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Standing Out From The Pack.

In PC on June 23, 2009 at 12:09 am

Discworld Noir

Discworld Noir- PC

Discworld Noir is your standard adventure game business (click here, talk to that, etc) and a decent enough example of the genre (although your enjoyment may vary depending on how much you like the Discworld brand of satire). It’s  also ugly, in that charming way that only old rendered 3D can be.

If the name didn’t give you some kind of clue, Discworld Noir is a shameless pastiche of film noir detective stories, with the fast-talking, hardboiled Bogart of this piece being Lewton, a former city watchman turned private investigator (voiced by Rob Brydon, who  seems to be responsible for  ninety percent of the cast).

What makes this game stand out is that, and this is a major spoiler here, Lewton becomes a werewolf about halfway through. Now able to change into his wolf form at will, Lewton can get a “dog’s-eye-view” of an area, and see the scents in each as colours, which makes even previously explored areas worth a second look, or sniff. A Magenta scent, for example, turns  into a reference point, which can then be compared to one of your earlier clues or suspects in order to further your investigation. Certain scents can even be tracked to unlock new locations.

There’s a kind of stereotype in the adventure game genre that the main protagonist is always an everyman (your George Stobbarts, Guybrush Threepwoods, and April Ryans), so, as with A Vampire Story, playing as a supernatural character with  abilities that affect the investigation/puzzle solving mechanics is a refreshing twist.

When you break it down, it’s still very much the same “match clue x to thingy y” mechanic that’s at the heart of every adventure game, but it’s an imaginative spark that separates it from the pack.

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