McCorly, as a person and a cop, has seen better days. In futuristic New
York he gets paid only when he makes an arrest, and Jake has had precious
few of those since his wife’s death. But then he meets Rose or, rather,
finds her unconscious on the pavement, and things start to take a turn.
Not for the best – at least not at first – but it’s a start.
comes by way of a Berlin based games developer, and retains the original
German language dialogue. English speech bubbles allow us English readers
to help unravel what happened to Rose, and while you can turn off the
German dialogue, why would you?
There is a fair bit to like in
Goin' Downtown. It’s nicely drawn, with a comic book look and feel. It
is grittier than many adventure games, and the gadgets of the future are
everything you would expect. The voice dialogue is for the most part
rather well written. The music score plays its part (even if it is a
little fanfare-ish at times). And it has a simple point and click
interface that lets you jump right in.
Plus (as Jessy says) you get to
ride a very cool motorcycle.
It isn’t terribly difficult, which
could be a plus or a minus, but does result in a game that is not terribly
long – 8 to 10 hours perhaps for those who aren’t complete novices. This
aspect may account for some of the efforts to extend the game through what
I thought were rather superficial means. On three or four occasions you
have to pick randomly from a number of conversation options in order to
work your way successfully through the dialogue tree. A wrong choice
terminates the conversation and you have to start it again. There is no
penalty involved, but it felt a clumsy way to incorporate some “puzzling”
into the game.
In a similar vein, towards the end
of the game you enter a simulated world, where you can observe events that
have already taken place. A gauge keeps track of how far your actions are
affecting this world, and once it reaches empty, you get kicked out of the
simulation. Certain events (like hiding in the wrong place) will also get
you kicked out. There is no penalty – just log back in and generally pick
up where you left off – but it again felt like filler (or extender) as you
have to try things to work out what is needed, for which you might get an
I did like that, once or twice, I
had to bounce back and forth between the simulated world and the real
world, learning something in one place that enabled me to question someone
in the other, and then bring back what I had learnt to move forward in the
simulation. It enhanced the feeling of the simulation being used to move
forward in the mystery, rather than simply being a new game environment.
You can switch between night and
day, but I didn’t ever get the sense that I was doing this strategically.
Rather, certain events happened at night and others didn’t. Jake will
even tell you at times that he doesn’t want to do that in the daylight, so
just switch to night.
Most conundrums are situational,
and you collect quite a number of inventory items. These will pop up when
you move the mouse to the bottom of the screen, as will your map and also
your notebook, which keeps track of your tasks. When using the map, Jake
is displayed on his motorcycle in a little 3D representation of the city,
and will ride to the desired location. If you get tired of the little
journey, double click the location to jump straight there.
As in many games, locations will
be limited at first, but more will become available as you progress. None
of the locations are more than a couple of screens. So while revisiting
places is necessary, it isn’t terribly onerous. There are more than a few
other game characters to interact with, and conversations are often the
key to finding the right information, so be loquacious. Searching the
police files can help too.
You can reveal all the hotspots
with a key press, and while some aren’t essential, coupled with the small
environments you shouldn’t be stuck anywhere for very long. You can also
get various levels of hints from the notebook should you need to. Despite
its relative ease, I did resort to the tried and true "try everything
here" approach once or twice, and also got a nudge here and there.
The plot lurches about a bit and
finishes with a rush (which is always disappointing), and the last five
minutes is essentially autopilot save for one of those dialogue tree
I did enjoy it. But like its comic
book look, Goin' Downtown in the end felt a little flat. I wanted
some more depth, and a prolonged and more challenging adventure
experience. It is more than an interactive comic, but it also felt like it
could have been a lot more.
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
Goin' Downtown is available via download
The Adventure Shop.
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