Anacapri: The Dream

 

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   S-G Software

Publisher:    Got Game Entertainment

Released:  September 2007

PC Requirements:   see review

Walkthrough

Additional Screenshots

 

 

 

by Jenny100

 

Anacapri: The Dream is the second game created by Gey and Silvio Savarese. Their first game, A Quiet Weekend in Capri, was made using actual photographs of the beautiful island of Capri. Anacapri: the Dream also uses photos of Capri, only this time they're full screen and you visit parts of the island you didn't get to see in the first game. Besides the long hikes along the shore and up and down precipitous mountain paths, you'll explore various fortresses, castle ruins, and gardens, as well as the Blue and Green Grottos. Nearly every screen looks like a picture postcard.

Story and Characters

The story unfolds as you explore the island. Your character is alternatively Dr. Nico N, "a renowned investigator and expert on ancient civilizations" or Dr. Nico Fredi, a neuroscientist who has been doing research involving dreams and the human mind. Although you spend most of your time exploring the dreamlike paths of Anacapri, you'll also need to visit Nico Fredi's house to learn his story and find valuable clues about how to progress in the game.

At first, not much of the island is available. Unlike A Quiet Weekend in Capri, you can't get everywhere on foot. You must often take a bus to reach locations for the first time, and in order to use the bus, you must first find money for a ticket. Once you've visited these locations, you can either reuse your bus ticket or access the teleport map through the icon at the bottom of your screen (after right-clicking to make it appear). Besides using the bus, you'll also take boat rides and use a chair lift.

You meet many characters in the game, not all of which are in human form. Statues and mythological creatures occasionally come to life to speak with you, and you'll meet animals who were once people. Much of your motivation in the game involves finding a mysterious obsidian disk, which confers great power on the one who wields it, but which has also brought about great misfortune. Not everyone you meet in the game is friendly, and you must decide which characters are trustworthy.

Puzzles

There are quite a variety of puzzle types in Anacapri: The Dream. One of the first puzzles you run into is figuring out how to operate the bus-calling machines and the vending machines for bus tokens. Before you are able to use the bus, the area you can explore in the game is very limited compared to the number of places you'll be able to access by the end of the game.

Many puzzles require performing some action that activates a trigger. Objects may not appear or actions may not become available until you talk to another character or visit some location and examine a specific detail in the scenery. It is fortunate that inventory items glow to get your attention, because otherwise it would be hard to spot them in the detailed environment. Figuring out how and where to use inventory can be as much of a challenge as locating it.

The most difficult puzzles have a puzzle bypass feature (which can be found in the instructions on the main menu). Among these are a puzzle that requires artistic talent (or a very good memory), the requirement that you win a game of Scopa, and a challenging sliding tile puzzle with different sized pieces. Most puzzles require careful observation and attention to detail. For example, the elaborate Limoncello puzzle requires you to remember where you might have seen the ingredients, find a way to learn how it's made, and observe what happens when you manipulate certain objects in the environment.

There are no puzzles that depend on a fast reaction time. There is one puzzle that involves a timer as well as a bit of lateral thinking. But the timer is long, and there is no problem getting the job done in time -- provided you've figured out what needs doing.

Graphics and Sound 

The sounds in the game are nicely done. Background sounds may include the sounds of water, wind, birds singing, the occasional dog barking or cat mewing, clocks ticking, or machinery, depending on your location in the game. Sound effects may also accompany the animations that are seen when you use inventory. Music plays occasionally, though not all the time. It seems to be triggered when you enter certain locations and plays until the track is finished or until you leave the area. There is more variety to the music in Anacapri: The Dream than there was in A Quiet Weekend in Capri. The music may be ominous, peaceful, or energetic, depending on the situation.

The graphics are made from photographs and are mostly still shots. There are three resolutions to choose from, 1024x768, 1280x800, or 1440x900. The instructions also recommend setting your DPI to Normal (96 DPI). (If you don't know what this means, you're probably already at the normal default setting. People with high resolution laptops or monitors may change the DPI of their screen to increase their font size if text is too small for them to read.)

Some screens are oversized panoramic views which are too large to display on your screen all at once. You are able to pan around these screens by clicking on arrows at the top, bottom, right, and left of your screen. Double-clicking the panning arrow speeds up the pan, which is normally slow and leisurely enough to examine details as the screen is moving. These oversized screens are usually found where there are impressive vistas, such as when looking out towards the sea from the top of a mountain. Many include the picturesque Faraglioni rocks as part of the scene.

Some scenes have animations, such as water movement or shop lights flashing. The characters you meet in the game are not animated, but shown in a still image or series of still images as they speak.

Virtual Tour (Exploration Mode)

As with A Quiet Weekend in Capri, there is a virtual tour available for those who wish to look around before starting the adventure game, or who don't want to play the adventure game and simply wish to go sightseeing. During the tour, as you move around, you will trigger the voice of a female narrator who will tell you a bit about what you're looking at. Clicking the microphone icon at the bottom of the screen will turn off the narration. Music will start playing at certain points during the tour, just as it does during the game. There is an option to raise or lower the volume of the music, though you can't get rid of it completely.

There are a very few places that are not accessible during the virtual tour which are accessible during the game. For example, the downstairs parts of the forts are walled up and inaccessible in the virtual tour. (I assume this is because the rooms that you are able to enter during the adventure game don't exist in real life.) The bus rides and boat rides don't seem to be accessible either, though you can go on the chair lift. The delightfully spooky walk through the caves near the Blue Grotto is intact, and includes all the creepy sound effects and visual surprises as in the adventure game.

Controls

The point-and-click controls will be familiar to anyone who has played A Quiet Weekend in Capri. For those who haven't, there may be a bit of a learning curve because the controls are slightly different from those in other adventure games. But getting around in the game is essentially the same as in most other point-and-click games, where clicking on an arrow moves you to the next screen. Anacapri is played from the first person perspective, where you view the gameworld through the eyes of the main character. You never actually see him onscreen.

Upon starting the game, the first game screen allows you to select which language you want to use (English or Italian) and whether you want to play the "Adventure game" or use the "Exploration mode." You can't change these settings once you've started the Adventure game or Exploration mode. You must exit the game and restart it to be able to access these selections again. Fortunately the game doesn't take long to start.

While playing the game (or using the virtual tour), a reverse arrow and a down arrow are visible at the bottom of the screen. The reverse arrow will turn you around 180 degrees while the down arrow will back you up a step. Right-clicking brings up a series of icons along the bottom of the screen. At the far left, an icon that resembles a laptop screen will take you to a screen where you can choose to review the conversations you've had with different characters. Clicking on a picture of the person (or animal) will bring up a screen with a text version of what was said during the conversation. As you progress in the game, new icons will appear for the different characters you meet. Clicking the down arrow at the bottom of the screen will exit this screen and bring you back to the game. 

The icon that looks like a scissors and screwdriver will take you to the main menu, where you can save and load the game, review the instructions or change configuration settings for the game, such as whether hotspots are highlighted (by a black rectangle) or whether the scene number will be visible in the lower right corner during game play. This feature is useful if you find you have a special interest in a particular scene and want to use it for your desktop or make a collection of your favorite screenshots. Once you have the screen number, you can find the jpg image in the game folder and view it outside of the game with an image viewer such as Irfanview or MS Paint, or set it as your desktop background. There are nine save slots provided, though unfortunately you aren't able to name your save and there is no way to tell where and when the save took place from within the game. The game does keep track of your latest save though, and displays a white square around the number of the save to cue you into which save to select. You click "Start" and then either "from where you are," the number of your save, "from the beginning," or "jumping" to get back to the game. Some of these selections aren't available at the beginning of the game. For example, "jumping" won't appear until you've explored enough to have more than one jump point.

An icon that resembles a beam of light takes you to a map where you can teleport to places you've already visited. These places appear on the map in the form of bull's eyes. Hovering your mouse over them will bring up a labeled picture of the place they connect with.

The icon resembling a world globe will bring up a close-up map. Its appearance varies with where you are in the game. Depending on where you are, it may resemble a road map or the floor plan of a building and its surroundings.

An icon of a bag brings up the inventory screen. Clicking an item will cause an eye icon and a hand icon to appear at the bottom of the screen. Clicking the eye icon gives you a close-up view of the object along with a description. Sometimes side arrows appear that allow you to turn the object over to view a clue on the other side, or to turn the pages of a book. The down arrow returns you to the previous screen. The hand icon lets you use the selected object at the location where you are in the game. Once you click the Use icon, it is automatically used in the proper matter, provided you've selected the right item at the right location, and you see an animation of the item being used. If the item is not applicable, you hear a buzzer.

The icon of the trumpet adjusts the volume of the music. Continuing to click on it will raise or lower the volume, though it won't eliminate it completely.

Most of the icons you see during the virtual tour (Exploration mode) are the same as when playing the game. But in addition there is a microphone icon which allows you to turn off the tour guide's narrations. Exploration mode has "Start" options from the main menu screen that include "from the beginning" and "jumping." "From the beginning" starts you out at the Piazza Vittoria jump point. "Jumping" starts you out at the teleportation map, with all possible teleportation points activated.

Installation

Installation takes a looong time. Anacapri: The Dream comes on DVD, and the files are compressed. So your computer has many many files to decompress and copy to the game folder, which is more complex than simply copying files directly. I played on a 3.2 GHz computer with 1 GB of RAM and a 16X DVD drive, and installation took about 40 minutes. The game takes up almost 7 GB of hard drive space.

Specs of the Computer I Played it on

Dell 8400

Windows XP SP1

3.2 GHz

1 GB system RAM

ATI Radeon X800 SE with 128 MB video RAM

SB Live sound card (Dell's version)

Minimum System Requirements (according to the readme)

Windows XP

XGA monitor capable of displaying 1024x768 and 16 million colors

7 GB free hard disk space

DVD reader

256 MB system RAM

Suggested System Requirements (according to the readme)

Windows XP

XGA monitor capable of displaying 1024x768 and 32 million colors

7 GB free hard disk space

DVD reader

1 GB system RAM

Miscellaneous Comments

Anacapri: The Dream is for the most part a relaxing game to play. But there are a few areas that are a bit spooky. As you descend into the caves near the Blue Grotto, you hear ominous sounds, and as you are on the way out, a rather startling surprise awaits you. Although you can't "die" in the game, there is some tension towards the end as you are being stalked.

Some of the more well known places you'll visit include Red Beard's Castle, the Palazza a Mare, the Walkway of the Forts, Villa San Michele, Marina Piccola, and the Grotto of Ferns (Grotta delle Felci). The Walkway of the Forts may be of special interest to those who enjoy wildflowers. Along the main path, there are ceramic tiles with descriptions of Capri's many wildflowers and the uses and folklore associated with them.

There is no connection between the story in Anacapri: The Dream and the story in A Quiet Weekend in Capri. You can play the games in any order.

Negatives

Some of the voice acting, especially by lesser characters, could have been better, at least in the English version. I would also have appreciated being able to hear the game in Italian while using English subtitles, which was an option in Quiet Weekend in Capri. I also would have liked more slots for saved games, as well as the option to provide my own names for the saved games.

Recommendations

I feel confident in saying that anyone who enjoyed A Quiet Weekend in Capri will also enjoy Anacapri: The Dream. The virtual tour of Anacapri might also be of interest to people who don't normally enjoy computer games, but enjoy looking at pictures of scenic places like the Isle of Capri. Anacapri: The Dream is a non-violent game that takes place in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. And unlike most games, it does not require much in the way of a video card.

Final Grade:  A-

September 2007

design copyright 2007 GameBoomers Group

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