/03 12:07 PM Re: Post Mortem
nickie Offline
Grand wizard of high mucky muck
Adept Boomer

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 13453
Loc: Texas
Another two thumbs up for Post Mortem and for Laura's review. I've read the negative reviews on the game as well, and I disagree - but then to me the dialog problem was a minor thing, and to base your entire review on one facet of a game is a bit absurd. The puzzles are so well integrated into the story, and most of them are not so difficult. I had to go to a walkthrough exactly once on a code puzzle, and just because I was being lazy and didn't want to take the time to solve it. And not only that, the puzzles are fresh and different from what you often encounter. I thought the voice acting well done, but mainly the story was an interesting one, and made the game intriguing to play. And to have multiple paths to go in the story line - very creative.
_________________________
"How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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#88447 - 03/27/03 02:05 PM Re: Post Mortem
tigger Offline
Graduate Boomer

Registered: 04/02/01
Posts: 15679
Loc: England
Well I started playing it over the weekend.. in fact I started it 3 times.. just to see what happens if you chose a different set of questions!! I MUST stick to one scenario then go back and play from the others.. Loving it so far, the tone of the game suggests darkness, but the settings are beautiful in contrast ie the hotel. They have managed to get the atmosphere right without making the screen too dark to play.

Hugs

Tig wave
_________________________
A bounce a day keeps the doctor away!!
Playing Sims2, Sherlock, Phantom of Venice
Reading Storm Breaking

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#88448 - 09/06/05 05:06 AM Re: Post Mortem
Tempora Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 26
Loc: Greece
I am going to buy it but the game has a disadvantage.It contains a mature scene.Why the developers should put this scene? So people under 17 years old can not play the game.They should also release a version without this scene.The same thing happened with Dracula 1 and 2.The ESRB Description was That it contain Mature themes.But when i played it i did not notice such things.Also with The Longest Journey.The ESRB description was that it was for 17 years old because it containes strong language. mad
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O Tempora! O Mores!

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#88449 - 09/06/05 09:22 AM Re: Post Mortem
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26894
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Hey Tempora --

When Still Life was about to be released, there was quite a bit of discussion about this very issue. Some people thought that there should be a way to play these games with a second version that eliminated the vulgar language and "intense" scenes so that all gamers could play the game.

Other people felt that the developers should stick with their "vision" and put in as much swearing, violence and sexual content as they felt was fitting for the game.

It's definitely controversial -- no question about that!

Fortunately, there are many good, thrilling adventure games to play that don't have these mature themes or situations, so you have plenty of other options.

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