tempted to control the weather, have strawberry ice cream instead.
It’s 1953 and Lewis P. Higgins,
aka Doc Apocalypse, is determined to try the former. An earlier experiment
hadn’t ended well, so this time the weather experiment will be managed
from an underground bunker, with his family safely somewhere else.
Flip a switch, power up the Cloud
Buster, and the weather is yours to command. Or rip a portal in the sky
instead and let in all sorts of craziness.
Eight months later, and the
radiation levels have dissipated enough for the good doctor to finally be
able to leave his bunker. The world is now one full of mutants, aliens,
and every conspiracy ever conceived of.
The plot is bizarre to say the
least, assuming you can follow it. Area 51, secret arctic bases, the
Illuminati, Nazis, time travel and spaceships all get shoehorned into the
good doctor’s efforts to restore order. I am not even going to try and
explain further, other than to say it’s the kind of over-the-top B Grade
science fiction extravaganza you might have seen in 1953. It has its
tongue in its cheek, it's corny and occasionally funny, but it’s too
confusing by half.
B Grade retro aptly describes the
graphics as well. Ditto the sound. Midian seem to like this approach and
it looks like it suits the sorts of adventures they make.
There is no spoken word and you
read all the dialogue. Sound effects are minimal but sufficient, with a
not too bad musical score providing most of the noise. Dialogue trees –
quite extensive at times – allow you to learn what has gone in and what
needs to be done. Early on there are several characters to interact with,
but this decreases as the game progresses.
You play Doc, although at one
point you play both his wife Beth and his son Tachy (short apparently for
Tachyon). During that segment you switch between the two at will, and
their combined efforts are required to solve the various conundrums. It’s
an aspect I rather enjoyed.
The interface was less enjoyable,
not helped by teeny tiny writing and icons I found a little difficult to
differentiate. I got better at it, and younger eyes probably wouldn’t find
it as challenging. It also took me a while to work out how to “put down”
inventory items – in fact, you don’t. Once you select one, it stays with
you until you choose to “use” another one. It will then replace the
earlier one in your little array of icons.
The game uses action icons to do
the various things needed to get around the game world, another retro
approach. These are walk, talk, look at and use, and you scroll through
them by either right clicking the mouse or using the mouse wheel. You can
also select each one from the inventory bar should you want to. Once you
have the action you want, just click in the game world to initiate
(assuming of course it is an action that can be performed). It will be
familiar to many adventure players, as almost every game used to be like
There are things to find and
places to use them, which provides the puzzling. Not all of it is
straightforward; some of it downright ornery. Some conundrums are a little
directionless, the odd one or two rather obtuse, and the toilet puzzle is
a complete dud in more ways than one.
A “help” button in the inventory
bar will reveal hotspots and exits. I used it a few times as some hotspots
are rather small. A short tutorial you can play at the start takes you
through the gameplay basics (but does not explain the item use issue I
referred to earlier).
All in all, Doc Apocalypse
didn’t rock my world, but his efforts in his own were not without merit.
The game isn’t trying to be anything but over-the-top, and if you go with
the plot flow you will get the most out of what it has to offer.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core CPU 2.2 GHz
Ram: 4.00GB DDR2 400MHz
Gx card: ATI Radeon HD 3850 512Mb
You can purchase Doc Apocalypse via download
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