|Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: 10.7|
|Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure|
August 18, 2014 | Ted Bade
Mac OS X: 10.6.8 | CPU: 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo | RAM: 4 GB | HD Space: 16.6 GB | Graphics: 512 MB VRAM - Any ATI, NVIDIA Geforce 320M, Any Intel
Tesla Effect was recently released and is another in the series of Tex Murphy detective adventure games that were popular in the 1990’s. After a long time without a game, the company Big Finish Games, decided to go the Kickstarter route and gathered the funding they needed using crowd funding. The adventure resembles a typical B-movie P.I. story, full of tongue-in-cheek humor, a loud mouthed P.I., and lots of interesting characters, all surrounded with a story full of intrigue and mystery. The game is interesting and playing has been a lot of fun.
Tex Murphy is a hard core soft shoe Private Eye (Private Investigator or P.I.), who attempts to use his wits and a little strong arming to solve cases. The story takes place in a future, post nuclear war, San Francisco. Tex lives as a permanent resident at a cheesy hotel, on a dark street, surrounded by a variety of businesses. Most of the scenes in the game take place in the evening, or at least, it is usually dark. (This could be due to the Nuclear skies).
In this tale, Tex awakens in his office, after being attacked. He soon finds there is a lot about his environment that is strange, which turns out to be due to his losing the memories of the past 7-years of his life. As you guide Tex in his quest to regain lost memories, you uncover a much larger story. For some reason Tex worked with the “bad guys” and became involved with a group trying to recover some Tesla artifact of great power. The story evolves as you move about the world and speak with the other characters. The characters in the game are all interesting and some very imaginative, especially the holographic woman hotel clerk, involved in the “Holograms are people too,” movement!
Gameplay is a mixture of typical adventure game searching the environment, mixed with video sequences portraying parts of the story. If you interview a character, the game shifts to video clips using real character actors who perform the roles of the characters you are interacting with. The live video serves to make the world even more real and adds a lot of personality to the characters in the game, while providing information pertinent to the ongoing story.
Some video sequences occur when you do something to spark one of Tex’s memories. In this case a short video plays portraying some interaction between Tex and another character from his past. Reading on the internet leads me to believe that some of these video sequences are captures from previous Tex Murphy adventures. But this is the first Tex Murphy adventure I have played, so I cannot say for certain. These memories add detail to Tex’s life. They were interesting, and I felt, appropriate.
The video interactions and interviews that were created for this game are top notch full screen, and well done. Real people play the parts in these videos. In some cases, the video is simply a short movie providing information as you watch Tex interact with the character. Other times, Tex needs to ask specific questions. Here you as the player need to choose one of three different responses available to Tex. Each response is given a brief description that hints more at what Tex’s attitude will be than what he will say. When you select one, the Tex character is shown asking his question along with the response.
It is likely that your selection of Tex’s replies direct some future actions of how the game progresses and maybe how he gains certain pieces of information. In at least two situations, I chose to stay true to Tex’s current girlfriend, rather then to follow the floozie spy in one case or to stay true to a previous girlfriend Tex thinks might still be alive after being attacked and “killed” 7 years ago. Doing this was followed by Tex gaining some useful information from his current girlfriend, and in one case, a rather interesting although glossed over night….
Another type of interaction is simply a list of question you can ask that particular character. As you ask the questions, the actor/actress answers the question either with information or a simple: “I don’t know.” While you gain points as a P.I. for asking some of the questions, there doesn’t appear to be any penalty for asking all of them. (Perhaps the addition of time spent in the game being the only benefit or bad aspect). It is often beneficial to ask each of the characters available about a topic you are actively searching for. Often one will provide a bit of data that will lead you to more information. As you search the areas open to you, you will find video messages and files where a character in the story provides information to the game. These show up in the form of video phone messages, saved video logs, and so forth.
I thought the video interactions were mostly well done. My only complaint about them was that some were quite long and there is no way to pause them in the middle and return later. You can pause the game, but if you save and quit the game, you either miss the end of the interaction or have to go through the whole sequence again. You really don’t want to miss any of part the interactions because they provide important information pertinent to the story. However, going through more than once might be tedious.
Interaction with the environment in this game is also well done. There are a lot of spaces to investigate and search for items and information. Plenty of the spaces didn’t provide any useful items, but all had some interesting things to view. Access to new spaces the first time generally requires solving a puzzle. Tesla Effect contains a good number of puzzles that either open areas or gain you an important piece of information. The puzzles range from easy to quite complex. A simple puzzle would be something like needing a three number code to open a safe and finding a note with a phone number, or an odd puzzle on it which can be solved to provide the code. More complex puzzles are ones like playing a detailed maze game, or putting together a picture that was broken into square pieces, with the squares scrambled, where you have only one open slot to move the pieces through. (Much like the kids game).