Faust -  Seven Games of the Soul




Developer:   Cryo, Arxel Tribe

Publisher:    Dreamcatcher Interactive

Released:    1999

PC Requirements:   Pentium MMX,
32 MB RAM, 12X CD Drive, 290 MB free on hard drive, 16-bit color graphics card, 2 MB video memory,  SoundBlaster compatible sound card, Direct X 6.0.

Walkthrough   Walkthrough




by Becky

One of the striking things about this game is that you can play it all the way through, manage to beat all the puzzles, and still not have the foggiest idea of what is really going on. I had to play the game twice before I began to even have a clue. Fortunately, it's a good enough game that it is still enjoyable on the second go-round. The last time I had to play dialogue and cutscenes over and over before I understood some of the subtleties was, well, another game by the same developers -- "Ring".

Seven Games opens with a conversation between two Heavenly beings. It seems that the last person to live in Dreamland (the site of an old, now defunct amusement park in Savannah, Georgia) has died. This has triggered a long-awaited confrontation between Mephisto (a demon) and the player, Marcellus Faust.

Mephisto proceeds to take you on a highly individualized and fascinating tour of Dreamland in its "better" days. You explore seven dwelling places of seven of the park's previous residents. There is an unusually successful effort made here to develop interesting characterizations. Hotspots sometimes bring you an inventory item, sometimes a comment by Mephisto, and sometimes a flashback. The flashbacks are disconcerting at first, until you get used to the idea that weird or startling things are likely to happen without warning.

There is a LOT of plot in Seven Games. Piecing together the plot is one of the many challenges in this game, and one of the most difficult. It's worth the effort, however, because the plot is quite good; but if you finish without understanding it, your reaction to this intricate game is likely to be: "huh?...um, what exactly was I doing here?"

Seven Games defies the recent trend of producing graphics-intensive adventures that are fun but short. It is a very long game, with lots of places to explore and lots of puzzles to solve. It is generous in scope and gameplay, and will fill many happy hours as you are drawn further and further into its mysteries.

This is definitely an adult game though, in every sense of the word. It explores mature themes, not only those with some violence and sexual content, but also intense philosophical, even theological issues. Though serious in tone, the game also maintains a flippant, understated sense of humor.

Much of your enjoyment of the game depends on your reaction to Mephisto, who plays the part of your guide and commentator. He is alternately charming, annoying, outrageous and pompous. Either he gets under your skin, and you develop a sneaking affection for him or you find yourself wanting to wipe his smarmy smiling face in the dirt (or both).

The graphics in this game are gorgeous. They remind me of the graphics in "Ring", though the resolution in this game is far better. The graphics have a 3D quality, with a surreal flair. Textures are detailed, colors are amazing. My favorites are the particularly beautiful skies, gardens and natural rock surfaces.

Seven Games is quite linear, and you may find you can't progress until you go back and find a hotspot that in retrospect does not seem terribly important. There is one not-very-difficult maze. No sliders or sound puzzles. The game is wholly mouse-driven, and the interface is easy to use. I found it to be very stable. A side note -- if you want to access the movies, you have to use the scroll arrows on top of the screen (this may seem obvious, but it took me a long time to figure it out).

The game has an unusual sound track, consisting partly of what I think of as "Big Band" music. There is a schmaltzy pop song that plays whenever you access the main menu -- "Bye-Bye Baby", an interesting tongue-in-cheek contrast to the serious stuff going on in the game.

Voice acting is very good. Much has been made of Mephisto's famous stroking of feminine vanity ("Come here, pussycat!). You receive this invitation whenever you load a game. I myself was much more flattered, however, by Mephisto's "Oh, we have a professional here!" which I stumbled across in the options menu.

The Downsides -- once you have acquired a Homunculus companion you are supposed to be able to get hints from your friend-in-a-bottle. I found this feature to be a real disappointment. Most of the time when I asked for a hint, I was forced to play an arcade game that seemed incredibly pointless. Then, after repeatedly humiliating myself as I struggled with "Shoot the Rabbit", or whatever it was, I STILL wasn't given a helpful hint.

Some of the puzzles are hard. One in particular, you solve by very close observation in a darkened room, with a subtle hint obvious only to English majors. Otherwise, the puzzles are solvable through persistence, if not through genius.

There is so much going on in Seven Games, and at so many different levels, that playing the game feels a little like peeling an onion. If you like a gaming experience with layer after layer of depth and quirkiness; and if investigative persistence is part of your makeup, then this could be your game of games. Don't miss it.

Final Grade :  4.5 BAAGS out of 5

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