Developer(s): Daedalic Entertainment, Irresponsible Games
Review copy provided by Daedalic Entertainment
Processor: Intel or AMD 2 Ghz Dual Core
Ram: 3 GB
HDD: 6 GB
Graphics Card: Radeon 300-series or better
Direct X: 9.0c
Daedalic Entertainment is well known for their adventure games with their more recent titles being Goodbye Deponia and Memoria. Now they are back with their latest adventure called 1954: Alcatraz, a point-and-click adventure which is a tale of love, betrayal and a prison escape set in 1950’s San Francisco. The game offers two playable characters and you get to switch between them allowing you to make key decisions that have an impact on how the storyline will play out. As the name suggests you are imprisoned in the most secure jail of all-time, Alcatraz, better known as ‘The Rock’.
You begin the game as Joe, who is an inmate at Alcatraz because he was a getaway driver for a heist that went very wrong and ended up taking the fall for the whole crime. On the outside he has a wife, Christine, who you can also take control off in the game by hot-swapping between the two characters. You must work out what actually happened during the robbery, while at the same time working on helping Joe escape from the inescapable island jail.
Daedalic Entertainment has managed to capture the atmosphere of the period, with a good story that will draw you in. As you play you find yourself having to make tough decisions, which not only affect the game outcome but also who to side with as both characters are very likeable. As you progress through, switching between them you start to see how their relationship is being affected by your previous choices, so you can either choose to continue that path or try and change the outcome.
This is what stands 1954: Alcatraz apart from the other point-and-click adventures that are available out there. The puzzles also have multiple solutions, which is unique for this genre and something that the developers have to be congratulated on. While the puzzles choices won’t have any real impact on the story, it will give you thoughts as how to deal with the situation. As an example, do you deal with it by acting tough or do use more diplomatic skills?
The puzzles have been created that they are not too hard, nor are they too easy to solve. There is no hint system like in other adventures games, which adds fun working them out. The only help you get is a hotspot locator, which only reveals where to click and not the solution which is innovative. Graphically, the visuals are simple yet effective; a combination of static background images, which look hand-drawn with 3D characters. This works and the models are representative of the era being created. Sometimes the animation was not as smooth as it could be, but this is just very minor niggle and it don’t affect the experience.
The sound is good and the voice acting very strong, with the choice of cast being successful. The accents are realistic and match the characters, so they don’t sound false. The length of gameplay is just about right and with the various decisions, you will probably find yourself wanting to replay to see how other choices work out.
I quite enjoyed 1954: Alcatraz as being a fan of point-and-click adventures, I have been disappointed with some of the recent releases of late. While the game haven’t got mind-blowing visuals this can be forgiven as it offers strong gameplay and replayability, something that not many of it contemporaries. 1954: Alcatraz is a fun game that is definitely worthy of attention.