A master thief, around since 1962, itís his thieving
skills that are the source of Diabolikís current (mis)adventures. Steal a
painting, or itís bye-bye Eva. Better yet, steal two.
A black E-Type Jaguar is his choice of travel, a
black skin-tight jumpsuit his favoured apparel. Which isnít to say, when
the need demands, he isnít flexible. A hot air balloon perhaps, and a
Heís a man of a thousand faces, and two piercing
eyes. No guns, no unnecessary killing, but gadgets abound. Grappling
hooks, lock picks, gas canisters, blowguns, image recorders and laser
pointers. From hi-tech to lowbrow, nothing is beyond utility.
Ginko is here, the determined inspector, forever on
the trail but seemingly one step behind. But not always.
Originally the progeny of two Italian sisters,
Diabolik stays true to its comic book roots. Numerous events unfold
through a panoply of (mainly still) comic pages. Some contain limited
movement, but most usually the motion is intimated, or portrayed through
the primary object remaining frozen in form but being moved through the
scene. The sense of moving pictures is heightened by utilising things like
split screens, overlays, and quick page changes. A good sound palette and
a not-too-bad music score round it out.
Oh, and plenty of Thwacks, Screeees, Splats and Ker-Splunks.
The other part of the game is a 3D world, through
which you move Diabolik via point and click. Itís a fairly drab world; the
black and white worked well in the comic book parts of the game, and
whilst freight trains and factories arenít all that vibrant, the 3D world
could have done with a spruce-up.
Pointing and clicking may take a while to master.
Not because itís inherently difficult, but because the camera angles can
make navigation tricky. As with many games, the camera changes to suit
itself and, unlike some games, you canít force it to be behind you. It
adds a little more persistence to exploration to make sure you have seen
all the nooks and crannies, and can make the timed sequences all that more
More of that later, but one thing that did help was
that Diabolik will continue on his way to wherever you clicked when he
started. So no matter how many times the camera angles change coming down
a hall, if you could see the door at the end of the hall in your original
view, and clicked on it, Diabolik will end up at the door. There is a
temptation, especially when you are running, to try and reorient yourself
(and Diabolik) as the angles change, and click again. Try and ignore that
temptation, and navigation will be easier.
Back to the timed sequences. There actually arenít
any, or actually there are a lot. It all depends whether you pick
adventure mode or action mode. In the latter, all manner of mini-games
involving reactions and timing are present. In adventure mode, they are
non-existent. So picking a door in action mode might involve wiggling and
wriggling a wire through a lock; in adventure, it simply involves using
the right inventory item. Or a scaffold might give way; in action, you
might have to quickly move your mouse in the right direction and if done
correctly, Diabolik will grab a rail and prevent a fall. In adventure, he
simply grabs the rail.
That doesnít mean there arenít things to do and
conundrums to solve in adventure mode. Itís mostly find and use the
correct item, but there are some logic type puzzles and dimensions as
well. Donít think itís just an interactive comic book; you just wonít have
action in your adventure conundrum.
I canít tell you whether the actiony bits become
overwhelming, because I played on adventure, and only just started action
to see the differences. I intend though to play it through, as it
certainly seems to change the feel quite significantly. A big plus, in my
Some things arenít as big. The writing is fine, but
drags on occasionally and never reaches any great heights. There are some
internal inconsistencies with the game design. Usually, Diabolik will not
do something unless he as a reason to. Sometimes though, he will do things
well before he has such a reason, and rather nonsensically as a result.
Also, if I have a lock pick, why should I need to find a piece of wire to
open a locked door? I got the odd glitch too (three or four over the
course of the game), requiring a control-alt-delete to get out.
Itís a very linear game, with a fair bit of to-ing
and fro-ing, but the respective environments are not too large, so the
back and forth is at least limited as a result. There is regular loading
going on between environments, only talking seven or so seconds, but it
did get a little annoying.
Right clicking scrolls through a range of cursers
depicting various actions (look, use, talk, etc.) and hotspot icons will
indicate things that can be examined or utilised as well as exits to other
locations or rooms. Make sure you examine things Ė Diabolik may not think
there is anything worth picking up if you donít.
You occasionally get to play another character, but
by and large you are controlling Diabolik. He is the star, and I confess I
liked him. He is better fleshed out than the other characters, and is the
sort to think first and biff only if necessary (although biffing is
certainly required). The comic book aspect in particular was well done,
and it also appealed to me.
Diabolik is a
decent length, and a bit of a throwback to a simpler world of goodies and
baddies and super dudes. Given there is a whole other game still to play,
its hard not to be satisfied. It might not win any prizes, but I rather
hope we see him again.