Adam's Venture III: Revelations



Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Vertigo Games BV

Publisher:    Iceberg Interactive

Released:  March 2012

PC Requirements:  

  • OS : Windows® 2000/XP/Vista™

  • CPU: Intel® Pentium® 2.0 GHz or equivalent AMD®

  • RAM: 512 MB RAM (1 GB Recommended for Windows® Vista™)

  • Video Card: Nvidia 6200+ or ATI R520+

  • HDD: 600 MB

  • DirectX: 9.0c

Walkthrough   Additional screenshots





by Becky


I first met Adam Venture at a 1920's archaeological dig as he was setting out to explore the secret location of the Garden of Eden (Adam’s Venture Episode I: The Search for the Lost Garden). He wasn’t alone then. He was accompanied by Professor Saint-Omair (the brains), Evelyn Appleby (the beauty), and a dog named Digger (the only character with common sense). As his name indicated, Adam was a venturesome type, and he spent a good part of Episode I showcasing his talents as an explorer, climber and ledge traverser. He also contended with pattern puzzles left by Eden’s mysterious guardian. But those puzzles weren’t nearly as difficult as finding a way through some of the underground obstacles or -- in a few places -- moving at the right speed toward the correct target. (For the GameBoomers' review of Episode I, click here.)

In Episode II: Solomon’s Secret, Adam and Evelyn – with cruel villains in pursuit – stumbled across the ruins of Solomon’s Palace in Jerusalem. Episode II was a significant improvement over Episode I. The character development, writing and animation were better, and the locations were larger and more varied. Though Adam’s physical skills and careful timing were still required, Solomon’s Secret contained more and better puzzles. It ended on a cliffhanger, with Evelyn captured by the bad guys and Adam near death among the ruins. (For the GameBoomers' review of Episode II, click here.)

“I’m good-looking and funny. What more can you wish for in a guy?” Adam

Episode III: Revelations goes back in time to Oxford, where Adam’s father is a professor and Evelyn is his new assistant. Adam meets Evelyn for the first time and immediately “impresses” her with his eager charm. They puzzle their way into a library (hey, it’s better than speed dating) and then Adam evidences his talent to grasp the obvious, with unexpected results.

Visually, Revelations is a winner. Like the previous episodes, it uses the Unreal 3 Engine, providing naturalistically rendered environments in full 3D. In addition to the remnants of Solomon’s palace, the game explores fantastic ruins under Oxford and a sea of rooftops rising above the purple mist in Luz, France. The sheer scale in some of these locations is spectacular.

Attention is lavished on the details too – reflections on a polished floor, or a vine with individually browned leaf tips. When underground, dust infects the air and rats scurry across the floor. Above ground, the pattern of sunlight changes as leaves fall. The background music features an exotic Middle Eastern flavor, and at times becomes heart-pumpingly dramatic. Frequent cut scenes focus on traveling and talking – from the back-and-forth debates between Adam and Evelyn to the mine cart joyrides under Solomon’s Palace.

“Seeing you like games, why don’t you crack the lock?” Evelyn

Revelations employs a third person perspective and a keyboard interface. Like the previous Adam's Venture episodes, saving is via autosave only. The Unreal Engine was created for action games, and that affects the gameplay. You guide Adam using the WASD keys: the "Shift" key -- run, the "Ctrl" key -- crouch, and the spacebar -- jump. When Adam moves to the right spot to trigger an action ("Inspect," for instance), you press the "Enter" key.

This third episode has fewer action elements than Episode II, and many fewer than Episode I. In Episode III, a couple of places with timed leaps pretty much accounts for the action/timed elements. Also, the paths are usually obvious, so it isn't necessary to "swarm" the screen (as in previous episodes), trying to figure out where Adam can climb.

Most locations have an invisible barrier that prevents Adam from falling. This barrier disappears twice in Episode III, and in these instances Adam may fall to his death. Fortunately, the game promptly restores him where he can complete the intended action. For an adventure gamer with slow reflexes, the final episode is a significantly more "friendly" experience.

“Now add forty-two to the length of that guy’s name…” Professor Saint-Omair

The handful of inventory challenges in this game are straightforward. Adam carries only one inventory item at a time, which is automatically used when he inspects the correct location. Several of the standalone puzzles are engaging, with logical steps toward their solutions – particularly the final multi-stepped cavern challenge. This episode takes the series in a new gameplay direction -- the climbing and leaping are child’s play compared to the non-timed logic conundrums. If you revel in ultra-challenging symbol and pattern puzzles (yes, get out the paper and pencil to take notes), Revelations is the game for you.

“I’ll tell you what I don’t know.” Professor Saint-Omair

Revelations’ characters, story and environments are top notch. But I struggled mightily with some of the puzzles in this game, due to the dastardly repeated puzzle series. These are the challenges that require the most trial-and-error, patience, and brain power. For these you view a close-up screen with patterned symbols (often with a twist thrown in). You latch onto the twist, nut out the pattern, and then send Adam along to the next screen with its similar, trickier pattern.

This puzzle procedure poses a problem because the game uses autosave only. What if you’ve solved the first screen using what seems like the correct logic, only to realize that you solved it by coincidence – or, possibly, sheer luck? You can’t just load up a saved game and look again to see why your initial analysis was wrong. There’s a better than even chance you’ll end up…studying the walkthrough.

Also, for a non-puzzle-achiever, some of the puzzle repeats can become tedious. There’s only so much game time that I want to expend tracing wires through fifteen 3-part connections, or adding and subtracting numbers along a complex electrical grid. (Yes, I know there are adventure gamers out there who will experience palpitations of joy just reading these descriptions.)

And last, the top-down maze – actually, three similar mazes. The setting for the mazes is visually striking -- they resemble giant gameboards held in the arms of a god-like marble figure. You guide Adam from an overhead perspective over a series of pressure plates. Each plate is surrounded by four gates that go up and down. The twist (or, more honestly, just one of the twists) in this case is a special plate, surrounded by lit torches, that lowers a bridge at the end of the maze.

The pressure plates each have a directional symbol. That should make it easy to figure out the direction to go after stepping on them, right? Wrong! What the maze symbols may mean is a mystery that I’m leaving for someone else to solve. All three times, I eventually beat the maze by trial-and-error, but still couldn’t say that the circular arrows were anything more than red herrings.

Trial and error when first experimenting with how a puzzle works is a normal part of the puzzle-solving process. Spending an hour or more per maze or puzzle screen using trial and error -- because it's the only way that seems possible to find a solution -- is simply frustrating.

“You just had to pull instead of push.” Evelyn

In many ways Revelations is an impressive end to the Adam’s Venture trilogy, taking our hero into even more extravagant ruins and pitting him against an implacable foe. Evelyn and Adam, through their quirky dialogs and engaging voiceovers, have developed into likeable characters. After the initial flashback ends, the story continues in this third episode to a satisfying ending. Yet the door is left open for a further sequel or the beginning of another episodic trilogy.

If you’ve never played these games, should you start with Episode I? Probably. But if you want an upfront sampling of the best visuals and toughest puzzles (and since Episode III begins with a flashback), you could play the first half of Episode III until the flashback ends, then play Episodes I and II, resuming Episode III mid-episode after the flashback to see the finale.

Quick List for Adam’s Venture III: Revelations

The final episode in the Adam’s Venture trilogy. A flashback to events in Oxford in the 1920's, then resuming grim reality in the ruins beneath Jerusalem. Featuring Evelyn Appleby, an imperturbable overachiever, and Adam Venture, an explorer/athlete who’s smarter than he looks.

3D visuals with monumental stonework and saturated colors. Music that’s appropriate for exotic, dangerous locations. The story is carried through cut scenes and brief, amusing dialogs, and comes to a satisfying series end.

Third person perspective, keyboard controls. The autosave system contains frequent checkpoints. No problems with installation, no glitches. You can die in two places; the game restores you to the moment before death.

A handful of inventory challenges. A couple of easy timed leaping challenges. The bulk of the gameplay involves logic puzzles, some of them repeated in a sequence, and many of them quite difficult. Trial and error is necessary. Three tough mazes, no sliders, one challenge that requires distinguishing auditory tones. No color based puzzles. The most difficult puzzles are the double ring dot sequences and the wired explosives logic challenge.

Appropriate for all ages. The game took me almost fifteen hours – though if you’re an expert at logic puzzles, you’ll get through it much faster.

Aimed at the fans of Adam Venture and at anyone who enjoys an archaeological thriller with majestic ruins. If you are constantly on the lookout for those rare adventure with truly tough logic puzzles, this game is a must-play.

Final Grade: B+

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April 2012

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