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If the hero of a new adventure is a journalist of all, then there is actually only one, that can help him to success: Klaus Trafford. Will he also make it this time? One of the most interesting movies, I saw in the last years - and meanwhile still three times (unabridged) on video, is called "From Dusk Till Dawn". It begins close the Mexican border as gangster film in Wild West ambience: Two brothers take a hostage on their escape after a raid; when the hostage dies through the fault of the more psychopathic of the two, they take possession of a father and his two juvenile children. Owing to those they manage to cross the border and arrive at the agreed meeting point, a bar, where they want to wait for their partners. But suddenly, without preliminary warning, it turns out that almost all guests are nothing but vampires, and the thriller becomes a not less interesting splatterfilm. Why do I tell you this? Now, Microids, a French label, which is already in the business for some time, but lately made quite little talk about itself, published with Evidence an adventure game, which likewise unites more than one category. And the change comes quite suddenly here too - and with identical surprise moment as with mentioned film...

evidence1.jpg (11803 Byte)
Have you really thought of the car key?

Occupation: Reporter
It begins quite harmless: Dan Singer is a reporter from Channel Z, a television station, and he just settled in, when his ex friend and colleague Sarah calls him by phone: She asks him to come immediately into their apartment since she possesses high-explosive documents. And she must fear that she is in danger. Dan, helpful and still in love with the girl, sets off for her apartement, recognizing that the girl was murdered in the meantime. Guised as a mechanic he finally could pass the policeman guarding the apartement. In her computer - just in the wastebasket - he finds the name of the district prosecutor and Sarah's uncle: Alec Smith -, but also Smith has met his maker in the meantime.

Bet, that beside the Computer something very important can be found?

Just go and play ill!
Smith's last whereabouts was the Lake Hospital, but when Dan arrives there, he is first rejected several times, at last mauled by two safety guards. Meat however is patient, and so Dan waits, until a delivery van drives up. Dan quickly hopped in, and is a little later in room 8, Smith's room. There the raging reporter finds a note, which he pockets first of all. He leaves the place, alarms the nurse from another sick-room and meanwhile acquires the general key from her room. Dan disables the guard, flees into the elevator - and then occurs what I suggested at the beginning: There is a completely unexpected genre change. An adventure with changing perspectives becomes an action shooter in 1st-person-perspective! Later, if you have shot your way free out of the hospital (yes, you read correctly!), the whole thing again takes shape of an adventure game, in order to mutate in the further game process still several times - to almost all usual genres: Beat'em up, shoot'em up, a snooker simulation and even a car chase. Microids calls these modules "real-time action", and exactly that it is, because if you hesitate for a longer time... - well, you have got ten save slots. I haven't seen such an unusual mix in my lifetime, anyhow, when the actual game is an adventure game!

On the upper floor there is a safe ...

Not very mincing
The actual story, thus the puzzles which can be solved and secrets which can be discovered, are not so extensive - compared with Day of the Tentacle or Gabriel Knight 2 - but very tricky and not easily to complete within one pass. The additional attraction and thus a substantial longer gaming time results from the added genres. Whereby, to say it in a fair way, certain protectors of minors in some places have to turn a blind eye. If for example the hero gets two shots in the back at the elevator or uses a weapon himself to kill his opponents, that is not for everyone.

They don't look nice!

On the other hand there are such scenes even with Derrick (Annotation by slydos: very boring German television police series), so the heck with it! For the rest From Dusk Till Dawn was also not indexed (still)... For the quality of the game is also defined by the graphics. Wenn Dan is moving, the view changes to 1st-person-perspective and returns to 3rd person when looking at a room or object. Beautifully made, fluid and above all very nice are also all remaining animations. However it is quite strange that Dan sits down in his armchair again calmly after the conversation with Sarah. But well, that is nitpicking, and if you are searching, then you always find a hair in the soup.

6 o'clock in Enschede ...

Still another while...
The background music, matching the respective happenings, the German speech and the FX during action parts are o. k., but I would have requested now and then somewhat more dialogues. The multiple choice procedure may be nowadays up to date, but if I remember, how much I could talk at that time in lnfocom adventures ... perhaps there will be a developer pitying with me. Waiting sometimes is the key word in "Evidence": You will not always have immediate opportunity to enter a certain building or meet a person. You can kill your time by simply doing nothing, (before the hospital or short time later in that bar). Besides you have to examine and take away everything that is not nailed down - later it may be of vital importance. Some objects however cannot be seen with the naked eye, here you must activate the very comfortable pop-up-menu in the lower right (there are three of them) and select an activity such as "look". The game ends with a boat race, where even the last rogue explodes with his vehicle. Here again it shows that Microids is not only versed in one genre. I have to salute, what you can see here, is really skillful. However applies also here: The better the computer, the faster the graphics, everything clear?

But how can this be rated?
Now we come to that point, which evokes headaches again and again for me - how to rate a game, which is composed from several games? Individually? Forget it, with my calculating arts this will go sour. Only the adventure alone? That doesn't work, because the attraction of the whole thing is the just described change between several genres. I let six years of working live as game tester go by - and remember the words of my old ASM buddy Hans Joachim "A-Man" Amann, who is PR manager at BMG, the German distributor of Microids. How did he say at the telephone, asked about his personal estimation? "The thing must get in my opinion (and Achim knows what he is talking about! Really!!) between 80 and 85 points." Thus I sum up everything and... do to me wrong, Achim, you easily erred, see below!

Developer: Microids / BMG
Price: 99,95 Mark

486 DX 66, 8 MB RAM, VESA compatible graphic card, DOS or Windows 95

Very tricky puzzles
long game fun by real-time action
comparative few dialogs

Game-/continuous fun: 45 of 50
Handling: 10 of 10
Graphics: 16 of 20
Sound: 15 of 20

Total: 86

May 1997 PC Power


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