Friday, 15 October 2010

Freeware Adventure Game Review - Lightning Master

Lightning Master is the culmination of 7 years of on-off work by "Old Guy" using AGS, just to find out how it all works. Now that he's found out, I hope it doesn't take 7 years for his next adventure game to come out, because this is a mightily impressive game - especially when taken as a first attempt.

You play a man who's about to save the world from temporal chaos, though you don't know it (and thanks to the laws of physics, or something, you don't know after you've done it, but you will know in the future that you had done it in the past... oh well, play the game and you'll see what I mean!).  It all starts off innocently enough, sitting down with some popcorn and wine, about to watch a favourite episode of the Prisoner... then everything starts getting very weird.  Everyone's gone - at least, almost everyone - but strange events lead you to assemble electrical devices and travel in time.

Lightning Master has a good atmosphere, particularly when taking into account that there's barely a conversation with anyone throughout the game, and a wry sense of humour that helps to keep things light when it could otherwise have become a bit stodgy and uninteresting.  There's a lot of reading to do - notes after every "temporal event", information about inventor Nikola Tesla, and even an AGS programming manual (really!).  My one complaint about the puzzles is that they sometimes require in-depth reading and probably re-reading of certain things, although to some that would of course not be a complaint at all.

The first thing that strikes you about Lightning Master is the sheer size of it - there are a large number of locations and the vast majority of them are accessible right from the start of the game.  This does result in rather a lot of walking around, but you can set the walking speed so this isn't much of a problem.  The graphics are nice; the animation could be better but the sheer number and variety of backdrops is impressive in itself.  Admittedly there aren't many hotspots per location, but there's still some nice detail in the game world here and there - some of which is purely to add atmosphere or humour.  Speech and sound effects are a little sparse but are effective when they are used.

The game will take you a few hours to complete.  There is a lot of travelling among places and this can get a little frustrating at times, but generally the puzzles are logical and the clues are there (albeit some could perhaps be a little less difficult to find).  The storyline is great, with good science fiction, a well realised time travel element and as mentioned a fair dose of humour.  You'll even learn quite a bit - I did anyway - about Nikola Tesla.  The lack of conversations with other characters feels a little odd but it does focus you on trying to work out the puzzles.

I'm not quite sure how adventure game beginners will take to Lightning Master because several of the puzzles are really quite challenging, but perhaps the fact that in some regards it's simpler than most adventure games helps to offset this.  If you're a fan of the adventure game genre, I'd definitely recommend that you play Lightning Master.

CaptainD's PC Gaming Blog 

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