Conspiracies II: Lethal Networks

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:    Anima Ppd Interactive

Released:  March 2011

PC Requirements:   Windows XP/Vista™, Pentium IV 1.8 MHz, 512 MB of RAM, 8 GB or more of hard drive space, 128 MB video card and support Shaders 2.0

Additional Screenshots   Walkthrough



by flotsam


I didn’t help Nick Delios unravel his first full motion video (FMV) conspiracy, but by all accounts it was a big one. This second FMV installment, about 8 years real time after the first and about 6 months game time, is also big. Like all good conspiracies it involves aliens, and throws in some clones for good measure. Add some mind control and some very special clothing and Nick will have his work cut out for him. Being framed for a murder won’t help.

The drinks with the sparklers, however, just might.

In fact, many things might help Nick. So many, many things. Things you can’t imagine might be useful in ways you couldn’t even contemplate. The giant ham was my personal favourite.

Assuming of course you can find them. There are no hotspots in this game, and while some items look like they should be interacted with – a lighter sitting on a bench, a lone USB stick on a desk – there are numerous items that are just part of the environment – a shrub in a garden, a projector in a theatre, a cupboard in a kitchen. Numerous items are also inside boxes or cupboards or drawers or lockers that look like just like lots of other boxes and cupboards and drawers and lockers which either have nothing in them or you can’t interact with them.

This gives rise to lots and lots of clicking, and lots and lots of looking, to find the lots and lots of things that you will need a long time after you find them.

Seek things here

All this looking is actually exacerbated by one of the excellent aspects of Lethal Networks, namely the ability to walk unconstrained around the game world. There is no node-to-node progression; instead, if you can see somewhere you can generally walk there. Once there, you can look all around and up and down, giving the game a distinctly real world experience.

This open environment, however, increases enormously the places you need to look. It also provides all sorts of opportunities to put things behind a chair over against that far wall, on a seat on the second tier of the auditorium, on the lower shelf behind the bar. It is somewhat of a treasure hunt, and even though your character might say something like “I can’t leave yet”, indicating there is more to find or do, it doesn’t help you find the things you need.

To obviate this issue, the makers have released a patch which results in a red arrow hovering over a necessary item if you turn on the hint system. It does help, although the arrow will only appear once you get within a certain distance, so you still need to explore, and the arrows may be visible even though they are pointing to things in the room next door or the floor below.

You can toggle the hint system on and off, and I tended to switch between the two, depending on my mood and how long I had been hunting. Call me soft, but I felt it made possible what would otherwise not have been. Kudos to the makers for hearing the noise and responding.

Kudos too for a further patch which is being developed which will apparently indicate where you can use items and also indicate other objectives. Finding things is one thing – knowing what to do with them is another. The game environment will indicate uses for objects in certain places, but on many occasions I had no idea which bit of the world might be “animate” and which “inanimate”. I don’t want painting by numbers, but neither do I want to be clicking all sorts of objects at the world in general in the hope of finding something that “works”.

Weak things here

This lack of feedback from the game about what I was doing was one of my biggest issues. There was too much random searching, too much aimless wandering, too much hopeful clicking. At one point I entered a room and ended up floating. I actually thought it was a glitch, in part because Nick was completely unresponsive to what was happening, and the game world told me nothing. Doing things elicited nothing, until I randomly did the right thing. I don’t mind being stuck, but too many times I thought this game lacked any helpful feedback.

There are times when using inventory items is a little more complicated than usual. If you try and use an inventory item too far away from the intended object, it will simply fall to the ground. You need to be close to things to interact with them, which makes sense.  However, some items can be used from further away, and I suggest you check the manual to be sure you know how to do this. I spent a lot of time throwing a slingshot on the ground until I worked out this extra function.

Much like Darkstar, another recent FMV game, Lethal Networks is best enjoyed by adopting a “go with the flow” attitude, and a B Grade persona. The plot is over the top, the characters stereotypical, and actors home grown. Nick is a rough and tumble normal type of guy, someone you imagine as a neighbour rather than a world saving detective. Plus he looks like he wore his very own clothes. Ditto for much of the extensive cast.

Speak things here

Greek is the native language, and I hate dubbed films so I played in Greek with English subtitles. A brief foray into the dubbed English soundtrack suggested this was a wise choice. You can in fact play in quite a few languages, but as the characters speak Greek, any other language means you are listening to something they are not speaking. Go with the Greek is my strong suggestion, and the English translation is only occasionally spotty.

You can chat to quite a few of the characters, and an extensive subject tree means you have to chat to a few of them a lot. This is important, as many responses will be insignificant but some are essential triggers. A door for instance will remain locked unless you have had the necessary conversation, so ask everything of everyone.

Some characters are quite garrulous, and more so in the cutscenes. Plot detail can come in large spurts, so be prepared for some lengthy sequences.

The game environment in the cutscenes  looked quite good, and certainly more interesting than the 2D game world. Music was a mixed bag, but I tend to turn it down anyway till I almost can’t hear it. Sound effects were limited but generally suitable.

There are some out-and-out puzzles, but the majority are inventory based. Many will keep you stuck for a while, some good, some bordering on illogical. Some will kill you, and you won’t know it till they do. You have to start from a saved game, so save often.

There is a timed sequence and a maze, both of which irritated me. The maze seemed like filler, but then I say that about most mazes. However, you are forced to search it all to find a few of those many, many things you don’t know you need but have to find. Getting through the maze to your objective is not enough.

Sneak things here

You will likely fail the timed sequence quite a few times before getting through it. It involves escaping from a prison in a limited amount of time, and has some very illogical actions. I turned the hints on, and then set about incrementally making progress. I tried to learn something new each time, and would start each sequence by doing everything I knew was right, then saving, then trying things till I failed again. I can’t imagine completing it without the hints. So "well done" to anyone who does.

There are two endings, depending on a choice you make near the end. I think I got the “wrong” ending, but will go back and play the other to see how “right” it actually is. My ending sets the game up nicely for Conspiracies 3, and I suspect the other one does as well.

I confess that, well before I finished Lethal Networks, it felt like a chore rather than an adventure. Which is a shame. It isn’t a bad game at all, just a “messy” game.

But it’s clearly made with a lot of passion (check out Becky’s interview), and the makers listen to the players. By all accounts there were issues in the first game which have been addressed this time and, as already noted, the makers are developing patches to overcome some of the issues raised by players.  This responsiveness should be applauded, and the end result of two patches might just be a fine game indeed.


I played on:

OS: Win 7 professional, 64 bit

Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz

Ram: 4.00 DDR2 400MHz

Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb


Conspiracies II: Lethal Networks can be purchased from the game's website or InteractCD.


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