Version tested: Wii
So, it turns out that Tom has been receiving angry letters from PETE, People for the Ethical Treatment of Ellie. Apparently forcing her to constantly review the dregs of the Wii barrel is cruel and inhumane, and PETE activists have now helped Ellie escape from her mini-games dungeon by building a special tower out of Boom Blox. Clearly, this is political correctness gone mad. Not that I'm bitter or angry. No, I'm quite happy to take Ellie's place while Tom hunts her down with his high-powered drug gun. It's fine. This stack of new Wii games looks...interesting. Right? They can't be that bad. And it's not as if the shackles are that uncomfortable. There's even some hay on the floor, which is a bit like a cushion. I'm sure it'll be fine.
Secret Files: Tunguska
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Developer: Keen Games
With its pointy interface, the Wii is certainly ripe to take advantage of the adventure game revival, but it's just a shame that generic fare like Tunguska is leading the way.
I reviewed the PC version back in September 2006 and this remake, by German developer Keen Games, is almost exactly the same. The graphics obviously aren't as sharp, but the clue highlight feature has been retained, allowing you to instantly see all the points of interest in each screen. Control is simple enough - the B button examines things, the A button interacts with them. The nunchuk can be used to steer around the scenery, or you can just click on the things you want to walk to. As Exhibit A in the case of How Point-And-Click Can Work For A New Audience, it's pretty compelling.
That's more than can be said about the game itself, sadly. It's a rather clunky conspiracy thriller, in which you guide Nina, a stock post-Lara feisty female, on a search for her missing scientist father. He vanished while investigating the 1908 explosion which devastated the Tunguska region of Russia, and something fiendish is clearly afoot. The elements called into play to spin this yarn, however, are so predictable and the script so lacking in pace or personality that progress becomes a matter of beating the puzzles rather than striving to advance the story.
Puzzles are what the games has in abundance, though they're very much of the old-school adventure game type. No solution is too long-winded, and no sequence of object combinations too illogical. It's the sort of game where simply opening a door can involve an additional twenty-five steps, finding bits of wire and chewing gum to retrieve a loaf of bread from a shelf, which then attracts birds to a window ledge, which dislodges a pencil which you then use to make a hole in a box, through which you get a key. Using a magnet you found buried in a plant pot.
Okay, that doesn't happen exactly, but it's not much of an exaggeration of Tunguska's obtuse construction. There are plenty of adventure die-hards who thrive on such elongated nonsense, and will gladly plod onwards through uninspiring stories for the sake of some head-scratching riddles. Those people will still enjoy Tunguska, but those people also probably have a PC and have already played it. For the majority of Wii owners, I suspect this will prove simply too dry and convoluted to really catch on.