The Capri Connection
The Capri Connection
is the third game in the Capri Saga series created by Gey and Silvio
Saverese (the first two games being A Quiet Weekend in Capri
and Anacapri: The Dream). Unlike the first two games,
The Capri Connection was made entirely by Gey Savarese. Also
unlike the first two games, most of the locations are not in Capri
itself, but in neighboring areas on the Italian peninsula, such as
Amalfi, Positano, Pogerola, Procida and Naples.
It is not
necessary to have played either of the previous two games to play
The Capri Connection, though if you've played them, you may
recognize some of the characters from the earlier games.
As with the previous Capri Saga games, the highlight of
The Capri Connection is the beautiful photography of Capri
and similarly picturesque areas on the Italian coast. There are two
modes of play, the Adventure Mode and the Exploration Mode.
Story and Characters
You play as Dr. Nico Fredi, the protagonist character from
Anacapri: The Dream. You are sitting in your living room
watching your trusty old 27" CRT TV when "poof!" something weird happens
and your TV is replaced by a modern LCD type TV. Your cabinetry is not
the same either. In fact nothing is quite the same.
It doesn't take
long for you to learn that your mind has been swapped with that of Dr.
Nick Freuds, your counterpart from an alternate universe. You're now in
his universe -- or at least your mind is now in his body, which is in
his universe. And his mind is in your body in your universe. Apparently
this has also happened to many other people, and is the result of an
experiment by Dr. Costanzo Gravitiello gone horribly wrong and producing
a "large Space-Time Rip." What's worse is that if things aren't set back
to normal, both universes will be destroyed.
Along the way,
you'll meet several non-human characters. Along a wooded path, you'll
meet fairies, a leprechaun, and a witch. You'll meet a character from a
romance novel who has mysteriously come to life. You'll meet a
thousands-of-years-old drunken statue. You'll also meet a man (real life
musician Almartino from Capri) who can teleport himself when he plays
his musical instruments.
adversary is a woman (Mata Haprik) who is happy with the current state
of things because her alter ego's ex-husband pays his alimony. Never
mind whether both universes are destroyed, as long as her alimony is
paid on time she is happy -- and she will do everything in her power to
prevent you from setting both universes back to normal. She hires thugs
to beat you up and steal your stuff. She buys (or steals) necessary
inventory before you can retrieve it. She generally makes a nuisance of
Rip also causes some characters from history to appear. You may
recognize Lt. Nelson from the previous game. But not all the
time-displaced characters are benevolent. A would-be conqueror from the
past teams up with Mata Haprik and hires an assassin to take you out.
Frigo-T the Teletransportation Cabin (aka the teleporter)
You are assisted
in your quest to save the universe by what looks like an old 1950's
refrigerator (the Frigo-T) and the "Automatic Frigo-T Ticket
Distributor," a device that resembles an unusually tall red fire hydrant
(I guess it's actually an antique ticket machine, but I don't really
know). The ticket machine doesn't work for free. Every time you take a
trip to another area, you have to buy a ticket, and the ticket machine
automatically extracts the money from your inventory. The ticket machine
won't appear until you've done everything you need to do in at your
location. Without the ticket machine, you can't access the Frigo. The
Frigo requires a ticket to operate. Click a ticket on the handle, and
you'll be able to access the screen inside. Push the button to operate.
The Frigo will ask you where you want to go, then it will send you where
it thinks you should go, which may not be where you want to go at all.
So you don't really have a choice. This adds linearity to the game.
Why did they
make the teleporter look like an old refrigerator? Well, if it looked
like a new one, someone would steal it. And the time machine from
A Quiet Weekend in Capri was in the shape of a small hydraulic
press, and was thrown out by the maid, then put through a trash
compactor and destroyed. So they chose to disguise the teleporter as
something large enough that the maid couldn't throw it away easily. All
this is described in one of your conversations with Gennaro Gravitiello
and in the catalog of Costanzo Gravitiello's inventions, which you
receive early in the game.
Other Game Controls
The interface is point-and-click with first person point of view.
Although the point-and-click aspect is intuitive, other aspects are not.
From the main menu you can view instructions that include both game
controls and descriptions of icons.
When you start
the game, you have a choice of "Center Screen" or "Full screen." "Center
Screen" displays the game in a 1024x768 window, centered on your monitor
screen and surrounded by black. "Full Screen" will stretch the image so
it fills your monitor. On a widescreen monitor, there is no choice for
pillarboxing and everything and everybody on the screen will look
fattened (like in a funhouse mirror) if you use the "Full Screen"
option. More on this in the Graphics section.
can be confusing at first. For example, instead of clicking "Use" to
answer your cell phone, you have to "Examine" it. "Use" is only for
using an item "on" something else, either on something in the game world
or on another inventory item.
The Start screen
includes an option to turn hotspot highlighting on or off. There is
always a cursor change when you hover your mouse over hotspots, but the
"hotspot highlighting" surrounds active areas with a thin rectangular
outline. The outline is black in XP, but gray in Vista, 7, and 8.
the game, right-clicking will bring up icons for various controls. The
scissors icon will take you to a screen where you can save, exit, or
load a different save. The blue icon at the left brings up a laptop-type
interface with pictures of the people you've met in the game. Clicking
their picture allows you to view a transcript of your conversation(s)
with them. One of the icons opens your inventory screen. Another one
temporarily adjusts the volume of the music.
If you are using
the "Exploration Mode," there is an icon that allows you to visit other
areas. But in "Adventure Mode" all your "teleporting" has to be done via
the Frigo and its red ticketvending friend. The icon that looks like the
world only shows where you are on the map. It's a different icon that
allows you to teleport.
There is only
one map of the Capri area, which shows the locations you can visit. It
would have been nice if there had been maps of the individual areas.
Though most of the paths you follow are fairly straightforward, there
are some that wind around down hills and branch in places, and it's
possible to get lost.
Saves are stored
as text files in the main game folder. They can be backed up manually.
Saves are also compatible between language choices. For example, you
could start the game using the English language option, save, exit,
restart the game, choose Italian speech with English subtitles, and play
from the same save. Alas, there are only nine save slots, and you cannot
name the saves.
inventory-based puzzles, there are a few
set piece puzzles.
Many of the
characters you meet give you puzzles to solve before they will help you.
Their puzzles are related to their professions. The doctor from the
Department of Mathematics gives you a math-related puzzle. The attendant
at the Aquarium challenges you with a fish-related puzzle. The Oracle
has a puzzle related to sorting out her garbled speech. The artist
Mariolina has more than one puzzle for you to solve, each of her puzzles
being related to one of her artworks. Sometimes she has already given
the puzzle to someone else to solve, and you have to find that person to
get the puzzle, solve it, and bring it back to her. Some puzzles are
connected with their location rather than with a character. For example,
Castel dell'Ovo has a great view of the surrounding area, and there is a
puzzle there where you have to identify locations that can be seen from
the vantage point of Castel dell'Ovo.
Some of these
puzzles are quite challenging. If you get stuck on a puzzle and don't
wish to continue trying to solve it, look for a white flag icon on the
puzzle screen. Clicking the white flag will allow you to skip the
previous two games, visuals in The Capri Connection are
almost entirely made up of photographs (with the exception of the menu
screens, the inventory screen, and the laptop-type screen that allows
you to view transcripts).
Anacapri: the Dream, some screens are panoramic. A small button
at the side of the screen allows you to pan from side to side. If the
pan is too slow for you, double-clicking the button will speed up the
pan. A few screens will pan up and down, with buttons for panning at the
top or bottom of the screen. A pause icon allows you to stop a pan
before it is complete.
photographs of real people. They are presented in a series of still
images (not animated). Since there is no animation, talking about
lip-sync is irrelevant.
The water at the
beaches is often animated, but not always. The waterfall in the forest
at Pogerola is animated, and looks quite nice.
modern games, The Capri Connection does not automatically
change your desktop resolution to suit the game. Each time you start the
game, you are given a choice between playing "Full Screen" or "Center
Screen" (windowed). Unfortunately, neither is optimal on a modern
widescreen monitor. On my widescreen monitor, "Windowed" meant the game
played in a box that only used a little over 1/3 of my monitor's screen
area. "Full Screen" filled the screen, but stretched the picture
horizontally. There was no option for pillarboxing (black bars on the
sides) while retaining the original shape of the picture. I ended up
reducing my desktop resolution before starting the game in "Center
Screen" (windowed) which produced an acceptably large window.
To see an
illustration of the problem with horizontally stretching a
non-widescreen picture to fit a widescreen monitor, check the article
called "Maureen O'Hara Vs. the Egg People"
As the article
says, "When the picture is stretched out this way, thin people look fat
and fat people look enormous." The author of the article calls these
fattened people "egg people" -- not an egg sitting in the carton, but an
egg laid down on the countertop, tipped over on its side, wider than
tall. Horizontal stretching doesn't do the landscape any good either.
Buildings, mountains, and waterfalls look shorter and chunkier than they
suggests changing desktop resolution before running the game. The
information is included in the game's Readme, and the "Screen Setting"
suggestions, both on the screen you see when you first start the game,
and on the
developer's website here.
So the developer
himself is aware of the problem, but was unable to fix it, probably due
to limitations of the game's homemade game engine. He can only give
directions for changing desktop resolution -- directions which will no
doubt be ignored by those who are afraid of "messing up their computer."
Anacapri: The Dream was released, most people were still using
monitors that were not widescreen. They might have had an LCD monitor
instead of the older CRT, but it would probably not have been a
widescreen LCD. Today, most monitors sold for home use are widescreen.
Voice and Language Settings
You never hear your character speak out loud. Instead, other characters
pause briefly, then answer as if he'd spoken to them. The Frigo speaks
to you (or something inside it does), but the red ticket machine does
You are given a
choice of language options, which can be changed each time you start the
game: Italian speech with French subtitles, Italian speech with English
subtitles, English speech with no subtitles, and Italian speech with no
subtitles. If you aren't able to understand what was said, you can
right-click and use the laptop icon on the left to bring up pictures of
the characters. Choose the character you were talking with and you will
see a transcript of all your conversations with the person. If you
choose English with no subtitles or Italian with English subtitles, the
laptop will display your conversations in English. Choose Italian with
no subtitles, and the laptop will display your conversations in Italian.
If you choose Italian with French subtitles, the laptop will display
your conversations in French.
The same save
will work for all the language options. However I did not find a way to
access the language options without exiting and restarting the game.
Many of the
voices for characters in the English version were done by American
gamers, some of whom were recruited through Gameboomers forum and other
adventure game forums. Though the English speech is better than in
Anacapri: The Dream, it generally sounds too slow. This was a
deliberate choice by the developer -- the actors were told to speak more
slowly than normal so that gamers who weren't native English speakers
would be better able to understand them. Of course that brings up the
question of why there are no English subtitles for the selection with
English speech, which would be even more helpful for non-native English
speakers, as well as for native English speakers who have some degree of
hearing impairment. The same goes for the Italian with no subtitles.
What about non-native Italian speakers who want to play the game in the
original Italian language while brushing up on their Italian? Slow
speech may help somewhat, but subtitles help more.
Sound and Music
I'd rather have
heard background sounds in the areas I was visiting -- the sounds I'd
have heard if I'd been walking around Capri in person. Occasionally the
music goes silent, and you can hear background sounds -- sounds of
birds, sounds of the ocean. But there didn't seem to be much variety in
the background sound, even when you did hear it.
You cannot turn
off the music. You can reduce it down to 10%, but you cannot get rid of
it completely. By right-clicking to make icons appear, then clicking the
sound icon (located at the far right) five times, you can get the volume
down to 10%. But reducing the volume is only temporary. The music loops,
and each time it restarts, it will go back to full volume and you have
to click, click, click, click, click the sound icon all over again to
get it down to 10%. If you go to an area with different music, the
volume will reset to maximum again, and you have to click the icon
As with the
previous games in the series, it is possible to skip the Adventure game
part and just wander around the locations included in the game -- a
virtual stroll through the areas visited in the game.
include Castel Dell'Ovo, Museo del Sottosuolo, Parco Virgiliano, and
Rotonda Diaz in Napoli (Naples); La Chiaiolella, Ponte, Porto, and
Spiaggia in Procida; Amalfi, Pogerola, and Positano in Costiera
Amalfitana; and the House of Nico Fredi and Monte Solaro in Capri.
The "Log Art"
area (House of Mariolina) is handled differently between the Adventure
and Exploration parts of the game. In Adventure Mode, the artist
welcomes you into her apartment and shows you the examples of Log Art
that she has on display around her home. In Exploration Mode, you don't
enter her apartment. Instead you are presented with a non-interactive
picture of her front door and invited to visit the Log Art website at
www.logart.name where you can read more about Log Art.
"Exploration Mode" could be confusing for someone who hasn't already
played the game, and wonders why all these parks and resort areas have
old refrigerators standing out in plain sight. Yes, Frigo got lonely and
is following you around. His erstwhile friend, the red ticket machine,
has deserted him.
I did not have
any technical problems with the game after it was activated. Activation
involved copying a 14-digit number that the game generated for me and
emailing it to the game's developer. He emailed me back a 10-digit
number. After entering the 10-digit number into a box on the game
screen, the game started properly. If you purchase the game from some
place other than the developer, activation may be handled differently.
requirements are very low, and the game should run on any version of
Windows from XP through Windows 8. Windows Media Player is required, as
well as a minimum graphics resolution of 1024x768. Since the game used
online activation, I did not play it on anything but 64-bit Windows 8.1.
Connection didn't seem
to be as long a game as Anacapri: the Dream, but that may
be because of its linearity. Although you are free to roam within
locations, you can't choose which location to visit. The ticket machine
decides when you can leave an area, and the Frigo decides what area you
I'd recommend the game to any fans of the previous Capri games, as well
as to anyone who'd enjoy seeing the beautiful photographs of Capri and
neighboring coastal areas. Someone who has never played one of the Capri
games before should be aware that the controls are a little "different"
from other adventure games, even though they are point-and-click.
Despite the limitations of the (apparently homemade) game engine,
The Capri Connection offers a glimpse of a beautiful part of the
world that you don't find in other games.
The game can be bought from the
S-G Software website.
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