Adam's Venture Episode 1: The Search for the Lost Garden

Genre:   Adventure with action sequences

Developer:   Vertigo Games

Publisher:    Iceberg Interactive

Released:  October 2009

PC Requirements:   Windows XP / Vista, 2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor, 1GB RAM, 500 MB Free hard disk space, NVIDIA 7800 GTX or ATI X1300, DirectX9.0c  





by Looney4Labs


Vertigo Games has joined the growing ranks of adventure game publishers who are releasing games episodically. Their offering, Adamís Venture Episode 1: The Search for the Lost Garden introduces us to a new protagonist, Adam Venture. Reminiscent of Indiana Jones, Adam loves exploration and danger and discovery and feels that ďA giant leap for mankind is only a small step for Adam Venture. Danger trembles when it hears my name.Ē

Whatís it about?

This story provides an unusual twist to a much used plot device. Adam has discovered an old Templar document showing the location of a site that many believe to be mythical--the gates to the Garden of Eden. He, along with his girlfriend Evelyn and Professor Jacques Saint-Omair, set off to investigate this possibility with the backing of the Clairvaux Corporation. As the game begins, the trio has set up base camp at the very foot of the storied gates and is seeking a way in.

Where does it happen?

Much of this episode takes place in a mysterious series of caverns. Adam ventures into them alone, and we, the gamers, guide him around this 3D environment from a third person viewpoint. Heíll cross narrow bridges, low crawl through tight spaces, climb ladders, peer behind waterfalls, and experience all sorts of challenging (at first glance) environments.

Say what?

For company, he has only his walkie-talkie, which he uses periodically to chat with Evelyn back at the base camp. Other than these brief conversations, and some ominous taunts from an unnamed evil force, Adam takes his solitary journey accompanied only by mood setting background music and ambient sounds appropriate to the underground setting. Adamís and Evelynís voices were well done, but the Professorís seemed over-the-top, as if he were always yelling. However, the spooky, creepy, manic voice of the aforementioned malevolent force gave me chills.

Can you shed some light on the subject?

Even though the setting is deep within the earth, it is never dark. The lighting is excellently done. I was particularly struck by how the shadow of a certain implement hanging from Adamís belt changed in response to his movements. Though the torch-lit caverns reflect mostly subdued reds and grays, I found the graphics beautiful. I was impressed with the detail in the characterís faces; however, their walking motion was not quite natural.

Puzzles, please?

As Adam travels deeper into the caverns, he encounters a few inventory puzzles, and there is a logic challenge near the gameís end. Mostly, though, heíll be searching out ten hidden treasure chests or solving one of the seven scrambled Bible verse puzzles. Correctly ordering these usually facilitates entry to the next area. For example, a gate will open, a hidden ledge will slide out, or an elevator may arise. Finding my way from one section to the other was really the largest puzzle in the game. However, since the game is linear, I did not find the need to double back and was never lost.

Though finding my way around really was not difficult, there were times I wanted to say ďAdam, just squeeze between those two stalagmites. You can make it!Ē Of course, that wonít work, so I just followed my nose and the gameís clues, and voila, eventually ended up where I needed to be.

There are a couple of timed puzzles. The first one I thought might be a game ender, but once I figured out where I was trying to go, it proved not so difficult (though it wasnít a piece of cake either). The second was just a matter of logic.

Though there is one sound puzzle and one color puzzle, I solved both using visual clues. There are no sliders or mini-games.

Move along?

Adamís Venture is controlled entirely using a few keyboard keys. In a form of ongoing tutorial, the game instructs you when an unusual key is needed. Otherwise, it is a standard WASD (or arrow keys) arrangement. Adam is required to jump from point A to point B occasionally, but these jumps are fairly easy. Heíll also climb ladders and move while hanging from ledges or ropes, but again, these are simple.

I would, however, have greatly appreciated being able to control the camera. It seemed to have no fixed point of reference. Sometimes it was isometric, other times it followed over Adamís shoulder, but sometimes Adam walked toward the camera. Occasionally, I lost sight of him altogether as he disappeared behind a stalagmite or waterfall and I just had to keep moving and hope that heíd reappear somewhere safe.

Life after death?

He usually did, but you can die. I did several times. The good news is that you reload (much like the Nancy Drew games) back at the point just before you died. The bad news is that saves are automatic and only at checkpoints, which thankfully are fairly close together.

Problems, anyone?

I had no problems when tabbing in and out repeatedly. Indeed, I experienced no glitches whatsoever. Also, even though it is a short episode (took me about three hours) of a larger whole, it has a definite beginning, middle and end (no cliffhangers here).

The bottom line?

Though this game has a Biblical basis, it certainly was not preachy. All in all, I enjoyed the time I spent with Adam Venture and am looking forward to seeing his story develop. Who knows what trouble he will find himself in next time?

Grade: B

Short List:

3rd person 3D adventure game with limited action components

First episode of a planned series, though the game stands alone

Keyboard control

Some awkward camera views

Automatic checkpoints saving so you only have one save

You can die, and you restart at your last checkpoint

Limited dialogue

Biblically based puzzles

Mood setting music and ambient sounds

2 timed puzzles

Limited inventory and logic puzzles

Linear game play

No mazes, mini-games, or sliders

Both sound and color puzzles, which can be solved using alternate clues

I played on:

OS: Win XP Professional SP3

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU @ 2.40 GHz

Ram: 3.25GB Dual Channel DDR2 667 w/ECC 2-DIMMs

Gx card: nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS

Sound card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Music


September, 2009

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