Imagine... that you are abducted. Imagine... that they are planning to do various things from bad 50's B-class scifi movies. Imagine... that you don't like their plans. Imagine... that you escape. |
Welcome to onEscapee (pronounced "One Escapee", a game where you are, indeed, the only escapee, a game which draws heavy inspiration from such titles as Out of This World and Flashback. Every one of them has a laser pistol but still focuses on working out puzzles which rarely involve items. It's perhaps too similar, one might argue, and similar in the wrong parts, and I have to say it's probably the weakest of the trio. First released on Amiga way back in 1998, onEscapee has been recently converted to our humble PCs for everyone to enjoy, at no cost! It won several awards back then, and so far everything is promising. Sadly, there are a few gripes that take away from the enjoyment...
After the most spectacular intro with probably one of the most awesome intro tunes, with lyrics and all, heard in games lately, the game throws you in a junkyard. Aaand, besides the setting, pretty much everything is left for the player to figure out on their own. The game actually works in the first part, although the graphics are really, really obscure at times. I couldn't find my way out of the caverns until I realized that a black patch on the wall wasn't just a shadow. And that's pretty much one of the bigger problems in the game, sometimes you just don't know whether that thing over there is a door, a dog, a ball, or just that green winged alien with the Staff of Human Probing (+7). The filter thing doesn't help this much either.
After the start the game just goes downhill. The puzzles aren't entertaining anymore, based too much on reflexes and a bit of masochism as you start running across minefields like a Duracell bunny on steroids, dodging guard dogs, winged aliens with the green probing staff and you even end up facing yourself at one point of the game. Very interesting stuff, but I'd be buggered if I'd knew how and why they were on an alien planet in the first place. The story is really lacking from what I see, apparently because they wanted it to be international so there isn't much text or spoken dialogue in the game (again, similar to other cinematic platformers).
The game comes in a whopping 130 megs, but I can't be sure how they managed to waste that much space. Sure, you'll notice the retouched VGA graphics with additional effects such as lens flares and apparently rain and shadows, but it's still kind of meh. (No, Windowed mode doesn't enter the deal, nor does switching resolutions.) Nice soundtrack at least.
Final verdict: An interesting try, but falls short because of recycling nearly every cliché of the genre without enough originality. Hampered by the sketchy controls and confusing graphics as well as the puzzles. I wish I could tell you I finished this game, but I honestly gave up when I encountered a switch hunting puzzle. (But it was still entertaining, really!)
Reviewed by: Jim9137