The last time I saw Alcatraz,
people were breaking in to stop a missile full of nasty bugs from
getting out. This time, Joe is already in and the nasties are out, in
the shape of the mob putting pressure on his wife Christine about some
A comic book set of sketches
open proceedings, detailing how Joe has ended up where he is. It
concludes in Joe’s cell, where a tutorial gets you going with the point
and click interface, then it’s off to roll call, and Joe’s efforts to
Deadelic are responsible for
some rather beautiful looking games, and at first blush this game
suffers by comparison. Backgrounds can be gorgeous, especially outdoors,
but the character’s appear blocky and a little awkward. Yet it grew on
me, and I ended up deciding it helped deliver on the slightly off kilter
An early prison visit introduces
us to Christine, and from then on you can play either of them, switching
between them at will. Each has their own objective, and if you get stuck
on one you can switch to the other. Late in the game there is some
puzzle interaction, but the separateness of the game play amplifies
their respective situations – one banged up, the other not.
The feel of the 50’s is quite
nicely done, including how they deal with some of the social mores of
the time. I thought they squibbed a bit on the inter-racial relationship
between Joe and Christine, hinting at it being problematic but nothing
much more than that, especially given some of the other more in your
face scenarios that are delivered.
The “50’s mode” option which
drenches everything in sepia doesn’t really add anything (except sepia)
but it looks interesting.
Puzzling is relatively
straightforward, sometimes too much so, and difficulty really comes from
some of the little hotspots you need to find. The space bar will tell
you where they are if need be. Some things that looked like they would
be puzzles are simply sequences to play through, and other things get
solved automatically when you find the relevant item. Not being hard
keeps things moving, but if you want a puzzle fest don’t look here.
Playing Joe is a bit samey, but
then he is in prison. Christine has some more interesting
interactions, which you might expect from a musician in North Beach
looking to get to avoid the mob and hightail it to Mexico.
There are some choices within
the game that can influence how things develop, and while some dialogue
alternatives suggest where they might be, they aren’t that obvious. I
haven’t played it again though so can’t comment on the how they
influenced what went down or how it got there.
The voice acting was good to
middling, nothing annoying, and the music was more than just an
accompaniment. The plot never really took off, and never felt dramatic,
but there are some moments that provide a spark, poignant and otherwise.
1954: Alcatraz lasted about 5 to
6 hours, and was an ok place to be for that length of time. In the end,
that was the impression; everything is ok. It promised more than it
delivered but while there are better offerings out there, there are a
lot that aren’t as good.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon
HD 7800 2048MB
The game can be
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