The Last Express
Finally...a game that makes me think!
I played this game less than half-an-hour before I fell in love with it! I read the reviews in the BFG forums before I bought it and they were mixed, but I took a chance. I was a little concerned, since there was no trial, that it would run on my 64-bit Vista PC, but I've had no problems so far. It did rearrange my desktop icons a bit, because the screen resolution changes (I presume to a lower one) when you play the game, but my resolution went right back to what it was once I exited the game.
I was a little confused as to how to exit the game prior to completing it (you definitely will not finish it in one sitting), but figured out that if you click off-screen at the very lower right-hand corner, it will take you out to the main menu where you can exit the game. I have a 19-inch monitor and apparently there is a button in the lower right-hand corner that is cut off the screen. I've had that problem with another game, too. It may simply be my monitor. So just be aware of that. The main menu allows you to exit or come back and continue the game where you left off.
Now, for the game itself. Nice music. The graphics are in a style reminiscent of old-fashioned art deco nouveau. If you're expecting the crisp hi-def graphics of the modern computer games we play now, you may be disappointed. I happen to love art nouveau, so it doesn't bother me.
According to what I've read, the game was first released in 1997. I was intrigued by the descriptions of the game and, after watching two youtube presentations, was sold on it. Just Google "Last Express" or search youtube and you will find them.
All the action happens in real time aboard the Orient Express. In other words, if you don't move your cursor and you stand in the diner car for 5 minutes doing nothing, you're literally doing nothing in front of your computer for 5 minutes. So technically, I could stop playing, go wash the dishes, fix lunch and come back and pick up exactly where I left off. HAA - love it!
The graphics look much like a real film that was then animated and that's my understanding of how the game really was made. There is no explanation of what to do, no sparkles, no hints. There may be strategy manuals online, I don't know. You just click and move along the aisles or wherever you're "walking" with your mouse, uncover clues and figure out what to do next.
People speak to you as you "walk" up to them. I DON'T THINK THESE ARE SPOILERS, because they show them in the youtube videos, but people in the diner and coach cars carry on conversations with each other, a little boy runs up and down the aisle of the sleeper car blowing a whistle and irritating his mother who fusses at him, a growling dog warns you away from another sleeper car. People speak French and, but for the translation at the bottom of the screen, you don't understand what they're saying. Very realistic game play and it's fun when you discover something and then you know you're on the right track and the game progresses a little.
It's also my understanding from reading other reviews of the game that there are several ways you can play this game out, so it sounds like you could play it over again once you finish and try doing things differently the next time. There's definitely some strategy to be figured out and the game really makes you think about what to do next. I feel like a detective, just like in a real who-dunnit.
I give it a 4 on fun factor only because some gamers may not like the atmosphere or the graphics and may find that there is not enough explanation of what you're supposed to be doing to make it enjoyable. But for me, it's a win-win because I love who-dunnits and a challenge. I think this game is going to keep me busy for quite awhile and I'm really glad I bought it. Well worth the price!
November 22, 2011
Thank you BFG!
Excellent game!! You can play this dozens of times and it is never the same, due to the fact that events in the game happen both reactively to you and independent of you. The historical research, acting, and thought that went into this game sets it well apart from the average adventure game. If you are not ready to seriously use your brains, this may not be for you. For those of us longing for a true immersive challenge, this game is the ticket!
Soooo excited BFG picked this up. This game was produced in the late '90s and suffered from bad timing. The entire marketing dept of the company quit, and the company was sold to a firm that was only interested in educational software. So, it won TONS of awards and acclaim, but was a commercial failure. I owned it back then and I am glad to see it here where it can be appreciated again!
December 26, 2011
Best adventure game ever
This was the first adventure game I ever played, back in the 90's. I was very frustrated at first, because I kept being arrested as I didn't know what to do with the cadaver. At that time there were no walkthroughs or anything like that on the internet but I kept going and didn't regret it! I have been looking to buy it again for years and was very happy to see it on BFG.
I love he way the animation is done with real actors, I love the art deco graphics, the music is marvelous and the level of challenge is perfect for me. I could play for hours and hours and never get bored. Also as I am French I enjoyed the fact of playing a really good game in my own language.
There is action, there are slower moments that give you time to think of what to do next and I found it rewarding to succeed without any clues or hints.
This is really the kind of game I love and I wish there would be more like this one. If you like to sit back, relax and enjoy a good adventure game that has nothing do to with ghosts, haunted mansions, music that drives you nut or unsolvable puzzles without a walkthrough, this one is for you. Keep going at it though, don't quit after half an hour!
I highly recommend that game.
January 7, 2012
a CLASSIC of adventure, non casual gaming
This is one I've replayed again and again. It has a complex story, a fascinating setting and interesting characters. I do warn you that it is not easy, and you may have to consult a walkthrough, but it is a classic that has held up for many years. If you like international intrigue and the setting appeals to you, go ahead and get it. It's a good story.
January 24, 2012
A classic in adventure gaming
This is great storytelling detective game set on the Orient Express. The atmosphere is spot on. You do feel like a spy in the time before the start off World War I. The controls can be challenging, sometimes even frustrating but don't let that stop you. For people who enjoy: Still Life 1 and 2, Dreamfall: the longest journey, Lost Horizon etc. This is i.m.o.a classic in adventure gaming!
January 4, 2012
If you're not afraid to roam around, make mistakes and really explore a world where the clues and tasks are completely relevant to the game and not just find hidden objects and solve abstract puzzles then this will make you very happy. The story, history, dialogue is amazing. Enjoy!
January 12, 2012
Ambitious, but ultimately fails to entertain
This 1997 adventure game has two unique features: (1) everything occurs in real time, and (2) rotoscoping is used to animate on-screen characters. I applaud it for trying to do something different, but it just ends up being frustrating for the player. You have to perform all the necessary actions at exactly the right time in order to trigger the desired results. If you miss any one of them, either nothing or something bad will happen. I like the fact you are given complete freedom in doing whatever you want whenever you do it, but you often have no clue as to what you are supposed to do. You can go back in time to change your actions, but since you have little clue, you can only trial and error. This was an ambitious game that got plenty of media coverage in its day, but it remains just an interesting experiment and not a great game that it tried to be.
December 5, 2011
not unless they update it.
I bought this game, even though there was no demo offered. I bought it because some folks said it was one of the best adventure games ever played.
I will never know because it looks awful and just trying to navigate the scenes makes me get vertigo.
This may be the worlds greatest game to many, but if I had been given a chance to demo it, I never would have wasted my time or money.
April 1, 2012
My Absolute Favorite Game
This is the best game I have ever played. If you enjoy games with dept, history,art, and foreign languages then I would recommend the Last Express.
January 2, 2012
One of the original best.
I got this game back when it originally came out in 1997. Even today it looks amazing! What set this game apart from all the other PC adventure games is that no matter how many times you played through it, there was always something new. The way it was able to do that is that everything and everybody on the train went through their scripts in realtime. So even if you're not in the area, the characters are having their little chats or moving around the place. It can get a little frustrating if you need to be somewhere in order to get a certain piece of information or an item, but there is a way to rewind time back to a checkpoint (which can be doubly frustrating if you've progressed very far in that particular chapter).
All in all, it's a very wonderful game that has an amazing storyline that will keep you coming back to see all the things you might have missed.
October 4, 2012