Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Irresponsible Games

 Publisher:   Daedalic Entertainment

Released:  March 2014

PC Requirements:  

  • Windows XP/Vista/7/8
  • 2,5 GHz (Single Core) oder 2GHz (Dual Core) 3 GB RAM, Graphics card: GeForce 200er/Radeon 300er/Intel HD 3000er or better
  • 6 GB HD space
  • Sound card
  • DVD-drive
  • Mouse

Additional screenshots   Walkthrough



by flotsam


1954: Alcatraz

Daedelic Entertainment/Irresponsible Games

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 missing loot.

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 escape begin.

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 beatnik vibe.

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.

Grade: B

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 obtained from GamersGate, GOG and Steam.

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April 2014

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