Hippo Manchester
December 15, 2005

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Games: Indigo Prophecy

Atari

(XBOX/PS2/PC)

A+

When video games were first becoming an important medium in my life I was struck by two games. MYST and The 7th Guest. Oh, thatís right, I was a CD-ROM puzzle junkie. I clicked through the spooky tale of the haunted Stauf mansion in the middle of the night, scaring the bejeezus out of myself. I solved a peg-jumping puzzle, or cracked a combonation lock to move me to the next portion of the houseís tale of supernatural murder. I wandered the cinematic pathways of MYST, pulling random levers, realigning bizarre plumbing and unravelling the secrets of that scenic though disturbingly static isle. (By the way, both The 7th Guest and MYST should be available on the PC for, like $5; totally worth it.)

These games were the first cinematic/puzzle/interactive fiction games. They were experimental, engrossing and produced a stable of wonderful experiences (like Starship Titanic, Sam & Max Hit the Road and the amazing Grim Fandango.) Sadly the genre got the bumís rush when click-fest shooter games like Doom came to the fore.

Today, Indigo Prophecy revisits, reimagines and redefines this genre. Itís an adventure game, itís a freaky skin crawling murder mystery, itís a filmic experience where you are the murderer and his pursuers.

Itís a game where grief over a murder can drive your character to stop searching for the truth to his actions and take his own life. Where the first scene ratchets up your spine as you need to figure out: ďHow will I get out of the diner where Iíve just killed a man without alerting the off-duty cop at the counter?Ē (Hint:  wash your hands, pay your bill, find a taxi and be quick about it). You duck out and ride into the snowy night of New York City and then ka-pow youíre the pair of detectives scouring the diner for clues, finding the mistakes you just made and building the case against yourself.

All of this is told by the player as much as the program. You interact with the plot and world by simple gestures of your controller, sweeping the thumbstick around to mop up the blood, playing ďsimonĒ with on screen prompts to hear the cop coming to your door, discussing the evidence with your partners and building a trusting relationship with them.

Indigo Prophecy is a damn fine game. It has more creepy feelings than a season of X-Files and better acting than most of this yearís films. Itís a game from which developers will find inspiration and against which their creations will be ultimately judged.

Indigo Prophecy is not only one of the best adventure games ever made, itís the best game to land this year and possibly one of the best games ever conceived.

ó Glenn Given