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.
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
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.
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.
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?
3rd person 3D
adventure game with limited action components
First episode of a planned
series, though the game stands alone
Some awkward camera views
Automatic checkpoints saving so
you only have one save
You can die, and you restart at
your last checkpoint
Biblically based puzzles
Mood setting music and ambient
2 timed puzzles
Limited inventory and logic
Linear game play
No mazes, mini-games, or
Both sound and color puzzles,
which can be solved using alternate clues
I played on:
OS: Win XP
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
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-FI Xtreme Music