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Journey to the Moon PC CD-ROM

Published by The Adventure Company
Developed by Kheops
Release Date: 25th November 2005 (UK)
Price: £19.99

Journey to the Moon, an introduction.

Journey to the Moon is the second adventure released by Kheops to be inspired by the writing of Jules Verne. Verne's novels are full of adventure in bizarre and futuristic settings and Kheops have taken these core qualities from Verne and gone one step further in this latest game. Whereas Verne's character, Michel Ardan, only orbited the moon, Kheops decided not only to land on the moon but to uncover a sentient race of lunar inhabitants, the Selenites.

What's the game about?

It's a traditional point 'n' click adventure that follows a group of scientists who have created a bullet like space capsule with the intent of landing on the moon's surface. You play as Jules Verne's hero Michel Ardan, an eccentric and intrepid French scientist who blacks out during take off and awakes to an extraordinary state of affairs. The rest of the game is based on you not only discovering a variety of lunar creatures, but also communicating with them and enlisting their help in order to return to Earth.

What's good about the game?

You cannot complain about the variety of puzzles on offer in Journey to the Moon. Some are simply inventory combining puzzles, some are mathematical and others are logical puzzles. A unique puzzle that is supposed to represent the Moon's gravity is a hand to eye co-ordination puzzle for leaping from one point to another. Although some puzzles can result in the death of Ardan, he is always resurrected to a point immediately before the timed sequence or jump began, so there’s no real penalty in failure. The game keeps an automatic log of events, conversations, ideogram translations and items that have been previously combined, which is essential to complete some of the puzzles and to get as high an intelligence score as possible.

What's not so good about the game?

You need to backtrack a lot to complete the puzzles as the clues can be quite scattered. Many of the puzzles are difficult to solve and only seem to test your level of frustration. The flow of the game was impeded by having to keep dipping in and out of the game log to check ideograms or previous conversations for clues in order to solve the puzzles. I found that it helped to keep a pen and paper handy to work out some of the answers.

How does it look?

Kheops have again created a colourful and imaginative backdrop, perfect for a lunar adventure. If you've played other Kheops titles you'll know exactly what to expect with the game's graphics. Once again we have the pre-rendered background with the 3D animated characters and once again it's a method that works well. You don't actually walk around and you'll point and click to move forwards. You can look around with the mouse though so you'll always be fully aware of what's going on around you. The game uses the same tabbed inventory as Return to Mysterious Island and once again it's a bit cumbersome having to click through the various tabs to examine all the items in your inventory. Overall though, it's a pleasant looking game that's easy on the eyes.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Subtitles are enabled by default with white text on a dark overlay for very easy reading. All the cutscenes are subtitled with white text appearing in the black border at the bottom of the screen. At one point in the game Ardan develops hiccups and the screen bounces to simulate the hiccups but there are no captions for this sound. In one of the puzzles Michel has to learn the Selenite language. Although you have to match up an ideogram to a sound, this can be accomplished through trial and error. So this puzzle won't stop a deaf gamer from completing the game. However what may stop a deaf gamer from finishing the game is the lunar IQ score. When you solve puzzles you earn lunar IQ points and there are sections in the game where you must achieve a certain level, for example you must earn at least 200 IQ points to gain a Selenite key that gives you access to other areas of the Selenite's underground home. This affects deaf gamers when sound related puzzles, solved by trial and error, only give deaf gamers a few lunar IQ points. This means that deaf gamers will have to perform above average on puzzles that aren't sound related to compensate for this disadvantage. When you need to activate the pipe organ to summon the Selenite exiles, for instance, you have to play a tune and as the Selenite exiles reply, you then have to reproduce their sound as well. This is one section of the game where many gamers, not only deaf gamers, will turn to the Internet for a walkthrough.

Final thoughts .

Adventure games are my favourite games, but due to the mathematical and logical nature of many of the puzzles that reminded me of the puzzles on the Krypton Factor TV game show, I found the game a chore to play and although I enjoyed the story, It felt too much like hard work to solve the puzzles which isn't what adventure games should be about in my opinion.

 

Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:


(Click the letter or here for details)

Although there is good subtitling provision for deaf gamers, the sound related puzzles will make the game very difficult to complete. It might be wise to give this one a miss.