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Looking for adventure game recommendations

posted by Davies on - last edited - Viewed by 2.5K users
My PS3 broke down a couple of weeks ago and so without access to my PS2/3 games, Blu-Ray movies and Internet at home I thought I'd take the opportunity to play through some retro classics that I somehow managed to avoid playing all these years. Alex Kidd (MD) was charming, Another World (PC, 15th Anniversary) was a rotoscoped beauty but also a harsh mistress and Chrono Trigger (SNES) and Chrono Cross (PSX) are the best J-RPG's I've played since Final Fantasy VII.

But now I find myself craving for some good old fashioned adventure game non-action. I figured that instead of re-playing my all time favorites for the 7591st time, I might attempt to broaden my experience and play a new (old) retro classic. This is where you can help.

Can you you recommend a traditional old-school adventure game?

Here's some quick points towards helping you understand what I'm looking for. These aren't rigid rules though:

* Ideally, a game from the 90s (i.e. with graphics that fall anywhere between The Secret of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, from a technical point of view). It's fine if it's a modern game with 2D backgrounds and, if possible, 2D characters.

* I'm open to playing a game with either easy or difficult puzzles but I tend to get bored of games which adopt the insanity inducing approach of anti-logic based puzzles (e.g. Use sticky syrup on tape to create sticky-tape / Use sticky-tape on cat / Use furry sticky tape on face to create a realistic mustache, so that you can pretend your someone else, who doesn't even have a moustache - which is an actual puzzle from Gabriel Knight 3 but at least it was a one off in an otherwise great game).

* On the subject of puzzles, an important factor is the type of puzzles. Generally I'm only interested in 'use-item-A-on-item-B' type puzzles, as opposed to the 'fix-a-mess-of-pipes-and-adjust-a-steam-gauge' puzzles of Myst etc.

* I'd quite like to play through an intelligent, gritty and mature story. Maybe a detective game? However, failing that I'll play anything that's good, be it zany, slapstick humor or a downbeat playable commentary on the failings of modern society.

* Please don't limit suggestions to the PC format only, I'm more than happy to play console adventure games too (providing I already have access to the console of course).


Here's a quick list of the adventure games I've already played many a times. So please don't recommend any of these to me (although, if you haven't played any of them then I do recommend them to you). I'm sure I've left many titles out by mistake but I have left many more modern adventure games out on purpose because I'm really looking to play an old-school (or retro styled) game:

* Maniac Mansion
* Loom
* Indy 3 & 4 (Crusade & Atlantis)
* Monkey Island 1-5
* Sam & Max Hit the Road
* Day of the Tentacle
* The Dig
* Full Throttle
* Grim Fandango

* Police Quest I & IV only
* Space Quest I & VI only
* Gabriel Knight 1-3
* Phantasmagoria II

* Lure of the Temptress
* Beneath a Steel Sky
* Broken Sword 1-3 only

* Tex Murphy 1-5
* Flight of the Amazon Queen
* Discworld 1 & 2 only (can anyone help me to get Noir to run under Vista)?
* I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
* Toonstruck
* Blade Runner
* The Longest Journey & Dreamfall
* A Vampyre Story
* Machinarium


Listed Below are games that I own and have played to various degrees and in most cases given up on. If you can't recommend a game not on this list then maybe you could convince me to give them another go:

* King's Quest I, V & VI - To be fair, I've only ever really dabbled with the King's Quest series but out of them all, roman numeral six is the one that I've spent the longest with (probably hitting around the half way mark). What left me uninterested was the traditional, cliche fantasy setting and characters. Other than that it's hard to put my finger on why the series never hooked me but I do know that I've never truly enjoyed the experience of playing. Am I missing something?

* Simon the Sorcerer 1 & 2 only: I got put off the first game around two-thirds of the way through. Mostly because there was so much back tracking. Also, the cliche fantasy theme put me off (again). I only played 5 minutes of the sequel and it seemed improved over the original but maybe someone here could tell me just how much?

* Runaway - I actually completed this one because it's one of the nicer looking adventure games I've played and the puzzles were acceptable for the most part (with the aid of a walkthrough). However, the pixel hunting and seriously annoying characters dragged the whole thing down for me.

* Leisure Suit Larry 1 & 6 only - I certainly enjoyed the retro nostalgia of playing the original EGA game but I find the humor to be lewd in the most tasteless, pervy and nasty way. I'm not sure if there's some kind of satirical or ironic element in the dialogue or setup that's flying right over my head.

* Still Life - I was actually really enjoying playing this game until the thrilling plot of murder and corruption ground to a halt and the game insisted on making me solve a puzzle involving baking cookies for my character's dad by using the worlds most retarded cook book (use 1 tablespoon of love, half a jar of cuddles etc.). I had no access to a walkthrough so after 2 days of trying to get my FBI agent to bake f**king cookies for her bastard papa, I gave up. Does anyone know if I should start over, with a walkthrough at hand?

* Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island - Although flawed, I did enjoy playing through A Vampyre Story and therefore was looking forward to Vooju Island but I found the puzzles to be horrible and the use of colour to resemble the interior of a 7 year old girly girl's bedroom; all over saturated pinks and oranges. I stopped playing once around one-fourth of my way through the story, should I have?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. If you think this post's long then that's nothing. I already typed this mother out once and then my browser deleted it when I tried to post so I had to start over :( Plus the original post was even more rambling.
62 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Origami;453968 said:
    Owh and Sherlock Holmes and the Serrated Scalpel
    This and the "sequel" about the Rose Tattoo are very good. They're for PC.

    Space Quest III is great. It's Telltale-esque in the sense that you have a small to medium-sized area to explore and solve puzzles in before moving on to the next self-contained area. Great music and story - the ending is particularly cool. It's also not as difficult or "unfair" as some of the other SQ games are.
  • Could you describe the gameplay style a little please, I just looked at some screenshots and thought 'Myst with added roaches' but I'm sure you could do a better job selling it to me.
    You play as a roach and crawl around trying to get from area to area. The puzzles are really original. You don't have an inventory. You only can move some things around.
    It's not too difficult and has a great flow. It's great to experience the perspective of a roach. Also what makes the game so great is the story. It has a nice story with an original twist, but it's up to you to add depth to it since little pieces of it are told through background items. Like a telegraph in the garbage bin.
  • Quest for Glory is the best adventure series ever.

    ... imho.

    I love it because in addition to the puzzles and the numerous Sierra-deaths we all know and love, it also has combat, RPG elements like hit points and stats, and at least three ways to solve just about every puzzle depending on what class your character is.
  • Well, of American titles, I don't know of any you haven't already played. But I can give you a few foreign titles, as well as some free Kongregate adventure titles you may have missed.

    Online, and free (local library FTW):
    Morningstar: This one's about 1/2 an hour to an hour- Trapped on a crash anded spaceship, you and your remaining crew must figure out how to get the ship running and leave.

    Tipping Point (several short episodes): You must stop a mad scientist who is working on a teleportation device.

    The Daydream: Your son has gone missing, and something has happened to his room. Where the crap did he go and why? (Japanese title, about 1/2 hour, and HARD)

    The "House" series: Terminal House,Rental House, Guest House, Boat House (maybe 2-3 hours total) Telling you ANYTHING about this one is a seriously major spoiler. Also HARD. Have a paper and pen ready for ome of the puzzles, and probably a calculator.

    DS: 9 Doors, 9 People, 9 Hours: Have yet to play this one myself, but have heard absolutely awesome things about it. Japanese adventure/ puzzle game.
  • If you haven't played them already I definetly recommend the Kyrandia series.
    (Mostly the first or second, but I know alot of people around here prefer the 3rd.)
  • One game that I noticed is missing from your Lucas Arts list is Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, which if you haven't yet played, you should. It's about a silly as it sounds, but all in all, a pretty fun game with a wacky story. And a somewhat addicting theme song.

    Now, I want to go play it again.
  • And if you play Zak McKracken then try to get at least the PDF of the newspaper. It's the best goodie - actually you also need it for the game as well - there ever was for a game.
    the blackwell serie
  • I don't know if this really counts, as it only fits one of your criteria, that being old school adventure.

    In that case a free old school adventure you just have to play is Ben There, Dan That, second game Time Gentlemen, Please! cost a bit but well worth the money.

    You can get them from zombie-cow or from Steam.

    I can't help but feel this is wrong advice though. :p
  • Try King's Quest again, and play the rest of the Space Quest series.
  • I found Lost Horizon to be extremly funny and logical adventure game with a good story.
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