Dark Alleys: Penumbra Motel
SE gets upgraded to 3 stars, don't bother with the CE version
This is a pure adventure game from ERS, no hidden object scenes.
If you are wondering if this game is worth getting the CE version (which I played) 100% rest assured that you should stick with this SE version. Apart from everything else (nothing to collect, no achievements, 45 mins bonus play) the plot is a lot better finishing in this version and you will be 100% satisfied about it being tied up. CE bonus went loopy loo on the plot.
This game started out OK for me, it was middling along but nothing exciting then in the middle it lost pace (not many new areas, not many puzzles was a bit boring!) and at the end it picked it up again, it also had puzzles at the end some back to back, if it was spaced out a bit more it would have been better.
Azada libro was far better than this, being a straight adventure game. ERS concentrated on the live actors and seemed to not put as much effort into gameplay or plot or even some of their graphics. And although the lip synch in the actors was mainly good - when it wasn?t, it?s just so off putting. They are obviously trying to catch up to elephant and BFG with using them but just putting live actors into a ?C? adventure game isn?t being different and it doesn?t make a blah game good. This is coming from a frequent pure adventure player, so it's not that I am missing the hidden object scenes.
Plot was a mishmash of a nod to haunted halls and every other game ? mostly children in peril, and ending been done so many times. I?d forgive the tired plot if the gameplay wasn?t as tired. There was nothing new or exciting or even captivating about this game (apart from some old film footage you could see) There didn?t seem to be many new areas to explore.
There was a puzzle which was a twist on the rotating rings puzzle and that was good but you had better like it as it kept repeating, getting slightly harder each time. The last hour suddenly got more interesting and had a couple of harder puzzles in it very close to each other, with some others. I would have loved if it had been spaced out a bit more, so I could have enjoyed them in amongst the same old tired gameplay. Most of the puzzles were on the easy side.
There was a choice of 3 settings of hardness for gameplay. I play on the hardest for ERS games as they are easier games to play.(compared to some DEV) But I still got full explanations for all the puzzles even though they say there would be no tips and occasionally I still got the black bar tips which they also said wouldn?t be there. Do developers not know that when you play on advanced you don?t want any hand holding?
While I don't recommend it, I'm not going to not recommend it as If you don't mind not many new areas, (a lot of it is rooms) and drabbish scenery then it certainly is worth a coupon or a DD.
I just wish this was a good "same old same old" game as I don't mind same old games if it's done well.
TIME ? main game took me 5hrs on 3rd setting.
(no skipping puzzles - I say this to give you an idea of time as if I skipped puzzles it would make the game shorter and I would tell you in fairness to the game)
June 13, 2012
What a great game! Highly recommended!
To play Dark Alleys was like being inside a thriller !
Great suspense story : a kidnapping in a sinister place, where murders (with an ax,) took place half century ago!
Outstanding cutscenes with real people, perfect VO and excellent sountrack ! You feel in a movie theater.
The game is listed as HO, but is totally different from the usual scenes full of objects - is more an adventure game, and as you go along, you will finding and using things that go into inventory . One great thing is that not has to be going back and forth too much.
It has mini games, some already known, but with different details and difficulties - like put together electrical wires, but in a brand new way! Really enjoyable.
It has a box where you store the tapes you are going collecting ... and MUST watch !
There are three difficult modes- casual, hard and advanced.
I played in hard mode and, although not very challenging, the game is incredibly motivating, fun and entertaining.
I had played the free trial of the CE, butit ended after 40 minutes. Now I will buy the SE.
June 13, 2012
More adventure than anything else - A guy's review
*review based on completing the full game in hard mode*
This game plays like most of the games in this genre with one huge exception. There is not one single HO scene in the whole game. That could be off putting to some but, me being an adventure addict, I managed without them quite well. It also helped that it was quite challenging in parts. The downside though, is that there aren't that many puzzles either, so I found myself missing something from this game. Another thing I found a little annoying is at times totally lack of logic. I almost fell out of my chair laughing when the game told me that I could not take a needle from a ball of yarn with just my fingers.
Graphically the game is adequate. Most things seem crisp and clear with a few exceptions. Of course as with many of the similar games it is in places quite dark and grey, but it also had some brighter scenes too which was quite refreshing. Nothing special about the animations. The game uses live actors and they are nicely integrated into the scenes and do not stand out too much. The quality of the acting however leaves a lot to be desired.
Music and sound could be a lot better. Not that it is too annoying, but it's not that great. Especially the lip-sync is at times awful. I actually thought it was dubbed at first, but when trying to follow lip movement it actually seems that they are speaking what is said, but just being totally off target. Also, voice-overs are uninspired and does not feel believable at all.
Game mechanics and hud works well, and here the game is top notch. Also transitions between the scenes and scene-within-scenes are well made. Everything seems accurate, but at times it feels like you really have to be on target to pick something up.
The story itself seems highly unoriginal, and because of bad acting/voice-overs it doesn't really engage at all. There is a little background story that unveils throughout the course of the game, but there is really nothing to tie it all together. I didn't really find much of the story making much sense at all, and the connection to the main characters is vague at best.
In the game play itself there are really fun moments though, and that adds to the rating. Even with the lack of HO scenes, and sometimes being illogical, it does provoke some mind twisting and alternative thinking. Even though there weren't many puzzles, several of them were quite challenging. I wish there was a little more guidance a few times, but not a big problem.
There are 3 levels of difficulty to choose from:
Casual: Quick hint/skip recharge, sparkles on active zones
Hard: Slow hint/skip recharge, no sparkles on active zones
Advanced: Very slow hint/skip, no sparkles, black-bar tips disabled (whatever that means)
Playing on hard I found the hint/skip recharge to be adequately slow. No chance for hint abuse ;o)
I honestly had fun playing this game, but got a bit tired of it in the end. It should have had some more variety. I'd still recommend this game to adventure fans, who wants something to challenge their brain a little.
If it was possible I would have given the game a 3.5 rating, but will go with 4 because of the enjoyment and challenge.
For the guys:
As far as I could tell you actually play the father in this game, though there are few times where that is apparent. It should still suit both genders.
June 13, 2012
GIVE IT A TRY!
I just completed the demo, which took me 48 minutes. I will definitely be buying this one. I actually enjoyed not being slowed down by HO scenes for a change. The puzzles are fun; not too challenging yet, but one of the reviews stated that they do get more challenging as the game goes on. You should at least give the demo a try with this one!
June 13, 2012
This is a great adventure game.
This game is brilliant. It is a simple click and play, you find objects and then place them where they belong in order to make the game's plot progress. It is not a HO game, by the way. Graphics are well made, gameplay is smooth and fast reacting. This game's developers put the extra time and everything they had in order to make the cutscenes looking as real as can be, with actors instead the usual animation, and music that creates the atmosphere needed for this kind of thriller genre.
From only playing the demo I established a need to own this game...
June 13, 2012
An atmospheric puzzle game.
This game contains no hidden object scenes which I generally find preferable to ones that do. The puzzles are relatively taxing and the storyline engaging. The live action sections are better than most with the characters' voices actually matching their mouth movements. It was fairly intuitive although I did find myself having to use the hint button a bit more than I normally would like to to find out what to do next.The finale is somewhat sedate but you still feel as if you come away with value for money.
June 18, 2012
HOPA without the HO
I bought this game as a CE and now wish I had waited for the SE. I am a big fan of the developers and am slightly surpirsed at the direction that they took when creating 'Dark Alleys'. Unfortunately, to my dismay, this game is definitely not up to their usual high standard of games and the more I played, the more I felt let down. Unlike their previous games, such as the AZADA series, the challenge and fun factor that I eagerly anticipated and looked forward to just wasn't present here. Unfortuantely 'Dark Alleys' just did not thrill me nor did it offer me the challenge that I expect to find in an Adventure game. It was a long game, took me well over 5 hours but I did give myself alot of intervals. Storyline begins with a missing child #not one of my favorites#, a grusome murder of an entire family and an abondoned Hotel haunted by the past. There are many things I did like about the game and unfortunately many things that I didn't. Visually the graphics were blurry, colors sombre giving the entire game a very depressing look. I did like the artwork and there was voice-overs. Unfortunately It isn't anything we havent seen before. I did however like the live film footages used and ofcourse using real actors to play various parts added some merit to the game. As for Game features, you are given three play modes, a journal, a goal bar which did not work and a hint system that operated well. Suprisingly this game is not a IHOG that I had expected as there were no HO scenes. This game turned out to be adventure with many puzzles and mini-games to solve. I enjoy adventure games but I really wasn't thrown by the overall gaming experience. It did play lie a rountine IHOG without the HO and there was the continous backtracking, clicking everywhere for items to pick up and trying to remember where you need to use them. There were mini-games that varied in dificulty but overall gameplay soon became stiff and tedious. By the time I got half way, I lost sight of the entire storyline and got bored. In a nutshell, what is missing in this game was the crisp sharp graphics, HO scenes and most of all the fun factor. However after having completed the CE, I can say that it is a good SE game to play on a bleak and rainy afternoon.
June 13, 2012
Fun Adventure.....No Hidden Objects, No Sparkles!
SE version appears glitch free. Shows tasks button but it is not functioning in the SE version. Music supposed to be spooky, but it reminds me of an old movie (circa 1940-1950) kinda humorous made me smile (can?t remember the name), it sounds so familiar. No map and not so much trekking to and fro. No HOG therefore no sparkles. Visually graphics are similar to Escape from Ravenhaurst (cluttered and astatically, not visually disturbing). Rooms look like you would expect in an abandoned old motel?looks like you would expect a hobo to appear at any minute and build a fire in the middle of the room.
Three options of play casual, expert and hard core. I played expert. The hint button does take a while to recharge and the skip button on puzzles takes a very long time to charge. Puzzles are different, some challenging, a couple frustrating (planet puzzle), hang in there they are do able, just very thought provoking. One puzzle seems to repeat itself, but it starts small and gradually grows more complex, not overly difficult.
Scenes maybe put off some, there are lots of skeletons ?hanging around? and ghost galore. Nothing disgusting or scary. If you hate bugs, well there are lots of them. If your dislike games with the occult beware, this has films that give you the impression that?s where they were going.
The ending was somewhat abrupt. Just sort of stopped, but not really sure what I expected?were they supposed to just continue to grandma?s house? Was the professor really who he said he was? Oh well, I was enjoyable for adventure and no HO/sparkles. Got the imagination going and was entertaining.
June 18, 2012
Not a Hidden Object Game!
This is a Puzzle/Adventure Game -- be forewarned!
June 27, 2012
Had to buy it its a ERS game
ERS games are great so I played for 30 min and got it for free. I would have bought it also. Great graphics and the sound is good. I love adventure games so this is up my alley. DO not care if there is no HOS. Looks like a good game to play. Try it.
October 1, 2012