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Echo Night – Review

Echo Night - Review

Echo Night – Review

Echo Night is not a memorable game, but it is well worth playing if you own a Playstation.


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Published by


Genre: Adventure
Release Date: September 1999

Reviewers often struggle to find that one word that will perfectly describe a game to the reader. Having played Morpheus and also laughing at the ribald humor of Austin Powers 2 this past summer, one hyphenated word comes immediately to mind when playing Agetec’s newest adventure release for the Playstation: mini-Morpheus.

The similarities between Morpheus, the late Piranha’s final adventure release, and Echo Night are at times startling. Both take place aboard a haunted ocean liner, both are dependent on the player rescuing the souls of despondent spirits. Echo Night even goes a step further by incorporating unrequited love angles that could be used in a remake of a haunted Titanic. Coincidence? Most likely. For Agetec (formerly known as ASCII) scours Japan searching for games that will appeal to the fickle American consumer. They then translate and repackage the title for the huge North American Playstation audience. While Agetec is to be highly commended for their willingness to spotlight the adventure genre to a younger fan base, it would also be an astute marketing decision to port these foreign titles as low-budget releases to a PC audience ravenous for adventure games.

Echo Night sets up its plot through a well-done prologue that features your father’s house aflame, his subsequent disappearance, and the local police handing you a manila envelope bearing your name and containing a solitary key. The key will unlock a portal to the past, and you soon find yourself aboard a long-ago ghost train where you witness an old man gun down a young boy in cold blood. The confusion mounts as you escape from the hurtling, runaway train and find yourself aboard the doomed Orpheus, a luxury cruiser that mysteriously disappeared in 1913. Somehow your dad must be connected to the ship’s disappearance, and you have been sent back in time to discover the link between the ship’s puzzling past and your father’s fiery future.

The majority of the problems you encounter onboard the Orpheus focus on conversations with the apparitions that still occupy the ship. These desolate spirits have not moved on and, aided by books and notes that provide clues, you must discover and repair the source of their eternal dissatisfaction. Most of the puzzles consist of returning lost or misplaced items for the unhappy spirits or attempting to find a way to enter a room while avoiding attack from one of the more vicious phantoms–many of these wandering ghosts are not as friendly as Casper. They are a depressed, dysfunctional group of spirits (speaking of spirits, one of them cannot go to his final rest until he has one last drink!) who can and will possess your soul. The spookiest by far is a young girl with an evil, chilling giggle. Most, though, are just looking for your help to solve a problem, be it finding a lost doll for a little girl, reuniting a mother and child, or conveying a couple’s love for each other.

The graphics aboard the Orpheus and her “ports of entry” (for you will visit other time periods) are 3D-rendered, point-and-click, always viewed from a first-person perspective. At times they seem to have a grainy look to them, but I believe this was done more to convey a nostalgic look, as in old photos, than it is due to the limitations of the Playstation, and it works–there is something that you can’t quite put your finger on that is oddly alluring about Echo Night. It is only when the graphics attempt to do more than the PSX can handle that you run into occasional glitches in the polygonal graphics aboard the ship.

If there is a major downfall in Echo Night, it is the voice acting, which is only adequate at best. It is never as bad as some other conversions, i.e., Resident Evil, but there is little impact or feeling to pull your heartstrings emotionally into the game’s atmosphere as do the graphics. Music is used sparingly, usually only when a spirit is nearby, and unfortunately doesn’t play the part in the game that it should. Text is used to back up the voice acting, and the translations occasionally suffer from the mistakes so common when translating from Japanese to English. A gambling sojourn to an onboard casino, where you must win a predetermined amount of money to purchase an inventory item, would not be missed if it were to be cut from the plot.

Echo Night is not a memorable game, but it is well worth playing if you own a Playstation. It may be a little on the short side for the more experienced adventure gamer but still worth a rental. A purchase is highly recommend for the novice adventurer. Sales and reviews have generally been very good and hopefully will convince Agetec to treat us to more Japanese adventure games that we would otherwise never have the pleasure of experiencing. Now Agetec, let’s get back to that conversation about converting Echo Night, Clocktower, and Clocktower 2 to the computer …

Final grade: B-

Randy Sluganski

Randy Sluganski

Randy Sluganski was a true adventure gamer and his passion for these games made him just as important as the developers and publishers of these games. Randy passed away after battling lung cancer for over 10 years. Randy can never be replaced but we would like to light a torch in his memory for what he did for us with his love of adventure gaming.We dedicate this site to the Memory of Randy Sluganski and his love for adventure games.

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