Genre: Online Adventure
Release Date: September 2003
My life has been far too busy lately for gaming [but, we’re glad to have you back! – Randy]. Just thinking about a 40+ hour adventure makes me tired and stressed. So, the idea of an adventure game that is delivered in short installments appealed to me in a big way... the perfect scenario for the gamer with a day job and too many tasks on the home front. Agon is the first traditional adventure to be released in serial form, with 14 episodes planned for internet distribution over the next two years.
Your first challenge will be the download. At 207 Mbytes, this is a major event for anyone without a high-speed connection. To allow for an easier recovery in the event of lost connectivity, the file is broken into multiple parts for those using dialup. Once you’ve accomplished this, you are ready to land in the London Museum in the year 1903. Since there is no back-story or opening scenario, your next task is to discover why you are there and what your objective is.
Since this is a short game, I will not reveal too much of the storyline in this review. Suffice it to say that this is a traditional “find and use” adventure, with character interaction and a few puzzles to boot. Clues appear and all will be revealed, if you are diligent and explore every inch of the environments presented.
Agon is a return to the classic adventure game. While younger gamers have been spoiled by such memory aids as automatic on-screen notes and PDAs, those of us who have been around the adventure block will remember that a pencil and paper used to be a prerequisite for success. Yep, for those without an eidetic memory, this game will be a challenge unless you are prepared to (gasp!) take notes.
Private Moon Studios is a team of seven Hungarian developers who have done a remarkable job of building a very professional game. Agon is a far cut above what one might expect from such a small group. The environments are beautifully rendered, with an attention to detail. The voice-overs are professionally done, with original music and a host of ambient sounds. You can pan 360 degrees from all locations, while movement is limited to stepping between predefined points. The interface is easy to use with cursor changes to indicate when you can move, interact, view, etc.
My only caveat is that this game will present few challenges to the experienced adventurer. It is very linear, with paths of play opening only after certain actions have been completed. At most, you will be rewarded with 3-4 hours of play time, much of which will be spent marching up and down the stairs between your top-floor office and the basement of the museum. Then again, the cost of the game is just under $10 (U.S.). When one considers the price of an average movie, the entertainment investment is about the same.
Private Moon Studios promises that future installments will build out the story of Professor Samuel Hunt and that his/your travels will stretch across the globe and include a search for ancient board games in a variety of locations. Although the stories are interconnected, each can be played as a stand-alone experience. I, for one, will look forward to this saga continuing...
Final Grade: B