The Summer of Adventure

I just completed the adventure game Memoria, which I’d bought during GOG’s summer sale. It’s rather old school in its point-and-click control scheme. Were it not for the graphics and for the far lower number of game-crashing bugs (damn you, Quest for Glory IV) I might have thought I was playing something Sierra Entertainment made in the 90s.

But one glimpse of the visuals will let you know this game is from the 21st century. I mean, just look at this game:

A waterfall, a princess, a bound thief, and two Amazons

That’s too detailed to be anything but hand-painted. And this is a screenshot from the game itself. Something from the classic era of adventure gaming would be full of visible pixels. Even a lot of modern adventure games like Gemini Rue still use that older style of giant pixels. I suppose it’s both out of nostalgia and out of consideration for the development budget.

Memoria is about a princess trying to stop a demonic invasion and about a birdcatcher five hundred years later learning about her story in his own quest to solve a magic curse on his beloved. The latter protagonist is somewhat run-of-the-mill, but the princess is more savage and ruthless than the typical bland do-gooder you might get in this sort of game. It’s rather refreshing.

Daedelic Entertainment definitely went all in on this game. Even the voice actors are uniformly good. And as an adventure game it’s satisfying enough. The puzzles tend not to delve too much into that odd adventure game inventory puzzle logic, such as that infamously convoluted Gabriel Knight solution (number four on that list) which involves using cat hair to make a mustache to match the picture on a passport stolen from a man with no facial hair. No, I think experienced adventure gamers should be able to finish this without having to resort to a walkthrough.

However, while the game is fun, it isn’t very long. I only got it last week and have already finished it, after all. I remember taking a lot longer to finish an old Sierra game. This game is actually fairly linear, so you’re not wandering around a lot of different locations wondering which doohickey should be used at which place and in which combination. It’s pleasant to look at some pretty pictures with no real sense of urgency, but it’s hard to justify paying full price for something this ephemeral. It’s not like this game has a lot of replayability in it.

Overall? I say buy it if you’re into adventure games, but wait until there’s a sale on.

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